One of the best films of 2006, "PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS" has been released by Sony on blu-ray and dvd formats! Based on the compelling, poignant and ultimately inspiring true story of Chris Gardner, it's not only a "must see" film, but a must have blu-ray and dvd, depending on which format you favor or already own!
This reviewer is always excited upon finding a great film from a previously unknown director and such is the case with director Gabriele Muccino. Well, unknown in America, that is! Muccino previously helmed a fine film with Monica Bellucci and the original film, "ONE LAST KISS" remade, albeit, only fairly with Zach Braff. What could've easily become sappy, is deftly handled by Muccino, offering just the right amount of restraint within individual scenes, allowing for believable performances and a convincing atmosphere throughout. Will Smith stars as the hard-working father of a young boy, hit by more trials and tribulations than Job, at times. When the mother of his child calls it quits, Smith decides to raise him single-handedly, while still pursuing his dream of success as a candidate in a stockbroker internship program. The real story which this was based on was even more powerful and there have been some big changes, however, the ultimate struggle within one to fight the good fight, without submitting to victimization, is here. It's a great film in many, many ways, and must be seen!
SONY has provided a 1080p/MPEG-4 transfer with 2.40:1 aspect ratio. An impressive transfer, and while colors never jump off the screen, there are plenty of vibrant images and it is keeping with the director's realistic approach to the film's design. There is magnificent detail in every scene and contrast is flawless making darker scenes even more impressive. Minor grain is visible in a few instances.
SONY has provided a 2.40:1 transfer with 16:9 enhancement for the dvd release. This is a terrific transfer with stunning clarity and detail. Contrast is great, offering deep blacks and grays in darker scenes.
SONY has provided a PCM 5.1 mix. While not an aggressive mix, there are some surround moments that enhance the film's atmosphere. For the most part, discrete effects are delegated to the front stage. There are plenty of discrete effects and the music is perfectly balanced, providing the appropriate, yet never over-the-top impact during crucial moments. Dialogue is always intelligible and free from distortion.
SONY has provided a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix for the dvd. The mix is well balanced and while well balanced, never comes close to reaching the fidelity of the blu-ray.
SONY has carried over the same extras from the dvd, including a terrific commentary with the film's director. It's insightful and worthwhile, even though hard to understand through the director's accent at times.
A featurette about the film's real main character is worthwhile, as is the featurette about the making of the film and the selection of the director. The audio "only" song, "inspired" by the film sucks!!!