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Brokeback Mountain Print E-mail
Wednesday, 11 March 2009
Image"Brokeback Mountain" has been hyped ever since its release in theaters back in 2005.  Honestly, I cannot see what all the fuss is about.  The movie has some shining moments, but the majority of the film lags something awful.  That apparently did not stop the film from winning three Academy Awards, including Best Director.

The film has been the subject of so many gay spoofs if is unbelievable.  The Jake Gyllenhaal and the late Heath Ledger both deliver terrific performances.  However, the relationship between the two gets old quite quickly.  The rest of the cast is stellar as well.  Both Michelle Williams an Anne Hathaway are brilliant as wives who have gay husbands. 

Ledger and Gyllenhaal star as Ennis and Jack, respectively.  The two young men are cowboys that look for work where they can.  In the summer of 1963 the two join forces in Signal, Wyoming to herder the sheep for a businessman.  They spend the summer up Brokeback Mountain tending after the thousands of sheep.  One night, the two sleep in the same tent and in what seems like a half-asleep and half-awake moment, they have sex.  Disgusted at this the next morning, Ennis avoids Jack.  Eventually he tries to persuade him that it was a one shot deal.  Of course, this isn't the case and the two continue fooling around for the rest of the summer.

When the men descend the mountain, each goes their separate way.  Ennis returns to his female fiancée and gets married.  The two have two baby girls together.  Jack returned to life in the rodeo.  It is there that he meets Lureen (Anne Hathaway).  They move fast and all of a sudden they are married and have a baby boy together.

Four years go by and all of a sudden Jack alerts Ennis that he is coming through Wyoming.  Without any indication, the two resume their love affair.  Ennis' wife catches the two kissing immediately.  For some reason she just carries about her business for years to come, without saying a word.

Jake and Ennis continue to meet in the mountains a few times each year.  For the rest of the time they return to a normal life.  Jack tries to persuade Ennis to leave his wife and kids and get a ranch with him where they could live the rest of their lives.  I'm sorry, but why did the men get married if they had tendencies to be gay?  When apart from Jack, Ennis seems totally normal, at first.  There is nothing to indicate that he is unhappy with his heterosexual life.

Perhaps I am just ignorant or maybe naïve, but I did not get this movie at all.  The film didn't go anywhere in particular.  It could have jumped from the beginning to the end without losing much.  I am not hesitant to say that this film is not my cup of tea.  It is not because it is about gay lovers, it is because the story is about two self-absorbed a-holes that destroy the lives of two beautiful women and other acquaintances just because they can't admit they are homosexual. The video transfer of this Blu-ray appears to be the same as the previous HD DVD release.  The hues are a bit bland, but colors remain lush.  I was disappointed with the level of details.  The green trees and grass in the mountains don't have as much details as one would expect.  They look like green globs.  There is a large amount of grain that persists throughout the film.  It is not bothersome, but it is there.  On top of that, there is a fair amount of digital noise reduction.  Edge enhancement is also present in certain low-light sequences.  Textures are good however.  The jean shirts are well defined.  Fleshtones are dull but stable.  The entire image appears to have a wash over it due to the noise reduction.  This is an upgrade over the standard DVD release.

The audio is pretty pathetic.  The best thing about it is the dynamic range.  When the hail storm comes in it is quite startling.  However, it is about the only time that audio reaches a powerful level and in which the LFE channel has prominence.  The dialogue is the center of the film's audio.  Sadly, it is very poor.  The dialogue constantly dips so low that it becomes unintelligible.  In addition, the dialogue suffers due to the thick cowboy accents.  It almost seems as if Ledger had cotton balls shoved in his mouth.  I couldn't understand half of what he said.  The surround channels contain decent amounts of ambience at points.  They do not contain any discrete sound effects, even during the rodeo sequences.  The DTS-HD track offers more than the standard DVD's Dolby Digital track, but it is still subpar.

The special features on this disc are limited.  It contains the same footage as the previous HD DVD and standard DVD releases.  "A Groundbreaking Success" is a new featurette takes a brief look at the effect of this film in the last few years.  "Music from the Mountain" is a typical music score featurette.  "Impression from the Film" is a collection of movie stills.  "On Being a Cowboy," "Directing from the Heart: Ang Lee," and "From Script to Screen: Interviews with Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana" are the original featurettes.  "Sharing the Story: The Making of 'Brokeback Mountain'" is a typical making-of featurette.  Lastly, the disc is BD-Live enabled with MyScenes.

"Brokeback Mountain" is not as pivotal as it is made out to be.  The movie lags and is completely selfish.  The video quality is decent, but the audio quality is poor.  Both still offer an upgrade over the original DVD release.  Recommended only for fans.

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