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A view on Blu-ray and DVD video by Leonard Norwitz

Food Inc [Blu-ray]

 

(Robert Kenner, 2008)

 

 

 

 

 

Review by Leonard Norwitz

 

Studio:

Theatrical: Participant Media & River Road Entertainment

Blu-ray: Magnolia

 

Disc:

Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:33:44.660

Disc Size: 24,328,934,602 bytes

Feature Size: 19,130,898,432 bytes

Video Bitrate: 22.06 Mbps

Chapters: 13

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: November 3rd, 2009

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Video codec: VC-1 Video 1080p / 23.976 fps

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 3552 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3552 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

 

Subtitles:

English SDH, Spanish and none

 

Extras:

• Deleted Scenes (37:45)

• ABC News Nightline:

• Celebrity Public Service Announcements (7:14)

• Resources

 

 

The Film:

It turns out that the scariest movie of last year in theatres and this year on high definition video isn't the latest installment of Saw or Freddy & Jason, but an investigative documentary about America's food conspiracy.

 


For most Americans, the ideal meal is fast, cheap, and tasty. Food, Inc. examines the costs of putting value and convenience over nutrition and environmental impact. Director Robert Kenner explores the subject from all angles, talking to authors, advocates, farmers, and CEOs, like co-producer Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation), Michael Pollan (The Omnivore's Dilemma), Gary Hirschberg (Stonyfield Farms), and Barbara Kowalcyk, who's been lobbying for more rigorous standards since E. coli claimed the life of her two-year-old son. The filmmaker takes his camera into slaughterhouses and factory farms where chickens grow too fast to walk properly, cows eat feed pumped with toxic chemicals, and illegal immigrants risk life and limb to bring these products to market at an affordable cost. If eco-docs tends to preach to the converted, Kenner presents his findings in such an engaging fashion that Food, Inc. may well reach the very viewers who could benefit from it the most: harried workers who don't have the time or income to read every book and eat non-genetically modified produce every day. Though he covers some of the same ground as Super-Size Me and King Korn, Food Inc. presents a broader picture of the problem, and if Kenner takes an understandably tough stance on particular politicians and corporations, he's just as quick to praise those who are trying to be responsible--even Wal-Mart, which now carries organic products. That development may have more to do with economics than empathy, but the consumer still benefits, and every little bit counts. - Kathleen C. Fennessy

Excerpt of review from Amazon.com located HERE


 

Image: 7/8   NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.
The first number indicates a relative level of excellence compared to other Blu-ray video discs on a ten-point scale. The second number places this image along the full range of DVD and Blu-ray discs.

Being a documentary with new and archive footage, plus hidden camera material shot under adverse lighting conditions, the best we can say for the transfer is that it is faithful to the original without undue digital manipulation. Newer footage is either oversaturated for effect or in solidly natural color and suggests its being oversharpened as well, but this is likely in the source material. Historical footage and old B&W stills can be a thin and grainy affair.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio & Music: 7/6
The main requirement of a documentary such as this is that the voiceover and dialogue is always front, center and clear. When appropriate it would be nice for voices to reflect their environment within the constraints of making a coherent film. I feel that the audio does this semi-successfully in the interviews. Scenes shift from inside factories, processing plants, chicken houses, conventions, offices, taxis and the big outdoors where there is a minimum amount of telling ambience in the mix.

 

Operations: 7
Straightforward, if unimaginative.

 

 

Extras: 3
I'm not sure what extra features are due a documentary. A good one should speak for itself, especially in this case where the narrative tends to footnote itself, as when it indicated that Tyson or Smithfield declined to be interviewed. All the same there are a couple of bonus items, brief that may be, that help convey the impression that this film was not a complete fool's errand: The Nightline and The Amazing Food Detective & Snacktown Smackdown pieces are presented in watchable 4:3 480i. The former profiles proper ingredients Chipotle founder Steve Ellis and comes across more self-serving than informative; the latter is a cartoon targeted for younger audiences. The half hour or so of deleted scenes serve as a useful appendix to the film.

 

 

Bottom line: 9
Essential viewing by all humans who eat, I recommend watching at least two hours after your last meal. Compared to a standard definition edition of this film, the Blu-ray may be overkill in terms of image quality but who's to say we should not have this movie in as good a version as possible, especially as you will likely want to watch it more than once.

Leonard Norwitz
November 14th, 2009

 

 

 


 

About the Reviewer: I first noticed that some movies were actually "films" back around 1960 when I saw Seven Samurai (in the then popular truncated version), La Strada and The Third Man for the first time. American classics were a later and happy discovery.

My earliest teacher in Aesthetics was Alexander Sesonske, who encouraged the comparison of unlike objects. He opened my mind to the study of art in a broader sense, rather than of technique or the gratification of instantaneous events. My take on video, or audio for that matter – about which I feel more competent – is not particularly technical. Rather it is aesthetic, perceptual, psychological and strongly influenced by temporal considerations in much the same way as music. I hope you will find my musings entertaining and informative, fun, interactive and very much a work in progress.


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