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127 Hours (2010) Print E-mail
Friday, 11 March 2011
Image“127 Hours,” as you probably known by now was heralded as one of 2010’s best, but underrated films.  James Franco was given the star credit of the film, and as far as I am concerned deserved the Oscar for Best Actor over Colin Firth.  But period films will always win.

The film is a inspirational and yet frightening tale of survival.  There is only one question that you will ask yourself during this film.  Would I have the guts to do that?  Aron Ralston is an outdoors adventurer that moonlights as an engineer, something that unfortunately doesn’t really come in handy in his predicament, though he tries.

In 2003 Ralston journeyed through the canyons in Utah, telling no one of his destination.  Despite meeting two beautiful women he finds himself trapped.  Misjudging the stability of a boulder, Ralston tumbles down a crevice with the boulder wedged between the two canyon walls and his right hand pinned between the wall and the boulder.  Ralston has one bottle of water, some rope, a beyond cheap multi-purpose tool and a flashlight, oh and of course the infamous video camera.

With only those tools for survival, Ralston makes it five days in the canyon, waiting to die or waiting to live.  The 95-minute film takes us back and forth through the mind of Ralston.  He is on the brink of insanity, as is the filmmaking style.  Visioning a future, Ralston does what few of us could ever do, and something that McCandless in “Into The Wild” refused to do, using a dull multi-purpose tool to cut off his arm and rip the tendons, of course he has to break the arm first.  Warning: it can get fairly graphic at the end so you may want to send the kids out.

Franco delivers a triumphant performance, which may have been enhanced or hindered by the visual filmmaking style depending on your tastes.  The film was smartly kept at just an hour and a half, though there is an alternate ending that is much lengthier.  The pace of the film keeps it going.  This is critical as a film dealing in pretty much one location can get stale kick, hence the chaotic cutting of the film’s style.  This definitely was one of the best films of 2010 and shouldn’t be missed.
I was especially looking forward to this release due to the beautiful scenery.  The Utah desert and canyons and rock make for an excellent presentation on the Blu-ray format.  Fox delivers with a stunning 1080p/AVC 1.85:1 encode.  Whatever qualms you may have with the video quality really come down to the source material.  It is difficult to shoot picturesque scenery.  The film uses mainly digital cameras, both for convenience and to keep the rugged outdoor feel.  The image is sharp and lifelike.  Sometimes it is actually distracting how true to life the textures are.  If it weren’t for the crazy editing style you would almost swear that the action was taking place right in your own home.  Colors range from washed out to vivid depending on studio lighting versus the natural lighting choices and difficulty in the outdoors.  For me it adds a sense of realism.  Shadow delineation in canyon is excellent.  All the details remain fully rendered at all times.  This video image will not disappoint you.

The audio quality can be a bit much for some audiences.  The crazy film score is overwhelming at times.  The LFE can start to move the objects in your home.  However, with crazy video editing comes crazy sound design.  Ambiences are realistic, which is a true pleasure.  The reverberation of the canyon walls and open desert are spot on.  The balance in the surrounds can get a bit drastic when it comes to the music, but the effects are nicely balanced from front to rear.  Panning and directionality in the surround channels is also accurate and convincing.  Dialogue is easily understood and prioritized.  The grittiness of the sound design might bother some, but it fits in nicely with the rest of the film’s feel.

The supplemental features present here are limited to the standard.  There are quite a bit of deleted scenes, capped off but a lengthy alternate ending.  I know, how can a true story have an alternate ending right?  Well the alternate adds more footage of what Ralston does with his life after making it out of the canyon.  There is more footage of Lizzy Caplan as Ralston’s sister as well as more escape from the canyon footage.

Director Danny Boyle provides an audio commentary, which is fairly informative.  “Search And Rescue” interviews some of the real persons behind the story.  “Short Film: The God Of Love” is an NYU short that has nothing to do with this film.  “127 Hours: An Extraordinary View” is a very nice mini documentary.  Lastly, the film is BD-Live enabled and comes with a Digital Copy disc.

“127 Hours” is heartwarming, inspirational and frightening all at the same time.  It may not be for everyone, but outdoorsmen will certainly like it.  The audio and video qualities are magnificent and make this one of the top Blu-ray releases so far this year.

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