Director Richard Attenborough has made two great films in his long career, "A BRIDGE TOO FAR," and "GANDHI," which has just been released for its 25th Anniversary by SONY. While his attempt to cover the large portion of his life, as presented here, creates some problems in pacing at times, one can't help but be blown away by the epic-quality of the film. The sweeping imagery as well as many great performances, make the viewing of the film, feel like a special occasion, and especially so, as presented in this often stunning blu-ray transfer!
Ben Kingsley won an Oscar for his performance here, and the film was nominated for and winner of many more. Although there has been room for debate about some aspects of this man's life, the power and beauty of his message of love, tolerance, selflessness and more is perhaps as timely now, as it has ever been. Attenborough skillfully provides the dramatic texture necessary for the man's philosophy of non-violence to have greater impact through a number of startling events interspersed throughout the film, along with one unforgettable sequence featuring Edward Fox. But, as with "A BRIDGE TOO FAR," there's no shortage of outstanding, star performances throughout!
"GANDHI" still feels a bit long, but it's to the director's credit that even after having just viewed the 2001 dvd release weeks prior, some uneven pacing couldn't diminish the film's overall powerful magnetism and impact.
SONY has provided the correct 2.40:1 aspect ratio for this 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 blu-ray. While the image is notably better than the standard resolution dvd, detail can be uneven at times. Moderate grain is present, but not distracting. Contrast is impressive throughout and darker scenes provide a level of definition, lost on dvd. While there are numerous instances of stunning depth, as with elaborate crowd scenes wherein each individual appears much more distinct than on dvd, there are also a fair share wherein softness is pervasive. Colors are deeper and better balanced than on dvd, and it never feels "average," it just doesn't offer the knock your socks off kind of detail from beginning-to-end, found on many recent SONY blu-ray releases.
SONY has provided a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix. Unfortunately, this mix is more problematic than we'd expected. The fact that surrounds and LFE are barely noticeable, isn't a problem, some distortion, however, becomes annoying in various spots. Also, unlike the dvd mix, most of the effects feel manufactured here, providing a less-than-natural atmosphere for imagery that is often breathtaking and calls out for a natural sounding environment. Alas, the beautiful score, is well complimented here, and dialogue, for the most part, is well balanced and free of distortion.
A "new-to-blu-ray" picture in content track, is included, offering high-def material for this release. A commentary with the director is also offered, providing pretty much anything one could ever want to know about the film's production. It's often interesting, but becomes dry before the half-way mark.
All of the extras found on the previous special edition, including the photo montage and Kingsley's perspective on Gandhi, are included.