Steven Spielberg is one of those directors who can do anything. It seems for every fun adventure film he makes, he follows it up with a more serious film, usually something of historical nature. Following up with ‘The Adventures of TinTin’, Spielberg decided to delve into two very different historical tales.
The first was ‘War Horse’, based on the British novel of the same name, that followed the life of a horse through WWI, and all the men whom he came across in his life. It was a truly wonderful film, one that was enjoyed very much by audiences, but Spielberg wasn’t done with his historical epics yet.
For years, Spielberg had been working on a film about Abraham Lincoln, and he never lost sight of that. It took years of development, which saw the change of Liam Neeson to Daniel Day-Lewis in the role of Lincoln, but one that was worth the wait. Based on the novel Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln’, which deals with Lincoln’s last four months of life, when Lincoln tried passing the Thirteenth Amendment. The film is a star studded ensemble, including Daniel Day-Lewis in his Oscar Winning role as the Sixteenth President, as well as Sally Field, Tommy Lee Jones, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and James Spader. A film of this magnitude deserves a strong blu-ray package, and I’m glad to say that Disney has given the film one. Featuring some excellent special features, as well as perfect audio and video, Disney has made this blu-ray a must own.
‘Lincoln‘ is one of the strongest films of last year, and one that is absolutely engrossing the minute the film begins. When Spielberg is clearly in love with the material he’s working with, he ends up turning his directing skills up to eleven, and turns out incredible films. Things like ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’, ‘Schindler’s List’, ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’, and ‘E.T.: The Extraterrestrial’, all prove just how great his films can be when he puts his mind to it. Thankfully, it’s good to see that ‘Lincoln’ gets to join the ranks of his best films. Part of what makes it so interesting is the time frame of which the film is set. It’s not usual to see films that are so focused on the last months of Lincoln’s life, showing the trials and tribulations that he went through trying to pass the Thirteenth Amendment. The film shows just how withered, beaten, and bruised he became facing unfavorable odds, all in the face of his moral beliefs, and to protect the freed slaves. Through Spielberg’s watchful eye, he presents us a very real, and honest, take on the man who changed history. But it’s not just the lens into this part of Lincoln’s life that makes the film incredibly engrossing, but it’s the actors that bring these real people to life on screen that really sell the film.
Daniel Day-Lewis is so incredible as Abraham Lincoln, it’s almost scary. He completely embodies Lincoln, down to his looks and voice, and the performance is completely mesmerizing. It honestly felt like this was the real Lincoln, on screen, something we’ve never had before. It’s just a very incredibly moving performance, and it’s good to see Day-Lewis getting recognized for his role by the Academy by giving him the Best Actor award. He isn’t the only actor who gives an incredible performance though, because the film is completely bolstered by amazing performances. Sally Field plays Mary Todd Lincoln incredibly well, showing just how disheveled and crazy Mary had become, and how hard it was for her to control it. It’s an excellent performance, and she shares excellent chemistry with Daniel Day-Lewis, which makes them playing off of each other a real treat. But the last performance that has to be talked about is Tommy Lee Jones as Thaddeus Stevens, who steals the scenes every time he’s on screen. Jones is just so charming and charismatic, it’s hard not to love him in the role. It may be his best performance since ‘The Fugitive’, which many still consider to be his best film. The film also features many great bit players in smaller supporting roles, such as Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Lincoln’s son, Robert, and James Spader as William Bilbo. Spielberg gets the best performances out of everyone in the film, all of them giving some of their best performances, or close to it. It makes watching ‘Lincoln’ one of the most enjoyable film experiences in recent memories.
To make sure this movie has been treated even better on blu-ray, Disney has packed the four disc version of the film with some great features. While the two disc Blu-ray/DVD combo pack feature a few of the same features, the Four Disc Combo pack gives even more great features that delve into the making of the film, as well as the real historical events behind it. The two features that are on both packs are the The Journey of Lincoln, which is a roughly ten minute feature that features Spielberg, producer Kathleen Kennedy, Daniel Day-Lewis, and many more as they talk about the production of the film, and introduce you to the film. It’s a short, but sweet little featurette. The second is A Historic Tapestry: Richmond, Virginia, which is only four minutes long, and talks about shooting the film in Richmond, Virginia. It should be a bit longer, but it’s still great to watch. One of the best features, which sadly runs a little too short, is In the Company of Character, which has everyone behind the scenes talking about Day-Lewis’ role as Lincoln. It’s great, and so fun to listen to everyone gush and talk about his performance. But the two longest, and honestly best two features on the disc are Living With Lincoln and In Lincoln’s Footsteps, one of which runs about half an hour, and the other about twenty minutes. Living with Lincoln is a full blown look at the behind the scenes of creating the film, and it’s pretty crazy seeing just how intense and crazy putting together this period piece was everyone involved. You can tell how much love and labor was put into the film, especially to recreate the historical accuracy of the film. In Lincoln’s Footsteps deals with finally cutting the film together, the pacing of the film, and how to make it all come together. These are some of the best features on a disc in recent memory, and it’s good to see so much time and effort to make this already great film even more appealing on blu-ray. Finally, the disc features perfect video and sound across the board, once again proving just how great Disney is at putting these discs together. The beautiful cinematography of Janusz Kaminski comes strikingly to life here, making the film feel completely immersive. Honestly, the entire look of the film is nothing short of gorgeous, and this blu-ray disc really makes it pop.
Steven Spielberg’s ‘Lincoln’ is an incredibly acted, visually beautiful, and well put together film that fires on all cylinders. It brings back the most realistic portrayal of the Sixteenth President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, to life like never before. Day-Lewis is absolutely phenomenal in the role, rightfully earning his Best Actor Academy Award. This four disc blu-ray combo pack has a great batch of special features, as well as delivering perfect audio and video, making this a must own for any film collector, or history buff. This film can’t come more recommended.
- Steven Spielberg’s ‘Lincoln’ Comes to Blu-ray and DVD March 26, 2013 (chipandco.com)
- Lilo and Stitch two disc blu-ray and DVD washes ashore this June (chipandco.com)