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Doctors... Lawyers... never get past 60 thousand rupees.
He's won 10 million.
What can a slumdog possibly know?

The winner of eight Academy Awards, including the coveted Best Picture Oscar, SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE ($40) proved itself the little independent film that could. Telling an oftentimes violent and bleak story, SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE is actually a feel good movie that won over both critics and audiences. Adapted from the novel Q & A (2005) by Indian author Vikas Swarup, SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE tells the story of Jamal Malik (Dev Patel), an Indian orphan who grew up in a slum in Mumbai, but went on to be a contestant on the Indian version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?. As the film opens, Jamal is being tortured and accused of cheating, because he is one question away from winning the game showís grand prize, 20 million rupees- a feat even those with a formal education have not been able to achieve.

SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE then moves into a series of flashbacks that recount Jamalís harsh childhood and why he knew the answers to the particular questions he was asked on the game show. From the flashbacks we learn how Jamal and his elder brother Salim (Madhur Mittal) came to be orphaned; how the boys befriended an orphaned girl named Latika (Freida Pinto), how the three became separated and how they were exploited by a criminal element that cruelly profiteers off of orphaned children. We also learn the reason that Jamal became a contestant on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, which had absolutely nothing to do with winning the prize money. The cast of SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE also includes Anil Kapoor, Saurabh Shukla, Rajendranath Zutshi, Jeneva Talwar, Irrfan Khan, Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail, Ayush Mahesh Khedekar, Mahesh Manjrekar, Sanchita Choudhary, Himanshu Tyagi, Rubiana Ali, Ankur Vikal, Tanay Chheda, Ashutosh Lobo Gajiwala and Tanvi Ganesh Lonkar.

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has made SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE available on Blu-ray Disc in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the AVC codec. The 1080p presentation is very good, but this is not exactly a disc for the demo pile, despite Anthony Dod Mantleís Academy Award winning cinematography. SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE is a mixed media project that utilizes both film and digital video, and as such, certain sequences look better than others. Moments of startling clarity, dimensionality and detail are interspersed with those that have softer more video like appearance. Colors are somewhat variable as well; some sequences contain subdued hues, while others are bold, bright and vibrant. Blacks appear deep and the whites are crisp. Contrast is smooth, but there are places where it causes the image to flatten out somewhat. There are no visual imperfections in the image. Some grain/video noise is present in the picture, but usually in the darker sequences.

SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. Much of the film is on the talky side, so this isnít the most aggressively mixed track out there. Action sequences engage the outlying channels nicely and there are some very nice pans, as well as good imaging. Music is very well integrated into the soundtrack and this component also makes good use of the entire soundstage. Fidelity is generally excellent where the music is concerned, plus it helps produce convincing sound effects. The bass channel is deep enough to keep things grounded, but there isnít anything to really shake things up. English dialogue is crisp and easy to understand. Some of the film is in Hindi, which is presented with colorful English subtitles to translate. A French Dolby Digital 5.1 channel track has also been encoded onto the disc. Additional subtitles are available in English, French and Spanish.

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 some supplements. Starting things off are two running Audio Commentaries; the first is with Academy Award winning director Danny Boyle and actor Dev Patel, while the second features producer Christian Colson and writer Simon Beaufoy. Next is Slumdog Dreams: Danny Boyle & The Making Of Slumdog Millionaire, a two-part, twenty-two minute program that looks at the production. From Script To Screen: Toilet Scene is fairly self-explanetory. The Indian Short Film: Manjha is also provided, as are a dozen Deleted Scenes. A Bombay Liquid Dance Music Video is included, as is Slumdog Cutdown, which pares the film down to five minutes of music video imagery. American and European Theatrical Trailers close out the supplements.

SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE is an engaging film that proves that smaller independent films can be far more rewarding than Hollywood blockbusters. The Blu-ray presentation may not be demo material, but is very solid and will certainly be far preferable to standard definition. Recommended.



Slumdog Millionaire [Blu-ray] (2008)


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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