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Category:    Home > Reviews > Adventure > Comedy > Horses > Racing > Hidalgo (2004/Blu-ray)

Hidalgo (2004/Blu-ray)


Picture: B+     Sound: B+     Extras: D     Film: D



There is 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.


Hoping to 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.


The 1080p 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.


Extras include a making-of featurette and second on The Spanish Mustangs, that of Hidalgo the Horse’s ancestors.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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