SRP $29.98 2.35:1(16:9) DOLBY DIGITAL 5.1 PARAMOUNT

This critic admits to being underwhelmed by most of Director Marc Foster's films, with the exception of "MONSTER'S BALL." However, for the most part, he's done a magnificent job in adapting the beloved novel, "THE KITE RUNNER."  This epic-tale spans decades, following its central characters, beginning as good-hearted innocent youths living in Afghanistan just prior to the Russian invasion. Two best friends, one, Amir, is the son of a wealthy, intellectual businessman and widow. His best friend, Hassan, is the son of the beloved family servant.  The children's favorite pastime, aside from watching dubbed Charles Bronson westerns, is kite flying-Afghan style, wherein competitors try to win kite flying contests by maneuvering their kite to cut the string of others, and it's up to the "kite runner" to retrieve them. During one of these contests, something brutal happens to Hassan, and Amir acts cowardly in choosing not to defend his friend. Worse, from guilt, he intentionally victimizes his friend even more. When the Russians invade, the two are separated permanently, and the film moves over years and follows Amir and his father's attempt at assimilation in America. Of course, the past comes back to haunt and free the main characters involved.  While the screenplay inherently leaves out various scenes from the book, certain to be favorites of fans, it does a great job in capturing other great moments, and, as a whole, is faithful to its source.

PARAMOUNT has provided the correct 2.35:1 aspect ratio for this dvd release, with 16:9 enhancement.  It's a terrific looking dvd. Colors are solid throughout. The richness of colors varies throughout the film, depending on the locale. Some scenes are intentionally subdued more than others due to the stark landscape, but detail never suffers.  Contrast is excellent and there are no artifacts.

PARAMOUNT has included a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix  It's a dialogue heavy film, with most separation focused on the front soundstage. Surrounds kick in appropriately during some scenes and add greatly to the atmosphere, such as during the kite flying contests and some action scenes. But, for the most part surrounds and LFE effects are only used to enhance the wonderful score. Dialogue is always intelligible and free from distortion. A large portion of the film is spoken in the Dari language of Afghanistan, wherein subtitles are utilized.

PARAMOUNT has added some extras, including some great featurettes, trailers and an outstanding commentary with the director, main actor and screenwriter.