Review by Yunda Eddie Feng
Audio: DD Plus 5.1 English, DD Plus 2.0 stereo French
Subtitles: Optional English SDH, French
Extras: audio commentary by writer/director Phil Alden Robinson and cinematographer John Lindley; "The Making of Sneakers, trailer; My Scenes
Released: 12 June 2007
Caper flicks are rare these days, and the ones that do show up in movie theaters are usually hybrids with other genres, like comedy (Ocean’s Eleven), romance (The Thomas Crown Affair), or action (Mission: Impossible). However, 1992’s Sneakers is a genuine caper flick in the tradition of Rififi and Bob le flambeur. Sneakers immerses the viewer in the world of nuts-and-bolts thievery instead of showcasing self-impressed/self-important actors standing around looking like they’re cool. What’s more, although Sneakers is fronted by Robert Redford and Sidney Poitier, the script makes extensive use of each member of a team. This characteristic enhances the plausibility of the premise and increases the tension since no one team member can fail without the entire enterprise floundering. In this regard, Sneakers respects its audience’s intelligence, charms through wit and invention, and avoids wearing out its welcome.
The 1.85:1 1080p picture looks like what one would expect of a movie that’s about fifteen-years-old. Colors are a bit faded, and the picture is a slightly soft and muted. Nevertheless, one should mention that the video is considerably sharper and more detailed than what you get with just about any SD-DVD, and this is a pleasing presentation.
Sneakers is not an action or music extravaganza, so the Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 English track is appropriately low-key. Most of the sound mix favors the front speakers, though a few gunshots here and there and some ambient noises float to the surrounds and the subwoofer.
You can also watch the movie with a DD Plus 2.0 stereo French dub. Optional English SDH and French subtitles support the audio.
The HD-DVD's extras are the same as the ones found on the Special Edition SD-DVD release. First up is an audio commentary by writer/director Phil Alden Robinson and cinematographer John Lindley. The two men cover just about all the bases when discussing the movie's genesis as well as anecdotes about what happened on the set. (The audio commentary is mis-labled on both the packaging and the menus!)
“The Making of Sneakers” is a relatively lengthy overview of the production that offers a good amount of information but has some overlaps with the audio commentary. You also get the theatrical trailer.
Finally, you can bookmark your favorite moments with “My Scenes”.
An insert advertises other Universal HD-DVDs.