- CRACKER BOX SET REVIEW
DVD Box Set Review (courtesy of Cathy S - 7th December 2004)
known internationally for his role as the roguish Hagrid in the
Harry Potter movies, Robbie Coltrane is beloved by the British for
his role of Eddie Fitzgerald, (or Fitz as he is better known), in
Cracker, (1993 - 1996). Living proof that life imitates art, Fitz
is a man at odds with himself. A compulsive gambler and alcoholic,
Fitz is unable to overcome his demons, even though it has cost him
his wife and family. A brilliant analytical psychologist, Fitz
chooses not to abide by the rules of social niceties, and often
appears rude to those around him. Whilst my characterisation may
have you thinking that Fitzie sounds like a pretty obnoxious
person - don't be fooled. There is something deep within him that
is deeply appealing, perhaps it's the twinkle in his eye, his
razor sharp wit, or maybe it's just a simple case of rooting for
into an enduring close liaison with the police, after one of his
students is brutally murdered, Fitz soon becomes a valuable part
of the Manchester Police detective team. Working most closely with
Jane Penhaligan, (Geraldine Somerville), Fitz manages, with the
aid of his abrasive personality to alienate most of his
colleagues. This is not your standard, run of the mill cop show.
Not everything has a warm and happy ending, and perhaps it is this
that adds to the appeal of Cracker. After all real life doesn't
always have a happy ending. Without wishing to destroy your
enjoyment of this series, at least one major character will die,
in what can be easily proclaimed the best episode of the series.
A key element of the success of Cracker is the complicated
relationship that develops between Fitz, Jane Penhaligon, and
Judith, (Fitz's wife played by Barbara Flynn). Judith is
frustrated with Fitz's continual gambling, and leaves him
physically once, and emotionally several times. In these
circumstances and working closely with Penhaligan, (or Panhandle
as he affectionately dubs her), it is not surprising that Fitz
cannot help be flattered when Jane makes her attraction clear to
him. During Judith's brief absence from the marriage, an affair
ensues, one that is ended abruptly when Judith returns, but that
continues to make it's presence felt during the entire series.
Whilst at no point is it said that Fitz stays with Judith from a
misplaced sense of loyalty and duty, this is the obvious
conclusion. It has to be said that I didn't feel any sympathy for
Judith's predicament. At all times I was hoping that Fitz would
realise his true feelings and choose to make a life with
Penhaligan, thus overcoming the demons that so clearly haunt him.
in Dolby Digital 2.0, the soundtrack for Cracker is basic but
extremely functional. Rear speakers are utilised for ambient
sounds, but this is a soundtrack that is dominated by dialogue
and in this regard performs quite well. The subwoofer had a lazy
time of it with no noticeable usage. Accents may prove a minor
challenge for those not native to the UK - Northern England and
Scottish accents tend to be amongst the hardest to understand.
This could be compounded by the lack of subtitles. Music is
fairly eclectic, but mostly relegated to the background.
video unfortunately is not as serviceable as the Audio.
Peculiarly presented in a mixture of 1.33:1 and 1.45:1, the
fairly soft transfer is fraught with faults. The print is often
dark and grainy, with shadow detail less than clear. There were
also at least two occasions when pixelisation is appallingly
noticeable. If you add occasional aliasing, and positive
artefacts to the mix, you will understand that this is not
something that Universal can write home about. On the positive
side skin tones are natural and lip sync never a problem. There
are no subtitles available.
this is a
fabulous opportunity to see the complete Cracker, but a criminal
lack of extras.
Verdict : It may not grab your attention
immediately in the way that modern series such as Spooks and the
Shield do, but Cracker can definitely hold it's own in terms of
characterisation and plot development.
Unofficial Guide To Cracker 1999-2006