The Walk (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
December 28, 2015 by Dennis Amith
Robert Zemeckis’ “The Walk” is absolutely captivating and a thrilling film worth watching!
Image courtesy of © 2015 Columbia Pictures Industries. All Rights Reserved.
TITLE: The Walk
YEAR OF FILM: 2015
DURATION: 123 Minutes
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, Color, 2:40:1 aspect ratio, English, Portuguese 5.1 DTS-HD MA, French, Spanish and Thai Audio Description 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English, English SDH, Cantonese, Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), French, Indonesian/Bahasa, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, Thai
COMPANY: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
RELEASE DATE: December 31, 2015
Based on the Book “To Reach the Clouds” by Philippe Petit
Directed by Robert Zemeckis
Screenplay by Robert Zemeckis, Christopher Browne
Produced by Jack Rapke, Steve Starkey, Robert Zemeckis
Executive Producer: Jacqueline Levine, Cherylanne Martin, Ben Waisbren
Music: Alan Silvestri
Cinematography by Dariusz Wolski
Edited by Jeremiah O’Driscoll
Casting by Scot Boland, Victoria Burrows
Production Design by Naomi Shohan
Art Direction by Felix Lariviere-Charron
Set Decoration by Ann Smart
Costume Design by Suttirat Anne Larlarb
Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Philippe Petit
Charlotte Le Bon as Annie
Ben Kingsley as Papa Rudy
Cesar Domboy as Jeff/Jean-Francois
Clement Sibony as Jean-Louis
Steve Valentine as Barry Greenhouse
James Badge Dale as Jean-Pierre/J.P.
Ben Schwartz as Albert
Benedict Samuel as David
Twelve people have walked on the moon, but only one man – Philippe Petit (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) – has ever walked in the immense void between the World Trade Center towers. Guided by his real-life mentor, Papa Rudy (Ben Kingsley), and aided by an unlikely band of international recruits, Petit and his gang overcome long odds, betrayals, dissension, and countless close calls to conceive and execute their mad plan. Academy Award-winning director Robert Zemeckis uses advanced technology in the service of an emotional, character-driven story. THE WALK is a love letter to Paris and New York City in the 1970s, but most of all, to the Towers of the World Trade Center.
In 1974, French street performer Philippe Petit pulled off one of the amazing feat by walking on a high wire between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City.
In addition to the awespiring feat accomplished by Petit, what is more amazing is how this Frenchman, who could barely speak English, was able to assemble a crew of supporters, sneak in a balancing pole, wires and go through many levels of security to accomplish the high-wire walk.
The incredible story of Philippe Petit was made into an American 3D biographical drama film directed by Robert Zemeckis (“Back to the Future” films, “Cast Away”, “Forrest Gump”) and co-written by Zemeckis and Christopher Browne. And also inspired by Philippe Petit’s book, “To Reach the Clouds”.
The film stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt (“The Dark Knight Rises”, “Inception”, “(500) Days of Summer”) as the protagonist Philippe Petit and Joseph became fluent in French during the making of the film and also trained to walk on wire.
“The Walk” also stars Sir Ben Kingsley (“Schindler’s List”, “Shutter Island”, “Hugo”), Charlotte Le Bon (“The Hundred-Foot Journey”, “Le grand journal de Canal+”, “Yves Saint Laurent”), Cesar Domboy (“The Princess of Montpensier”, “Baby Balloon”), Steve Valentine (“Spider-Man 3”, “Crossing Jordan”), James Badge Dale (“World War Z”, “The Departed”, “Iron Man 3”), Ben Schwartz (“House of Lies”, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”, “This is Where I Leave You”) and Benedict Samuel (“Asthma”, “The Stanford Prison Experiment”, “Underground: The Julian Assange Story”).
And now “The Walk” will be released on 3D and also on 2D Blu-ray courtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
The story begins with the introduction to French street performer Philippe Petit who is trying to survive by juggling and wire walking. But on a visit to the dentist for a toothache, he sees a picture of the Twin Towers that are to be built in New York City.
After seeing the buildings, Petit knew that his goal would be to walk a high-wire between the Twin Towers.
With no family to live with, Petit visits the circus and meets Papa Rudy (portrayed by Ben Kingsley) who takes him in, due to Petit’s knowledge of juggling.
While performing in the street, he meets a street performer named Annie (portrayed by Charlotte Le Bon) and both get into a relationship.
Philippe explains to Annie about his goals and she becomes his first accomplice and both fly to New York City to observe the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center and do reconnaissance of the times that employees come in and out and when the security make their rounds.
Philippe then meets a photographer named Jean-Louis (portrayed by Clement Sibony) who becomes his official photographer and second accomplice and this leads Phillipe to work on finding a group of accomplices that will help him reach his goal of walking a high-wire between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center.
“The Walk” is presented in 1080p High Definition and in 2:40:1 aspect ratio. Picture quality is fantastic as the outdoor scenes look wonderful in HD. Skin tones look natural, CG elements also look wonderful. I didn’t notice any blurriness, artifacts or any major issues with “The Walk”.
Meanwhile, it’s important to mention that if you want the 3D version of the film, unfortunately the 3D version is separate from the regular 2D version.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
As for the lossless audio, “The Walk” is presented in English and Portuguese DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, English, French, Spanish and Thai 5.1 Audio Description – Dolby Digital. The film is primarily dialogue and musically driven and while dialogue and music are crystal clear, there are uses of the surround channels for ambiance, crowds and city atmosphere.
Subtitles are in English SDH, English, Chinese (Traditional), French, Indonesian/Bahasa, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish and Thai
“The Walk” comes with the following special features:
- Deleted Scenes – (5:45) Featuring seven deleted scenes, including an alternate opening.
- First Steps – Learning to Walk the Wire – (9:11) Joseph Gordon-Levitt discusses working with Philippe Petit and learning to walk on wire.
- Pillars of Support – (8:27) A featurette about how amazing Philippe Petit was able to accomplish the walk on Twin Towers.
- The Amazing Walk – (10:48) The cast talk about the Twin Towers and the amazing walk that Philippe Petit did.
“The Walk” comes with an Ultraviolet code.
I remember watching the news as a child about Philippe Petit’s walk between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center.
And while brave, bold and risky acts have become common place today as people try to show off their daring moments on Instagram or YouTube, what Philippe Petit was able to accomplish is a rarity.
You just can’t say you want to walk between the Twin Towers, assemble a rag tag crew, do espionage and pretend you are a WTC employee, find a way to bring a lot of machinery and a balance poel and find a way up to the top of the Twin Towers and accomplish such a feat., let alone not receiving any jail time after all is said and done.
But Philippe Petit and crew were able to accomplish just that.
And before a few dismiss this film because they think it’s about a man with dreams about walking a high-wire, it goes beyond that. It goes into how Philippe received his inspiration, his training and then years of planning to make his idea a reality.
It’s quite an achievement and the film plays off as the first half features a man and his dream, while the second half features the feat that the crew were able to accomplish. It’s like watching a film about a rag tag crew trying to pull of the ultimate heist but in this case, the group are doing all they can to make sure that Philippe gets all the equipment he needs to accomplish his task of walking between the Twin Towers while hundreds of people watch below.
It’s a fascinating and entertaining film that is bolstered by the wonderful performance of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ben Kingsley and Charlotte Le Bon. And Robert Zemeckis’ experience as a filmmaker definitely gave the director all he needs to pull this film off in giving viewers the sense of height, the level of tension but also making this film exciting and a lot of fun to watch.
The Blu-ray looks wonderful in HD, the lossless soundtrack is crystal clear and there are special features that go into the making of the film and the training undertaken by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who learned from Philippe Petit.
Overall, Robert Zemeckis’ “The Walk” is absolutely captivating and a thrilling film worth watching!
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