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Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - February, 2012

ARTICLE INDEX

"Dead Poets Society" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Chris Heinonen

movie-january-2012-dead-poets-society

Synopsis

For generations, Welton Academy students have been groomed to live lives of conformity and tradition – until new professor John Keating inspires them to think for themselves, live life to the fullest, and “Carpe Diem.”  This unconventional approach awakens the spirits of the students, but draws the wrath of a disapproving faculty when an unexpected tragedy strikes the school.  With unforgettable characters and beautiful cinematography, Dead Poets Society will captivate and inspire you time and time again.

 

Specifications

  • Disney
  • 1989, Color, PG, 2 Hours, 9 Minutes
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Codec: AVC
  • 1080p
  • English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Starring: Robin Williams, Ethan Hawke, Robert Sean Leonard
  • Directed by Peter Wier
Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Yes
  • Sex: Very Mild
  • Language: Yes

Commentary

I believe I’m the only person in my high school class that didn’t watch this film growing up, and really had no idea what it was about prior to watching it now.  Robin Williams delivers a well balanced, and atypically understated, performance but the picture is really driven by the students.  With many young actors who have since gone on to do far more, they really help to carry the film along and make you care about them.

I never had a teacher like The Captain in high school, though I did have one in college that helped me to think outside the box, and whom I regularly visited and talked with even after I was no longer in his class.  Those viewers with similar experiences will find something in Dead Poets Society that they recognize from their own lives, and that will help them to overlook the small flaws in the film as it connects with them personally.

Technical

The quality of the film was a bit inconsistent, but I believe a lot of that is attributed to the stock and how it was shot.  For the most part the images are a little bit soft, though there are a couple of images where the texture from Robin Williams coat is very detailed and just jumps off the screen.  There doesn’t seem to be any signs of noise reduction or anything else that would strip this fine detail from the image, so I believe this is more due to the quality of the original negative.  One of the early cave scenes is also shot very darkly and there is a lack of shadow detail for it, but this also might have been intentional.

The soundtrack is anchored across the front for the most part, with very little surround or LFE use throughout.  It does a very good job of bringing across the score, with all it’s 1980’s cheesiness, and dialog is well rendered, but it doesn’t have the full clarity or immersion that a modern film does.

Extras

Audio Commentary, a few featurettes, and the theatrical trailer.