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Blind Side, The (2009) Print E-mail
Wednesday, 17 March 2010
ImageNothing personal against "The Hurt Locker," but "The Blind Side" was so much of a better film and deserved Best Picture this year at the Oscars.  Now, to be fair, I don't think there was any film this past year that was good enough to win best picture.  But, "The Blind Side" over "The Hurt Locker," most definitely.  I'm glad that Kathryn Bieglow won for Best Director, but "The Blind Side" surpasses "The Hurt Locker" in most every aspect.

Sure, "The Blind Side" is not full of fancy choreography and visual effects and artistic cinematography, but the film stands on its own two feet and delivers a great film experience.  That last thing the world needs is another way film with inadequacies.  "The Blind Side" delivers stellar cast performances and a heart-warming story, something that this world does need.

The film is about Michael Oher, the left tackle for the Baltimore Ravens football franchise.  His story is one of empowerment and what people in this world can do for one another.  The film is a true story, and one that needs to be told.

Leigh Anne Tuohy (Sandra Bullock) is a suburban housewife, with a daytime job, that is raising a daughter and a son.  When Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron) is enrolled at Wingate, a Christian school, the teachers and students questions the motive of his presence.  His large size indicates he is there for football.  However, his previous GPS is a 0.6.  In order to be eligible for football he must improve his grades.  Michael is a shy young man that appears to be mentally challenged.  However, it is soon discovered that is not the case.  He simply needs more attention and assistance.

When Leigh Anne catches Michael walking alone with no place to stay she shelters him.  Thus begins a long story of gratitude and family.  Michael Oher becomes a part of the Tuohy family.  Oher goes on to become an All-American and Pro football player.
"The Blind Side" is inspiring and at times almost unbelievable.  Sandra Bullock delivers a powerful and outstanding performance in this film, hence her win for Best Actress.  However, all the other cast members deliver great performances as well.  There are no annoying characters in the film and the dynamics between the characters keep the story moving.  My only criticism of the entire film is that there are a couple instances in which the film is a little redundant.  However, that is easily overlooked if not looking for something to criticize.  This is a darn near perfect film.

The video transfer is quite excellent as well.  In fact it is only shy of perfection due to a couple shots.  First, the image has nice depth.  The film grain is left intact and gives the image texture.  The black levels, contrast and brightness are all spot on.  There are no instances of overblown white levels.  Color saturation is also spot on.  The greens, reds, oranges, yellows, are all perfect.  Details are strong throughout.  Bullock's hair shows numerous details and costumes are real as can be.  My only complaint would be that there are a couple medium-close-ups that go slightly soft.  The only reason why I noticed it is that the rest of the image quality is so clean.  This is by far Warner's best transfer in recent history.

The audio track, DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, is accurate to the original source material and cannot be faulted.  The primary element in the track is the dialogue.  Dialogue remains clear and intelligible, well prioritized and full-bodied.  The balance of the audio track as a whole is exceptional.  While the rear channels don't contain a lot of discreet effects, they contain filler that provides a somewhat immersive experience.  The LFE channel kicks when relevant.  However, the full-range of the main speakers is fully utilized at all times.  Dynamics are fairly consistent, but breathing room is adequate.  This is a natural sounding film.  It is not heightened with Hollywood sound effects and subtle ambiences.  The important sound aspects of each scene are clear and that is what counts in this film.

There is certainly incentive to get the Blu-ray package in this case, as there are several more bonus features on the Blu-ray over the DVD.  The only supplements shared by both formats are some deleted scenes and a trailer.  Exclusive to the Blu-ray are the rest of the bonus materials.  "Michael Oher Exclusive" is a interview with the real Michael Oher.  "Sidelines: Conversations on 'The Blind Side'" contains two one-on-ones.  The first is with Sandra Bullock and the second is with director John Lee Hancock and Author Michael Lewis.  "Acting Coaches: Behind 'The Blind Side'" take a quick look at the real college football coaches that appeared in the film.  "The Story of Big Quinton" takes a look at actor Quinton Aaron and his relationship with the story's character.  The Blu-ray package also comes with a second disc, which functions as a DVD Copy and a Digital Copy.

Sadly, there is no audio or picture-in-picture commentary.  This is a big absence from the bonus materials.  There is so much to be told.  Sandra Bullock could certainly have contributed some interesting moments as well as perhaps the director, author, etc.  The rating for the bonus materials takes a big hit for this absence.  Also absent is the addition of any real footage of the Tuohy family, interviews, etc., with the exception of real photos during the end credits.  This is the second big hit in the rating of the bonus materials.

"The Blind Side" is a terrific film.  While it's repeatability is not super high, it is inspiring and definitely a must own.  The video and audio qualities are some the best Warner has recently released.  Highly Recommended.

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