An elegant period piece/biopic, "Amelia" is, not surprisingly, a look into the life of Amelia Earheart (Hilary Swank) The picture plays out in flashback, and early on, we see Earhart as an adult, meeting with publisher (and future husband) George Putnam (Richard Gere) to discuss being a passenger on the first transatlantic flight.
After the successful trip, Earhart gained fame and a greater hunger for taking to the skies. With her popularity came new responsibilities, such as being a role model for many women of the time. She also manages to become a spokeswoman for multiple products, including an Amelia Earhart line of luggage. With all the celebrity endorsements that can be found in magazines, on TV and on billboards today, it's interesting to see Earhart's endorsements from the era.
However, while her career in the air was going wonderfully, things weren't going as smoothly on the ground, as Amelia found herself in an affair with Gene Vidal (Ewan McGregor), which leads to cracks in her relationship with George. Still, the movie largely focuses on the build towards Earhart's historic flight that ended with her mysterious disappearance.
"Amelia" is certainly gorgeously filmed, visually rich and well-acted by Swank. It's an entertaining and watchable movie, but it never quite makes the connection as strongly as I'd hoped: the picture checks off the events of Earhart's life, but some parts feel a little undercooked, such as the relationship between Amelia and George. Additionally, while the movie recreates events well (both technically and otherwise), we don't get enough insight into who these people were. McGregor and (as her co-pilot) Christopher Eccelston provide fine supporting performances, but it's largely Swank's movie to carry, and she carries it with relative ease.
Additionally, some elements of the movie go overboard, such as Swank's narration (which should have been left out entirely - it reminded me of the kind of narration heard in some IMAX documentaries) and Gabriel Yared's melodramatic score. At 111 minutes, the movie moves along at a reasonable clip.
Overall, "Amelia" is generally well-acted and entertaining (not to mention beautifully filmed), but just doesn't quite go the extra mile. It's not a disappointment, it just doesn't reach its potential.
VIDEO: "Amelia" is presented by 20th Century Fox in 2.40:1 (1080P/AVC) and the results are, quite simply, gorgeous. Sharpness and detail are outstanding, as the picture looked crisp, clean and rock-solid throughout the majority of the show. Fine details were seen with terrific clarity and a smooth overall appearance.
Aside from a couple of brief instances of edge enhancement, the picture looked clean and smooth, with no print flaws, noise or other issues to contend with. Colors looked bold, pure and warm, with a richness that was a delight. Although not quite perfect, this is one of the most delightful transfers I've had the pleasure to view lately.
SOUND: The film's DTS-HD 5.1 presentation wasn't overly aggressive, nor did it need to be - the flying scenes provided some support and ambience from the rear speakers, but the majority of the audio was spread nicely across the front speakers. Audio quality was terrific, with dialogue that sounded clear and natural and crisp, well-recorded effects.
EXTRAS: The main documentary is "Making Amelia", a nearly 25-minute piece that provides an excellent overview of the production, including details on the casting, filming and history/background. Overall, it's an above-average promotional piece that provides some enjoyable insights and behind-the-scenes views. " Re-Constructing the Planes of Amelia" is a short piece that provides a look into the difficult task of creating replicas of the planes of the era. Also on the topic is, "The Plane Behind the Legend", which runs a few minutes. "The Power of Amelia Earhart" is a 10-minute piece that looks into the legacy of Earhart, as well as some production tidbits.
A fantastic choice for the extras section is the set of original Movietone newsreel clips that highlighted Earhart's adventures. This is a terrific addition to the title and a lot of fun. The studio gets a great deal of credit for this terrific bonus feature. Finally, we get a series of deleted scenes. No commentary is offered. An additional disc included provides a digital copy for portable devices or PC's.
Final Thoughts: Overall, "Amelia" doesn't quite live up to its potential, but the movie remains generally entertaining and Swank's performance is an enjoyable effort. The Blu-Ray provides gorgeous video quality, very nice audio and a nice assortment of extras.
The Film B