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The Way Back Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
  • Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
  • Region: A (Region-Locked)
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Discs: 1
  • Studio: Image Entertainment
  • Blu-ray Release Date: April 19, 2011
  • List Price: $29.97

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BestBuy.com:
The Way Back - Widescreen Subtitle AC3 Dolby Dts

Purchase The Way Back on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3/5]
The Film
[Rating:3.5/5]

Video Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]

Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]

Supplemental Materials
[Rating:1/5]

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:3.5/5]

Australian director Peter Weir (Master and Commander; The Far Side of the World; Witness) has crafted this nature survival film, based on true events, as something very dissimilar from what we have come to expect from the typical Hollywood adventure film today. It is lacking in bombast and an overabundance of special effects, in stead focusing on the plight of the individuals. It is meant more as a character study and a picture of the human condition than anything else.

It is 1940, and the world is overtaken by war. Deep in the Siberian tundra inside one of the notorious Russian gulags, seven prisoners of various ethnic and national backgrounds plot their escape. The terrain they face is so unforgiving that the guards don’t even bother to mount a search effort when they escape, relying instead on the knowledge that either nature will kill them or the bounty on their heads will convince anyone who finds them to turn them in.

It is a treacherous 4,500 mile journey on foot that will take them from the deepest part of Siberia, across the parched Gobi and through the Himalayas into India before they can find freedom. Along the way, food and water are scarce, the cold, wolves, and even mosquitoes can kill them. Which among them and how many will or can survive? Among them, thieves, American construction workers, Polish resistance, and even a young orphan girl they take on along the way.

The Way Back never quite reaches the epic scope that Weir was looking for and the characters remain underdeveloped, with only hints of backstory given, but the powerful acting, beautiful landscape, and arduous journey help carry the story.

The film stars Ed Harris (Apollo 13), Jim Sturgess (Across the Universe), Saoirese Ronan (Atonement) and Colin Farrell (In Bruges).

Video Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

The AVC/MPEG-4 1080p transfer is average, with a clean source and decent detail. There’s a fine layer of grain that fluctuates just a bit and nicely delineated shadow details, but I noticed some noise and posterization in darker areas, possibly from being squeezed onto a single-layer disc.

Audio Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

Audio is good, but not great. The dialogue-driven film does provide good, clean dialogue, but the mix is stagnant and the surround channels are a bit on the quiet side. Dynamics are good, however, and whenever action does pick up a bit things sound natural.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:1/5]

There’s not much at all offered here, only one supplement worth watching at all, really, the pat-on-the-back, behind-the-scenes feaurette The Journey of the Journey (1.78:1; 480i/60; 0:30.57). It offers some interviews with the actors and good production footage. Other than that there’s the theatrical trailer (1.78:1; 480i) and nothing else.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3/5]

Almost epic, but not quite, The Way Back breaks from the usual routine of Hollywood adventure films for something a bit more challenging, which is always appreciated. The performances from the cast are strong all around even if the characters they portray lack some depth.

Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product align=”right”]B004C45AX2[/amazon-product]

BestBuy.com:
The Way Back - Widescreen Subtitle AC3 Dolby Dts

Purchase The Way Back on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com


Overall
[Rating:3/5]
The Film
[Rating:3.5/5]

Video Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]

Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]

Supplemental Materials
[Rating:1/5]

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