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Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - June, 2012

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"Erin Brockovich" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Chris Eberle

Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - June, 2012

Synopsis

This is the true story of a down-on-her-luck secretary who after begging for a job at an LA law firm, became the central figure in the single largest direct-action lawsuit in US history. Early in her tenure at a law firm owned by Ed Masury (Finney), Brockovich (Roberts) learns of a case where the local power company was attempting to buy property around its Hinckley plant in California. Digging a little deeper, she discovered many residents had become ill with various forms of cancer thanks to the existence of toxic chemicals in the water supply. After getting over 600 people to participate in the lawsuit, Pacific Gas & Electric settled for $333 million dollars. With no formal law or business training, Erin Brockovich became a leading advocate for environmental protection.

Specifications

  • Universal
  • 2000, Color, Rated R, 2 hrs 12 mins
  • Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
  • 1080p
  • Codec: VC-1
  • English, DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
  • Starring: Julia Roberts, Albert Finney, Aaron Eckhart
  • Directed by Steven Soderbergh
Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: No
  • Sex: No
  • Language: Yes

Commentary

This is a fascinating story and well worth watching. I had seen this film on DVD years ago and I really enjoyed watching it again on this new Blu-ray release. Julia Roberts won a Best Actress Oscar for her performance, and it is well-deserved. It also received nominations for Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Picture. The production quality of this film is outstanding in every way, even down to the sets which effectively recreate the early 1990s to a T. This is a must-add to any video library.

Technical

The look of the movie is typical of Steven Soderbergh's work; a super-warm, almost flat color palette. Since it takes place in Southern California, I can't argue but I think the image lacks vibrancy. There is a fair amount of edge enhancement present which detracts from the smoothness of the image. Detail is well-rendered and contrast is nice and deep. There is very little dark material but what there is shows good shadow detail and nice black levels.

There isn't much opportunity for your surround system to do its thing here since the film is dialog-driven. Ambient sound effects are sparse as well. The DTS-MA encode is nice and clean with as much detail as was present in the original mix. The music by Thomas Newman plays its part creating the feel of the early 90s and nicely enhances the overall production quality.

Extras

Bonus features include a making-of featurette, a 4-minute interview with the real Erin Brockovich and Ed Masury, 18 deleted scenes and a trailer. Also included are two featurettes about the 100th anniversary of Universal Pictures. The package I received had both Blu-ray and DVD versions of the film and a code for digital copy.