Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Blind Side Blu-ray Review

Disc Size: 36.5 GB
Film Size: 29.9 GB
Film Rating: PG-13
Region: ABCThe Video
The Blind Side comes to Blu-ray with a 1080p VC-1 video presentation. The movie looks great in high-definition…for the most part. I watched the movie several times on Blu-ray, first on a regular HDTV and most recently on my high-def projector setup. Both times I was quite impressed but did not find the transfer perfect.

Colors were one of the most appealing aspects of the high-def presentations, they were always very rich and vibrant and compared to the best on the format. That being said, I did not find detail to be as impressive as I had hoped. Yes, most scenes do look very strong detail-wise, but softer scenes happen occasionally which makes the presentation feel a tad inconsistent.

The upgrade from the included DVD is very nice to see. Everything is notably improved and I am so glad Warner Bros. gave the film the healthy encode it deserved, this was a nice surprise to see the film alone could not fit on a BD25, partly due to runtime but if released in the past it would have likely had a smaller encode.

Overall the Blind Side looks great in high-definition. While it falls short of comparing to the best, I didn’t find a moment in the film that could be confused with standard DVD. The Blu-ray release will definitely please if not impress viewers. 8.5/10.

The Audio
An English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is included as the lossless option. Also included are French, Spanish and Portuguese 5.1 Dolby Digital audio tracks. Subtitle options include English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese.

I never expected to be impressed by the audio quality of The Blind Side, but I found myself pleasantly surprised. No, this mix won’t compare to any of your favorite demo materials now, but it presents everything in a far better way than I anticipated.

The film could have been a very front heavy experience, and while it can be, the mix pays attention to the surround speakers and definitely helps add to the many environments in the movie. Whether it be a busier scene at the school or a quiet bedroom, everything just sounds great.

The clarity of dialogue was superb and the film’s music comes through lightly but beautifully. The film’s audio effects manage to incorporate the surround speakers nicely and it feels so fitting you may not even notice how attentive the mix is.

The reason the track won’t stand out to many is because it has very little to work with as far as creating an exciting audio experience from beginning to end. That being said, it works with what it has and creates a far more immersive experience than I expected.

The track isn’t demo material, but there is no way one could be disappointed by the high-def audio mix. It provides a clear upgrade from DVD in every aspect and I don’t think it could have sounded much better. There are far more impressive audio mixes on Blu-ray, but also because they have the best material to work with. 8.5/10.

The Extras

Disc 1:

The Real Michael Oher: An Exclusive Interview (10:03) (HD)
Hear from the real Michael Oher, whose personal life is the base for The Blind Side.

Acting Coaches: Behind the Blind Side (4:52) (HD)
Go behind-the-scenes of filming the coach scenes. As you may already know, the actual coaches of the time played their characters in the film.

The Story of Big Quinton (13:41) (HD)
This is a feature about Quinton Aaron, who plays Michael Oher in the film. He was basically unknown before being cast as the lead actor.

Sideline Conversations with Sandra Bullock & Leigh Anne Tuohy (5:11) (HD)
A series of interviews between Sandra Bullock & Leigh Anne Tuohy includes the following features/discussions:
Becoming Leigh Anne
First Meeting
Tuohy’s on Set

Sideline Conversations with Director John Lee Hancock & Author Michael Lewis (27:37) (HD)
A series of interviews between Director John Lee Hancock and Author Michael Lewis includes the following features/discussions:
Book to Screen
Finding the Blind Side
Gender Identity
Meeting Leigh Anne
Michael Oher
Sandra and Leigh Anne
Why the Blind Side

Deleted Scenes (7:08) (HD)
Four deleted scenes are included and are presented in high-definition.

Disc 2:

DVD Copy of the film

Digital Copy of the film
Compatible with iTunes and Windows Media.

The extras included on this release are really great and informative. I do wish an audio commentary was included, but the features do answer a lot of behind-the-scenes questions. The DVD copy being included is also a nice addition that I’m sure many viewers will appreciate.

Please note that the Blu-ray Combo Pack is available only for a limited time and will eventually become a standard Blu-ray release. The version I am reviewing is the combo pack version which will be available at all retailers upon initial release. 8/10.

The Movie
The Blind Side is a film I have come to love more and more upon several viewings (as if my theatrical experience was not great enough). I watched the film theatrically upon its opening, I read a bit about the story before and I definitely have a lot of love for Sandra Bullock. Not only is she talented, but she’s quite attractive as well.

When I finished the film the first time I knew it was going to receive Oscar buzz quite quickly, Sandra Bullock was great in the movie, but also had great material to work with. I’m a sucker for inspiration sports flicks, and while The Blind Side doesn’t always put the focus on the sport itself, it makes it even an enjoyable experience for those who are not a fan of sports.

The film of course is about NFL’s Michael Oher and his difficult life growing up. It’s not all pain when a well-off family comes across him and takes him in to live with them temporarily. Leigh Anne Tuohy (Sandra Bullock) quickly forms a connection with Michael Oher and takes him in permanently as if he were always her child.

Leigh Anne Tuohy provides him with many opportunities, including educational and recreational. All these things he couldn’t even dream of based on how he was living and growing up before, his background set him up for failure. Anyone can make somebody of themselves, but when your mother has her own issues and you come from a bad environment, it makes it quite hard to succeed as a teenager when you didn’t learn very much as a young child.

The film was not well received by all critics, but there are specific reasons which I can see why it would turn off some viewers. I have read someone compare the film a bit to Forrest Gump meets Water Boy, which to be honest I found the comparison very extreme.

I believe there was some negative response from Michael Oher originally on how they were setting up his character in the film, but everything was resolved and the family became very supportive of the movie and its many publicity events. I definitely don’t think Michael Oher or his family would still support the film if he still thought he was being portrayed wrong. Yes, money talks, but that was never a problem for the family so I don’t think that was the resolution.

I thought The Blind Side was a very inspirational film in so many aspects and the casting in the film just feels right. I loved the Tuohey family and I love that Sandra Bullock was not relatable to her many previous characters, which many actors tend to do.

She really became her character and we quickly got that warm motherly feel with her throughout. Nothing felt acted, it felt so real and was very touching. I was so excited when she won Best Actress at the Academy Awards this year as she definitely deserved it. This was her first Oscar nomination and her first win throughout her very successful career.

Upon repeated viewings on Blu-ray, I have come to love the movie more and more. The film is one that is definitely for everyone and appropriate for all ages despite a few moments of fitting language. I loved every aspect of the movie and I quickly fell in love with the characters and the story.

The Blind Side has quickly become of my all-time favorite movies and definitely one of the best from 2009. The film is over two hours long but not once have I found myself checking a clock or my phone throughout several viewings. The movie is extremely entertaining and something I think many will come to love if they give it a chance. 10/10.

The Blu-news Summary
The Blind Side is one of 2009’s best films, featuring a great video and audio mix. The extras on this release are also entertaining and the DVD copy inclusion is great. The Blu-ray release is of course a ‘Must Own’ for fans of the film and ‘Highly Recommended’ to everyone else.

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