There have been plenty of films about racing, or with great action scenes involving fast driving cars, "WINNING", "DAYS OF THUNDER", "FRENCH CONNECTION", BULLIT", "RONIN" and many more. None of them achieve the thrills achieved in John Frankenheimer's "GRAND PRIX". Unfortunately, with the exception of "DAYS OF THUNDER", all of those other films have a much better script however than the one here.
James Garner stars as an American Formula One driver amongst too many other main characters for the film's own good. As good as the racing scenes are, the soap-opera-like drama filling the other scenes can be very trying at times, especially during a three hour film! Behind every man in this film is at least one,(and sometimes many more)woman offering some overly-dramatic but ineffective relationship scenario. None of these scenarios proves compelling, and cumulatively, they drag the film. However, it's worth struggling through the mediocre drama, to sit at the edge of seats for the race scenes, which are all sensational! Frankenheimer is one of the few directors able to use split-screen effectively without it ever feeling hokey ala "DePalma"!
WARNER BROS. has provided a transfer that's pretty close to the original 2.20:1 theatrical presentation. It's a stunning transfer! The detail in every frame is spectacular. Colors are dead on throughout and the deep blacks and grays further emphasize an already terrific looking image. One race sequence, taking place in the rain, offers some of the best looking High Definition yet released in either BLU-RAY or HD-DVD format! There is not one instance of artifacts, in spite of the hurried motion of many scenes.
WARNER BROS has provided a DOLBY DIGITAL PLUS 5.1 mix. It's an improvement over the standard 5.1 mix found on the recent dvd, with better dynamic range. Most of the separation is devoted to the front soundstage, however during the frequent racing sequences, surrounds kick in with maximum impact for the thrill of the crowd, engines roaring and another fantastic score by Maurice Jarre.
Four new documentaries are offered! In spite of the heavy-handed drama sequences, this is a "CAN'T MISS" title for every collector!