20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Cast: Hilary Swank, Richard Gere, Ewan McGregor
Extras: Deleted Scenes, Featurettes, Newsreels, Digital Copy
Amelia Earhart is probably still the best-know female aviator despite the fact that she disappeared without a trace over 50 years ago. Director Mira Nair has now created a long-overdue tribute to this incredibly audacious woman with "Amelia, " which has now arrived on Blu-Ray Disc.
Amelia (Hilary Swank) has always been fascinated by the prospect of flying. At an early age she witnessed the first flying machines and decided to become a pilot herself. She is so good, in fact, that she is picked by book publisher George Putnam (Richard Gere) to participate at the first woman in one of the earliest Atlantic crossings. Grudgingly Amelia agreed. She would have much rather piloted the airplane than being relegated to mere passenger status, but nonetheless the event gave her the notoriety that allowed her to keep flying.
Putnam took an immediate liking to the resolute Amelia and keeps working with her as both her lover and husband, as well as her manager, to nurture her dream of flying wherever she wants and whenever she wants. Soon enough, Amelia decides to do a solo flight across the Atlantic and when she successfully lands in England, she goes down in history once again, this time as the first woman to do so. As advertising contracts and book publishing deals flourish and her personal appearances raise awareness and interest in aviatrixes, she grows increasingly unhappy as she spends less and less time actually flying. It is time for her to attempt the coup de grace. As one final act in her career, she announces that she plans to fly around the world, a feat that was considered impossible — and she may have succeeded, had she not vanished without a trace over the Pacific Ocean, a mere 2000 miles separating her from the pivotal achievement.
"Amelia" is a very gentle film with many nuances surrounding the Amelia Earhart mythology. It is never sensational and instead opts for a closer look at the woman that Amelia was rather than the adventurous feats she continuously undertook. Her historic solo crossing of the Atlantic is playing for now more than a few minutes while her globe-circling attempt to fly around the world bookends the film as a whole. Instead of focusing on the near-misses, the strenuous and undoubtedly frightening moments of some of her flights, instead we learn what kind of a woman Amelia Earhart really was. How her relationship with George Putnam – who adored and loved her like a goddess – grew, how she withstood the temptations presented to her by the aviation industry and other powerful companies, how she disliked the celebrity status she had and the sell-out she felt she had become, and how she ultimately dedicated her entire life to flying.
The filmmakers could not have found a better actress than Hilary Swank to play Amelia. While the physical resemblance ends with the haircut, Swank plays the character to the hilt and takes viewers on the ride through Amelia's emotional life. She is supported by Richard Gere, whose own quiet peacefulness perfectly portrays the counterbalance that George Putnam must have been to Amelia's fiery personality. Together they create a tangible chemistry and bring to the screen a couple that truly loves and breathes.
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment is presenting "Amelia" in a truly glorious 1080p high definition transfer on this release. Without as much as a hint of grain, the image is breathtakingly beautiful and rich. The level of detail is remarkable as the glorious vistas and airbound shots fill your screen. But also in close quarters, the transfer delivers an incredibly rich tapestry of textures, making sure to remind you why you bought into high definition television in the first place. Sharp edges and powerful colors bring the film to magical life while the solid contrast gives the image good visual depth.
A DTS 5.1 HD Master Audio track accompanies the film and, as the picture, this track is impressive in that it creates an active and dynamic presentation that moves with the images in complete harmony. Split surrounds are used in a way that enhance the film rather than distract from the experience and the ambient sound field is always bustling with activity. Dialogues are well integrated and never drowned out by effects or the music.
The release also contains a number of Deleted Scenes and Featurettes, covering a variety of aspects of the movie, such as the production itself, a look at the real Amelia Earhart, of course, the planes in the film and many other aspects. Also included are original newsreels hat covered Amelia's achievements. It covers everything from her solo Atlantic crossing and other flights, as well as her attempts to circle the globe and ultimately the large scale search for her after she had disappeared.
On the second disc of the release you will also find a digital copy of the movie.
"Amelia" is a touching and heartfelt movie, very different from what I expected. Focusing on her character, life and her person as a whole, it is much less action-laden as you might expect but more than makes up for it by wonderfully keen observations and warmth. I loved the film and will clearly watch it again and again.