Although the film started out with a fair amount of hype, it seemed once Amelia debuted, and to mostly negative reviews at that, it floated away into oblivion. Despite star Hilary Swank being at the top of Oscar lists most years past, it didn’t help this film get off the ground as it merely acted as an abbreviated (yet simultaneously elongated) History Channel documentary with the coldness and “to-do” list-style narration that the film took on. When the final frames of the film rolls into the credits, you’re left wondering not only the final fate of Amelia Earhart herself, but also how this film could have become so misdirected with such talent in front and behind the camera.
Experience the romance, struggle and triumph of legendary aviatrix Amelia Earhart as she chases love and lives her dreams in Amelia, landing on Blu-ray Disc with Digital Copy and DVD February 2 from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. Hailed as “The Queen of the Air,” Amelia boldly flew into the annals of history with her solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean. Bound by ambition and love, her enduring marriage to George Putnam could not be broken by her determination to fly, or a secret passionate affair. Equal parts gripping drama, stirring romance and epic adventure, Amelia will take your breath away and send your spirit soaring!
When the film first started I thought it was just going to be a “head first” type setup at first. We would jump into Amelia’s career already started and back peddle our way back from her slow uprising. While this is mostly what happened, we skipped past nearly the majority of her younger years and straight into her adult life. This would have been fine if it wasn’t so abrupt and jarring, as it set the film up as if we’d already known everything about Earhart up to that point. The film glides casually along after that point, but I soon found myself looking at the clock and wondering if we were ever going to get into who Earhart herself was or instead just focus on her accomplishments.
And it really was just about her accomplishments. It shied away, for the most part, from her personal life. Richard Gere and Ewan McGregor were but tiny footnotes in the grand scheme of things and I couldn’t help but wonder what the ultimate goal of the film itself was. It certainly wasn’t an in-depth biopic or anything; no, it was very abbreviated “best of” style outing in this film. I mentioned in the intro that this was a abbreviated but simultaneously long and I really can’t help but come back to that line of thought. The film was so brief in Earhart’s actual life, but it prolonged some of her airplane voyages to an almost exhausting degree. It’s great that they wanted to show off all of the trials and tribulations she faced in the air, but it honestly got to be too much by the end of it. It ended up being a near two-hour long expedition into her career in the air, with very little deliberation onto her life on the ground.
It’s really a shame the film didn’t branch out more into Earhart’s life. Perhaps it was too afraid of conjecture, as it seemed she led quite a private personal life and anything not related to flight was not widely as publicized. For that matter they probably could’ve knocked McGregor out of the film completely as her “affair” or whatever it was she was supposed to have with him was reduced to a 30 second elevator kiss. It left the viewer wondering what and where her loyalties lie…but in the end they probably focused on the sky more than anything.
In the end I’ve never watched a biopic and felt that I’ve known so little about a person before. It’s not like I want to know what their favorite brand of toothpaste was, but a general overview of what and who they were is nice. It’s a shame that the film was so quick-and-to-the-point about her life though; the performances were all really solid and quite extraordinary. Gere’s role was understated but Swank really pulled off Amelia Earhart herself with quite adeptness. I’ve only seen and heard Earhart speak briefly from old news footage, but Swanks voice and mannerisms seemed to match up quite well with what I had in my head already.
The film definitely didn’t hurt in the performance or visual effects departments; it was all really top-notch work along those lines. It was just the script that needed a lot more polish. It traveled from Point A to B without a hiccup and that alone was cause for a bit of boredom while watching the film. I wish it had been able to offer more, but alas this film really just seemed to scratch the surface. Still worth a Rental for the performances and visuals, but other than that it’s a very forgettable movie unfortunately.
Fox releases Amelia in a standard two-disc Elite Blu-ray case without any kind of slipcover or fancy cover. To be honest I not only forgot this film existed but that it was also even on the release docket for February…that’s how under-the-radar this whole film was. In any case inside the package are the two discs, one for the film on Blu-ray and another disc containing the digital copy, and the usual inserts apply here as well.
Video is an AVC encoded transfer and while I couldn’t help but be disappointed by the film, the transfer was simply something I wasn’t able to look past—it really looked fantastic. The colors were slightly muted (to harken back to the era this film took place…when colors were apparently slightly washed out or something), but still very vibrant at times. There is a remarkable amount of detail housed in this image and there wasn’t a single frame that looked out of place. Leather jackets, plane detailing and just about every little strand of hair that passes in front of the frame is absolutely bursting with detail to the point that you could just pause any still of the film and pick out all the little elements of detail and clarity that the Blu-ray transfer offers to the film. If nothing else you’ll enjoy looking at the film, that’s pretty much guaranteed.
And so is enjoying the DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix too. While modern planes are all about jet engines, the planes seen in Amelia are of the more taxing variety—complete with engine buzzing, stalls, and clunks. Because of the varied engine sounds, as well as the general aural atmosphere that being in a plane offers, the audio mix here it really spread out across the channels. There are plenty of subwoofer thundering and surround sputters, as the audio mix is almost always offering something up to the ears. On the ground things are a bit more subdued, but Amelia is almost always in some kind of social gathering or outdoor event and as a result the surrounds kick in quite frequently there as well.
The good news on the extras front is that they’re almost all in high-definition. The bad news is they don’t even total an hour.
Deleted scenes (13:53, 1080p)
Making Amelia (23:06, 1080i)
The Power of Amelia Earhart (10:45, 1080i)
The Plane Behind the Legend (4:33, 1080i)
Re-constructing the Planes of Amelia (6:37, 1080i)
Movietone News (6:41, SD)
It’s a fair selection, with director Mira Nair talking about most of the major elements of the film’s production. It’s not a real surprise there’s no commentary given the films performance at the box office, but it’s nice to hear about how she strived for as little CGI as possible (even getting an authentic [and working] Lockheed Electra for the film).
Overall Amelia’s Blu-ray release is definitely worth a Rental at the very least. It’s a very mediocre film truth be told, but the A/V presentation is quite a stand-out.
Amelia is now available on Blu-ray and DVD.