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Amelia (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

February 5, 2010 by  



A solid performance by Hilary Swank as Amelia Earhart.  If you are curious of the life of the Amelia Earhart, this Blu-ray release features solid picture quality, very good lossless audio and a good amount of content on the aviation pioneer.

© 2009 Twentieth Century Fox. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Amelia

DURATION: 111 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, Widescreen (2:35:1), 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, AVC @ 18 MBPS, Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish

COMPANY: Twentieth Century Fox

RELEASE DATE: February 2, 2010

Based on the Book “East to the Dawn: The Life of Amelia Earhart” by Susan Butler

Based on the Book “The Sound of Wings: The Life of Amelia Earhart” by Mary S. Lovell

Directed by Mira Nair

Written by Ronald Bass, Anna Hamilton Phelan

Executive Produced: Ronald Bass, Hilary Swank

Producer: Lydia Dan Pilcher, Kevin Hyman, Ted Waitt

Co-Producer: Don Carmody

Line Producer: Genevieve Hofmeyr

Music by Gabriel Yared

Cinematography by Stuard Dryburgh

Edited by Allyson C. Johnson, Lee Percy

Casting by Avy Kaufman

Production Design by Stephanie Carroll

Art Direction by Nigel Churcher, Jonathan Hely-Hutchinson

Set Decoration by Gordon Sim

Costume Design by Kasia Walicka-Maimone

Starring:

Hilary Swank as Amelia Earhart

Richard Gere as George Putnam

Ewan McGregor as Gene Vidal

Christopher Eccleston as Fred Noonan

Joe Anderson as Bill

Cherry Jones as Eleanor Roosevelt

Mia Wasikowska as Elinor Smith

Aaron Abrams as Slim Gordon

Dylan Roberts as Leo Bellarts

Scott Yaphe as William Dalten

Experience the romance, struggle and triumph of legendary aviatrix Amelia Earhart as she chases love and lives her dreams in Amelia, landing on Blu-ray Disc with Digital Copy and DVD February 2 from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. Hailed as “The Queen of the Air,” Amelia boldly flew into the annals of history with her solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean. Bound by ambition and love, her enduring marriage to George Putnam could not be broken by her determination to fly, or a secret passionate affair. Equal parts gripping drama, stirring romance and epic adventure, Amelia will take your breath away and send your spirit soaring!

In 2009, the biopic based on the life of Amelia Earhart was released in theaters back in Oct. 2009.

Adapted from the following books “East To The Dawn: The Life of Amelia Earhart” by Susan Butler and “The Sound of Wings: The Life of Amelia Earhart” by Mary S. Lovell.   The film is directed by Mira Nair (“Monsoon Wedding”, “Vanity Fair”, “Migration”) and a screenplay by Ronald Bass (“Entrapment”, “Swingvote”, “How Stella Got Her Groove Back”) and Anna Hamilton Phelan (“Girl, Interrupted”, “Mask”, “Gorillas in the Mist: The Story of Dian Fossey”).

The film chronicles the life of Amelia Earhart (played by Hilary Swank, “Million Dollar Baby”, “Freedom Writers”, “P.S. I Love You”) as she becomes a young woman who grew up in Kansas and became the woman who inspired many women and America by being the first Aviatrix to fly solo across the Atlantic,  formation of The Ninety-Nines, an organization of female pilots and her involvement in various commercials, speaking engagements and a woman who was passionate about flying.

“Amelia” also focuses on her independence as a woman, her marriage to George Putnam (played by Richard Gere, “Pretty Woman”, “Chicago”, “Primal Fear”), the well-known publishing tycoon and also managed Amelia Earhart’s business affairs and eventually marrying her.  But also shows her affair to Gene Vidal (the founder of Eastern Airlines, TWA and Northeast Airlines) and Amelia caring for his son Gore Vidal (who would become the famous author, playwright and political activist).

This is the first film to showcase Amelia Earhart as a person who loved flying but also showed a personal side that many people may not have been familiar of the aviation pioneer.  Also, showing her goal to fly across the Atlantic, then doing it solo and then eventually setting a goal to travel around the world in 1937 with her Lockheed Electra 10E plane along with her navigator Fred Noonan (played by Christopher Eccleston, “Heroes”, “G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra”, “Doctor Who”).  And the final tragic day (July 2, 1937) when both disappeared over the central Pacific Ocean.

VIDEO:

“Amelia” is featured in 1080p High Definition, Widescreen 2:35:1.  The cinematographer for the film “Amelia” was Stuart Drybergh (“Nim’s Island”, “Aeon Flux”, “Kate & Leopold”, “Bridget Jone’s Diary”) and if there was one thing he brought to this film was bringing out the beautiful colors of the film.  From the various lush and beautiful scenery of where Amelia has arrived at in various countries, the Blu-ray release captures plenty of detail.  From the faux freckles on Hilary Swank, the detail on the plane, the reds are absolutely vibrant, the paint on the walls where you can see the paint grooves to the rivets of the airplane.

There is plenty of detail in the film.  Looks like Drybergh also experimented with several stocks of film as some scenes look very different earlier on and not as consistent with the majority of scenes of the film.  But for the most part, Drybergh does a fine job in capturing the beauty of the countries of where Amelia lands to the overall, capturing of the late ’20s and early ’30s.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

Audio is presented  in 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio.  You can hear the rotors spinning, the engines running and just the plane sounding really nice and clear.   Good use of sound traveling from left to right and hearing the thunderstorms give a nice kick to the surrounds but for the most part, aside from the flight scenes which are front and center channel driven, a lot of the film is dialogue driven.  Dialogue is crystal clear along with the music by Gabriel Yared (“Shall We Dance”, “Autumn in New York”).

Subtitles are in English SDH, French and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Amelia” comes with the following special features:

  • Deleted Scenes – (13:53) A total of ten deleted scenes.
  • Making Amelia – (23:06) The making of “Amelia”.  Interviews with director Mira Nair and the cast.  The crew talk about Amelia Earhart and George Putnam.
  • The Power of Amelia Earhart – (10:45) Director Mira Nair and the cast talk about why Amelia is a hero and why she is a remarkable individual.
  • The Plane Behind the Legend – (4:33) A featurette about the Lockheed Electra plane and finding an actual working Electra and bringing it from Europe to South Africa for the filming of “Amelia”.
  • Re-Constructing the Planes of Amelia – (6:35) A featurette on the reconstruction of the classic planes used in the film “Amelia”.
  • Movietone News Reels – (6:41) The following vintage Movietone news reels are included: “Mrs. Putnam Flies the Atlantic Again – This Time Alone”, “Amelia Earhart Flies Over the U.S. in 17 Hours”, “Miss Earhart Flies from Hawaii to U.S. to win Solo Crown”, “Aviation (Introducing the Electra)”, “Aviation (Amelia Testing Her Plane)”, “Names in the News: Amelia Earhart”, “Race to Rescue Amelia Earhart”.

EXTRAS:

  • Digital Copy – A Digital Copy of “Amelica” for Portable Media Players is included.

“Amelia” is a film that could only go so far.  As a biopic on Amelia Earhart, the film works as it does detail her life and her passion of flying and how she took part in various engagements.  Granted, I had no idea that Amelia had an affair nor did I know that she had this free-spirit and independence when it came to her personal affairs.

But without making the film to Hollywood, I really don’t know how far director Mira Nair could have gone with the film.  She’s portrayed as a hero, an inspiration to women and also a person who has her share of vulnerabilities.  She was a normal person doing what she loves and people putting her on the pedestal, so I can see why she wanted to escape the skies.  It was literally her way of getting far from the cameras, the media and just regaining her sanity by herself or just being in the most comfortable place that she knew… inside her plane, flying in the sky and seeing the planet’s beauty.

Needless to say, the film may not have done too well in the theaters but you have to admire Hilary Swank’s performance.  Once again she manages to capture a character really well especially the look, the talk, the walk of Amelia Earhart, this is an actress who thoroughly does her research and it shows in the film.  But in today’s film, people want to see the scandals, the controversy or something with conflict and I suppose when it comes to Amelia Earhart, it’s really hard to find any conflict with his heroine.  She was smart, she was independent and she enjoyed flying.  Where in many films, we are used to hearing something bad or controversial in biopics of an individual, Earhart is pretty much a safe character.  As opposed to aviation pioneer Charles Lindbergh who’s life had personal tragedy especially the “Crime of the Century” in 1932, when his young baby was kidnapped and found dead (and led to the Lindbergh Law).

I suppose when it comes to Amelia Earhart, there seems to be more interest on what happened to her and Noonan in 1937.  With reports that they survived and are going by another name to crashing in this location and that location to even rumors that they were shot down during World War II or captured by the Japanese and executed in Saipan.  The fact that the wreckage has not been found has led to so much speculation of what may have happened.  Over 80-years later, you would think today’s technology would have shed some light of what may have happened but as of now, nothing yet.  But if anything, these theories have only kept interest in Amelia Earhart going strong and hopefully the film, can show people of today’s generation about her importance in America and her accomplishments.

For those who are curious about Amelia Earhart, the Blu-ray does contain a good number of special features about the aviation pioneer.  The Blu-ray also features solid picture quality and lossless audio that is quite adequate for this kind of film.  A digital copy does come with the Blu-ray release of “Amelia”.

Overall, “Amelia” is not a great film, nor is it a bad film.  It’s a straight up biopic of the life of Amelia Earhart and features a good number of talent and a solid performance by Hilary Swank.  If you are interested in the life of Amelia Earhart, the Blu-ray release and its numerous content on the popular American heroine is definitely recommended.






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