BLU-RAY REVIEW: Amelia
Hilary Swank and Richard Gere bring the pilot and her love to life in film...
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There's something about Amelia Earhart that fills most Americans with awe and wonder. Be it her charming demeanor and bright, brilliant smile or her mysterious disappearance that's still unsolved over 70 years later; Earheart's amazing accomplishments often overshadow her personal life. Now, thanks to writers Ron Bass and Anna Hamilton Phelan, director Mira Nair, and Academy-award winning actress Hilary Swank, Amelia the woman comes to life on film.
Sadly, the life depicted in the film is somewhat skewed as it seems parts of Earhart's personal life - including rumored affairs, bisexuality, and other things that might tarnish her American hero image - are mentioned only in passing or mentioned not at all. That said, the film seems somewhat emotionless as one would think the Earhart story would have so much passion as to be overwhelming. And yet, director Nair loses viewers in what seems to be an almost lack of passion.
That said, fans of Earhart won't want to miss the film as it does indeed includes some visually stunning shots and reveals - if even skewed - the life of one of American history's most unforgettable women.
On Blu-ray, Amelia features a gorgeous picture in beautiful 1080p. The bright, bold and beautiful colors are portrayed perfectly as are the sounds thanks to the impressive English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio surround sound track.
As for bonus features, Amelia includes just enough to keep fans happy, but not enough to really impress. The obligatory behind the scenes "making of" featurette - entitled "Making Amelia" is just over 23 minutes long and gives viewers just enough information about Swank's transformation into Earhart, the actual making the film, the locations in the film, and interviews with actors and actresses to keep them satisfied. A 10 minute "The Power of Amelia" featurette includes interviews with the same folks as seen in the "Making Amelia" featurette, this time discussing Earhart's place in American history. Another short (4 min) featurette - "The Plane Behind the Legend" - discusses the plane Amelia flew, the Lockheed Electra, while a 6 min featurette entitled "Re-Constructing the Planes of Amelia" discuss with Visual Consultant Paul Austerberry the full-sized mockups and planes used in the film. A 6 min "Movietone News" features seven original news reels which show Earhart's flights. Finally 10 deleted scenes are also included for those looking to see what was shot and not used.
While the Blu-ray includes a decent amount of bonus features, a full-length documentary focusing on the real Earhart and her adventures would only have added more incentive to buy this disc instead of rent it. Likewise, more information on why the writers choose to emphasize the points in Earhart's life would have given viewers a better understanding of what the film was intended to include.
As the first woman to fly across the Atlantic and a true pioneer of flying, Amelia Earhart is truly an American legend and hero. While living a life much more complicated than depicted in this film, the woman who forever endeared herself to the American public truly deserves to be remembered for her passion. While more sadly remember the way she disappeared, hopefully Amelia helps viewers realize it's most important to be remembered for how one lives.
- Jess C. Horsley