Million Dollar Baby DVD Review
PictureAs mentioned above, Eastwood has chosen a monochromic look to the picture (with splashes of colour). It is perfectly represented on the disc with a superb anamorphic transfer. The blacks on the night scenes are deep and rich. Seeing a majority of the film is character driven, Eastwood chooses to sit back and let his actors act. The camera is in love with all three main principals and the skin tones are clear. Eastwood and Freeman's craggy features are faultless. The later colourful scenes in Las Vegas are vibrant and perfectly defined. There is no bleeding or any sign of artefacts during the film proving again that we have another immaculate transfer from Entertainment.
SoundThere are two sound options available on the disc, 2.0 stereo and 5.1. For some unknown reason, the disc defaults to the stereo presentation upon playing the film. Switching to the 5.1 mix, you are immediately pulled into the film starting with Eastwood's own score. Simple and effective, the score is presented across the sound stage and shows not only can Eastwood act and direct, he can compose some great music. The dialogue is clear and comes mainly from the centre channel. Every now and then, a directional effect pops up, but the sound comes into real force during the fight scenes. The crowd noise is superbly encoded into the rear speakers and gives you a real feeling of 'being there'. Listening to the 2.0 stereo mix for a few selected scenes, it is encoded well but obviously misses the power of a full 5.1 track. The music, dialogue and sound effects are put together well and for those without the equipment for 5.1 you will be more then able to enjoy this amazing cinematic achievement.
Extras“James Lipton takes on Three” is an interview conducted by American broadcaster, James Lipton with the three stars of the film. Similar to those who have ever seen a Charlie Rose interview on other DVD's, the interview is fairly formal and its location reminds me of a boardroom. Lipton asks good questions and gets excellent thoughtful responses from Eastwood, Freeman and Swank. It is nice to know that Freeman views the Oscars as a 'contest' not a life changing event some actors do.
“Producers Round 15” is a short profile on producer, Albert Ruddy. It discusses the film's beginnings and production. Ruddy himself is interviewed along with his co-producer and writer. Short, but informative.
“Born to Fight” is a 19 minute featurette which features extensive interviews with Eastwood, Swank, Freeman and Lucia Rijker who plays a boxer in the film. It discusses boxing, the film's relationships and themes. This is quite an enlightening 'making of' and although short it is packed with quality interviews. For once all three featurettes are not quickly put together promotional fluff, but decent little productions in their own right.
VerdictHaven't I convinced you already? Buy this film.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £19.99