The Aviator (2004) Blu Ray May 2, 2010 12:00:43 GMT -5
Post by Erik Rupp on May 2, 2010 12:00:43 GMT -5
Martin Scorsese was robbed.
While Clint Eastwood may have done a very, very good job with Million Dollar Baby, Scorsese did a magnificent job with The Aviator - which was a much more challenging movie to film. The Academy did see fit to give Scorsese the Oscar for Best Director the next time he was up for it (a make-up vote, more or less), his work on The Aviator was better than his work on The Departed (and much more deserving of the award).
Funny how things work out like that, eh?
The Aviator is a very ambitious movie - one that could easily have slipped into melodrama and characature. It didn't. Scorsese kept everything on track, and the script (by John Logan) was spot-on. The essence of who Howard Hughes was is captured in the film. But more than that, in The Aviator we get a glimpse of what the world was like back in the 1930's 40's. From the world of Hollywood to the world of Washington D.C. it is all brought back to life - and effectively so.
The cast is simply amazing. Leonardo DiCaprio gives an excellent performance as Howard Hughes. The only knock on him is that he just looked too young for anything after the Hell's Angels portion of the movie. It's not his fault that he could still pass for 19, but he could. Passing for someone over 40? That he couldn't pull off. Oh, he could pull off the part, and acted it as well as anyone could - but he still looked like someone in his early 20's trying to play someone twenty years older. That can be distracting at times, which is unfortunate. It is also the film's only glaring weakness.
Cate Blanchett gives what may be an even more impressive performance than DiCaprio's in her role as Katherine Hepburn, and Alec Baldwin and Alan Alda also give outstanding performances as well. The movie is extremely well cast, and that helps sell the story.
Sure, the movie does jump around a bit, skipping several years at a time, but the storyline is still fairly cohesive and works well.
Hughes' mental disorders have been well documented over the decades, but seeing them slowly develop on screen is fascinating. Watching the man devolve from a strong, passionate, creative thinker into a babbling, frightened shell of a man is unbelievable - except that we know that it really happened. Scorsese's handling of the script and actors helps to keep the movie grounded in reality while still managing to be wildly entertaining. This is one of his finest jobs as a director.
Yes, the movie is long. It's almost three hours long, but it feels more like just barely over two. The film moves at a pace that holds the viewer's interest for each and every minute on screen. There isn't a wasted moment in the film. It's edited as tightly as it needs to be, but not any more. Scorsese edited it with his long time editing partner, Thelma Schoonmaker, and they did a fantastic job on The Aviator.
As for the Blu Ray, what can I say but, "WOW!"
It looks gorgeous. This is what Hi-Def is all about. A clean, sharp image that still looks like film. Fantastic. The only oddity in the film (and others have noted it as well) is the color in the first third of the movie. Grass looks blue-green rather than green. Beet plants look blue-green as well. It's an odd, but deliberate decision by Scorsese, but after the one hour mark or so we don't see it again. The use of that color gives the movie an almost other-worldly look to it at a couple points. Other than that the film looks utterly realistic, and the look and feel of the 40's comes across extremely well on the Blu-Ray.
The sound? Fantastic as well. The surround imaging is excellent, and the voices of the actors are not lost in loud scenes (which is not always the case these days).
And the disc is loaded with great extras (there are literally too many to list here). Needless to say, there is enough material here to keep the viewer busy for several days if watched a couple hours at a time - and most of it is really good stuff.
The bottom line? This is a great movie, and a great Blu-Ray presentation.
Movie and Blu-Ray - 4.75/5