The Aviator on DVD
Martin Scorceses The Aviator chronicles the early rises and
falls of Howard Hughes, one of aviations most influential (if a little
mad) pioneers, and one of the worlds foremost (dare we say it!)
When we first come across him, hes in the middle of making
Hells Angels, an expensive Hollywood blockbuster that could prove to be
the most visually stunning movie ever made or bankrupt Hughes and the
When Angels turns out to be a huge success, Hughes sets his sights
on even bigger and better things: airplane design. But not content to merely
design average ordinary everyday airplanes, what he really wants to do is to
make the fastest plane ever and break the world speed record. Which he
He doesnt stop there. He makes more movies (that cause more
controversy) and designs bigger and more fantastic airplanes (that also cause
more controversy), time and time again nearly bankrupting himself and others.
At one point he even comes dangerously close to death. But even that cant
Unfortunately, like any eccentric genius, Howard was just a tad
bit insane. Hed grown up as a germophobe, and eventually time and stress
start to take their toll and he locks himself in his room for extended periods
of time. And he even manages to bounce back from that.
The Aviator is the best kind of biopic. It shows both his fame and
his infamy, the ups and the downs. It shows he was brilliant, but it also shows
that it was usually his brilliance that was his undoing.
Leonardo Dicaprio gives possibly his best performance to date
playing Hughes, and Cate Blanchett is simply marvelous as the legendary
Everything here is lush and lavish; a huge production that pulls
out all the stops. Even if the Academy wont admit it, Scorsese is one of
Hollywoods finest directors, and The Aviator finds him in the best form
hes been in since Goodfellas. In fact, the only real flaws with the film
are that it ends too soon and there are some obviously CGI airplanes.
At 170 minutes, you have to be in it for the long haul, but the
reward of watching a great movie about a great man is all you need.
On DVD, the movie works just as well. Color and detail are
excellent, with no dust or grain or halos. Skin tones are just right, and the
darks dont get too dark. Its really only during the flying scenes
that the surround speakers get to do their thing, but they handle countless
airplanes flying simultaneously very well, and almost make you feel as though
youre there. The front channels dont overdo any single element,
merging dialogue, sound effects, and Howard Shores beautiful score
Disc one features an audio commentary by Scorsese, editor Thelma
Schoonmaker and producer Michael Mann. While the three were recorded
separately, they manage to fill almost all of the three-hour runtime with
useful information. Scorsese is just a film nut who loves talking about movies
and loves making them even more. His commentaries are always a pleasure.
Disc two has a bunch of documentaries and featurettes that range
in quality. The Making-of The Aviator is an 11-minute piece that allows the
main players to compliment each other and talk about how great the movie is,
but its barely even skin deep. The Role of Howard Hughes in
Aviation History has a lot of info repeated from the movie, but it gives
a bunch of aviation enthusiasts a chance to talk about Hughes and what he did
for the industry.
Modern Marvels Howard Hughes is a History
Channel documentary that, like all the best documentaries, is not only
entertaining, but also extremely informative. Non-biased biographies by people
interested in the subject matter (and whom dont have an agenda) are
always the best. This is no exception.
Leo Dicaprio and Alan Alda sit down for half an hours worth
of back and forth Q & A moderated by David Schwartz. Its always nice
to hear actors talk about the movie in such an environment, but only for about
Short featurettes on obsessive compulsive disorders, visual
effects, costumes, production design, hair and makeup, and the score are also
included on the disc. Each is informative without overstaying its welcome.
Finally, there is a nice little deleted scene, a soundtrack spot, and a still
The Aviator, from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
anamorphic widescreen (2.40:1) 16x9 enhanced, Dolby Digital 5.1
Leonardo Dicaprio, Cate Blanchett, Kate Beckinsale, John C. Reilly, Alec
Baldwin, Alan Alda and Jude Law
Produced by Michael Mann, Sandy Climan,
Graham King, Charles Evans, Jr.
Screenplay by John Logan
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