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Ken Kwapis
Robert Redford, Nick Nolte, Kristen Schaal, Nick Offerman, Mary Steenburgen, Emma Thompson
Writing Credits:
Rick Kerb and Bill Holderman

After spending two decades in England, Bill Bryson returns to the U.S., where he decides the best way to connect with his homeland is to hike the Appalachian Trail with one of his oldest friends.

Rated R

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Spanish DTS 5.1
French DTS 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 104 min.
Price: $29.98
Release Date: 12/29/2015

• “The Appalachian Trail” Featurette
• “A Hike with a Legendary Cast” Featurette
• “Sounds of A Walk in the Woods” Featurette
• “Robert Redford’s Call to Action PSA”
• “Take a Hike Trail Tips” Featurette
• Outtakes
• Previews


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


A Walk in the Woods [Blu-Ray] (2015)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (December 27, 2015)

More proof that I’m old: I can recall when Robert Redford and Nick Nolte were viewed as sex symbols. Now at the ages of 79 and 74, respectively, their “hottie” days reside far in the past, though Redford looks pretty amazing for guy pushing 80.

That doesn’t mean Redford and Nolte lack compelling qualities as actors, of course, and we get the two aging stars together in 2015’s A Walk in the Woods. As he enters a “late-life crisis”, travel author Bill Bryson (Redford) decides he needs a new challenge, so he chooses to walk the entire 2118 miles of the Appalachian Trail.

Given his age and her belief that all sorts of calamities befall hikers, Bill’s wife Catherine (Emma Thompson) agrees to let him go on one condition: that Bill trek with a hiking partner. After many prospective co-hikers decline the offer, Bill hears from Stephen Katz (Nolte), a long-lost friend. We follow their adventures as they attempt to hike the Trail and get to know more about each other.

Two old guys hiking for 104 minutes doesn’t sound like a recipe for cinematic glory, but Walk offers occasional entertainment, largely due to its cast. Redford and Nolte show fairly good chemistry together. While I can’t claim they exhibit sparks ala Redford and Newman, they contrast well and add charm and personality to roles that otherwise would be trite and predictable.

The supporting performers add life to the proceedings as well. Kristen Schaal does her usual shtick as an annoying know-it-all hiker, and she prompts amusement, as does Nick Offerman in a minor part as an REI employee. Thompson and Mary Steenburgen also bring warmth to their underwritten roles.

It’s a good thing Walk boasts such a good cast, as it offers such a thin story. Actually, it’s a stretch to claim the movie includes a proper plot at all – it’s more a loose framework than a real narrative. We follow Bryson and Katz as they galumph along the trail without much more than that on which to hang our hats.

Beyond some basic subjects related to male bonding and coping with aging, Walk fails to develop its characters. Essentially we get a collection of short comedic scenarios joined together by that loose narrative and little more.

Is that enough to make Walk watchable? Yes, but just barely. Again, the cast holds this film together, but the movie seems too thin to become a genuinely good one.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B/ Audio B/ Bonus D

A Walk in the Woods appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Despite a few minor distractions, the image mostly looked good.

Overall sharpness appeared positive. Occasional instances of soft shots materialized, but not with frequency or severity. Instead, the majority of the flick seemed well-defined. I saw no jagged edges or shimmering, and edge haloes remained absent. Print flaws also failed to appear.

Given the movie’s setting, it went with a natural – and logical – palette. The colors looked full and rich, with nice clarity. Blacks were dark and tight, and shadows were mostly fine; a few low-light shots seemed a bit thick, but not to a substantial degree. This ended up as a satisfactory presentation.

I also liked the pleasing DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Walk. As expected, the mix emphasized outdoors ambience, so most of it stayed in the realm of general environmental material. A few scenes added more impact, such as a massive snowstorm, and those gave the mix some pizzazz. Mostly it stuck with natural atmosphere, and that was fine with me.

Audio quality seemed positive. Speech remained concise and distinctive, while music offered smooth, vivid material. Effects appeared accurate and full, with good low-end response. The track made sense for the story.

Among a handful of extras, we find a few featurettes. The Appalachian Trail runs four minutes, 31 seconds and includes comments from director Ken Kwapis, producer Chip Diggins, producer/screenwriter Bill Holderman and actors Nick Nolte and Robert Redford. We hear about story/characters as well as the Trail itself. This is essentially a promotional piece for the Trail, so only a few informative nuggets emerge.

During the three-minute, 19-second Take a Hike with a Legendary Cast, we hear from Kwapis, Redford, Diggins, Nolte, and Holderman. We get basic thoughts about various actors. Expect more praise and fluffiness.

Sounds of A Walk in the Woods lasts four minutes, 33 seconds and features Kwapis, Diggins, Nolte, Redford and Holderman. They deliver short notes about the movie’s songs and score, but mostly this acts as a promo piece to sell the soundtrack. Like the other featurettes, it’s a snoozer.

Next we get Take a Hike Trail Tips. It gives us an interactive map that shows scenic imagery and quotes from the movie. I thought “Tips” would offer actual advice for hikers, but it doesn’t, so it becomes a weird waste of time.

Under Outtakes, we see a two-minute, 31-second reel. This offers a blooper collection with the usual goofs and giggles. It’s mostly forgettable, but some alternate lines from Kristen Schaal add value.

The disc opens with ads for Learning to Drive, 99 Homes, Break Point and I Smile Back. Also from Broadgreen Pictures adds promos for Samba, Eden and 10,000 km. No trailer for Walk appears here, though we do get a PSA from Robert Redford.

An excellent cast holds our interest throughout A Walk in the Woods, but the rest of the movie plods. Though the actors keep us with the tale, it remains a disappointment due to its thin plot and meandering nature. The Blu-ray provides positive picture and audio as well as a poor set of bonus materials. I found mild entertainment in Walk but think it could – and should – have been better. a

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 2
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