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Fool's Gold Fool's Gold

Ben "Finn" Finnegan (Matthew McConaughey) is a fortune hunter whose obsession with discovering the Queen's Dowry, a treasure that mysteriously disappeared in the Caribbean in 1715, has consumed him to the point of ruining his marriage to Tess (Kate Hudson). Discovering a clue that he believes will lead him to the cache, he must charm his way into the pocketbook of billionaire Nigel Honeycutt (Donald Sutherland) in order to finance the expedition.

Written by the trio of John Claflin, Daniel Zelman, and Andy Tennant, I wasn't overly impressed with the story. Tennant directs the film and gets the most out of the shallow material, but at 112 minutes, there isn't enough meat to justify the run time. Dropping some extraneous characters would have gone a long way toward tightening up the pacing without sacrificing the main elements of an otherwise interesting premise.

The VC-1 encode is a bit inconsistent—daytime scenes look wonderful, but the night shots lose a lot of detail and appear on the murky side. The print is in fine condition, but detail is lacking, especially in flesh tones, which are a bit too smooth with signs of some high-pass filtering. Color saturation is excellent, highlighting the rich tropical hues, and most viewers will find the image very pleasing, especially the scantily clad costars.

For the second week in a row, Warner has decided to use a lowly 640kbps Dolby Digital soundtrack on a day-and-date release. The imaging across the front is wide but, like the story itself, lacks depth. The sound design is above average for a chick flick, especially with the active use of the surround speakers for ambience in the quieter moments and loads of activity in the action sequences. The exclusion of a lossless track is a very big disappointment and makes me wonder how much better it would have sounded with those extra bits.

The bonus features are rather thin and include a three-minute gag reel and a behind-the-scenes featurette entitled "Fool's Gold: Flirting with Adventure." Much like the movie, these two features don't offer much entertainment.

Filled with beautiful people but lacking much substance, Fool's Gold will probably appeal more to the ladies thanks to McConaughey's chiseled physique, which is amply displayed throughout. Kate Hudson looks just as beautiful, which justifies a rental. Just don't expect much else.

Release Date: June 17, 2008

Film: 5 out of 10

Picture: 7 out of 10

Sound: 7 out of 10

Review System


Panasonic DMP-BD30


JVC DLA-RS1 projector

Stewart FireHawk screen (76.5" wide, 16:9)


Onkyo TX-SR606

Belkin PF60 power conditioner


M&K S-150s (L, C, R)

M&K SS-150s (LS, RS, SBL, SBR)

SVS PC-Ultra subwoofer


Monoprice HDMI cables (source to pre/pro)

Best Deal analog-audio cables

PureLink HDC Fiber Optic HDMI Cable System (15 meters) from pre/pro to projector

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