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SEABISCUIT

SEABISCUIT ($30) is an old style Hollywood biography/drama about the legendary racehorse whose legacy has been long remembered. This highly enjoyable movie is based upon Laura Hillenbrandís best-selling book Seabiscuit: An American Legend. Of course, the movie does take some of the usual Hollywood liberties to compress the story into a manageable running time, as well as making the tale more cinematic. SEABISCUIT tells a depression era tale that not only chronicles the life of the racehorse, it also tells the story of the three men who figure prominently in this championís career. In SEABISCUIT, Jeff Bridges portrays Charles Howard, who trades the horsepower of automobiles for real horseflesh; thus becoming the owner of the equine who achieves greatness. Chris Cooper is unorthodox trainer Tom Smith, who sees the full potential of an undersized thoroughbred that few thought had the making of a champion. Finally, there is Tobey Maguire as Red Pollard, the troubled young jockey, who rode Seabiscuit to some of the greatest triumphs of his racing career. The cast of SEABISCUIT also features Elizabeth Banks, Gary Stevens, William H. Macy and David McCullough as the narrator.

Universal Studios Home Entertainment has made SEABISCUIT available on Blu-ray Disc in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the VC-1 codec. This is another outstanding 1080p presentation from Universal that belongs in the demo pile. The image is very crisp, highly dimensional and delivers a terrific level of fine detail. Colors are bright and very vibrant, plus the flesh tones are quite appealing. Blacks are true, while the whites are crisp and clean. The picture produces wonderfully smooth contrast, as well as a healthy dose of shadow detail. The elements from which SEABISCUIT has been mastered demonstrate virtually no imperfections. There is a mild veneer of grain present throughout, which becomes a bit more noticeable during darker sequences and instills an organic quality in the presentation.

SEABISCUIT is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. The sound design is really impressive, especially during the horse racing sequences with the thundering hooves and crowd noises creating a fully integrated listening experience that placer the viewer in the middle of the fray. In addition to the horse racing sequences, the outlying channels also engage quite nicely with ambient sounds and fill to create natural sounding sonic environments. Fidelity is pretty terrific; music has a full-bodied quality, while the sound effects have weight thanks to a strong bass component, which rumbles pretty nicely at key moments. Dialogue is always crystal clear and easy to understand. French and Spanish DTS 5.1 channel tracks are also encoded onto the disc, as are English, French and Spanish subtitles.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the disc's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as the supplements. Starting things off is a running Audio Commentary with director Gary Ross and Steven Soderbergh. Next is the A&E Special: The True Story of Seabiscuit (forty-five minutes). Featurettes and other programs include: Bringing the Legend To Life: The Making Of Seabiscuit (fifteen minutes), Anatomy Of A Movie Moment (five minutes), Seabiscuit: Racing Through History (fifteen minutes), HBO First Look (thirteen minutes), Winners' Circle: The Heroes Behind The Legend (twenty minutes), Photo Finish: Jeff Bridges' Photo Scrapbook (five minutes), The Longshot (three minutes) and Seabiscuit vs. War Admiral: The 1938 Race (two minutes). SEABISCUIT is also BD-Live enabled (requires a Profile 2.0 player).

SEABISCUIT is terrific old style Hollywood entertainment. The Blu-ray presentation is outstanding. Very highly recommended.

 

SEABISCUIT 


Seabiscuit [Blu-ray] (2003)

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DVD & Blu-rayDisc reviews are Copyright © 2009 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.


 

 

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