Slumdog Millionaire (2008) [Blu-ray]
|Fox || R - 121 minutes - $39.99 || March 31, 2009|
|Reviewer: Tyler Thomas || Posted On: 2009-04-15|
Writer(s): Vikas Swarup (novel); Simon Beaufoy (screenplay)
Cast: Dev Patel, Anil Kapoor, Saurabh Shukla, Rajendranath Zutshi
Theatrical Release Date: January 23, 2009
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So Slumdog Millionaire took home a number of awards, eight to be exact, at the past Academy Awards ceremony. One of them being the coveted Motion Picture of the Year award and beat out several other candidates that may have deserved it more than this one. But is that true? Is Slumdog Millionaire everything that youíve heard about it being one of the best pictures of all time, or is this one millionaire who may be short a few thousand dollars?
Alright, before I begin, let me preface this review with words of caution. First off, there are two stories going on, one in the present and one in the past. I didnít figure this out until at least half an hour into the story, so Iíll save you some time. Jamal (Dev Patel) is in the present right now on the game show ďWho Wants To Be A MillionaireĒ and is getting every question right. Second, the other story deals with him telling it to the people who are beating the crap out of him for thinking heís cheating at the game show since he knows all of this entire useless trivia that is being asked. It turns out that his life has given him the answer to almost all of the questions provided, hence why he tells the story. So, letís begin.
I just described most of the first story, which involves adult Jamal playing on the game show with the host Prem Kumar (Anil Kapoor) badgering him from time to time and making jokes. He plays a more serious role later on in the movie that I wonít spoil, but heís not the nice guy he turns out to be. However, since he has such a vast knowledge, the show thinks heís cheating and has two people electrocute and torture him until he gives up how he knows all of this stuff. Jamal pleads with them throughout the beatings, and tells them he doesnít actually know the answers, and lets them in on the story of his life and how he came to be here.
Now the second story begins, with Jamal (Ayush Mahesh Khedekar) and his brother Salim (Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail) in a broken down village in a foreign country that is incredibly poor. The two live by stealing for a living and charge people to use a bathroom up on top of a roof. Some important person flies in a helicopter close by, and while Jamal is inside the bathroom Salim traps him in the outhouse and the only way out isÖ well.. to jump into the toilet itself. Jamal not caring enough about his own body, does so and rushes to get an autograph from the celebrity. He does so, and his mother (Sanchita Choudhary) washes him up later in the day while Salim sells the autograph for a decent amount of money. This is the bitter battle that continues throughout the film between the boys.
Back at the game show, the question comes up about the national phrase of the land, and Jamal is forced to ask the audience, one of his lifelines. Mind you heís from there, but doesnít know the answer, hence why the crew of the show gets nervous as to why he knows the tough questions but canít get the one of the easiest questions possible right without a lifeline. From then on in the game show, the cast and host think he is indeed cheating, even though from the back story that Jamal tells, every question he is asked he has come into the answer of it unknowingly in his life.
Flashback yet again (it happens like ten times, so get used to it) to Jamal and his childhood, and an angry mob has erupted and his mother dies because of it. Jamal and Salim sleep in a giant crate and a girl named Lakita (Rubiana Ali) is sitting out in the rain and Jamal invites her to sleep with them to keep warm. This is the beginning of the relationship that spawns throughout the movie, and in the end, the whole reason that he goes onto the show to win the million. Itís obviously not about the money to Jamal, as you will see later on.
I donít want to go into much more detail than I already have, for a few reasons. If you pay attention to each of the flashback scenes youíll see what I meant by how he comes into the answers of the questions fairly easily. His final question has the answer near the start of the film, so hopefully you catch it, as I didnít until my second viewing. Its things like that and a few others that make this movie possible to be seen again and again to catch what you didnít before.
While I thought the film was good, I donít think that it deserved all of the press it got. The ending is pretty obvious, and the film has a ton of dark tones to it that make it a lot darker than I expected it to be. That being said, itís not a horrible thing, but I just think itís hard to go from a happy movie to scenes of Jamal being tortured in movie progression. I liked it, donít get me wrong, but I think it deserved less press than it actually received in the movie industry. It is deserving of some of the awards it won, but I just canít help but think that this isnít the best picture from the past year.
Commentary with Danny Boyle and Dev Patel: The two discuss the film in general, including topics about the script and the rest of the cast. Boyle is pretty laid back during this one, and Patel talks a bit more as the commentary progresses.
Commentary with Producer Christian Colson and Writer Simon Beaufoy: There is a decent amount of dead air on this track, and it mirrors some of what the previous track talked about. Itís nice for two commentaries, but this one doesnít really give as much info as the other.
Deleted Scenes (34 minutes): Normally deleted scenes arenít much longer in total than a few minutes, but Fox threw out all the stops for this one. The scenes give more background into the younger years of the children as well as a few other longer ones involving the adults. Worth a gander if you enjoyed the already long film and want to see more.
Making of Slumdog Millionaire (23 minutes): This is your basic making of feature involving the cast and crew that is interesting if you enjoyed the flick. There are numerous scenes shown throughout, so I strongly recommend watching it if you get some free time.
** BLU-RAY EXCLUSIVES **
Behind the Scenes of the ďToilet SceneĒ (5 minutes): Exactly how it sounds, Boyle talks about the scene and also how he came into the movie for a brief minute.
Short Film Ė Manjha (41 minutes): A short film that has some serious contrast issues in it, as at times I could barely make out what was going on. I also wasnít that sure what exactly it was about but Iím pretty sure it was somewhat similar to the main feature.
ďBombay Liquid DanceĒ Music Video (3 minutes): The music video for Bombay Liquid Dance is shown, catchy tune.
Slumdog Cutdown (7 minutes): This is basically a recap of the entire movie in seven minutes and shows various scenes throughout.
There is also the filmís theatrical trailer available to watch.
Finally, the second disc contains a Digital Copy.
.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.
For a film that has absolutely zero special effects, it came as a huge surprise to me that this is near-reference material. Colors are perfect in nearly every scene, although there were a few scenes that did look a bit overblown and distorted from the picture. There was only at most two or three that did have a tiny element of distortion which distracted from the quality a smidge. Contrast was also a little of an issue, as some scenes were a little darker than the rest of the film. There were also multiple scenes that suffer from vast amounts of grain and noise, but they were few and far between.
I went into this film expecting the audio to be nothing of what it turned out to be. The DTS-HD MA 5.1 track is one of the best that have accompanied movies in a long time. Dialogue is loud, clear, and concise. Levels are also perfect the entire run of the film, but thatís not the best part. There are several amazing sounding scenes that are available while you watch the movie. The plane scene at the start scared the crap out of me as I wasnít expecting that loud of a noise coming from my surrounds. Speaking of surrounds, they are actively engaged throughout most of the movie. This is an amazing track, in case you canít tell.
Slumdog Millionaire takes a different for director Danny Boyle, but it wasnít a turn that I thought was needed. I enjoyed him much more in action films such as Sunshine or 28 Days Later. Iím not saying this isnít a great film, because it is, I just donít think it deserved all the awards that it won this past year. The technical package is great, sporting great audio and video qualities, although the special features package isnít as good. Itís worth a purchase if you havenít seen it yet though, and judge for yourself about the movie itself. This is one game show to take a look into.