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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Biopic > Biography > Aviation > Amelia (2009/Fox Blu-ray)

Amelia (2009/Fox Blu-ray)


Picture: A-     Sound: B+     Extras: C     Film: C



Since her disappearance over 73 years ago, there have been many variations on the tale of Amelia Earhart.  She is a woman shrouded in mystery and her life has an element of what tall tales are made of.  Conspiracy theorists begrudgingly rejoice in the events that surrounded her memorable life and her even more shocking disappearance.  Some think she crashed into the ocean.  Others feel she spent her finally days marooned on an island.  And then there are those who feel it is better to remember her as she was and not who we want her to be.


Amelia is not a film overflowing with the speculation of Amelia Earhart’s disappearance (sorry, she disappears at the end), but rather that is only a minuscule endpoint for a woman who had a fabulous life.  Amelia Earhart was a woman who had action, adventure, honor and drama in a field that was overwhelmingly dominated by men.  Living in a man’s world Amelia had to establish her self as a force to be reckoned with.


The script is by Ronald Bass and Anna Hamilton Phelan and it is dull, dull, dull!  I am a history buff and one who likes the most accurate account of the historic events at that.  Amelia, however, has managed to take the exciting events of a stunning woman’s life and made them into a drab cinematic venture.  Amelia Earhart was a woman who represented a voice of strong feminism power in a male dominated world; yet this film has replaced power with monotonous drama, romance and watered down adventure.  Whereas I was hoping for a film more along the lines of the brilliant Aviator (though I admittedly know Amelia was no Howard Hughes) I was delivered a film that quickly fell flat.  We see Amelia develop from young adulthood, at one point enjoying the thrills of horseback riding, but soon developing a longing for the skies.  Richard Gere appears as George Putnam, Amelia Earhart promoter and future husband who tries to package and sell the admittedly independent Amelia.  The cast lineup is amazing, but every character feels restrained, overplayed and dreary.  Richard Gere is boring and somewhat cartoonish in the role.  Hilary Swank seems lost in a role that she is bigger than.  Ewan McGregor is smooth and charismatic, but offers little to the film and all in all is lackluster.


The film looks amazing and the money is obviously there; I was just in no way thrilled.  It is somewhat indescribable, but I was expecting more.  All of the acting is great and the atmosphere is stunning, but the film in the end is dull.  Swank looks incredible as Earhart; with a somewhat shy demeanor that suddenly explodes at opportune times; not to mention her uncanny resemblance.  I wish I liked the film more, but I just didn’t.


Whereas the film’s script (based on 2 biographies of Earhart) was somewhat lacking the technical features never disappoint.  The picture presented in a 1080p AVC-1 encoded image that overflows with bright, vivid, warm colors that extenuate the already crisp image, giving it a new layer of depth.  The detail is stunning with natural flesh tones, inky blacks to frame and a texture that gives the film a great realism.  A visually pleasing display for sure.  The sound is a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track that does not ‘pop’ as well as it should for a film that involves so many flybys, crowd scenes and rumblings.  The sound is by no means bad, but I expected it to be more immersive than what was delivered.  The dialogue is near perfection, but the rears are quietly utilized and I never felt the ‘boom’ of the bass during the more crucial scenes.  The sound is adequate at best, but far from disappointing.


The extras were not thrilling in the slightest as they offer up several featurettes that after viewing the film interested me very little.  Extras include Making of Amelia Featurette; The Power of Amelia Featurette; The Plane Behind the Legend Featurette; Re-constructing the Planes of Amelia Featurette; Deleted Scenes; Movietone News.  Movietone News is the best feature on the disc as it delivers 7 original movie reels featuring Amelia Earhart flights; a stunning look at the past that gives more insight than perhaps the film itself.



-   Michael P. Dougherty II


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