Amistad [DVD] [1997]

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.
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Overview

Ratings & Reviews

Overall Customer Rating:
Rating 4.75 out of 5 stars.
4.8
100% of customers would recommend this product to a friend (4 out of 4)

Special Features

  • Production notes
  • Cast and filmmakers' bios
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Behind-the-scenes featurette

Synopsis

Amistad
This Steven Spielberg-directed exploration into a long-ago episode in African-American history recounts the trial that followed the 1839 rebellion aboard the Spanish slave ship Amistad and captures the complex political maneuverings set in motion by the event. Filmed in New England and Puerto Rico, the 152-minute drama opens with a pre-credit sequence showing Cinque (Djimon Hounsou) and the other Africans in a violent takeover of the Amistad. Captured, they are imprisoned in New England where former slave Theodore Joadson (Morgan Freeman), viewing the rebels as "freedom fighters," approaches property lawyer Baldwin (Matthew McConaughey), who attempts to prove the Africans were "stolen goods" because they were kidnapped. Running for re-election, President Martin Van Buren (Nigel Hawthorne) overturns the lower court's decision in favor of the Africans. Former President John Quincy Adams (Anthony Hopkins) is reluctant to become involved, but when the case moves on to the Supreme Court, Adams stirs emotions with a powerful defense. The storyline occasionally cuts away to Spain where the young Queen Isabella (Anna Paquin) plays with dolls; she later debated the Amistad case with seven U.S. presidents. The character portrayed by Morgan Freeman is a fictional composite of several historical figures. For authentic speech, the Africans speak the Mende language, subtitled during some scenes but not others. ~ Bhob Stewart, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Morgan Freeman
    Morgan Freeman - Theodore Joadson
  • Anthony Hopkins
    Anthony Hopkins - John Quincy Adams
  • Matthew McConaughey
    Matthew McConaughey - Baldwin
  • Nigel Hawthorne
    Nigel Hawthorne - Martin Van Buren
  • Djimon Hounsou
    Djimon Hounsou - Cinque

Overall Customer Rating

4.8 out of 54.8
4 Reviews
100%of customers recommend this product.

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