Wednesday, March 2, 2011

127 Hours - Blu-ray Review

Well, it may not have won best film of the year, it may not have one best actor of the year, and it may not have done very well at the box office but none of that takes away from how amazing this film and the story it tells is. Watching this film was one of the most intense and invigorating experiences I had all last year at the cinema and now that it has hit home video there is no excuse to not see it yourself. It is a story of redemption and recollection brought on by an impossible situation and how a man fought against the odds stacked against him to survive.

Excerpt from my original theatrical review:

Director Danny Boyle is a man that adapts to any particular story he decides to tell. He has no genre he is affiliated with and is never seen as the guy that does "blank" really well. His gift comes from his ability to morph his style of direction into whatever is needed to tell the story as best he can. His body of work encompasses such diverse subjects as hard science-fiction, zombie horror, and family films. This time he has brought to us a tale of a man. A man that was so wrapped up in how great he thought he was that he alienated all those around him to the point of him feeling he didn't need anyone else. This is the story of a man who came face to face with death, despair and all the mistakes he has made over the course of his self centered life. This is the inspiring true story of how Aron Ralston gained the courage to save his own life when all hope seemed lost...

Read the full review here.


What's on the disc?

Even though it somewhat underperformed at the box office and at the Oscars, Fox has seen fit to give us a worthy collection of extras for this release. The two documentaries included are fantastic, the commentary gives us a good idea of the enthusiasm everyone involved had for the project and we get a good set of deleted scenes along with a very different take on the ending of the film. All in all this is a great package.


Feature Commentary  - Director Danny Boyle, Producer Christian Colson and Co-Screenwriter Simon Beaufoy get together to discuss the difficulties and rewards for taking on such an amazing story of survival that took place almost entirely in one single location with one actor. While they do hit on a few interesting tidbits about why they made certain decisions and pointed out where they took liberties I found their conversation to be slightly inconsequential. It's not that I got bored or didn't care what they were saying, it just wasn't very engaging. Although perhaps there isn't much to say beyond what is on screen since the film isn't very technically challenging. A good listen regardless, all the participants are enthusiastic about what they accomplished which helped it go by rather fast.

Deleted Scenes (34:13 min) HD - That's Kind of What Soloing Is, Glad You Made It, Four Options, Just Tell Me What To Do, Message To Loved Ones, Shut Your Eyes Mom, and an Alternate Ending . In regards to the alternate ending, while it may seem odd that a film based on true events could have a different ending this is very different from how the film ends now and is definitely worth a watch. My two cents, I am glad they went with what they have in the final cut of the film because this one, while being very informative, just went on way too long and kind of lost focus of what the story it was telling was about.

Search & Rescue (14:50 min) HD - This is pretty great, it is a collection of interviews with all the people involved with the search and eventual rescue of Aron Ralston. It also serves as a great companion piece to the film itself since in the film we spend every single moment there with Aron and we have no idea (rightfully so) what is going on outside that canyon. Seeing the efforts put forth by his friends and family to find him only helped give more impact to an already impressive story.

127 Hours: An Extraordinary View (35:30 min) HD - A look behind the scenes of how they filmed this very claustrophobic film. This is a very candid look at how the actor and crew collaborated to bring us the most visceral retelling of the ordeals Aron went through. They mentioned in the commentary how Aron Ralston had been with them every step of the way while filming but it was really nice to see his involvement on the set. Plus I really loved seeing how swept up Danny Boyle got every time he watched James Franco just lose himself on camera. It was a fun watch that helps give a good impression as to the level of dedication everyone had in the making of this extraordinary film.

Short Film: God of Love By Luke Matheny (18:46 min) HD - The Oscar winner for best short film of 2010, I was surprised by its inclusion on this disc but welcome it none the less. I have not seen the other short films it was up against but I can understand why it won now. It is a very charming and well made story of a man that cannot find love so instead he gives it. Definitely worth a watch.


Final Verdict:

I loved it when I saw it last November and I still feel as though it is one of last years must see films. Director Danny Boyle and Actor James Franco came together to give us the definitive survival story based on the true accounts of Aron Ralston bravery in the face of death. The blu-ray disc comes with some great extras, great audio and despite the uneven picture quality (mostly due to the filming techniques for Mr. Boyle) a really great transfer. I cannot recommend this release enough and I have to say...



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