Amelia (Blu-ray)

January 28, 2012 5 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

When one thinks of Amelia Earhart, flying certainly comes to mind. Earhart lived a fascinating life (as evidenced by this motion picture some fifty years after her death) and was most noted for being the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean and the first to fly from Hawaii to California. Yes, nowadays that’s not too uncommon but being the first in pretty much anything of that nature means something and it’s that kind of charismatic life that Earhart was a part of. Naturally anyone who knows a little about Amelia Earhart knows that she met her untimely demise while attempting to circumnavigate the world in a plane. The whereabouts of her or her plane are unknown, but we can rightfully assume that the ocean claimed her. That aside, who in the world would play Amelia Earhart in a film? Why none other than two time Academy Award winner Hillary Swank. For those interested in the life and times of Amelia Earhart, then you might want to look somewhere else, as this film dives right into the meat of her life. Three, two, one…takeoff.

We meet Amelia (Hillary Swank) as she’s getting ready to fly across the Atlantic and the broad, sweeping shots of the plane and the landscape are pretty to look at, to say the least. Then there’s the romantic aspect of the film which doesn’t seem to be the focus of the film. She marries promoter George Putnam (Richard Gere) and has an affair later with Gene Vidal (Ewan McGregor), though it seems that the lack of on-screen chemistry with both men is eerily relevant. If you read the first few sentences of this review well then you know what happens to Ms. Earhart and I’d like to say that getting there is half the fun. “Amelia” certainly isn’t a bad movie, though it’s clear that it was made to perhaps groom Swank for another Oscar or at least another Oscar nomination. It didn’t happen and if you’re looking for a good movie about flying, or at least the lifestyle check out Martin Scorsese’s “The Avaiator” (though it’s actually a biopic on Howard Hughes). I’m sure it’s been said countless times before but “Amelia” fails to lift off.

Video: How does it look?

Fox has released “Amelia” in a very broad 2.40:1 AVC HD transfer that really does showcase some beautiful and majestic scenery (particularly of Africa). The movie has a sense of style and nostalgia that seems to really work and fit with the theme of the movie and the color palette used is warm and oh so natural. Flesh tones are right on the mark, the skies are blue and purple with perfect clouds. Truly for what the movie lacked in substance, it made up for it visually.

Audio: How does it sound?

The DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack seems to hold back a bit. Dialogue is, as expected, right on the money with vocals being sharp and well-centered. The surrounds don’t come into play too often, but the propellers of the plane to kick in for some added ambiance. Still, I felt the entire soundtrack to be a bit on the restrained side and while not “bad” by any stretch of the imagination, I felt it could have been kicked up a notch or two. Still, “Amelia” sounds perfectly nice and it’s a compliment to the technical side of the film.

Supplements: What are the extras?

“Amelia” on Blu-ray has a series of ten deleted scenes and four rather repetitive featurettes. We get “Making Amelia”, which focuses on the production of the film with some tidbits here and there from the actors. More interesting is “The Power of Amelia Earhart” in which we see how influential the woman herself was and in many ways, still is. We get a look at the plane, Electra, in “Re-constructing the Planes of Amelia” as we see visual consultant Paul Austerbery as he gives us his .02 on movie planes versus real ones. We get some vintage newsreels as well as a digital copy of the film to boot.

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