Plot: What’s it about?
Movies about sports are often classified as comedies. In some cases, movies like Brian’s Song and Hoosiers do pull off a drama; but for the most part Caddyshack and Major League come to mind when you think of movies dealing with sports. Such is not the case, however, with Wind. Sailing, though a much more popular sport around the globe, than here in the United States is the subject of this movie. Though a work of fiction, the film does concentrate on the very real issue of the America’s Cup; otherwise known as the oldest trophy in professional sports (a fact). Until 1983, the United States had retained the Cup, only to lose it to the Australians. Wind is a more updated version (1992) of this, but the same message applies. For those that think that sailing is for stuck up, snobby socialites from the Eastern seaboard; this movie dispels that image. Then again, it doesn’t give sailing any kind of image; it just presents a suspenseful movie and ties it in with boats. Wind, aside from being one of the major forces of nature, is more of a story of triumph than anything else. I hate to ruin it, but the cover says it all “The only thing better than winning the cup, is losing it, then winning it back.” Such is Wind.
Wind features the story of Will Parker (Matthew Modine) and Kate Bass (Jennifer Grey — before the nose job). Will is a sailor, good at what he does, but has no real ambition in life aside from being the best he can be…at sailing. Kate is more of a student, she’s in love with Will and a great sailor too. Because of a flaw that was credited to him, America lost the Cup to Australia. This took place early on in the movie and the rest of the movie is about how they rebuild and come together as a team to try and win the cup back. Will and Kate are nearly inseperable and as such, she is invited to become part of the team. Evidently there is too much fooling around, as she is bounced from the boat only to return to get her Master’s Degree. Will stays and disappears after the Cup is lost. Time passes and Kate has now hooked up with an aeronautical engineer (Stellan Skarsgard) who tends to believe that boats would be faster in the water if they were designed using the principles of airplanes. Will then shows up out of the blue, now dating Morgan’s daughter, Abigail (Rebecca Miller) and they decide that the best way to win is to build their own boat and do it their way.
A minor, yet influential, character is that of Jack (Jack Thompson). He’s the Austrialian skipper who won the cup the first time and is portrayed to be the antagonist, but we rather see him as a competitive sportsman as opposed to a jerk. The team recruits money, Morgan has since gone mad since the Cup has been lost, and the focus is that through teamwork and perseverance, they’ll win the Cup back from the Australians.
While it’s true that Wind may be a movie that sailors will love (trust me, they do); this is also somewhat of a “Rocky” for sailing. For those not familiar with the sport of sailing, a unique twist is implanted in the movie in the form of an announcer. He broadcasts all the races and essentially tells us (verbally and through computer animation) what we need to know. By the movie’s end, we feel like we can sail around the world. The director, Carroll Ballard, has given us some other stories of inspiration in The Black Stallion and Never Cry Wolf; and seems to make that mold fit here as well. Though I probably wouldn’t have ever seen the film if not for my dad (a sailor), I’ve grown to love it over the years. The film contains some of the best action sequences that I’ve ever seen on film and for those who are interested in the sport, odds are that you’ve already seen the movie. For others looking for a good film to suspend their disbelief for a few hours, Wind should be right up your alley.
Video: How does it look?
One of the features on the back of the box states that the movie has been re-mastered in High Definition. I can only imagine what that looks like, however, as the transfer here is grainy (very grainy) in spots. True, the 1.85:1 anamorphic transfer does bring out the best in the movie; but I was expecting a bit better. The outdoor sailing sequences do look amazing, and there are three major spots during the film where we can see the races in all their glory. Still, though, there is a lot of backstory and dialogue that occupies the rest of the movie and some of those don’t look as good as one might expect. Edge enhancement is at a minimum, but the artifacting in some of the scenes, particularly some of the earlier ones, makes you take notice. On the whole, it looks good, but again, I was expecting a bit better here.
Audio: How does it sound?
Again, the audio would have sounded very good in Dolby Digital 5.1, but all we get here is a typical Dolby Surround track. The thumps and crashing of the waves do sound good, but the matrixed surrounds take away the effect that this movie could deliver. As is consistent with the Surround tracks, the dialogue is clear and most of the action is in the front channels, with the surrounds kicking in only occasionally. As much as Columbia/Tristar does a good job with their catalog titles, this was rather disappointing here. The lack of a 5.1 soundtrack shouldn’t discourage a purchase, but with all the benefits that DVD brings to the table, it’s sad that this title couldn’t take advantage of them.
Supplements: What are the extras?
The theatrical trailer is all that’s included.