Plot: What’s it about?
Along with being the first movie of the new millenium to gross more than $100 million dollars, it stars Julia Roberts. You may have heard of her. Julia Roberts has made somewhat of a comeback here in the last few years. With movies like “I Love Trouble” and “Michael Collins” behind her, she did what she was best at…went back to romatic comedies. Don’t get me wrong, movies like “The Pelican Brief” and “Sleeping with the Enemy” are very good, but it’s that smile that we all love! In what was, and very well could be, an Oscar-winning role, Julia Roberts ditched her usual high profile demeanor and played the title role of Erin Brokovich. Erin Brokovich is a real person and the story is based on the events of her life. That’s part of what makes it so interesting…We’re not used to seeing Ms. Roberts ths way, as a normal everyday person. She wears outfits that are one size to small, push-up bras that reveal more than we’ve ever seen of her and she smokes…not the Julia Roberts that we’re used to seeing. So it’s with her latest effort that we try and get to know the real Julia…
We first meet Erin (Julia Roberts) as she has just been delcined for yet another job that she’s applied for. The camera follows her out of the building and then ‘SMACK’! She’s broadsided by a Jaguar at a stoplight. Erin, not being rich, but having every right…sues the guy. She loses the case and in turn storms into the offices of Ed Masary (Albert Finney) with an attitude and style that’s all her own. One thing we learn about Erin is that she’ll speak what’s on her mind regardless if it’s to be heard or not. She let’s Ed have it and in a turn of compassion, he offers her a job. Erin isn’t exactly the type that fits in, certainly not in an office environment, so it’s understandable that her co-workers and her never really get along. Aside from her personal life, which is really going nowhere, she is trying to secure enough money to eek out a decent living (and provide her kids with food). Erin doesn’t lead a fairy tale life, that’s for sure. It’s by some random chance that she comes upon a case involving water, that the story takes off. Remember, this is all a true story…
It’s seems that residents in a Northern California town have been slowly getting sick and it’s some strange mystery as to why. Erin, given special permission from Ed, pursues the case and slowly starts to figure out that it’s the content of Chromium in the water that is making the residents sick. Of course fighting a company like PC & E isn’t exactly easy. They waltz in with their hgh-priced, slick laywers and everything is all but said and done. Aside from her personal life, this marks a great change in Erin Brokovich’s life.
It’s no secret that Julia Roberts gave one of her finest performances in this film. Director Stephen Soderbergh has pulled off what can only be described as a “hat trick”, with his recent directorial efforts that include “Out of Sight”, “The Limey” and now “Erin Brokovich”. It’s a reassuring sign that real life dramas are interesting and especially this one. A great supporting cast including Aaron Eckhart (who turned in a great and unforgettable performance in “In the Company of Men”) and and almost a living legend, Albert Finney make this one to watch. Universal has also done this movie right by loading it up with features.
Video: How does it look?
Erin Brokovich is presented in it’s original 1.85:1 ratio and is enhanced for widescreen TV’s. The picture literally looks splendid. Colors are right on target and there is absolutely no pixelation, no artifacting and no compression errors to be found. The disc is dual-layered to allow for a bit better picture quality. Hands down, this is one fine looking picture. ‘Nuff said.
Audio: How does it sound?
It may sound suprising to some (no pun intended), but Erin Brokovich sounds just as good as it looks. Being a brand new movie, it supports a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack and quite well at that. Channel seperation is very wide and the rear speakers are used quite frequently. Like others, it is mainly a dialogue driven movie, but it has certain subtle qualities that make it really stand out. While it does lack that “perfectness” about it that would give it a perfect rating, I feel that you won’t be let down with the way this disc sounds.
Supplements: What are the extras?
While not part of Universal’s “Collector’s Series” it very well should be. In my opnion, it contains more extras than that of “Notting Hill” (a Universal Collector’s Series release). What is lacking is a Stephen Sodenbergh commentary…sort of. Sodenbergh gives a commentary for the deleted scenes, which number in the teens. His comments make sense and give us some insight as to why they were cut to begin with. I can’t really imagine why they wouldn’t have made a commentary as he has made tracks for both “Out of Sight” and “The Limey”, but I suppose there’s a reason. As if that weren’t enough, there is a fifteen minute “Spotlight on Location” as is for most Universal’s titles and also a documentary entitled “Erin Brokovich: A look at real life” which is an interview with the real Erin Brokovich. Also included are some production notes, a theatrical trailer and cast bios for the major starts. There is also some DVD-ROM content in the form of links to the official site and a sign up for the Universal DVD Newsletter. All in all, not a bad disc, but I’m aching for that commentary track!