The Descendants Blu-ray Review
is a tale about families, the necessity of love, and the determination
to be capable of moving forward. It's a story about hope, courage, and
reasons why we must remember ourselves. Matt King (George Clooney) is a
owner in Hawaii. He owns some of the most treasured and sacred land in
entire state. In a way... not a single aspect of that matters. Matt is
lose his wife and he has no idea how to accept that she has been faced
paralyzing possibility of death. Matt barely even knows how to stay
to his daughters Alexandra (Shailene Woodley) and Scottie (Amara
Miller). Remembrance. Matt must never forget what
matters more than anything else in this legendary world we all live in:
my favorite storytelling
concepts is the idea of telling a tale about the family unit. Family
can mean a
variety of things to a number of people. For some it is the people
related. For others it means the people closest to us... you know them so
and care so much for them that it's as if you were family even before
These areas are often overlapped. There are no stories that work better
stories about family units because one of the most relatable things on
planet is how we are all people connected through our family unity.
any of us be without the love of our family members? Our mothers,
sisters, brothers, sons, and daughters... the list continues to go on and
does it stop, not even for a solitary second to catch a breath. Love is
limitless and life-affirming.
basic plot for The Descendants revolves about Matt
trying to come to terms with an understandably frightening possibility
losing his wife. She had been injured in a boat accident and winds up
comatose state. His oldest daughter, Alexandra, has some shocking news
Elizabeth (aka Mom) had been having an affair.
Matt doesn't respond
too well to this news. He must come to terms with understanding what
and he must recognize his role as father to his two daughters. Lastly...
will happen to all that Hawaiian land he owns? Should he remember to
Matt begins to wonder if that is what he even wants. After all,
of the land would be his if he wasn't one of the descendants of it. Understanding. Matt must remember what
it means to be a descendant. To have descendants.
filmmaking is exquisite in
front of and behind the camera. Each aspect works. Alexander Payne is
the most wonderful filmmakers on the entire planet. He understands and
remembers what is needed in order to tell a good story. To share
meaningful with others that won't soon be forgotten. I have never seen
something by Payne as director that wasn't somehow profound and
me. Amazingly, The Descendants tops
everything else he has crafted to date and seems destined to be one of
greatest accomplishments. To date it is his very best effort.
Clooney wasn't winner of an
Academy Award for Best Actor but he deserved his nomination. Every
George Clooney feels like a miracle of filmmaking. This includes seeing
expression on his character's face when he hears about his wife, and
responds to all of it. It also includes his growth and development in
the film as
a father to his daughters. Everything in the subtleties of body
wisely spoken words (or unwisely spoken) adds to this performance as
one of the
finest he's ever given.
Woodley gave a
breakthrough performance as his compassionate daughter who struggles
accepting her mother's illness and the state of her father's mind. She
ground the film with her performance. There is a genius moment in the
where she has just heard the news of her mother's condition and she
crying, and then resurfacing. It's a moment that lasts only a few
most but it is heartbreaking and authentic. You connect to her
with that connection comes real understanding.
are so many supporting
performances that are also worth noting. Amara Miller is the most under
performer as the young daughter but she definitely manages to deliver
incredibly solid performance. Imagine being that young and having to
against someone as amazing as Clooney. She manages it, anyway.
Krause is perfect as the
goofball Sid. Half the things that come out of Sid's mouth are
stupid, ridiculous, and unbelievable. But he's such a sweetheart and
(even when he's being an idiot) that the character (and actor) is often
of being a scene stealer in The Descendants.
works beautifully. The script, the cinematography, the real Hawaiian
music, the performances, the editing, the costumes... and just about
else. This film explores themes that
most filmmakers shy away from. Payne has crafted one of the greatest
the year. I am certain that it will stay with me for a long, long time. Be prepared for powerful
The images used in this review
are from the DVD in this Combo Pack release.
with a faithful AVC encode featuring an average of 22 MBPS on a 50 GB
Layer disc. It has been presented in the
theatrical aspect ratio of 2.40:1. I wasn't sure what to expect from
quality of this transfer (in part because of how the other Alexander
films look on the format. Most of them are good but not exactly stellar transfers - certainly not demo
worthy material). The Descendants is
the breakthrough on that front. The film is richly photographed with
amazing visuals, showcasing Hawaii in all of its beauty. The first rate
encoding and presentation make it seem so stunning location-wise that
to imagine Hawaii as anything other than paradise (despite the
aspects of the film that suggest otherwise). You'll be amazed by the
cinematography, lush Hawaiian locations, rich color, and clean design.
primary audio track included on this release is
English DTS-HD Master Audio. It is an exemplary audio track that
quietest moments; the background audio has deftly interwoven into the
experience, and enhanced the mood the film creates. This was not a
movie, but it is one with the knowledge and grace to use the surround
channels as a way to create an authentic atmosphere. The authentic
music was essential to this film and it sounds beautiful with lossless
French, and English Descriptive audio options are also included in 5.1
Digital. Subtitles are provided in Spanish and English SDH.
This is a
Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy combo pack release.
have been included on this release. All of these extras have been
1080p High Definition. However, the print quality on the silent film
have been taken from a weak source and is not up to the usual high
Keep that aspect in note. The newly-recorded footage for the
material is stunning.
(7:27) has the cast and crew talking about the massive celebrity and
actor George Clooney and what he was like to work with (or have fun
filming The Descendants. By the way,
by massive I meant popular - not
(13:34) is the coolest and most fun inclusion on this release if you're
follower of Alexander Payne's filmmaking. Here
we get to see him as he makes an omelette
and discusses his craft a bit. We also get good interviews from this
production's cast and crew about the director.
you to find out who owns tons of Hawaiian land... seriously (not in a
several aspects of the behind the scenes production beginning with the
introductory blessing given to the filmmakers.
is a piece
about (you guessed it!): casting. Alexander Payne discusses.
with Water (10:58)
has the cast
and crew discuss what it was like to work with acclaimed actor water. I
how many of them seriously thought that water was difficult... drip,
Videos: Will I
Ever See You
Again, Postcards from Paradise, Honolulu's Whisper
music videos have been set entirely to footage of Hawaii as
the film but without using any clips from The
Descendants. This is essentially coverage footage that ended up
to highlight the music in a relaxing way.
for the Light (2:52)
is a brief
behind the scenes piece. I'm going to avoid making jokes about this
World Parade -
(9:55) is a silent short film with footage of Hawaii. It's worth
for fans of silent filmmaking who are also interested in Hawaiian
George Clooney and Alexander Payne (11:58)
focuses in on
two short scenes edited out of the final cut.
Descendants was one
of the best movies of
2011. George Clooney may not have won the Oscar for Best Actor but he
delivered one of the finest performances of the entire year. The
release contains amazing PQ/AQ and a huge assortment of extras.
this. Seriously. I'm not kiddin' around.
Neil Lumbard is a lifelong fan of cinema, and a student who aspires to make movies. He loves writing, and currently does in Texas.