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Lincoln: 4-Disc Combo Pack (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

April 19, 2013 by  



“Lincoln” is a fascinating, compelling film featuring fantastic cinematography, production and costume design but also magnificent performances by Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field and many others.  A Blu-ray release featuring great picture quality and lossless audio, “Lincoln: 4-Disc Combo Pack” is highly recommended!

Images courtesy of © 2013 DreamWorks II Distribution Co. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Lincoln: 4-Disc Combo Pack

FILM RELEASE: 2012

DURATION: 150 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (2:40:1), English 7.1 DTS-HDMA, English DVS 2.0 Dolby Digital, French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital Language Tracks, Subtitles: English SDH, French and Spanish

COMPANY: Dreamworks Pictures/Touchstone Home Entertainment

RATED: PG-13 (For an Intense Scene of War violence, Some Images of Carnage and Brief Strong Language)

Release Date: March 26, 2013

Directed by Steven Spielberg

Screenplay by Tony Kushner

Based on the book “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln” by Doris Kearns Goodwin

Produced by Kathleen Kennedy, Steven Spielberg

Executive Producer: Jonathan King, Daniel Lupi, Jeff Skoll

Co-Producer: Kristie Macosko, Adam Somner

Music by John Williams

Cinematography by Janusz Kaminski

Edited by Michael Kahn

Casting by Avy Kaufman

Production Design by Rick Carter

Art Direction by Curt Beech, David Crank, Leslie McDonald

Set Decoration by Jim Erickson, Charles Maloy, Peter T. Frank

Costume Design by Joanna Johnston

Starring:

Daniel Day-Lewis as Abraham Lincoln

Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln

David Strathairn as William Seward

Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Robert Lincoln

James Spader as W.N. Bilbo

Hal Holbrook as Preston Blair

Tommy Lee Jones as Thaddeus Stevens

John Hawkes as Robert Latham

Jackie Earle Haley as Alexander Stephens

Bruce McGill as Edwin Stanton

Tim Blake Nelson as Richard Schell

Joseph Cross as John Hay

Jared Harris as Ulysses S. Grant

Gulliver McGrath as Tad Lincoln

Inspired by the true-life events confronting Abraham Lincoln and his monumental moral and political challenge to amend the United States Constitution to permanently abolish slavery, “LINCOLN” is a rich and compelling historical and human drama that has been hailed as one of the best film of the year. In-depth bonus features on the Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack takes viewers behind-the-scenes of director Spielberg’s life-long fascination with Lincoln and the 12 years it took to bring the story of one of history’s and mankind’s greatest triumphs to the screen.

As a young child, Steven Spielberg was captivated when he saw the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Decades later, the filmmaker would direct and produce the historical drama film “Lincoln” that is based on Doris Kearn Goodwin’s biography “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln” focusing on the final four months of Abram Lincoln’s life and focusing on his efforts to have the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution passed by the United States House of Representatives. in January 1865.

Filmed in the Fall of 2011 and released theatrically int the Fall of 2012, “Lincoln” has received critical acclaim worldwide, earning seven Golden Globe nominations, twelve Academy Award nominations and grossing over $263 million at the box office, making “Lincoln” a financial success.

The film would feature an all-star cast including Daniel Day-Lewis (“There Will Be Blood”, “Gangs of New York”, “The Last of the Mohicans”), Sally Field (“Forrest Gump”, “Mrs. Doubtfire”, “Brothers & Sisters”), David Strathairn (“The Bourne Ultimatum”, “L.A. Confidential”, “Good Night” and “Good Luck”), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (“Inception”, “Looper”, “(500) Days of Summer”), James Spader (“Boston Legal”, “Stargate”, “Secretary”), Hal Holbrook (“Wall Street”, Men of Honor”, “Into the Wild”), Tommy Lee Jones (“No Country for Old Men”, “Men in Black” films, “The Fugitive”), John Hawkes (“American Gangster, “Identity”, “The Sessions”) and many more.

And now “Lincoln” was released on Blu-ray and DVD, including a 4-Disc Combo Pack which includes the Blu-ray (2), DVD and Digital Copy in March 2013.

“Lincoln” is set during the time of the Civial War in 1865.  The 1863 Emancipation Proclamation which guaranteed slaves  in ten states that were in rebellion, enslaved by the Confederate to be free.  The worry was that with the Civil War coming to an end, the Proclamation would be discarded by the courts and slavery would continue.

So, President Abraham Lincoln (portrayed by Daniel-Day Lewis) felt it was imperative to pass the 13th Amendment by the end of January in order to ensure that all freed slaves, would not be re-enslaved.  Throughout all states, slavery will be abolished.

As the first Republican Party President, the problem that Abraham Lincoln faced was that the Radical Republicans feared the amendment will be defeated.  Republicans near the border states wanted to end the war and that was their priority and with more than a dozen votes needed for the 13th Amendment to pass, Lincoln and other fellow Republicans need to have the support of their own party but also Democrats.

But with time becoming a major challenge, Lincoln’s fellow Republicans try to urge the President that he wait until Congress is heavily represented by Republicans but Lincoln felt that with the war ending, the 13th Amendment must be voted now and that slavery is settled and the southern states are readmitted into the Union.

So, with the help and backing of Republican Party founder Preston Blair (portrayed by Hal Holbrook), who has the influence to win over the Republican conservatives in the western and border states, men are sent to help win them over.  Meanwhile, Lincoln and his Secretary of State William Seward (portrayed by David Strathaim) work on securing the Democratic votes but also to win over Radical Republicans such as Thaddeus Stevens (portrayed by Tommy Lee Jones), leader of the Radical Republican faction.

Meanwhile, Lincoln must deal with a wife Mary Todd (portrayed by Sally Field) who has rampant headaches, unstable and is haunted by the death of their sons Eddie (tuberculosis) and Willie (typhoid fever).  Mary also worried for their surviving sons Robert (portrayed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and Tad (portrayed for Gulliver McGrath), specifically their oldest Robert, who is tired of his parents putting him through law school (under Mary Todd’s direction as she wanted her son to be safe) as he desperately wants to serve in the military.

VIDEO:

“Lincoln” is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:40:1 aspect ratio).  With one of the most well-known cinematographers such as Janusz Kaminski (“Saving Private Ryan”, “Schindler’s List”, “Minority Report”, “Catch Me If You Can”) working on the film, one can expect nothing but the best in terms of cinematography, capturing the characters in fantastic lighting situations.    And once again, Kaminski’s cinematography is fantastic!  Featuring incredible detail and like era, using natural color to enhance the overall feeling of the film, skin tones are natural, the film features great contrast with outdoor scenes featuring a variety of colors, from a normal day to a cool, cold night where Abraham Lincoln and soldiers ride their horses through dead bodies during the war.  Black levels are nice and deep, Joanna Johnston’s costume design and Rick Carter’s production design of capturing authenticity is also captured amazingly on camera courtesy of Kaminski.

“Lincoln” looks fantastic on Blu-ray!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

As for the audio, “Lincoln” is presented in English 7.1 DTS-HDMA, Envlish DVS 2.0 Dolby Digital, French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital.  I was very impressed with the lossless soundtrack.  It’s one thing to expect crystal clear dialogue with wonderful music from legendary composer John Williams (“Star Wars” films, “Harry Potter” films, “Indiana Jones” films) but the amount of ambiance captured through the surrounds is wonderful.  With the constant chattering during the political debates, there is also use of LFE during certain scenes.  But even sounds of storms, sounds of wood upon wood, may it be a closure of a room, wheel making contact on the floor, good use of rear surround channels.  But it’s the dialogue and the ambiance along with Williams’ music that sounds incredible.

Subtitles are in English SDH, French and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES

“Lincoln” comes with the following special features:

  • The Journey to Lincoln – (9:24) Featuring interviews with Steven Spielberg, producer Kathleen Kennedy and the cast about being part of the film and the creation of it.
  • A Historic Tapestry: Richmond, Virginia – (4:00) Filmmaker Steven Spielberg and crew talk about being able to film at historic structures to recreate the feel of Washington, D.C. and Virginia during the Civil War era in Richmond, Virginia.
  • In the Company of Character – (10:23) A featurette about the casting of the talent to play various characters and working with Daniel Day-Lewis.  Each cast member talks about their involvement in the film and meeting the other talents and how they immersed themselves and prepared for this film.
  • Crafting the Past – (10:43) A special feature about costume and production design.  Production designer Rick Carter talks and costume designer Joanna Johnston about capturing the detail of the era and trying to make everything in the film look authentic.
  • Living with Lincoln – (27:04) A special feature about a period biopic and the contribution to make this film feel like it was taking place in the past.  Capturing the look and feel but also through the performances.
  • In Lincoln’s Footsteps – (16:35) A featurette about the editing of the film and how it was important to have the long periods instead of constant cuts.  Discussing the visual perspective of the film and the audio.

EXTRAS:

“Lincoln” comes with two Blu-rays (one for the feature film and the other for special features), a DVD and Digital Copy version of the film.  Also, a slipcover case is included.

When I was younger, my grandfather, an immigrant from the Philippines would always use Abraham Lincoln as an example for us and why people are fortunate today to be able to have a good education, strive for a good education because of what Lincoln was give people of color a chance of freedom in the United States.

He would always talk about the Emancipation Proclamation and I as I grew older, like every child taught in school about what Lincoln did to free the slaves, it was an important order from Abraham Lincoln during the American Civil War.

Only until I became an adult, would you realize that there was much more to the story than the simple “Lincoln freed the slaves!” that we have been taught.  Along with the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863, it wasn’t until the passing of the Thirteenth Amendment in 1865 which abolished slavery, that the amendment was monumental.

But it wasn’t easy.  With so much focus of Lincoln on his assassination by John Wilkes Booth, I really didn’t know too much about Abraham Lincoln’s life until I saw the biographical silent film “Abraham Lincoln” (1930) directed by D.W. Griffith.  While this film focused on Lincoln’s earlier life as a storekeeper and rail-splitter and his earlier romance with Ann Rutledge and later being engaged to Mary Todd and the Lincoln-Douglas debates about the extension of slavery, there really hasn’t been anything showcasing the passing of the Thirteenth Amendment.

I can understand why.  It’s not an easy subject for one to craft and make it entertaining for general audiences,   People know how the amendment was historic, but would one want to watch it as a film?

That’s where filmmaker Steven Spielberg comes in and the fact that he is directing the film, the answer is yes.  If Spielberg can make this film entertaining, it’s definitely worth giving a try.

Joining him are top people in the industry, from composer John Williams, director of photography Janusz Kaminski, production designer Rick Carter and costume design by Joanna Johnston, and many others involved with the film, you know you have a great team.

And what Spielberg is quite effective was building a storyline with showcasing how difficult of a time it was for President Lincoln.  While the Emancipation Proclamation helped give slaves a chance for freedom during the Civil War, if the war was to end, they would not be free any longer, and not too many were in favor of abolishing slavery, except President Lincoln and a few members of the US House of Representatives.  With wonderful production and costume design to keep the authenticity of the film and the amazing performances by actor Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, David Strathaim, Tommy Lee Jones, Joseph Gordon Levitt to name a few, you can’t help but be amazed with how wonderful this film looks, but also how powerful the film is thanks to its outstanding talent.

Daniel Day-Lewis captures the look of Abraham Lincoln, Sally Field who gained weight for the role was also able to play the unstable Mary Todd and of course other performers throughout the film, made the film feel authentic and real.

The film is smart, compelling but also a message about freedom and equality. Also, it’s a subject that not many people are familiar with and you learn that freedom did not come easy but also how President Lincoln took a risk that could have had him impeached.  But he was dedicated, persistent and also made others around him persistent, but most importantly have them put their faith in him to make it happen.  A lot was at stake for some people who voted for the amendment, some who were threatened but yet knowing what was right and debating within, whether or not to be loyal to their political party or to side with Abraham Lincoln in giving freedom to the slaves.

As for the 4-Disc Combo Pack of “Lincoln”, you get the Blu-ray release (two featuring the feature film, the other with special features), a DVD version of the film and a Digital Copy.  Picture quality along with lossless audio is magnificent, special features are good but I wished they were slightly longer.  It would have been nice to have an audio commentary or even other special features on Abraham Lincoln. But that is me being picky!  For the most part, “Lincoln” is a wonderful Blu-ray release and a film that is powerful and another cinematic masterpiece for Steven Spielberg.

Overall, “Lincoln” is a fascinating, compelling film featuring fantastic cinematography, production and costume design but also  a magnificent performances by Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field and many others.  Highly recommended!

 






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