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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Flight [Blu-ray]


(Robert Zemeckis, 2012)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Paramount

Video: Paramount



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

Runtime: 2:18:35.348

Disc Size: 41,826,549,115 bytes

Feature Size: 34,813,507,584 bytes

Video Bitrate: 25.45 Mbps

Chapters: 15

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: February 5th, 2013



Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 3382 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3382 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio English 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio French 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Portuguese 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -4dB



English (SDH), English, French, Portuguese, Spanish, none



• Origin of 'Flight' (10:29)

The Making of 'Flight' (11:31)

• Anatomy of a Plane Crash (7:46)

• Q+A Highlights (14:18)

DVD of the Feature included with Digital Copy code included





Description: Few directors can meld high-tech whiz-bang with solid narrative values like Robert Zemeckis, a filmmaker whose best work (Who Framed Roger Rabbit, the Back to the Future trilogy, Cast Away) stands tall among the blockbusters. Although there have been times when Zemeckis's insistence on pushing the special effects envelope can end up overshadowing the story being told (as in his animated version of A Christmas Carol), his innate gifts persist: when he's in the groove, he can show you something you've never seen before, as well as a reason to care about it. Flight, the director's first wholly live-action film in over a decade, serves as a reminder of just how good he can be, featuring both an exquisitely terrifying crash sequence and a fearless central performance from Denzel Washington. John Gatins's script serves as a bizarro inversion of the Sully Sullenberger tale: when a routine flight over Atlanta goes terrifyingly wrong, the aircraft's pilot (Washington) saves his passengers with a near-miraculous display of skill. As the investigation into the disaster begins, however, it becomes apparent that its hero's impromptu bravery hides a multitude of bad habits. Washington does a brilliant job as a man who is all too aware of his feet of clay, subverting his innate nobility to shattering effect. (As in the earlier Training Day, when he goes to the dark side, the shock ripples the screen.) The strength of his central performance is only amplified by some outstanding supporting work from Kelly Reilly (as a recovering heroin addict), Don Cheadle, Bruce Greenwood, and a scene-stealing John Goodman, who gets a few lines crass enough to remind you that yes, Zemeckis is the same person who once made the low-taste classic Used Cars. Impressive as the cast is, though, it's unlikely that things would work nearly as well without the director's grasp of the material, which shifts between horror, black comedy, and uplifting pathos without missing a beat. In his hands, this potential sap story makes for a smart, worldly addiction saga that blessedly refuses to stay within the usual melodramatic lines. Just don't ever, ever expect to see it as the in-flight entertainment.

Excerpt from Andrew Scott at Amazon located HERE



The Film:

Washington plays Whip Whitaker, a veteran commercial airlines pilot who over the years has built up a shaky tolerance for quantities of alcohol and cocaine that would be lethal for most people. At the film opens, he's finishing an all-night party with a friendly flight attendant named Katerina (Nadine Velazquez) and jolts himself back into action with two lines of cocaine. His co-pilot (Brian Geraghty) eyes him suspiciously, but Whip projects poise and authority from behind his dark aviator glasses.

Their flight takes off in a disturbing rainstorm and encounters the kind of turbulence that has the co-pilot crying out, "Oh, Lord!" But Whip powers them at high speed into an area of clear sky, before a mechanical malfunction sends the aircraft into an uncontrollable nosedive. Zemeckis and his team portray the terror in the cabin in stomach-churning style. Acting on instinct, seeming cool as ice, the veteran pilot inverts the plane to halt its descent, and it flies level upside-down until he rights it again to glide into a level crash-landing in an open field.

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


Until a rote, brief coda, Flight largely lets the behavior speak for itself. John Gatins’ script offers only secondhand glimpses of Washington’s life before the crash, but they’re suggestive: a family history connected to the Tuskegee Airmen, a shattered marriage and an alienated son whom he loves but can’t talk to, a military past spoken of admiringly, and a history of drinking spoken of in hushed terms. In one of his best performances, Washington builds the character through his actions, and sometimes just his expressions: a confident gaze here, a melting of that confidence elsewhere, and an ever-persistent hunger resting just below the surface. He plays the sort of morally conflicted protagonist sadly seen more often on cable dramas than in mainstream films.

He’s got good people around him, too, particularly Reilly—previously most visible as Watson’s wife in the Sherlock Holmes films, but sure to be working more after this movie—and John Goodman, who plays Washington’s longtime buddy and supplier. Goodman’s introduction to the sound of “Sympathy For The Devil” suggests Zemeckis hasn’t lost his taste for on-the-nose music cues since Forrest Gump, but it does drive home that there’s nothing less at stake in the film than the fate of its protagonist’s soul. The film takes that matter seriously, staying close to Washington as he tries, and often fails, to do what he knows to be right after a lifetime of doing wrong. The film makes it clear that every choice matters. On Earth as in the air, one wrong move, and everything can slip away.

Excerpt from the Onion AV Club located HERE

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

Flight appears quite strong on Blu-ray from Paramount. Aside from the 'family refuge' retreat the film is quite dark - mirroring the protagonist's demons.  The image quality showcases nicely rendered contrast, colors are not enhanced and skin tones seem true.  The 2 1/4 hour film is transferred to a dual-layered disc with a supportive bitrate. The intense flight sequences effects are not transparent in 1080P. In fact, coupled with the sound, are impressive. Daylight scenes are bright, contrast strong and depth is frequent. Detail is notable in the many close-ups. This Blu-ray seems to consistently replicate a theatrical viewing experience with no flaws. I thought it providing a solid presentation.

















Audio :

The DTS-HD Master 5.1 surround at 3382 kbps is only really tested in the air-crash sequences that are masterfully realized. I always used Peter Weir's brilliant Fearless as a bench-mark but Flight may have finally eclipsed it - in that sense. As for the audio - separation is key and jet-engine power exudes intense depth. This is really quite adept with subtleties throughout. Alan Silvestri's (The Avengers) score plays perfectly alongside the film rising and falling with the fluctuating emotions. There are optional subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.


Extras :

Supplements consist of 4 featurettes; Origin of 'Flight' runs 10-minutes on the film's evolution with the writer John Gatins and director Zemeckis providing input . The Making of 'Flight' runs over 11-minutes following production detail with behind-the-scenes footage. Anatomy of a Plane Crash - informs us about that for 7-minutes and there is a 15-minute 'Q+A Highlights' with most of the cast and crew on-stage answering queries about their experiences in the creation of the film. There is also a DVD of the Feature included in the package.



I liked this film A LOT. I went in 'blind' not really knowing what it was about and Zemeckis continues to impress as a master storyteller. Flight creeps up on you and Denzel Washington may be at his very pinnacle here - he was expressing subtle cues throughout building his character's catharsis nudge-by-nudge. Goodman is capable of stealing the show but isn't in enough of the film to eclipse Washington. I watched it a second time with friends and my appreciation only grew. This is a gripping character portrait that moves from strength-to-strength. Flight is one of my favorite films I have seen this year (early as it is).  I thoroughly enjoyed the Blu-ray and strongly encourage a viewing. I hope you get as much out of this film as I did. 

Gary Tooze

January 31st, 2013



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 5000 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.

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Gary W. Tooze






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