Blu-ray and DVD Reviews

Amelia

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Movie Rating:
6 out of 10
Extras Rating:
7.5 out of 10
Movie Details:
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Rating: PG

Starring:
Hilary Swank as Amelia Earhart
Richard Gere as George Putnam
Ewan McGregor as Gene Vidal
Christopher Eccleston as Fred Noonan
Joe Anderson as Bill
Cherry Jones as Eleanor Roosevelt
Mia Wasikowska as Elinor Smith
Aaron Abrams as Slim Gordon
Dylan Roberts as Leo Bellarts
Scott Yaphe as William Dalten
Tom Fairfoot as Balfour
Ryann Shane as Young Amelia
William Cuddy as Gore Vidal
Elizabeth Shepherd as Frances Putnam
Richard Donat as Gallagher

Directed by Mira Nair

Special Features:
Deleted Scenes:
A Social Worker in Boston
Amelia's FiancÚ Before the Friendship Flight
The Queen of Diamonds, Mabel Boll
Arrival in Wales
Dorothy Putnam
Dorothy's Departure
George and Gene
Rose Garden Press Conference
Going Cameling
Additional Around the World Flying Montage

Making Amelia
The Power of Amelia Earhart
Movietone News Reels

Other Info:
Widescreen (2.35:1)
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
French and Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: 111 Minutes

The Details:
The following is the official description of the film:

"Two-time Academy Award Winner Hilary Swank delivers an unforgettable performance as Amelia Earhart, the legendary American aviatrix who boldly flew into the annals of history. Richard Gere co-stars as her charismatic business partner and adoring husband George Putnam. Bound by ambition and love, their enduring marriage could not be broken by Amelia's determination to fly - nor her passionate affair with Gene Vidal (Ewan McGregor). Equal parts gripping drama, stirring romance and epic adventure, Amelia will take your breath away and send your spirit soaring!"

"Amelia" is rated PG for some sexuality, language, thematic elements and smoking.

The Movie:
"Amelia" is a lot like "Titanic" in that you know how it ends before it even begins. What ends up making historical dramas like these interesting is everything leading up to the inevitable conclusion. Unfortunately, the backstory of "Amelia" isn't all that interesting.

We're introduced to two aspects of Amelia Earhart - her role as a pioneering aviatrix and her role as a feminist in the 1930s. I was more interested in what she did in aviation and this is explored to some degree. We see the technical issues she had to face crossing the Atlantic and the Pacific. We see her barely making it yet emerging triumphant. We see her paving the way for other female pilots and gladly sharing the spotlight with them. While all that was engaging, I was less interested in the feminist angle of the story. We see Earhart reluctantly entering a marriage and omitting "obey" from her vows. We see her cheat on her husband. e see her face off with male pilots and not back down. While it was remarkable for the time, it lacks impact in 2010. At least for male audiences today.

While the story is generally dull, the performances are good. When I saw a real photo of Amelia Earhart, I was amazed at how much Hilary Swank looked like her. Swank captures her look, accent, and mannerisms perfectly. She also captures her restless spirit and longing for adventure. The men in the film, Richard Gere as George Putnam and Ewan McGregor as Gene Vidal, are downright dull in comparison. Gere is part agent and part jealous husband, neither of which makes him endearing. McGregor is 'the other man' and Earhart's financier and that makes the audiences potentially hostile towards him. Christopher Eccleston fares better as Fred Noonan, Earhart's ill-fated navigator. Unfortunately he's portrayed as a drunk and somewhat incompetent.

While there are many theories surrounding the disappearance of Earhart, I almost wish director Mira Nair would have selected one of them and played it out on the screen. Instead we get a pretty shot of Earhart flying into the clouds, never seen again. It gives us the ending we were already expecting for nearly 2 hours.

If you're into historical dramas, feminism, aviation, or you're a fan of Hilary Swank, then I would recommend you check out "Amelia." Otherwise you may just want to watch a documentary about Amelia Earhart on the History Channel.

While the bonus features lack standard extras like an audio commentary, gallery, or gag reel, what is included here is thorough. You get a batch of deleted scenes and a 'making of' featurette. But the highlight is a set of old Movietone news reels showing the real Amelia Earhart. It's amazing to see the real woman and compare and contrast her with what was shown in the movie. It's a great addition.

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