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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

 

Invictus [Blu-ray]

 

(Clint Eastwood, 2009)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Warner Bros. Pictures

Video: Warner Home Video

 

Disc:

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

Runtime:  2:13:38.051

Disc Size: 37,922,440,668 bytes

Feature Size: 33,290,483,712 bytes

Video Bitrate: 24.90 Mbps

Chapters: 28

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: May 18th, 2010

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: VC-1 Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 3651 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3651 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio French 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -4dB
* Dolby Digital Plus Audio English 96 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 96 kbps

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), French, Spanish, none

 

Extras:

Blu-ray BONUS FEATURES:
Two-Disc Set (Blu-ray + DVD)
• Matt Damon Plays Rugby (6:49)
• Invictus music trailer (2:36)
• Vision, Courage and Honor: Clint Eastwood and the Power of a True Story (Eastwood - picture-in-picture)
• Mandela Meets Morgan (28:10)
• The Eastwood Factor (22:23)
• DVD copy of the film
• Bonus Digital Copy (on disc)

DVD BONUS FEATURES:
• Matt Damon Plays Rugby
(6:49)
• Invictus music trailer
(2:36)

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: So what does Nelson Mandela do after he is elected president of South Africa? He rejects revenge, forgives his oppressors and finds hope of national unity in an unlikely place: the rugby field. Clint Eastwood (the National Board of Review's 2009 Best Director choice) powerfully directs an uplifting film about a team and a people inspired to greatness. Morgan Freeman portrays Mandela, who asks the national rugby team captain (Best Supporting Actor Oscar nominee Matt Damon) and his underdog squad to do the impossible and win the World Cup. One team, one country. The universal language of sports has never spoken so thrillingly as in Eastwood's INVICTUS.

 

 

The Film:

...Clint Eastwood, I believe, understood all of these things and also sought to make a film he believed he could make, in an area where he felt a visceral connection. Eastwood is too old and too accomplished to have an interest in making a film only for money. He would have probably read the screenplays for the previous Mandela projects. They all had one thing in common: They didn't get made. It was universally agreed that Morgan Freeman was the right actor (Mandela and he met and got along famously), but the story, financing and deal never came together. Eastwood made the film that did get made.

It is a very good film. It has moments evoking great emotion, as when the black and white members of the presidential security detail (hard-line ANC activists and Afrikaner cops) agree with excruciating difficulty to serve together. And when Damon's character -- Francois Pienaar, as the team captain -- is shown the cell where Mandela was held for those long years on Robben Island. My wife, Chaz, and I were taken to the island early one morning by Ahmed Kathrada, one of Mandela's fellow prisoners, and yes, the movie shows his very cell, with the thin blankets on the floor. You regard that cell and you think, here a great man waited in faith for his rendezvous with history.

Excerpt from Roger Ebert at the Chicago Sun-Times located HERE

 


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

The VC-1 transfer of Invictus on a dual-layered Blu-ray disc with a decent bitrate seems competent and occasionally eye-popping. Colors are bright without overpowering - to the unrealistic level. It seems like an accurate transfer without boosting or manipulation. Detail has strong moments.  There is some depth here and there and the sporty greens, yellows and blacks hold up exceptionally well.  The image quality contains grit and minor, texturizing, grain. This Blu-ray has a nice consistent feel without undue noise or intrusive flaws. It's a good looking film well transferred to 1080P.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Warner seems consistently to have gotten away from the inferior True-HD track and Invictus is supported with a strong DTS-HD Master 5.1 at a healthy 3651 kbps. The athletic scenes with grunts, groans and crowd support are the most utilized part of the film for your system with good range and some prevalent bass. There is original music composed by Kyle Eastwood (son of Clint and Maggie Johnson) and Michael Stevens. This uplifts the film in the necessary scenes sounding tight and clean. There are optional subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.

 

 

Extras :

We get a segment of Richard Schickel's The Eastwood Factor (coming out later this year) - actually 22-minutes worth. I look forward to the whole piece. In place of a commentary we get Vision, Courage and Honor: Clint Eastwood and the Power of a True Story. A picture-in-picture add-on with the director and other participants. Clint describes what attracted him to the story and there are anecdotes from crew and discussion of rugby and history. This is exclusive to the Blu-ray. Under "Behind the Story" we get two featurettes - Matt Damon Plays Rugby (6:49) and a very interesting piece, on the much discussed, Mandela Meets Morgan for almost 1/2 an hour. There is also an Invictus music trailer. The disc has an untested BD-LIVE function and the package contains a DVD which has the SD feature, Matt Damon Plays Rugby extra (and same Invictus music trailer) and a Digital Copy, for portable useage, on the same disc.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
No matter how you slice it - this film has merit. Eastwood has performed another miracle act in pulling all the production pieces together to create a, reasonably, flawless and entertaining film. It educated me on some of the details that I had forgotten or was never privy to - and the whole family can watch. I suppose this is fairly 'surface' but I think that's okay and I liked this better than some of the critics I've read. Damon is excellent in his rather minor role. The Blu-ray is not demo material but is solid... and the final game is a visual and aural treat. I recommend the film and while the Blu-ray may not be in the top echelons of the new format it represents Invictus very well and remains the best way to see it in the comfort of your home. 

Gary Tooze

May 6th, 2010

 

 

 

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction. So be it, but film will always be my first love and I list my favorites on the old YMdb site now accessible HERE.  

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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