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The Right Stuff
DVD | 45 (7" single, 45 rpm)
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In the middle of the 20th century, America pondered its future - and looked to the skies. Based on Tom Wolfe's book, The Right Stuff is the tale of how that future began, a thrilling epic of intrepid test pilot Chuck Yeager and the seven pioneering astronauts of the Project Mercury space program. Philip Kaufman scripts and directs, pushing the envelope with a filmmaking bravado that matches this soaring story of training and heroism; and of sudden fame for which there is no training. Ed Harris, Barbara Hershey, Sam Shepard, Dennis Quaid and Fred Ward are among the perfect cast of this winner of 4 Academy Awards* that in a pristine 20th-anniversary digital transfer remains the stuff of must-see entertainment. Let's light this candle, flyboys!
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Top Customer Reviews
I'm not Gene Shalit so I'm not going go into detail about the background and story. I'll summarize that up by saying that this movie stands up tremendously well after 30 years. The acting, the story, the pacing, the music, the cinematography and the pre-CGI special effects are all still top shelf. If you watch the special features, you'll realize just how amazing that last point is. Because of the way the special effects were filmed and edited together, there's just no way of telling when you're looking at the real thing or something the special effects crews came up with.
As for the product itself, this isn't just another DVD reworked into blu-ray format. They used a high quality, super clean source that was free of dust or dirt marks, had no film to digital jitters and no traces color fading. To me, it was like seeing the film for the first time. On the audio side, the score was lush and sounded full through my surround system while sound effects popped out of the air like they were right in the room. The book is a nice bonus, with lots of great pictures of both the actors and their real life counterparts. Really, my only strike would be the lack of full length commentary for the film (some commentary is included on the extra disc). But that's subjective.
Speaking of subjective, I'd like to take a moment to recognize those who have rated this film as one star. The majority of those doing so did it because it wasn't historically accurate. To them I say you're really off the mark. First, if this movie were shot to match history word for word and event for event, it would have cost about the same as the Gross Domestic Product of Ireland, been about 12 hours long, and as entertaining to watch as a Chevy rusting. Second, if you're such a fan boy of the truth, then use this movie as your gateway to spreading it. I watched this movie for the first time when I was 16. It caused me to want to learn more about the these seven brave men and the ones that followed. This in turn lead me to reading a whole lot of books over the years. And when my daughters joined me on the couch to watch this blu-ray with me, I was prepared to answer their questions, fill in back story, and point out the messages and symbolism the filmmakers were conveying. So save your one star reviews for the atrocity that is Pearl Harbor. Instead, take the time to introduce someone to this epically filmed, entertaining springboard into history that will keep the CGI jaded youth of today engaged and might even light a spark in them.
This film has been properly remastered for both the video and audio, of that I have no doubt. Despite a Mbps rate that is lower than many current films on Blu Ray, averaging in the mid to high 20's, the flesh tones are spot on and color resolution throughout the film on BR is excellent. While blacks do not go as deep toward pluge as other movies on Blu Ray, for a film this old, they appear just fine. Details are easily scene, even in the desert and field shots. Since this was shot on film, there is a softer focus to the film's imaging but, all in all, this remastering is quite excellent. At no point did I see any artifacting or aliasing and there are a number of shots where stair stepping could have been created but, thankfully, weren't.
Audio is Dolby True HD 5.1 lossless and they did an excellent job with the audio editing with extensive use of panning between the front and rear stages as well as discreet directionality for foley fx in the surrounds. Having a 7.1 audio system, I found that the two extra surrounds really added a great deal to the audio mix and immersed oneself into the roar of the jets. There are not that many older films, or even new ones, with such an excellent use of the home theater surround stages.
Really quality extras on the second disc with documentaries that go past a simple 'Making Of'. There was a goodly use of real and historic footage from the era, as well as focus on the story development, footage of the creation of the effects before there was CGI and some honest and interesting interviews all done recently and not back 30 years ago. How the actors see things now in retrospect after all this time was illuminating. There were also interactive time lines of the Americas space race and a great deal more that I haven't yet seen. This movie is over 3 hours long and you get about that just in the extras as well.
I did not have this film on a Standard Def DVD but am completely happy I have it on Blu Ray.
I do hope that this review has been of some HELP to you in deciding your purchase. All my reviews focus solely upon the quality of the actual disc and not redundant summaries and acting opinions.
Thanks for reading.
I wanted to write this review not only to pay tribute to the history, but to praise the actors and actresses who made this story live and breathe. Each one does a remarkable job that deserves accolades. This movie should have one for best picture. I guess it is only fair that no one actor be singled out over the others, because each one is so superb. While it is easy to focus on the actors who played the Mercury astronauts, the women who played their wives were luminous. Barbara Hershey as Glennis Yeager; Pamela Reed as Trudy Cooper; Veronica Cartwright as Betty Grissom and Mary Jo Deschanel as Annie Glen all give Oscar-worthy performances. This is a film that ranks in my top ten all time greatest all around movies ever.