Walk the Line (2005) [Blu-ray]

Genre(s): Biographical / Drama / Music
Fox || PG13 - 135 minutes - $29.99 || February 2, 2010
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2010-02-17


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

B L U - R A Y
.:: EXCLUSIVES ::.

Blu-ray Exclusives

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: James Mangold
Writer(s): Johnny Cash (books); Gill Dennis & James Mangold (written by)
Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Reese Witherspoon, Ginnifer Goodwin, Robert Patrick


Theatrical Release Date: November 18, 2005


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Feature Commentary
  • 3 Featurettes
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Extended Musical Sequences
  • Theatrical Trailer


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (2.39)
  • English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), English (Dolby Stereo), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English SDH, Cantonese, Korean, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

Plot: Singer. Rebel. Outlaw. Hero. With his driving freight-train chords, steel-eyed intensity and a voice as dark as the night, the legendary “Man in Black” revolutionized music – and forged his legacy as a genuine American icon.

Sometimes there are movies that are memorable solely for the performances. And some movies are remembered in spite of the performances. However, Walk the Line is one of the more complete movies of the 21st century with two incredible performances from Joaquin Phoenix, who had the unfortunate luck of facing Philip Seymour Hoffman for the Best Actor Academy Award, and Reese Witherspoon who rightly took the Best Actress award. But if not for the patient direction by James Mangold, none of it would’ve mattered. Yes, Phoenix encompassed the very essence of Johnny Cash, but Mangold fleshed out Cash’s life, the highs and the very lows, and gives us a reason to care.

Overall, between two brilliant performances, a great supporting cast headlined by Robert Patrick as Johnny Cash’s judgmental father, a fantastic screenplay/adaptation and the direction by James Mangold, I thought at the time Walk the Line was one of the best movies of 2005 and I feel that it’s one of the better films of this new 21st century.

On a side note: How often do we back-to-back great biographical movies? 2004 brought us Jamie Foxx and his Oscar win for Ray followed by Walk the Line. Sometimes these bio-dramas don’t pan out as planned, but these two are great movies and would make for some nice one night viewing.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Good news is all the features have been ported over from the 2-disc “Collector’s Edition” release. Bad news is this does not have the Extended Cut (apparently the French Blu-ray does have the extended version, so go figure). Also, any new features that were in the Extended Cut were not carried over either.

Audio Commentary by Co-Writer/Director James Mangold – Although I don’t normally care for these solo tracks, Mangold gives us a ton of information about the production, casting and other aspects.

More Man in Black: Deleted Scenes (23:13; HD) – These are pretty good scenes but as Mangold describes in the optional commentary, they were excised to keep the film’s length down and to keep the pacing/energy up.

Extended Musical Sequences (5:40; HD) – These are just some extra musical sequences (obviously) that weren’t used in the final film. Still, it’s nice to see them here.

We also have a few featurettes, most of them fairly basic:

Folsom, Cash & the Comeback (11:47) has interviews with those who knew and followed Johnny Cash and how the Folsom concert changed everything. Oddly, there are no (or very, very little) photos or archive interviews with Cash himself, instead they showed stills of Phoenix as Cash.

Celebrating the Man in Black: The Making of Walk the Line (21:38) is a decent making-of featurette that has more interviews with those who knew Cash or were fans of his (including Henry Rollins, Kris Kristofferson, Kid Rock). It also has the cast and crew who worked on the film. Based on how this is presented, I assume it originally aired on television.

Ring of Fire: The Passion of Johnny & June (11:29) is a sweet look at the relationship between Johnny Cash and June Carter. Once again, those who knew the pair talk about their relationship.

Last up is the film’s theatrical trailer (1:49; HD).



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

Walk the Line makes its way to Blu-ray with a 2.39 aspect ratio and in 1080p high-definition. Although this isn’t a spectacular looking Blu-ray, it’s still void of any flaws like dust or scratches and colors look well balanced. There is some natural film grain throughout but it’s not abundant or takes away from the detail level.

The pièce de résistance (don’t I sound fancy) of this Blu-ray is the 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. Obviously the music aspect of the movie makes the most use of this track and boy does it sound rich, almost comparable to a concert DVD or BD. But not only is the music crisp, the dialogue, which mainly comes through the center channel, is also clean and easy to hear. The front and rear channels, outside of the musical elements, get used mainly for ambient noise or off screen chatter.



.::OVERALL::.

Outside of the features and the fact Fox failed to put the extended cut on the disc, this is a good Blu-ray for anyone to have in their collection. It may not have the outstanding visuals as others that have come before, but it’s still very good and the audio is fantastic. You also can’t ignore the two brilliant performances and just an all around engrossing story.