Directed by Robert Redford
USA 2007

 

Robert Redford’s rep as a Hollywood liberal may sink this film, right out of the gate. Sight unseen, US pundits are accusing it of an anti-Bush bias, and with audiences avoiding Iraq and Afghanistan films in droves, a movie that not only discusses the War On Terror but does very little else is never going to beat Titanic at the box office. But this is more balanced than pre-reviews would have you believe, and more about asking questions than offering trite answers.

The three-stranded plot is simple. A senator (Tom Cruise) announces a new war strategy for Afghanistan to a veteran reporter (Meryl Streep). Two soldiers (Michael Peņa and Derek Luke) implement those new orders and land in serious peril. And a professor of political science (Robert Redford) tries to motivate a young student (Andrew Garfield) to engage in classes. Two thirds of the film, therefore, is pure talk - Redford’s professor barely stirs from his chair; Streep’s reporter and Cruise’s Senator Jasper Irving have a sit-down interview. Even the soldiers are pinned in one spot. It could almost be a stage play.

But Michael Matthew Carnahan’s script and Redford’s assured direction have the smarts to make the static seem kinetic. The back-and-forth between Cruise and Streep, in particular, is electric; this will, if there’s any justice, see Cruise finally win an Oscar. Perhaps spurred on by working opposite the screen’s most accomplished actress, the world’s biggest star is on Magnolia form, bringing that almost creepy charisma to bear as a highly influential senator.

Excerpt from Empire Magazine located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: October 22nd, 2007

Reviews       More Reviews       DVD Reviews

DVD Comparisons:

United Artists (Fox) - Region 1 - NTSC vs. United Artists (Fox) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

DVD Box Cover

Distribution United Artists - Region 1 - NTSC United Artists - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:31:27  1:31:43
Video 2.4:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 8.17 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 41,694,844,898 bytes

Feature: 27,050,360,832 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Bitrate: 39.32

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

DVD

Bitrate:

Blu-ray

Audio English (DTS) , English (Dolby Digital 5.1), DUBs: Spanish and French 2.0  DTS-HD Master Audio English 4178 kbps
5.1 / 48 kHz / 4178 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509
kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio French 448 kbps
5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 448 kbps
5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps
2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps
Subtitles English, Spanish, None English, Chinese (Traditional and simplified), French, Korean, Spanish, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: United Artists

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 2.4:1

Edition Details:

• Commentary by Redford
• Featurette: "The Making of Lions for Lambs" (20:50)
• Featurette: "From Script to Screen" (8:25)
• United Artists compilation sequence (6:56)
• Trailers (teaser and theatrical)

DVD Release Date: April 8th, 200
8
Keep Case
Chapters: 28

Release Information:
Studio: United Artists

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 41,694,844,898 bytes

Feature: 27,050,360,832 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Bitrate: 39.32

Edition Details:

• Commentary by Redford
• Featurette: "The Making of Lions for Lambs" (20:36 in HD!)
• Featurette: "From Script to Screen" (8:11 in HD!)
• United Artists Legacy (6:54)
• Trailers (teaser and theatrical)

Blu-ray Release Date: May 19th, 2009
Standard
Blu-ray Case
Chapters: 28

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: United Artists (Fox) - Region 'A' Blu-ray - May 09': The image shows superiority in all the expected areas and at almost 5x the bitrate the colors and detail are highly notable improvements. The transfer is dual-layered with the feature covering over 27 Gig with a bitrate near 40 Mbps. The image is thick and doesn't show a lot of depth but is consistent and I have no doubt it looked similar theatrically. Detail certainly tightens up. There is still a bit of noise in monochromatic black backgrounds but overall the visual quality is a dramatic improvement.

Audio is a huge bonus in the war combat scenes. The DTS-HD track is very buoyant at over 4000 kpbs and there enough audio effects in the film to see benefit. Artillery snaps loudly and for the more cerebral parts of the film dialogue is clean and crisp. The Blu-ray offers more subtitle options and my Momitsu tells me it is region 'A'-locked.

Supplements duplicate the DVD with the Redford commentary (see comments below) but the, over 30-minutes worth, of 3 featurettes are in HD.

Once again, I enjoyed the film - and continue to find it extremely well written and thought provoking. Lions For Lambs probes quite deeply at a country's identity. Yes, I continue to recommend the film - and the Blu-ray gives a far richer presentation on all fronts.

***

ON THE DVD (April 2008): Really a Fox production, but labeled as 'United Artists' perhaps celebrating its legacy (or anniversary?). Anyway the dual-layered, progressive and anamorphic DVD image is excellent - good colors, detail and skin tones. No undue noise or artifacts. It is coded for region 1 in the NTSC standard. The captures below would give you an idea of the quality. There is an underused DTS track with an option for 5.1 (and two foreign DUBs). It had a couple of moments 'in the field' but the film is mostly a dialogue driven 'chamber piece' and that is clear and consistent supported by English, French or Spanish subtitles.  

My DVD (a floater) would not allow me access to the two featurettes (20 minutes long "The Making of Lions for Lambs" and "From Script to Screen" - 8 minutes). I see there are other reviews describing them so I'll assume my DVD has an error. I was able to partake in Redford commentary which I enjoyed. He covers the production details and some of the symbols but narrates a bit and doesn't delve too deeply into the perceptions of the context - allowing the film to speak for itself. There are some healthy gaps where he lets the narrative run on.

The film? - as critics seem to appear indifferent or negative towards this film - I, of course, enjoyed it very much. Is it politically slanted? - yes. What I enjoyed was the excellent and provocative dialogue. This is a thinking person's film and if you watch with friends it might elicit some fruitful discussions afterward. You certainly don't have to believe in the one-sided storyline to enjoy the performances delivering adroit characterizations. I, personally, think this is well worth seeing if only for Cruise and Streep. But that's me.  

Gary W. Tooze

 



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(United Artists - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. United Artists - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM)

 

 


 

Screen Captures

 

(United Artists - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. United Artists - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM)

 

 


(United Artists - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. United Artists - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM)

 

 


(United Artists - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. United Artists - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM)
 

 


(United Artists - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. United Artists - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM)
 

 


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DVD Box Cover

Distribution United Artists - Region 1 - NTSC United Artists - Region 'A' - Blu-ray




 

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