“ARGO” available on Blu-ray Combo pack, DVD and for download 2/19!
The Movie: 9/10
I am having a good run on movies this year so far. Argo keeps the vibe alive. It got my full attention and the better part of my crass number grading system. There are a lot of good reasons for my swooning. It’s not just a good movie, good story, great cast, well made, well-edited, and beautifully designed, it’s got that THING, the intangible voodoo that hooked me and still reserves a place in my mind, which most movies do not do this many days later.
The movie is solid, sturdy, substantial. The cast is convincing, committed, compelling. Everyone fills their character with personality, gestures, quirky bits and pieces. All this gives us a fuller view of them even though we don’t really get much from the content of the script. We get a few nods to who they are, but when you strip it back, the reason I felt for them all was in the human behavior of the people embodying them.
The quality of the sets and design of everything we see fills the screen constantly with a world and a time that I got lost in completely. I was there, it was the late 70’s, a politically volatile world, the style, the fashion, the state of technology, and our pre-internet existence. If you don’t see the world as pre and post internet, you need to read more than this review, but that’s another topic. The thing is, this movie is told in a way that reminds me very clearly the reach that our developing changing look at the whole world has completely rearranged how we approach things. I give credit to the director, writer, art director, cinematographer, cast, costume and make up designers. They all put in the right balance of color, tone, attitude, even a slight innocence that represents that era beautifully.
Ben Affleck isn’t alone in making this movie top quality. He just happens to be at the helm and that gets him more attention. If he had as much to do with the whole of the movie as I think he did, he is only getting better and better at making movies I want to see, and see, and see, and talk about and talk about….and that’s a good thing. Oh, let’s not forget he also stars in the movie, which boggles my mind, how someone can keep an active eye on both the whole production and his own precious segment as the lead character. He deserves any and all awards he might have been given for Argo.
I will remember Argo the way I still remember movies like Munich, Michael Clayton, Veronica Guerin, Frost Nixon, and others that are based on true stories AND have the highest quality of story telling along with cinematic beauty. Remembering a movie is just about the highest praise I can give it. Well, I have remembered some horrible movies, so I’ll say, to remember a movie with as much respect and admiration as I summon up for Argo leaves a lasting impact on my movie loving self.
- Picture In Picture Eyewitness Account – A full length picture in picture track with interviews with the real people and the actors involved in this amazing story.
- Rescued From Tehran: We Were There – President Carter (yes they got a president to do a Blu-Ray extra), Mendez and the rest of the actual house guests tell us about the real life events.
- Argo: Absolute Authenticity – Affleck talks about how he embraced the time period and the problems filming a movie set in the 70’s presents.
- Argo: The CIA & Hollywood Connection – Lots of clips from the real incident with Affleck and Mendez giving opinions on the CIA.
- Escape From Iran: The Hollywood Option – The 2005 47 minute long documentary that recounts the real events of “The Canadian Caper” The Blu-Ray alone is worth the price for this awesome made for television documentary.
- Feature Length Commentary With Ben Affleck & Writer Chris Terrio – Affleck really delivers in this riveting commentary track. He also brings in writer Chris Terrio who delves into the intricate task of turning Mendez’s book into a movie.
- DVD & UV Digital Copy
Cover Art and Menus: 5/10
Menu, blah. I would not have it as a poster because it’s boring and loses all the meaning this movie has to offer. The menu is just a menu.
Audio & Video: 9/10
Argo features a breathtaking transfer that preserves the filmic qualities of the theatrical presentation. Sure there are some soft shots and the archival footage used in the opening comes across as standard definition but overall this is a solid transfer that will impress even the most jaded Blu-Ray fan. The transfer is presented in 1080P using the AVC codec and the average bitrate is around 33mbps.
Warner’s DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is quite aggressive with liberal use of music to add atmosphere to the piece. If you want a showpiece to show off your setup play the first chapter. The storming of the embassy in Iran is one of the most enveloping tracks you will have heard in some time.
I say pay the money to rent this, or buy it if you want to have it on the shelf to watch more than once to soak it all up. Either way it’s a good expenditure on your entertainment budget. You will find it for about 20 bucks, which is high, yes, but if you share it with enough friends who will get as much out of it as I did, it’s worth the price tag.
Overall Score 9/10