Writer David Mamet created two engrossing and memorable characters, played by Alec Baldwin as the urbane fashion photographer and Anthony Hopkins as a reserved and intellectual billionaire. They find themselves teamed up against a giant Kodiak bear, and their own inner demons, when lost together in the Alaskan wilderness. There is a lot going on in this picture, as the subject matter includes male rivalry, the isolationism of extreme wealth, and, most conspicuously, the survival of the fittest. Mamet’s script, which sounds a little too arch in spots, is well served by New Zealand director Lee Tamahori, who knows how to capture beauty and brutality in one frame. Although the themes are enormous in scope, they are well balanced. One rarely overpowers the other, nor does the achingly beautiful scenery overshadow the acting. Even if you do not like the intellectualism of the dialogue, there are some great scenes with the bear.

Studio: 20th Century Fox
Year: 1995
Release Date: May 11, 2010
Run time: 117 minutes
Rating: R

Audio: DTS-HD MA lossless 5.1 mix
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Disc Spec: 1 BD50
Region: A

The plot is rather simple. A billionaire, Charles (Anthony Hopkins), and his wife’s secret lover, Bob (Alec Baldwin), get stranded after a plane crash in Alaska. They must cooperate to stay alive, in spite of the fact that Bob is planning on killing Charles to get his wife/money. They decide to hike south to their last known location, but keep getting lost because they can’t tell where south is. To complicate matters, they are being stalked by a man-eating bear which has acquired a taste for human flesh after eating a Rastafarian.

That was the good part. The bad part was that the amazingly intelligent Charles could not figure out that what one does in this situation is find an open area, make a cross (or something identifiably man-made) with branches, and then keep a fire going nearby (they had matches). A continual fire would have provided warmth, smoke (for a signal) as well as protection from the bear.

But given the assumption that clueless city folks could not come up with this simple strategy, even a rube like me can tell which way south is. The sun rises in the east (southeast during the winter) and sets in the west. Since it wasn’t cloudy, it seems like the way south would have been obvious. Just look at the sun, or, if you don’t want to go blind, a shadow will do.
Movie Content: 7/10

Print/Audio Quality

The print is presented in 1080p/MPEG-4 with a 2.35:1 aspect ratio. I was rather surprised from this print quality as I was expecting something bad, but instead it was a very good looking catalog title. Details and colors are very impressive in this print. I found colors to be strong and bold throughout, yet saturated in several scenes. Greens rule the print with some amazing looking foliage. Black levels are deep and inky looking. Sense of depth and clarity are also excellent, especially with the detailed portions of the print. A good example is both Hopkins and Baldwin’s faces where you see every wrinkle, poor, beard strand on their faces. If I could knock the print in a particular area, it would be with the dreaded little white specs. You will see small white specs of dirt throughout the film which can at times get annoying for a print this good.
Video Quality: 9/10

The audio is presented in DTS-HD MA lossless 5.1 mix. The soundfield is immersive at all times no matter if it is the special effects or dialogue. I was quite impressed with the depth of the dialogue coming through the center channel. Dialogue was clean and clear with no apparent issues. This film has some decent usage of the rears. Jerry Goldsmith’s score adds to the enjoyment of the film from an audio standpoint. His score nicely fills the soundfield immersing the viewer.
Audio Quality: 9/10

Special Features

  • Theatrical Trailer [HD]
  • Other Trailers

Special Features: 1/10

Final Thoughts

While I was not a huge fan of the film due to a few inconsistencies, both Baldwin and Hopkins pull through some solid performances. I found the film on Blu-ray to be well done and if you own this on DVD, time for an upgrade with an excellent audio and video presentation.
Overall Rating: 7/10