B+ Sound: B+ Extras: D Film: D
no doubt that Viggo Mortensen is one of the few consistent big screen stars of
any merit, substance or star quality we have today, as his recent outings with
David Cronenberg have again confirmed.
However, even he can pick a dud and the Rings films are the main reason he survived Hidalgo, the family-oriented adventure epic about a man and his
horse going on a 3,000 mile race, though the film seems much, much, much longer.
find itself somewhere between Ben-Hur,
Raiders Of The Lost Ark and Lawrence of Arabia, the once-promising
Joe Johnston (The Rocketeer) takes
on more than he can handle and the 136 minutes goes on and on and on and on
with nothing to save it. They even got
Omar Sharif to join the cast including C. Thomas Howell, a Malcolm McDowell
cameo and mostly unknowns to spice this up, but the also-once-promising John
Fusco (Crossroads, Young Guns, Thunderheart) screenplay makes the fatal mistake of being far too
self-impressed, leading to so much mud, you’ll think global warming flooded the
sands of the desert. The film will thus
remain a curio that will constantly disappoint except for a very small
following at best.
2.35 X 1 image was shot in real anamorphic Panavision and that benefits this
transfer highly, that is until bad digital effects show up made more obvious by
the superior fidelity of the filming in this better-than-Super 35mm format by
Director of Photography Shelley Johnson, A.S.C., keeping it from looking like
just another Lawrence of Arabia
wanna-be. However, it can still look
phony at times that adds to the many annoyances of the film. The PCM 24/48 5.1 mix also has its impressive
moments, but though it is better than the Dolby Digital mixes here and in
previous DVD releases, the James Newton Howard score is one of his weaker ones
and the soundfield is strong at best without much distinction throughout.
include a making-of featurette and second on The Spanish Mustangs, that of
Hidalgo the Horse’s ancestors.
- Nicholas Sheffo