The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Paramount - 1997
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 155 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Stereo
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Morgan Freeman, Nigel Hawthorne, Anthony Hopkins, Djimon Hounsou, David Paymer, Pete Postlethwaite, Stellan Skarsgard
Directed by: Steve Spielberg
Music by: John Williams
Written by: David Franzoni
Region Code: A,B,C
Blu-ray Disc release Date: May 6, 2014
Directed by Steven Spielberg and based on a true story. The movie chronicles the incredible journey of a group of enslaved Africans who overtake their captor’s ship and attempt to return to their beloved homeland. When the ship is seized, the captives are brought to the United States where they are charged with murder and await their fate in prison. An enthralling courtroom battle ensues that captures the attention of the entire nation. But for the men and woman on trial, it’s simply a fight for the basic right of all mankind... Freedom.
Amistad is a historical drama based on the notable 1839 mutiny by newly captured Mende slaves who took control of the ship La Amistad off the coast of Cuba, and the international legal battle that followed their capture off the coast of Long Island by a U.S. Navy cutter. It became a United States Supreme Court case of 1841 with the outcome becoming a symbol in the abolition of slavery.
This is a powerful dramatic film that tells a relevant story and not just with respect to the movement to abolish slavery. Unlike other films related to this subject matter this provides interesting insights into the political and controversial tribulations of the period and how this court case was perceived by a nation on the brink of civil war. There is some graphic depiction of the treatment of the Mende slaves however the film’s impact lies in the establishment of the connection to the primary character of Cinque, the unraveling of the details surrounding his capture and the development of the relationships he comes to share with the Americans trying to secure his freedom.
The cast is loaded with notable talent headlined by Matthew McConaughey, Morgan Freeman and Anthony Hopkins who gives a terrific performance (which earned him an Oscar nomination). I personally felt that newcomer Djimon Hounsou knocked it out of the park and stole every scene he was in. This is my first full viewing of Amistad and I found it to be an engrossing and important film that was tastefully and expertly told.
The rating is for some scenes of string brutal violence and some related nudity.
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)
- Low frequency effects:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
- *Low frequency extension (non-rated element): NA
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Amistad comes to Blu-ray Disc from Paramount HE featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 33 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 4 Mbps.
This is a solid looking catalog Blu-ray release from Paramount that appears faithful to the source. Colors are vivid with subtle tonal variation and clean rendering. The range of colors is not particularly extensive but the earth tones which are its primary source look great. Facial textures and complexions are nicely delineated with warmth and lifelike tonality. Images are well detailed over the course of the film. This isn’t going to exhibit the type of razor sharp high gloss definition that we see from films today however the level of detail is complimentary. There are minor fluctuations in sharpness and detail that appear related to the original photography. Film grain is intact, and appears well preserved throughout the presentation. Blacks are stable with consistent contrast levels that draw out plenty of visible detail during light and dark segments. I found little to complain about and thoroughly enjoyed this high definition rendering.
The DTS-HD Master Audio mix presents this soundtrack’s elements quite naturally. There is lots of spoken dialogue in the film but it contains a variety of sounds and music that benefit from the high resolution afforded by lossless sound. The recording sounds a little dated but refined and dynamically supported. There are moments where there is no dialogue and the only auditory used to propel the story, are the music and/or a series of sounds. They are cleanly reproduced and free from strident highs or an edgy mid range. The front soundstage is narrow but opens up nicely during several sequences. There isn’t much in the way of active surround sound or deep low frequency effects but the application of supportive rear channel ambience and upper level bass adds an enriching element that enhances the presentation.
- The making of Amistad – 26 minute documentary
- (HD) Theatrical trailer
Amistad is a historical and powerful drama based on the notable 1839 mutiny by newly captured Mende slaves who took control of the ship La Amistad off the coast of Cuba, and the international legal battle that followed their capture off the coast of Long Island by a U.S. Navy cutter. It makes its debut on Blu-ray in a barebones release that features excellent high definition video and crystal clear lossless surround sound. If you’re a fan this is worthy upgrade over the previous DVD release. If you’ve never seen Amistad I highly recommend you add this to your rental queue.
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Oppo BDP-103D Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (With Darbee video processing)
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You're welcome mo949. Be sure to post back with your thoughts after you've seen it...
Thanks for the review Ralph
Wow Ralph I was surprised to read you haven't seen it in its entirety....great film...I have the dvd..very powerful. On a good note with all this racial strife in the world still as rampant as ever, Wayne Simmonds of the Philly Flyers is the first black man to get a hat trick in the NHL. I am a hockey nut and still play. I think it is fitting on this day when so much negative attention takes away from the accomplishments of so many great people who have contributed immensely to humanity by few or one who is ignorant. My parents are from Ireland Ralph, so that might give some context how and why I feel about repression..... and although I now live in Oregon for 23, I am originally from Mineola, LI. and lived there 30 and still go back once a year to see mom. I will get this on BD in time. Thanks for the review.
Good info there Hughmc....I always thought Anson Carter had a Hat Trick in the NHL but was mistaken. Congrats to Wayne Simmonds...especially to have done it in a playoff game.
And more on topic...agree with Ralphs review...really good movie with some great performances.
Finally got to see this one and I have to say its a remarkable BluRay. Hard to tell its almost 20 years old. They did a fantastic job preserving the grain and giving you extra detail in the image. Sounds were pretty accurate and refined; well done by me. I'm going to buy it now.