Title: Invictus (2009)
BD-50 Dual-Layer Disc/Two Disc Set
Audio: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
Subtitles: English, French, and Spanish
Run time: 133 minutes
Studio: Warner Brothers Home Entertainment
Region Coding: Region Free
Equipment used for review: Sharp LC-46SB57UN 46″ 120Hz 1080p LCD (24fps), Onkyo TX-SR606 7.1 Receiver, Onkyo SKS-HT540 7.1, & LG BH200 Super Blu
Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela
Matt Damon as François Pienaar
Tony Kgoroge as Jason Tshabalala
Patrick Mofokeng as Linga Moonsamy
Matt Stern as Hendrick Booyens
Julian Lewis Jones as Etienne Feyder
Adjoa Andoh as Brenda Mazibuko
Marguerite Wheatley as Nerine
Leleti Khumalo as Mary
Patrick Lyster as Mr. Pienaar
Penny Downie as Mrs. Pienaar
Sibongile Nojila as Eunice
Bonnie Henna as Zindzi
Shakes Myeko as Minister of Sport
Louis Minnaar as Springbok Coach
Directed by Clint Eastwood
My take: (the breakdown)
The year is 1990 and Nelson Mandela has just been released from his nearly 30 year prison sentence and he already has plans for his country of South Africa. After winning the presidency in 1994 he decides the best way to quell the prejudice left over from the apartheid era is to unite the people together under one flag and one nation, regardless of their ethnicity. To do this Mandela proposes that the South African Springboks, their national rugby team, win the 1995 Rugby World Cup, which is being hosted in Johannesburg. Tensions are still high between the blacks and the Afrikaans and Mandela believes that uniting the people under a singular global event will start the country on a path that doesn’t include prejudice and racism. If he can win the hearts of the people through the Rugby World Cup, Mandela believes will forget the past and concentrate on the future prosperity of the nation. I strongly recommend Invictus for at least a rental and maybe a purchase, but I personally felt that Eastwood has certainly made some better films. Due to some profanity this one is not suitable for younger children.
Invictus looks just like you would expect from a new release title on Blu-ray. There are plenty of bright and bold colors that fill the screen and are properly saturated. Everything from the multicolored South African flag to the green rugby fields are extremely vivid and create a welcome site in high definition. Flesh tones seem to be accurate as well throughout the entire presentation. This is an extremely clean transfer and grain is indeed present, but to be honest it’s barely noticeable. Fine detail is virtually impeccable as every hair, pore, and texture is clearly visible from start to finish. I did notice a few soft shots during the rugby matches, but they weren’t a major distraction. In the majority I was extremely pleased with the video quality of this release and Eastwood should be proud of it.
This film is primarily a drama so dialogue is the dominant form of audio, but don’t let that sway you. The provided 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track prioritizes the dialogue perfectly as every word is clearly prioritized and understandable. The surrounds are used for many of the film’s louder segments involving crowds of people, but I felt they were lacking in the form of discrete effects during many of the quieter scenes. The musical score is nicely balanced between the front and surround channels and is never overbearing. I felt that the scenes involving roaring crowds were a little quieter then I expected, but maybe I was just expecting too much. The LFE is engaged frequently during the rugby matches and is heard/felt from the sub exactly you would expect; present, but not overdone. This mix won’t rattle your walls, but it will certainly grab your attention.
As you would expect with Eastwood’s newest release the provided supplemental package is a wealth unto itself. The best feature is the film’s PiP commentary, which features Eastwood and several cast members. I honestly found the PiP to be extremely interesting and informative. There are two additional making of features included, the first being a 36 minute look at how Morgan pulled off the role of Mandela and how Damon learned to play rugby like a South African. The second feature is a 22 minute examination of Eastwood’s career in film and if you haven’t seen it before is well worth watching. Rounding out the supplemental package is the film’s full theatrical trailer and it runs about three minutes. All of the above features are presented in 1080p with the exception of the Eastwood documentary, which is presented in 480p. Finally, there’s a second disc that houses the DVD and digital copy of the film.
Final word: A Purchase For Fans
The screen captures below have a resolution of 1024 x 576 (originally 1920 x 1080) to help with load times. Thanks goes to Photobucket for their excellent image hosting and to the readers of this review.