The recent Oscar contender makes its debut on Blu-Ray Home Video
It can always be difficult to capture the essence of a historical figure in a biographical film. How does a film maker cover a massive time line and display the cultural significance of someone like Harvey Milk
within the course of two hours? Honestly I don't know...but Milk
does it. Harvey Milk was much more than just an activist, he changed politics with his unique approach to any problem that stood in his way. He turned the gay rights movement into a civil rights movement. He was the gay community's Martin Luther King Jr.
is a riveting movie. It keeps you emotionally engaged as soon as you see the first frame of the film. It's major strong points are it's beautiful screenplay written by Dustin Lance Black
, Sean Penn's
memorable performance as Harvey Milk, and director Gus Van Sant's
captivating film making. Black delivers a screenplay that brings pure and epic drama to the screen while staying true to the events that occurred, while Penn is almost unrecognizable in his portrayal of Harvey Milk. In fact, the entire cast does an amazing job, bringing their characters to life and creating an atmosphere that is undeniably the 1970's.
This film isn't for everyone, but it definitely has a message to put out: a message of hope for those who are oppressed and discriminated against. Whether you're black or white, gay or straight, rich or poor, this film delivers a message that everyone can relate to. I would strongly encourage anyone who hasn't seen this movie to go out and watch it. It was more than a movie, it was a captivating experience that will stay with me for quite some time.
My Spill Rating: FULL PRICE!!!
Picture Quality & Audio
While the film itself is absolutely amazing and practically flawless, the picture quality is just 'good'. It's not amazing demo material like The Dark Knight
or No Country For Old Men
, but it also isn't one of those Blu-Ray's that look like your average DVD. The film is presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ration which fills up the entire screen without removing any of the original picture, so black-bar haters you may rejoice. The film looks beautiful during it's day time sequences: the colors remain bright and vibrant giving real depth to the image. For instance, take a look at the sequence where Harvey Milk is presenting his 'Hope' speech. The image is absolutely beautiful and it almost feels like you're there in the crowd. The daytime scenes in the Castro and City Hall are also beautiful to look at, and they really show off Blu-Ray technology. The image, however, does begin to falter during the darker sequences in the film. There is a presence of grain within some of the darker colors which can be difficult to ignore, but it's nothing major.
The audio is presented in a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
soundtrack, which is what Universal
has been using for most of it's Blu-Ray discs. It doesn't necessarily pack a punch, but what do you expect? This is just an engaging drama, not some huge blockbuster action movie. The audio does begin to become noticeable during the more crowded sequences, especially during all the marches, protests, and speeches. Trust me...there are plenty. All of them are loud and exciting. Plus, if you turn up the surround system loud enough your neighbors will think your holding a political rally in your living room. The center channel speakers do a majority of the work (especially during the talking scenes), while your rear speakers act as the icing on the cake, giving you that home theater experience.
Overall, the picture quality and audio isn't amazing, but it's still great to look at and hear. It definitely lived up to the capabilities of Blu-Ray technology.
Picture Quality & Audio Rating: 4/5
All I've been doing is praising the film and it's Blu-Ray release, but in this section you might get a little rant. The only special features included on this Blu-Ray disc are the following:
- “Remember Harvey”
- “Hollywood Comes to San Francisco”
- “Marching for Equality”
- BD-Live features
The total time of all these special features together is a little over 30 minutes. It left me really disappointed, due to the fact I wanted to learn so much more about Harvey Milk and the development of the film after watching it. Yahoo!, Google, and even Wikipedia proved to give more information on these amazing events than the special features ever did. "Remembering Harvey" was actually the only good feature on the disc, but it was a little too short. The other features were pretty much forgettable, leaving nothing for those who were left in awe after the film's credits. I didn't have the opportunity to check out BD-Live for this film, but from what I've heard nothing is up yet. BD-Live is really only for big blockbuster movies with a devoted fan base, not something like this. The only redeeming attribute of these special features is that they are presented in High Definition. But I got to say, as much as I love HD it just doesn't cut it.
Special Features Rating: 2/5
on Blu-Ray has it's minor flaws, but it has so much to give to its audiences with the film alone that a deprivation of special features is forgivable. They invented Google for that kind of stuff anyways.
Overall Blu-Ray Rating: 4/5
You can purchase Milk
on Blu-Ray here.