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The Aviator [UK Release] Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (24Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, German DTS 5.1, English Audio Descriptive Dolby Digital 2.0
  • Subtitles: English, English HOH, German
  • Region: B (Region-Locked)
  • Classification: 12
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray )
  • Studio: Miramax/StudioCanal UK
  • Run Time:
  • Blu-ray Release Date: September 19, 2011
  • RRP: £24.99

[amazon-product region=”uk” tracking_id=”bluraydefinit-21″]B005EKHEEQ[/amazon-product]

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.co.uk

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Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3.5/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG  thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:4/5]

With 5 Academy Awards in 2005 including awards for cinematography, costume design and Best Supporting Actress for Cate Blanchett, Martin Scorsese’s 2004 film The Aviator is a high-flying biopic that delves into the early life of the billionaire movie mogul and aviation innovator Howard Hughes, played here by Leonardo DiCaprio.

Spanning the late 1920s to the mid 1940, the film follows Hughes’ beginnings as an independent Hollywood maverick, directing the then most expensive film ever made, Hell’s Angels, through his love affairs with various Hollywood starlets, like Katharine Hepburn (Blanchett), Ava Gardner (Kate Beckinsale), and Jean Harlow (Gwen Stefani). Finally, it follows his innovation of the commercial aviation industry with his purchase of TWA, inventions of new, innovative long-distance airplanes, and his challenge to Pan-Am’s cross-Atlantic flights, while he slowly descends into a state of mental incapacity, suffering from an undiagnosed case Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

The film is filled with spectacular aerial visual effects, the likes of which hadn’t been seen since Top Gun, but DiCaprio is a bit unconvincing as Hughes. The true star of this film really is Cate Blanchett who earned her Oscar for sure playing a confident, quirky, yet charming Katherine Hepburn.

Video Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

While The Aviator doesn’t look anywhere near as bad as another recent Miramax release from StudioCanal UK (formerly Optimum Home Entertainment) that I just reviewed, The Talented Mr. Ripley, it still doesn’t quite look like the best of the catalogue releases we’ve ever seen. Colors are generally strong, but contrast and detail tend to look flat. The film’s grain structure is a bit inconsistent as well, at times jumping a tad, looking rather rough. This can be seen often in the blue skies during the flying scenes. Still, this is a better overall AVC encodement than Ripley by miles.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

The Aviator’s DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack is a wonderful experience. From the very opening scenes, the sound design of this release puts you up in the air with the rumble of classic airplanes that fly overhead, off to the sides and across the room, all with a good bit of heft supplied by the subwoofer and natural sounding high frequencies. Dialogue is pure, without a hint of clipping and it never drops below the fray of sounds. Quieter scenes are just as good, with a nice amount of atmospherics in the surround channels and good balance of back to front sounds.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:3.5/5]

Most of the supplements here are rather self-explanatory and they cover everything from the set designs and costumes of the film to Howard Hughes’ affliction. While the supplements are abundant, they are all rehashed standard definition featurettes.

The supplements provided with this release:

  • Filmmaker Commentary
  • Deleted Scene: Howard Tells Ava About His Car Accident (1.33:1; PAL)
  • A Life Without Limits: The Making of The Aviator (1.33:1; PAL; 00:23:02)
  • The Role of Howard Hughes in Aviation History (1.33:1; PAL; 00:14:31)
  • Modern Marvels: Howard Hughes, A History Channel Documentary (1.33:1; PAL; 00:43:35)
  • The Affliction of Howard Hughes: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (1.33:1; PAL; 00:14:06)
  • OCD Panel Discussion with Leonardo DiCaprio, Martin Scorsese, and Howard Hughes’ Widow, Terry Moore (1.33:1; PAL; 00:14:53)
  • Constructing The Aviator: The Work of Dante Feretti (1.33:1; PAL; 00:05:56)
  • Costuming The Aviator: The Work of Sandy Powell (1.33:1; PAL; 00:03:35)
  • The Age of Glamour: The Hair and Makeup of The Aviator (1.33:1; PAL; 00:08:08)
  • Scoring The Aviator: The Work of Howard Shore (1.33:1; PAL; 00:07:14)
  • The Wainwright Family – Loudon, Rufus, and Martha (1.33:1; PAL; 00:05:07)

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3.5/5]

While the StudioCanal UK Blu-ray release of The Aviator is somewhat underwhelming as far as its video quality is concerned, the film and its visuals are still rather compelling, to say the least. The soundtrack is a spectacular home theatre experience to be sure.

Additional Screen Captures


[amazon-product region=”uk” tracking_id=”bluraydefinit-21″]B005EKHEEQ[/amazon-product]

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.co.uk

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3.5/5]

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