Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Last King of Scotland Blu-ray Review

Disc Size: 39.4 GB
Film Size: 35.3 GB
Film Rating: R
Region: A

The Video
The Last King of Scotland comes to Blu-ray with a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video presentation. The film has always had a very grainy look and is also present on this Blu-ray release. The movie also features very strong oranges and yellows, likely to give a sense of the intense heat in the area.

Detail is certainly improved from DVD as is overall clarity, but is not demo material quality. The grain does affect the print quite a bit as far as depth and even detail is concerned. Like the movie, the print features quite a gritty look which is fitting.

I think this is a very accurate presentation and I can’t imagine the film looking much better than it does now. There were no technical issues to speak of, this won’t ever be demo material, but it was never meant to be anyway. It’s a good presentation and while it does not compare to the best, it is the best this film will look. 8/10.

The Audio
A 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is included and sounds good. Dialogue is presented in front and center, always crisp and easy to understand. The film’s effects are generally front heavy, most coming from the front left and right speakers.

The film’s music does expand to the surround area lightly, but mostly front heavy as well. The film is not filled with explosions, aside from a few gunfire scenes throughout. There are not many moments for the mix to truly take advantage of or shine. When surround use feels necessary it is used and quite clear.

The mix is about what I expected. It is certainly a lively track when it has the opportunity to be, but don’t go in expecting to be dazzled by the audio experience. I have no major complaints; it’s a solid mix that is likely about as good as it gets for this film. 8/10.

The Extras

Audio Commentary
By Director Kevin MacDonald.

Deleted Scenes (12:00) (SD)
Seven deleted scenes and include optional commentary by Director Kevin MacDonald.

Capturing Idi Amin (29:05) (SD)
This is a promotional documentary, featuring behind-the-scenes footage of the film.

Forest Whitaker “Idi Amin” (6:00) (SD)
Forest Whitaker talks about playing the part of Idi Amin.

Fox Movie Channel Presents (8:37) (SD)
Casting Session – The Last King of Scotland.

Theatrical Trailer (2:18) (SD)

As expected, all extras are ported over from the DVD release. I loved the Capturing Idi Amin featurette and the Forest Whitaker feature. It is unfortunate to see the theatrical trailer presented in standard definition, as well as the deleted scenes. 6/10.

The Movie
You have no idea how excited I was when Fox Home Entertainment announced a Blu-ray release for The Last King of Scotland. The film should be nothing new to most readers as it definitely received great attention during award season.

The film is based on the novel by Giles Foden and is about Idi Amin and his affect on Uganda. The movie starts off with a young Doctor named Nicholas (James McAvoy). He wants to make a difference with his medical talents and decides to use a globe to decide where he should go and help people. Ultimately he decides to go to Uganda, his second pick.

This is where Nicholas comes across General Idi Amin, a man who quickly came to power in Uganda. His hand is injured and in need of medical treatment. Nicholas helps him out and quickly forms a friendship with the ruler.

Their friendship quickly grows and Nicholas soon becomes his confidant, his help in making decisions and more. The more and more Nicholas sees throughout their friendship, the more he realizes the man that Idi Amin really is.

The performances in this movie are absolutely perfect. Forest Whitaker really deserved his Best Actor wins as he really does become Idi Amin like nobody else could. It’s funny to see him speak as a regular person and then see him in this film, because the difference is so huge. Everything about the character is believable and becomes real; you would think his accent was natural.

James McAvoy also does a great job as the young Doctor, but having seen him in quite a few films, he does great with whatever part he is given. He is far more replaceable than Whitaker would be for this film, but he still brings a very strong performance.

The Last King of Scotland is a fantastic film and really gives a better sense of the man that was Idi Amin. There were so many terrible things going on and the film gives a light sense of it all, although does not focus too much on the many deaths he caused.

The film certainly deserves all the praise it received and continues to receive. I don’t think the film is perfect as it could have had a bigger impact overall, but it does a good job. The Last King of Scotland brings a truly remarkable performance from Forest Whitaker and a gripping story with it. 9/10.

Blu-news Summary
The Last King of Scotland is a very good Blu-ray release. Featuring strong video and audio presentations and decent extras make this one ‘Highly Recommended.

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