Gandhi (Blu-ray) 25th Anniversary Official AVSForum Review - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 02-23-2009, 09:21 AM - Thread Starter
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attachment.php?attachmentid=132001&d=1233452671
The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

77






Studio and Year: Sony Pictures = 1982
MPAA Rating: PG
Feature running time: 191 Minutes
Genre: Drama

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): English/French Dolby TrueHD 5.1, Portuguese/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Arabic, Dutch
Starring: Sir Ben Kingsley, Candice Bergen, Martin Sheen, Edward Fox, John Gielgud, Trevor Howard, John Mills
Directed by: Richard Attenborough
Music by: Ravi Shankar
Written by: John Briley
Region Code: A,B,C

Blu-ray Disc release Date: February 17, 2009







"His triumph changed the world forever"



Film Synopsis:

Sir Ben Kingsley stars as Mohandas Gandhi in Lord Richard Attenborough's riveting biography of the man who rose from simple lawyer to worldwide symbol of peace and understanding. A critical masterpiece, GANDHI is an intriguing story about activism, politics, religious tolerance and freedom. But at the center of it all is an extraordinary man who fought for a nonviolent, peaceful existence, and set an entire nation free. Winner of 8 Academy Awards® including Best Picture, Best Director (Richard Attenborough) and Best Actor (Sir Ben Kingsley), GANDHI's highly acclaimed cast also includes Candice Bergen, Edward Fox, Sir John Gielgud, Roshan Seth and Martin Sheen.




My Take:

” No man's life can be encompassed in one telling... least of all Gandhi's, whose passage through life was so entwined with his nation's struggle for freedom. There is no way to give each event its allotted weight, to recount the deeds and sacrifices of all the great men and women to whom he and India owe such immense debts. What can be done is to be faithful in spirit to the record of his journey, and to try to find one's way to the heart of the man...”

The above statement appears at the beginning of the film and seems to accurately reflect the substance of this movie about the life of Gandhi. The definition of the word epic (noting or pertaining to a long poetic composition, usually centered upon a hero, in which a series of great achievements or events is narrated in elevated style) is applicable to this film as Mohandas Gandhi was truly a man of principle who was seen as a hero not just to his people but to the world. I remember the hype that surrounded Gandhi when it was released in 1982. It dominated the Academy Awards that year and practically made Ben Kingsley a household name. If you asked the average person today who Ben Kingsley was they might hesitate but if you said he played Gandhi they would perk up and say “oh yeah” I know who you mean. He truly gave a magnificent and timeless performance that remains captivating 25 + years later. Gandhi’s life and its affect on the world are an important part of our history as a culture. Richard Attenborough appeared to take the responsibility of making this film very seriously. It was conceived 20 years before its release and overcame the tests of time, studio disinterest and financial struggles before it finally began shooting in 1980. Attenborough, the production staff, and of course the cast nailed this and got it right. This movie won eight 1982 Academy Awards including Best Picture. Like Gandhi’s life I believe that this motion picture is an important part of cinematic culture that should have a place in every film collection.








Parental Guide:

The rating is for mature thematic material and some violence.






AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

Audio: 70



  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109944&d=1210373692

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109943&d=1210373692

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109944&d=1210373692

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699



Video: 84


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

Gandhi comes to Blu-ray Disc from Sony featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 25 mbps and lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 channel audio that has an average bitrate of 1.2 mbps.

I was pleased with the quality of this high definition video presentation. Colors were bright with well saturated primaries that were vivid and engaging. Fleshtones were naturally depicted with warm complexions and appreciable tonal separation. Images were discernibly detailed and sharp which brought out plenty of delineation and texture within clothing, physical features, and objects onscreen. Long range visuals were resolved with above average clarity and depth which highlighted the film’s award winning cinematography. The video had a fine, grainy texture that was apparent but never prominent. Contrast was punchy but never washed out detail or the visible gradational stages in white/gray tones during brightly lit scenes. Blacks were dynamic and stood out nicely when onscreen with mixed content. Dark sequences had appreciable dimension and sufficient shadow detail that combined with the video’s higher resolution to enhance depth perception. I saw what appeared to be minor banding in the background sky but it was only visible in a couple of scenes. Other than a hand full of shots where resolution fell of slightly I felt that this was a stable 1080p encode that looked excellent.

The soundtrack recording showed its age a bit but the Dolby TrueHD multi-channel audio mix maximized its potential. The front three channels carried the bulk of the sound and spread it evenly between them. Imaging was quite good as dialogue, panning effects and directional spacing was right on target within the soundstage. The surround channels were used sparingly for splashes of ambience that served to broaden the soundfield but rarely generated an enveloping atmosphere. The track sounded dynamically challenged which didn’t provide tangible presence to the impact carrying components within the recording. I attribute this to the period during which it was made and not to the encoding or mix. Considering the fact that a large portion of the movie is driven by dialogue this was not really an issue. I thoroughly enjoyed the film’s music score and thought that is sounded open, detailed and refined.



Bonus Features:


  • Disc 1:

  • Director‘s commentary

  • Gandhi‘s legacy: A picture in graphics track

  • Introduction by Sir Richard Attenborough

  • Disc 2:

  • Interviews:

    1. Ben Kingsley talks about Gandhi (19 minutes)
    2. From the Director‘s chair: Casting (7 minutes)
    3. From the Director‘s chair: Music (3 minutes)

  • In search of Gandhi (9 minutes)

  • Looking back (18 minutes)

  • Madeleine Slade: An Englishwoman abroad (9 minutes)

  • Reflections on Ben (9 minutes)

  • Shooting an epic in India (18 minutes)

  • Designing Gandhi - Building the Ashram, The Tent, Finding trains

  • The Funeral (13 minutes)

  • The words of Mahatma Ghandi (2minutes)

  • Newsreel footage - 4 segments

  • The making of Gandhi - Photo montage

  • BD-Live enabled




Final Thoughts:

Gandhi is a poignant film about an iconic figure whose life served purpose that had meaning to the world. It is a timeless and epic masterpiece that portrays many aspects of his life that offer us the opportunity to see who he was and what he stood for. Ben Kingsley gave the performance of a lifetime that would have stood had he not made another film. Director Richard Attenborough saw to it that this production was as faithful as possible and the result garnered him an Academy Award as Best Director. Along with that it received awards for Best Cinematography, Best Costumes, Best Editing, Best Original Screenplay, Best Art Direction, Best Picture, and Best Actor for Ben Kingsley. Sony has brought it to Blu-ray Disc with a comprehensive host of special features that offer an in-depth look at the production, Blu-ray exclusives and a glimpse of the man himself. It features a film like high definition video transfer and lossless Dolby TrueHD sound that enhances the thrill of seeing it on Blu-ray Disc. If you have never had the opportunity to see Gandhi I can’t recommend this offering from Sony enough.








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post #2 of 17 Old 02-23-2009, 09:41 AM
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Thanks! I agree!

I am waiting for your review on another fav of mine! Amadeus!
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post #3 of 17 Old 02-23-2009, 09:57 AM
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I've had this from Netflix for a few days, just trying to find 3 hours available to actually watch it.
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post #4 of 17 Old 02-23-2009, 10:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JDLIVE View Post

I've had this from Netflix for a few days, just trying to find 3 hours available to actually watch it.

I can relate to that. I have spent those 3 hrs multiple time already on this and would not hesitate to spend another 3 possibly soon. I assure you will be rewarded!
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post #5 of 17 Old 02-23-2009, 10:22 AM
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Can you please do a spell check and replace the word "Ghandi" with "Gandhi". Many native English speakers seem to make this mistake.
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post #6 of 17 Old 02-23-2009, 10:35 AM
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While the film is well worth seeing, as a film, as history, it is not nearly as accurate as it could have been (even allowing for the wide latitude historical feature films should be granted in such matters). The movie version of Gandhi is far saintlier than the real Gandhi ever was and Richard Attenborough missed a great opportunity to offer up the complex, conflicted and human Gandhi--instead, he substituted the saintly mythical one and, in doing so, perpetuated a misleading portrait of Gandhi. Attenborough did not do this maliciously, or with the intent to deliberately deceive (one of my research fields is historical feature films and I've examined Attenborough's views on the subject quite a bit). I have no doubt he saw Gandhi that way himself and, given Gandhi's accomplishments and influence, it is easy to understand why such an impression has arisen. Nevertheless, while I use this film (either in full or in excerpts) frequently in class, as an historian, I feel it important to note that an exceptional effort at accuracy is not among this film's qualities. The uniforms, dresses and other costumes might be "accurate"--but that is secondary from an historian's perspective. More important are things like avoiding oversimplification in characterization (the British are almost all cartoon figures--Dyson is the only one reasonably resembling the real person and, to its credit, the film gets the Amritsar massacre quite correct--moreso than any other major scene in the film) as well as an excessively "clean" characterization (as is the case with Gandhi himself).

Again, a fine cinematic experience, but not exceptionally good history.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dandaroy View Post

Can you please do a spell check and replace the word "Ghandi" with "Gandhi". Many native English speakers seem to make this mistake.

Greetings,

My apologies. I think I got them all...


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post #8 of 17 Old 02-23-2009, 10:55 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ovation View Post

While the film is well worth seeing, as a film, as history, it is not nearly as accurate as it could have been (even allowing for the wide latitude historical feature films should be granted in such matters). The movie version of Gandhi is far saintlier than the real Gandhi ever was and Richard Attenborough missed a great opportunity to offer up the complex, conflicted and human Gandhi--instead, he substituted the saintly mythical one and, in doing so, perpetuated a misleading portrait of Gandhi. Attenborough did not do this maliciously, or with the intent to deliberately deceive (one of my research fields is historical feature films and I've examined Attenborough's views on the subject quite a bit). I have no doubt he saw Gandhi that way himself and, given Gandhi's accomplishments and influence, it is easy to understand why such an impression has arisen. Nevertheless, while I use this film (either in full or in excerpts) frequently in class, as an historian, I feel it important to note that an exceptional effort at accuracy is not among this film's qualities. The uniforms, dresses and other costumes might be "accurate"--but that is secondary from an historian's perspective. More important are things like avoiding oversimplification in characterization (the British are almost all cartoon figures--Dyson is the only one reasonably resembling the real person and, to its credit, the film gets the Amritsar massacre quite correct--moreso than any other major scene in the film) as well as an excessively "clean" characterization (as is the case with Gandhi himself).

Again, a fine cinematic experience, but not exceptionally good history.

Greetings,

Ovation, thanks much for offering your input on this.


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post #9 of 17 Old 02-23-2009, 11:21 AM
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Imho, these kinda films are not for history lessons as far as accuracy is concerned, but nevertheless give you some perspective of person, message, and his/her journey through time!

I have always been inspired from take away message of the story, and imho it is INSPIRATIONAL for every one inclusive, whether you are a part of that history or not.

I have spoken to people from India, and honestly they very strongly view Gandhi very differently through their own telescope, same way I have been seeing for Lincoln.
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post #10 of 17 Old 02-23-2009, 12:05 PM
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If you line up 100 people, 49 will be the maximum number of people that will like this or any other film
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post #11 of 17 Old 02-23-2009, 01:33 PM
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My remarks about accuracy are not intended to denigrate the film as a cinematic experience. However, historical feature films are frequently, once people are finished with school, the primary, if not only, source of historical knowledge for many, many people--increasingly so (I've done the research). In response to this, a number of professional historians (including many scholars far more experienced than I am) have concluded that teaching critical viewing skills is as important as teaching critical reading skills.

In that light, I was merely trying to impart some of what I've learned and taught over the past decade and a half. Gandhi the film is an inspirational story. I think Gandhi the man, a little more nuanced in his presentation, would have been even more so. Again, it does not diminish the cinematic grandeur of the film.
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post #12 of 17 Old 02-23-2009, 05:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ovation View Post

My remarks about accuracy are not intended to denigrate the film as a cinematic experience. However, historical feature films are frequently, once people are finished with school, the primary, if not only, source of historical knowledge for many, many people--increasingly so (I've done the research). In response to this, a number of professional historians (including many scholars far more experienced than I am) have concluded that teaching critical viewing skills is as important as teaching critical reading skills.

In that light, I was merely trying to impart some of what I've learned and taught over the past decade and a half. Gandhi the film is an inspirational story. I think Gandhi the man, a little more nuanced in his presentation, would have been even more so. Again, it does not diminish the cinematic grandeur of the film.

Indeed! I totally agree with you.

My son was telling me re AMADEUS that it is ALMOST ALL FICTIONAL, but that still does not take away, the credit of one of almost perfect, most engrossing film imho.

If 49/100 like Gandhi as film, I can live with that. We lived with G W BUSH for 8 years lol. I am proud to be one of those 49/100.

Gandhi the little man became larger than life in the human history!
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post #13 of 17 Old 02-23-2009, 07:13 PM
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A great Blu-ray IMO. This one should be in everyone's Blu-ray collection.
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post #14 of 17 Old 02-24-2009, 03:44 AM
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Ovation:

I hear what you're saying...and agree in part.

History class? Let us not forget that while this film was not marketed as fiction...neither was it marketed as a documentary. Nor an unauthorized biography. While replete with snippets of factual happenings...it is not a history book.

Call it...artistic license. Those who have ever been written about in the media know this all too well. It is not that they must print "the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth," but that they did not print any untruths. That is the litmus test (of factual or not).

Gandhi, whilst revered as a god (against his wishes), was not a saint (at least not last time I checked). There are very few saints amongst us. We must then turn to...and focus on the positive, good acts...and overlook the foibles and transgressions (and impulses, etc.). Lest we no longer regard the man so highly (some of us can be unforgiving that way). And that would be unfair to this film.

At best this is a psuedo-quasi-biography of Gandhi's best side. The acting, character development and plot won this eight academy awards for good reason...and it was not for the film's cgi. An absolute must for those who have never seen it...and a rewatch for those who have forgotten. Rather than an accurate documentary, it is an escape from the surreal, and an overview of Gandhi's life...albeit the more positive side. If that is remembered, I do not know how one can fault it for being less than honest in its' depiction of the man. Good review Ralph. Cheers, John
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post #15 of 17 Old 02-24-2009, 04:48 AM
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The issue is not to fault it as a film (though I still maintain a more nuanced Gandhi would have been a more interesting character to see in the film) nor to suggest all historical feature films should just be dry recreations of historical events, devoid of entertainment value or dramatic license. I do NOT advocate screening such films in class without discussion with the implication that what students see in such films is "good enough". The reason I use films like Gandhi in class is to help students develop critical viewing skills--the reality is most of what people get as "history" once they leave school (and often within school) is from historical feature films. I'd rather they be able to watch such films with a greater understanding about the limitations of such films as purveyors of historical knowledge--but also a greater understanding that such films can bring some aspects of history "to the table" that cannot be matched by other forms of presentation (read the work of Robert Brent Toplin for more on this). For example, showing the Middle Passage scene of the slave trade in Amistad conveys far more of the horror slaves faced than any reading I can assign (so even a film that has major historical flaws as a whole, like Amistad, can still be useful in excerpt form). And I don't think I need go into detail about JFK as far as filmic influence on historical perceptions.

Gandhi, for its subject, has had a similar level of influence in the West and a discussion of the historical shortcomings of the film is necessary in an academic setting (with or without a screening). In here, I just wanted to point out that it is not as historically "accurate" as many assume. I do not want to denigrate the film as cinema--I enjoy this film and I think it is, despite its historical flaws, a very good introduction to why Gandhi was such an important historical figure.
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post #16 of 17 Old 02-24-2009, 09:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ovation View Post

The issue is not to fault it as a film (though I still maintain a more nuanced Gandhi would have been a more interesting character to see in the film) nor to suggest all historical feature films should just be dry recreations of historical events, devoid of entertainment value or dramatic license. I do NOT advocate screening such films in class without discussion with the implication that what students see in such films is "good enough". The reason I use films like Gandhi in class is to help students develop critical viewing skills--the reality is most of what people get as "history" once they leave school (and often within school) is from historical feature films. I'd rather they be able to watch such films with a greater understanding about the limitations of such films as purveyors of historical knowledge--but also a greater understanding that such films can bring some aspects of history "to the table" that cannot be matched by other forms of presentation (read the work of Robert Brent Toplin for more on this). For example, showing the Middle Passage scene of the slave trade in Amistad conveys far more of the horror slaves faced than any reading I can assign (so even a film that has major historical flaws as a whole, like Amistad, can still be useful in excerpt form). And I don't think I need go into detail about JFK as far as filmic influence on historical perceptions.

Gandhi, for its subject, has had a similar level of influence in the West and a discussion of the historical shortcomings of the film is necessary in an academic setting (with or without a screening). In here, I just wanted to point out that it is not as historically "accurate" as many assume. I do not want to denigrate the film as cinema--I enjoy this film and I think it is, despite its historical flaws, a very good introduction to why Gandhi was such an important historical figure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by johndn View Post

Ovation:

I hear what you're saying...and agree in part.

History class? Let us not forget that while this film was not marketed as fiction...neither was it marketed as a documentary. Nor an unauthorized biography. While replete with snippets of factual happenings...it is not a history book.

Call it...artistic license. Those who have ever been written about in the media know this all too well. It is not that they must print "the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth," but that they did not print any untruths. That is the litmus test (of factual or not).

Gandhi, whilst revered as a god (against his wishes), was not a saint (at least not last time I checked). There are very few saints amongst us. We must then turn to...and focus on the positive, good acts...and overlook the foibles and transgressions (and impulses, etc.). Lest we no longer regard the man so highly (some of us can be unforgiving that way). And that would be unfair to this film.

At best this is a psuedo-quasi-biography of Gandhi's best side. The acting, character development and plot won this eight academy awards for good reason...and it was not for the film's cgi. An absolute must for those who have never seen it...and a rewatch for those who have forgotten. Rather than an accurate documentary, it is an escape from the surreal, and an overview of Gandhi's life...albeit the more positive side. If that is remembered, I do not know how one can fault it for being less than honest in its' depiction of the man. Good review Ralph. Cheers, John

I agree with both of you being right in your own perspective! Any thing related to history, if thought provoking, discussion forming and inspirational as Gandhi is GREAT USE OF CINEMA imho.

So far films that really won me over including Gandhi are AMADEUS, BEAUTIFUL MIND! and they are imho, far ahead of any slumdogs or million dollar babies.

You can see this thread is becoming very generous in good philosophical points and discussion, despite getting a meager 77/100 score for bluray.
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post #17 of 17 Old 02-24-2009, 10:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zoro View Post

I can relate to that. I have spent those 3 hrs multiple time already on this and would not hesitate to spend another 3 possibly soon. I assure you will be rewarded!

Oh, I've seen it once or twice already, but not in HD.
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