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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Wild [Blu-ray]


(Jean-Marc Vallée, 2014)







Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Pacific Standard

Video: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation



Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:55:36.930 

Disc Size: 43,588,691,094 bytes

Feature Size: 31,928,739,840 bytes

Video Bitrate: 29.46 Mbps

Chapters: 36

Case: Standard Blu-ray case inside cardboard slipcase

Release date: March 31st, 2015



Aspect ratio: 2.39:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 3793 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3793 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 /
48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio English 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio French 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps

Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps



English (SDH), French, Spanish, none



• Audio Commentary by Jean-Marc Vallée, Bruna Papandrea and David Greenbaum

• The Real Cheryl Strayed (8:37)
The Real Location Is The Best Location (8:45)
How Much Does A Monster Weigh? (3:46)
The Pacific Crest Trail Interactive Map
Deleted Scenes – with Optional Commentary by Jean-Marc Vallée (7:49)
Seven Promotional Featurettes
- Bringing the Book Into The Wild (3:35)
- Reese Witherspoon in the Wild (3:55)
- Wild: 94 Days, 1100 miles (3:18)
- Directing Wild (3:56)
- Making Wild (5:21)
- Pacific Crest Trail (4:03)
- Real Locations (3:21)
Experiencing the PCT: A Special Message From Cheryl Strayed (1:47)
Theatrical Trailer (2:02)





Description: From the director of Dallas Buyers Club (Jean-Marc Vallée), WILD recounts the reckless behavior of Cheryl Strayed (Witherspoon), who makes a rash decision to embark on a challenging trek across the Pacific Crest Trail. With absolutely no experience, she sets out to hike more than a thousand miles all on her own — in what becomes an unforgettable journey of transformation and redemption that strengthens and ultimately heals her.

The WILD Blu-ray™ and DVD are packed with behind-the-scenes featurettes, an interactive trail map, audio commentary and deleted scenes, all designed to take audiences deeper into Nick Hornby’s adaptation of Strayed’s first-person memoir, “Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail,” which recounts her hike along the PCT, which stretches from Mexico to Canada.



The Film:

Adapted from Cheryl Strayed's best-selling memoir of the same name, director Jean-Marc Vallee's Wild stars Oscar-winner Reece Witherspoon) as a self-destructive divorcee who seeks to conquer her demons by hiking 1,100 miles across the Pacific Crest Trail. Cheryl was just 22-years-old when her mother Bobbi (Laura Dern) died of cancer in 1991. As children, Cheryl and her brother watched their mother endure intense suffering at the hands of their mentally and physically abusive father, and Bobbi was just getting her life together when she fell gravely ill. The loss was just too much for Cheryl to take, and before long she sank so deeply into heroin addiction that destroyed her marriage. Four years later, Cheryl has hit rock bottom. She knows that unless she makes a change, the future she had once hoped for will slip out of reach. Later, as Cheryl begins her arduous journey through the wilderness, those painful memories come flooding back as she encounters numerous dangers and disheartening set-backs. Meanwhile the kindness of strangers will help her summon the courage and endurance she'll need to stay the path.


Wild” is the story of a very long walk, a trek of over 1,000 miles along the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail, from the Southern California desert to the lush forests of Oregon. Based on Cheryl Strayed’s best-selling memoir, the film begins, like the book, in the middle of the journey, with a scene that at once celebrates the sublimity of nature and the spirit of solitude and douses such romanticism in a demystifying spray of cold water.

Cheryl, played by Reese Witherspoon with grit, wit and unblinking honesty, reaches the top of a rocky outcropping with a panoramic view of surrounding mountains. Her panting, sweaty, irritated presence contrasts with the tranquil glory of the landscape, her contemplation of which is interrupted by the loss of a toenail and then of a hiking boot. That mishap elicits a keening howl of frustration and a perfectly self-defeating gesture of protest as she hurls the other boot away.

Excerpt from A.O.Scott at the Ny Times located HERE

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

Wild looks, predictably, beautiful on Blu-ray from Fox.  The image quality appears devoid of imperfections of any kind. It is another striking film shot with the Arri Alexa. This is dual-layered with a high bitrate and the outdoor cinematography is stunning at times - kudos to DoP Yves Bélanger. Colors are seem accurate without embellishment, detail is strong in  close-ups and the visuals in-motion are frequently impressive. Daylight scenes dominate but there are some sequences in the night and there is no noise visible. This Blu-ray does its job in presenting a highly pleasing 1080P replication of the theatrical appearance. All, very, good.
















Audio :

A very strong audio transfer - a DTS-HD Master 5.1 surround at 3793 kbps. There are, of course, natural effects of the outdoor journey - more notable would be the soundtrack. The 'theme' song of the film is the wonderful El Condor Pasa (If I Could) as sung by Paul Simon (and Reese Witherspoon) which turns up sporadically in the film as well as the beginning and finale. There is some Leonard Cohen, Springsteen, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Pat Metheny and even Franz Schubert's Swan Song. There are a couple of foreign-language DUBs and optional subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.


Extras :

Extras start with a revealing audio commentary by director Jean-Marc Vallée and producers Bruna Papandrea and David Greenbaum. As you can guess, it is production-centric but I loved the input on the themes and story references. We also get a whole pile of videos including an 8.5-minute piece on The Real Cheryl Strayed and one of similar length entitled The Real Location Is The Best Location. We get some hiking advice in packing your backpack with How Much Does A Monster Weigh? - a very cool The Pacific Crest Trail Interactive Map, 8-minutes of deleted scenes – with optional commentary by Jean-Marc Vallée - mostly on how they didn't fir the final cut. There are 7 promotional featurettes - each running about 3-4 minutes with Witherspoon, Vallée, Strayed and others. The titles are self-explanatory - Bringing the Book Into The Wild, Reese Witherspoon in the Wild, Wild: 94 Days, 1100 miles, Directing Wild, Making Wild, Pacific Crest Trail, and Real Locations. Lastly are a short message from Cheryl Strayed about experiencing the PCT, a theatrical trailer and a gallery. The package contains a code to download the digital version and a 16-page, liner notes, leaflet entitled Life After Wild on Cheryl Strayed today.



I totally fell in love with Wild. Vallée nailed the metaphysical essence of the story with strong visual cues throughout and Reese Witherspoon projects strength and frailty all at ounce - an amazing performance. This is absolutely brilliant - one of the best films I have seen this year - and quite possibly my favorite. The Fox Blu-ray is loaded with value even beyond the masterpiece film. The supplements - including commentary and videos add more to the package and we give our highest recommendation! 

Gary Tooze

March 28th, 2015






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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