Amelia appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. Though usually excellent, the transfer fell a little short of true greatness.
For the most part, sharpness looked terrific. Many scenes exhibited stunning definition, and most were no worse than very good. However, a few slight bouts of softness occurred; these remained minor, but they slightly detracted from the otherwise terrific clarity. I noticed no jagged edges or shimmering. Edge haloes and print flaws also failed to appear.
Like most period movies of this sort, Amelia went with a fairly golden tone. It offered good color reproduction within the slight constraints of that tint, though, as the hues were always appealing and occasionally quite vivid. Blacks came across as deep and full, while shadows offered nice clarity. Despite some mild softness, this remained a strong presentation.
I also found a lot to like with the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Amelia. The movie’s many airborne sequences allowed it to provide more pep than the average biopic. Scenes that involved planes demonstrated good movement and involvement, as the various elements filled out the spectrum well. Shots in the air also gave us environmental material like thunder, and those bits added a good sense of involvement as well.
The rest of the track was perfectly serviceable. When not in the air, the movie tended toward quiet character elements, so these didn’t have much to do. Music showed nice stereo presence, and general ambience seemed fine. However, the film only really came to life when it went into the air.
Audio quality worked well. Speech appeared natural and concise, and music offered nice range and clarity. Effects consistently sounded accurate and tight; the occasional loud scenes like thunder boasted good bass as well. While not a killer soundtrack, the audio of Amelia featured enough pizzazz to earn a "B+”.
When we head to the set’s extras, we start with four separate featurettes. Making Amelia runs 23 minutes, six seconds and includes notes from director Mira Nair, producer Lydia Dean Pilcher, 2nd unit director/aerial photography coordinator Marc Wolff, and actors Hilary Swank, Richard Gere, Ewan McGregor, Mia Wasikowska and Christopher Eccleston. They discuss the real Earhart, bringing her story to the screen, cast, characters and performances, locations, shooting the flying sequences, and Nair’s work as director.
With 23 minutes at its disposal, “Making” should offer something with reasonable depth. Unfortunately, it usually stays in the superficial promotional mode. We hear a lot about how great everything/everyone is but don’t learn much that really educates us about the production.
Next comes the 10-minute, 45-second The Power of Amelia Earhart. It features Nair, Pilcher, Swank, McGregor, production designer Stephanie Carroll, and costume designer Kasia Walicka-Maimone. It includes a few more reflections about Earhart as well as thoughts about production design and costumes. Like “Making”, “Power” includes a couple of decent notes, but it becomes too general and fluffy to offer much substance.
The Plane Behind the Legend lasts four minutes, 33 seconds and provides remarks from Nair, Pilcher, producer Kevin Hyman and Electra owner Bernard Chabbert. This show looks at Earhart’s plane and how the film got a stand-in for it. Despite the program’s length, it actually becomes more interesting than its predecessors – maybe not by a lot, but it reveals some decent notes about the aircraft.
Finally, Re-Constructing the Planes of Amelia Earhart goes for six minutes, 37 seconds and offers statements from visual consultant Paul Austerberry and aerial coordinator Cam Herrod. “Planes” acts as a companion to “Legend”. It shows how the production recreated many of the other aircraft used in the flick. It offers another short but reasonably engaging piece.
10 Deleted Scenes fill a total of 13 minutes, 53 seconds. We get a little more background on how Earhart came to Putnam, and we also meet some otherwise unseen characters: Amelia’s fiancé and Putnam’s wife. Though most deleted scenes deserved to be cut, I think these should’ve made the final film. They would’ve added some depth and drama to an otherwise superficial movie. Though they wouldn’t have saved it, they could’ve contributed to it.
Lastly, we locate seven examples of Movietone News. These run a total of six minutes, 41 seconds, and naturally all relate to Earhart in some way. These show shots of Earhart as she arrives after various flights and speaks at press conferences. We also get a little info about the search for her after she disappeared in 1937. These clips provide arguably the best extras on the disc, as they give us a brief but solid glimpse of the real Earhart.
Disc Two gives us a Digital Copy of Amelia. As always, this means you can slap the flick onto a computer or portable viewing thingy. Zip-zorp!
A few ads open the disc. We get clips for Whip It and the American Film Institute. No trailer for Amelia appears here.
If you want to find a dynamic portrait of a pioneering aviator, you’ll need to look somewhere other than Amelia. The film offers a limp, generic take on Earhart’s life and career; it lacks almost any form of drama as it plods through its 111 minutes. The Blu-ray boasts very good picture and audio but comes with mediocre supplements. A bland examination of a legend, Amelia ends up as a missed opportunity.