As would be expected from Dreamworks, the DVD for Amistad is a quality production. The image, framed at 1.85:1, is anamorphic, but it does seem to be rather soft throughout the film. While not thoroughly distracting, it could use a little more detail and sharpness. For the most part though, with numerous scenes played in dark situations, the image holds up very well. The soundtrack, in Dolby Digital 5.1 (there is also a separate DTS disc), is strong, with a fair amount of surround material giving it some heightened atmosphere. Though not listed on the box, the disc also offers a slightly less powerful surround track. Unfortunately, fans of the film don't get a special edition for this disc. The main extra is a 26-minute "making of" documentary that, while not exactly long, is superior to the fluff pieces found on far too many discs. It contains significant interviews and behind-the-scenes shots that help explain why the film was made and how important it was to the participants. In addition, there are the standard features such as some production notes (though for the most part they are covered in the documentary), biographies and filmographies of the main cast and crew, and the theatrical trailer.
Despite the “abolition of Slavery” by England, several European countries, as well as many countries in the Americas, still engaged in that “evil socioeconomic institution of African Slavery.” This movie examines the very doctrine of freedom vs enslavement, as it was perceived and practiced within America (land of the free?), and the final legal decision by the U. S. Supreme Court to acknowledge the “rights of freeborn Africans” to be returned to their countries and homes therein, and to be reunited with their families and loved ones.
What a great film!
I first saw this movie when I was in high school. I was very moved by it. Nothing has changed as I recently showed it to my wife, and was again silenced by it's powerful message. It deserves a place next to films like Glory and Braveheart, movies that inspire and at the same time sober you by demonstrating perseverance in the face of abject cruelty and evil.
This movie is fascinating- both on the grand epic scale and in small details that I have come to appreciate about Spielberg movies. The music and cinematography will likely bring you to tears, but they are tears that remind us of what our spirits are really meant to feel- compassion, brotherly love and indignation against cruelty.
I hope that you enjoy this movie as much as I did.