The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Paramount Vantage - 2007
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 148 Minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Audio Format(s): English Dolby TrueHD 5.1, English/French/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish, French, Portuguese
Starring: Emile Hirsch, Marcia Gay Harden, Hal Holbrook, William Hurt, Catherine Keener, Jena Malone, Vince Vaughn
Written & Directed by: Sean Penn based upon the book by Jon Krakauer
Music by: Michael Brook with Kaki King and Eddie Vedder
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: December 16, 2008
"The great Adventure on Alaska"
This is the true story of Christopher McCandless (Emile Hirsch). Freshly graduated from college with a promising future ahead, McCandless instead walked out of his privileged life and into the wild in search of adventure. What happened to him on the way transformed this young wanderer into an enduring symbol for countless people -- a fearless risk-taker who wrestled with the precarious balance between man and nature.
My Take:I found this film somewhat disturbing. I think it bothered me more because it is based on actual events. It is obvious that Chris McCandless was deeply affected by his relationship with his parents and their relationship with one another. He channeled this in his own way which attributed to the events that transpired in this film. He was bright, outgoing, and fearless but clearly eccentric in his thinking. What a great story of adventure, trust, desire, and recklessness. In watching this film I really couldn't imagine having a desire to leave my entire identity and life behind in favor of living a hand to mouth nomadic type existence. Chris was fortunate that he encountered many good people along the way. I think that they too felt fortunate to have met him. I felt for his parents as they were never afforded the chance to try and make things right with him. His sister had to not only deal with her parents but had to live with the fact that Chris, whom she was very close to, didn't trust her enough to confide in her. Ultimately she was left with no answers and probably some level of guilt. I thought that Emile Hirsch did an excellent job in this role and from what I could tell was a great physical match for the part. Catherine Keener and Hal Holbrook were terrific as well. William Hurt and Marcia Gay Harden, two A list actors, weren't in the film long enough to really stand out. The direction and cinematography were really very good although I did feel that the pacing was a little slow at times. It is told in a back and forth timeline that worked well. This was a very good but somewhat depressing film. I think it did a wonderful job in relating the story of Chris McCandless. It garnered a range of emotions from me so I would say that it certainly is a film worth watching.
The rating is for language, nudity and brief sexuality.
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 extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Into the wild comes to Blu-ray Disc featuring 1080p VC-1 encoded video that has an average bitrate of 29 mbps and lossless Dolby TreuHD 5.1 channel audio that has an average bitrate of 3.2 mbps.
This was a solid high definition video presentation that looked great. This film features beautiful cinematography. There are vista views of mountainous regions, beautiful, flat farmlands, and breathtaking long range shots of the Grand Canyon and Colorado River. These looked superlative in high definition. Detail was characterized by intricate and beautifully rendered images that had three dimensionality, discernible texture, and definitive resolution. This was the case in all but a few instances where definition softened and didn't retain the perception of crystal clarity. Colors were natural in depiction and maintained perfect balance with the source material. The various shades of green, brown, gray, and golden hues were rendered with aplomb. Blacks were stable and quiet with deep highlights and good depth in dark shadowy scenes. Grain is preserved naturally in fine, even layers that don't call strict attention to its presence. Skin tones were noticeably lifelike with subtle tonal delineation that resulted in realistic looking complexions.
The Dolby TrueHD soundtrack excelled at crisp, well textured dialogue that made even subtle variances in tonal character or vocal inflections detectable. The interesting variety of music used throughout the film was rendered with high level detail and excellent instrumental separation. Its presentation was delivered across the front soundstage with a light ambient splash through the rear channels that broadened the sound field nicely. Surround use wasn't prevalent but atmospheric effects and occasional panning sequences created a believable listening environment that blended well with the front three channels. There isn't a lot of bass associated with this soundtrack but the mix generated response was palpable when present.
- Into the wild: The story, the characters
- In the wild: The experience
- (HD) Theatrical trailer
Final Thoughts:Into the wild is a poignant and rather depressing film that is based upon the real life and tragic story of Chris McCandless. It is told well and features an excellent performance by Emile Hirch in the part of Chris. Its debut on Blu-ray Disc from Paramount features solid audio/video quality and a rather disappointing set of bonus supplements. For me this isn't the type of film that I would watch more than once but it is recommended viewing. In light of that I would say that a rental is a good place to start.
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