Cast Away Blu-ray Review

by AVForums
Movies & TV Review

Cast Away Blu-ray Review
SRP: £24.79

Picture

Cast Away is lovingly presented with the MPEG-4/AVC codec at 1080p. The details on the sleeve indicate that it's 2.35:1 ratio, considering the original release was 1.85:1 in the cinema this is no mean feat; however on disc it retains this original aspect ratio, the description on the outer case is incorrect.

In saying that it's wide enough to encompass all of Chuck's surroundings whilst on the island and using this slightly tighter framing increases the claustrophobic nature of Chuck's imprisonment. The print itself is not that old and as such really shows no sign of wear; no blemishes or excessive dirt can be seen. Some specks are apparent but really never enough to become distracting. Colours are spot on with flesh tones coming across particularly well. There's no over saturation and no bleed from their borders.

Black levels are impressive, especially during the crash scene, murked in darkness from the Pacific night and dark ocean, detail is still more than apparent on the sinking wreckage. Look for instance at the detail shown as the main fuselage sinks pulling Chuck down with it. Even in this blackness the internal structure of the pane is still more than apparent. Superb detail can also be seen at the security entrance of the FedEx loading bays, the security cabins of the officers offering up a wonderful collection of Christmas lights and decorations.

White's never bloom, the section with Chuck on the island is resplendent with colour from the blue/greens of the ocean, the sandy beach and the lush green foliage of the island's small plantation. Depth is more than apparent during these scenes also; look at the scene where he scales the highest peak to view his new domain - vertigo sufferers beware for when he looks down you really are pulled into the frame.

There's an excessive amount of grain at the start and near the end of the film, no noise though and excellent encoding with no enhancement, smearing or blocking to be seen. A good transfer and a step up from my R2 SD disc.
Cast Away

Sound

The only English track is a DTS-HD Master 5.1. This is a pretty understated track really. It's predominantly dialogue driven which is a little unusual considering that Chuck in the main is the only human on screen. Vocals come across well, defined and pristine from your centre channel. Because of this dependence on the vocals though it's a rather narrow sound stage which rarely opens up.

Surround use is sparse; some coconuts hitting the ground on the island are perfectly placed and will have you turning your head. The crash scene brings to life your system, the sub kicking in with heavy LFE and with mechanical stress effects placed all around. Weather effects contribute to the remaining use of your surrounds.

Up until leaving the island there's really no background score to think of. A smattering of Elvis and Russian folk near the start create some ambience, however whilst Chuck is making his break for freedom from his island the score really kicks in. A haunting emotional piece reflecting Chuck's state of mind widens the stage somewhat and is a welcome addition.
Cast Away

Extras


  • Director and Crew Commentary.

    Zemeckis is joined by a number of other crew members to discuss the production of Cast Away. Mainly focusing on the island scenes and the difficulties they faced whilst shooting there. It's an pretty standard track really, people being brought in when their area of expertise was on show on screen. It's never really that engaging though; even though it offers up insights into the production as a whole it's rather too clinical a piece for my liking.

  • Trivia Track.

    On screen snippets which pop up whilst watching the film itself. Information about filming, environmental concerns and the like are offered up and it fleshes out some areas of production perhaps not mentioned in the commentary. Best to turn on if you're actually listening to the commentary at the time.

  • Search Content.

    An enhancement of scene selection really and used before on Memoirs of a Geisha. An index type affair alphabetically listing items within the film. Select one item and you can view the scene, or scenes, where that item was used or mentioned. It's an interesting addition which may be used, but if so then infrequently.

  • Personal Scene Selction.

    The ability to create your own bookmarks within the film.

  • Trailer.

    As the name suggests this is presented in HD.



The R2 two-disc edition presented a fantastic set of extras a lot of which discussed the actual survival aspects of a person stranded and alone on an island. These were incredibly interesting features to watch and I had hoped that they would have been included here. Alas they are not and I feel the disc itself suffers for it.

The commentary is by the numbers and a little like Chuck's character himself a little detached and cold, worth a listen but don't really expect too much. Apart from that, that's it really and a little of a let down. It's interesting to see an index being used again and I feel that I still have to get the best from this feature, no doubt like any other index it will be used to find areas of interest quickly and conveniently.
Cast Away
I do enjoy Cast Away, that surprised me the first time I saw it and I always do like surprises. Even on repeated viewing when I know what's round the next corner I'm still sucked into its evolving storyline. Hanks and Hunt give wonderful performances and really it is Hanks' film; a vehicle to show what a good actor he is, well if cast in the right role anyway. It's to his credit that he can carry this film almost on his own.

Cinematography and use of CGI is excellent enhancing the isolation that is more then apparent whilst imprisoned in his hell on earth. Sound is never in your face but perfectly suits the nature of the film. The presentation is let down drastically by the lack of extras on offer and I can't really understand why these were not included. Double dipping at some future point perhaps? Maybe I'm just cynical.

A final word though for Wilson. What a character! From humble leather volleyball to Hollywood legend. 'He' has a number of different web sites now and even a wikipedia page all to himself; I look forward to his next feature. But seriously, it's a masterstroke from Zemeckis, a way for us to understand Chuck a little better as he muses to his land locked friend. If you had asked me about Cast Away before viewing I would probably have said, not my thing... however now, after many repeated viewings, I really cannot recommend it enough.
Cast Away

Scores

Movie

.
9

Picture Quality

.
.
8

Sound Quality

.
.
.
7

Extras

.
.
.
.
.
.
4

Overall

.
.
8
8
AVForumsSCORE
OUT OF
10

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