The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Paramount - 1999
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 103 Minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Audio Format(s): English Dolby TrueHD 5.0, French/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.0
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese
Starring: Matthew Broderick, Reese Witherspoon, Chris Klein, Jessica Campbell
Directed by: Alexander Payne
Music by: Rolfe Kent
Written by: Alexander Payne & Jim Taylor based on the novel by Tom Perrotta
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: January 20, 2009
"Reading, Writing, Revenge."
Reese Witherspoon (Legally Blonde) is Tracy Flick, a straight "A" go-getter who's determined to be president of Carver High's student body. But when popular teacher Jim McAllister (Matthew Broderick, The Producers) observes the zealous political locomotive that is Tracy, he decides to derail her obsessive overachieving by recruiting an opposition candidate (Chris Klein, American Pie) - with disastrous results! Here's a smart, witty and hilarious jab at high school politics helmed by award-winning director Alexander Payne (Sideways).
My Take:Election is a dark comedy that has more to it than meets the eye. On its surface it takes a jab at high school politics at both the student and administrator levels. It also takes a look at what can happen to people who fall into ruts in their lives which can often stagnate their relationships. Matthew Broderick plays Jim McAllister, a teacher at Omaha Nebraska's Carver High School. He seems to be content in both his profession and home life. A closer look reveals that perhaps that is not the case and that Jim doesn't find his home life to be necessarily satisfying. He is the kind who goes through the motions of his daily routine with little fanfare. That is until the announcement of this year's election for student body president. Class over achiever Tracy Flick is running unopposed and has poured every ounce of enthusiasm into her campaign. Jim finds out that his best friend Dave, who is also a teacher, has been having problems at home and that he has made some poor decisions at work as a result. As it turns out these decisions directly involve Tracey and ultimately land Dave in hot water. Jim can't help but feel a little bit of animosity toward Tracey because of it. Jim decides that perhaps Tracey should not run unopposed and walk away with the presidency so he persuades Paul Metzler (Klein) the soft spoken, recently injured and out for the season football jock to run also. This decision begins a chain of events that transpire both in and out of school which have significant repercussions that represent what this movie is really about. I have seen Election at least twice and after this revisit I find that I don't grow tired of its complex characters and dark humor. Reese Witherspoon absolutely nails Tracey Flick and her performance is at the heart of the enjoyment of the film for me. Matthew Broderick's gentlemanly demeanor is a perfect fit for Jim and its fun to watch him later in the story as he tries to retain that composure as the pressure builds around him. I haven't previously owned Election on home video so I am glad to see that Paramount has decided to release it in Blu as it is a film that will enjoy watching from time to time.
The rating is for strong sexuality, sex related dialogue, language, and a scene of drug use.
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:
Election comes to Blu-ray Disc from Paramount featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 26 mbps and lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.0 channel audio that has an average bitrate of 3.2 mbps.
This was a nice looking presentation for a 10 year old catalog title but it doesn't compare to the best catalog releases I have seen on Blu-ray. It boasts clean, well depicted colors that offer a good mix of secondary hues that mate well with the source material. High definition resolution is above average with consistently sharp images and varying degrees of fine rendering that appear scene dependent. Black and white levels are stable which gives a fair amount of pop to colors and brighter sequences while keeping darker or low lit segments looking punchy with visible gradational highlights. Grain was intact and moderate in texture however it did become a bit heavier at times which I found a little distracting. I noticed a few speckles and debris on the print as well as some low level digital noise that was visible on a few dark backgrounds but all in all the encoding looked solid. The Dolby TrueHD 5.0 soundtrack delivered crisp, full bodied dialogue in a mostly frontal presentation that offered a few splashes of light ambience through the surround channels. There was no low frequency detail mixed to the subwoofer but in this film there really is no call for it. The blend of music, voices and sound effects through the front channel speakers was rendered with excellent clarity, limited but fair dimensional perspective and average depth. It never sounded thin or dynamically starved and based upon the elements in the recording sounded just fine.
- Audio commentary by Director Alexander Payne
Final Thoughts:Election is an entertaining comedy about how sometimes the simple things in life aren't so simple. I really enjoy the performances by Witherspoon and Broderick and Payne's direction is the icing on the cake. Paramount brings it to Blu-ray in a rather basic package that doesn't offer fans any bonus content other than the same audio commentary from the 1999 DVD release. On the upside its high definition video quality is decent enough that it probably warrants an upgrade for fans who own that earlier DVD version. If you haven't seen it I would suggest that you give it a rent.
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