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The Other Side of Heaven DVD Review

The Other Side of Heaven
Movie & DVD Details

Director: Mitch Davis

Cast: Christopher Gorham (John Groberg), Anne Hathaway (Jean Sabin), Joe Folau (Feki), Miriama Smith (Lavania), Whetu Fala (Asi), Alvin Fitisemanu (Tomasi), April McKinley (Noli), John Sumner (President Stone)

Limited Theatrical Release Date: April 12, 2002

Running Time: 113 Minutes / Rating: PG
1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Dolby Digital 5.1 (English)
Subtitles: English; Closed Captioned

Release Date: April 1, 2003
Single-sided, dual-layered disc (DVD-9); Suggested Retail Price: $29.99
White Keepcase

 
Review by Captain Hook

Back in 1953, a year before 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea hit theaters, a young man named John Groberg (Christopher Gorham) was called on a mission for his church to go to the distant island cluster of Tonga.

The film The Other Side of Heaven chronicles John's obstacles while he tries to teach the natives for three hard years. Everything is foreign to him, but thanks to his companion Feki (Joseph Folau), he is able to find the faith he needs to continue on. Back at home in the United States, his sweetheart Jean Saline (Anne Hathaway) writes letters to him, wanting for his return.

The film is powerful, and religion is only a minor part of this film. People of all denominations can find this story inspiring, alike the films Chariots of Fire and Gandhi where religion played a back role. Leonard Maltin called it a "film that wins you over...good storytelling". The beautiful scenery of the tropical islands (reminiscent of Swiss Family Robinson)and amusing humor will have you entranced for the two hours.

The Other Side of Heaven was made by 3 Mark Entertainment, and received very limited theatrical distribution. Disney acquired home video rights and has produced a nice single-disc release. I was pleasantly surprised that Disney released this disc with some extras and in widescreen.

VIDEO and AUDIO

Being a recent movie, this disc has almost perfect quality of video. I don't remember seeing any grain, and all the colors are bright and clear. The movie is presented in its theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track conveys dialogue clearly and makes use of the rear speakers during crucial scenes such as the hurricane and the storm at sea. Captions for the Hearing Impaired are available in the Set Up Menu.

EXTRAS

There are three extras on the disc, which is pretty incredible for a movie to which Disney merely owned video rights. The first is "The Making of The Other Side of Heaven" (24:24) which offers insight from quite a few of the actors, including Chris Gorham and Anne Hathaway, as well as the real John Groberg and director Mitch Davis.

This is a great alternative to watching the film with "Audio Commentary" with Mitch Davis. This commentary, though good, tends to run on the long side. About as long as the entire film, even!

The final extra is the "Still Gallery" with 35 pictures taken from the book Journey of Faith published by Vantage Point Press. It's nice to have these pictures on the DVD, and not having to buy the book.

What's missing are the seven deleted scenes mentioned by Mitch in the commentary, but I guess we can't have our hopes too high for a movie that wasn't made by the Disney studio.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

The Other Side of Heaven probably will seem foreign to many, but it is a very worthwhile film and a spectacular DVD release. This coming-of-age story will delight and inspire, and is well worth the price.

More on the DVD

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