Cover Art and Menus: 6/10
You have all of the 70’s as your design guide. You have a president and a British playboy. You have an excellent film about the time they crossed paths….and this is the cover of the DVD? It’s a bit boring. I like the simplicity, yes, but all the text makes it too ordinary. Which is the same thing I would complain about when it comes to the menu. It’s very utilitarian, some color choices were made, but other than that, it’s purely functional.
- The Nixon Chronicles – As you go through U-Control and explore all the material they have tucked in there, you will find a lot of history about the truth behind the presidency, notes from his peers, observations of the man himself. It’s not offered up on every frame of the movie, but if you are a history buff and want to connect the dots between Hollywood interpretation and reality, this is the set of extras to help you out.
- Discovering Secrets – The interview was done in a house in a neighborhood owned by the people who still own that house today! So, Ron Howard’s people found the house and we get the chance to hear what it was like to have this historic event take place in your living room, along with a lot of other interviews and tid bits about the interview and making the movie.
- U-Control (PIP) – Go back to watch the movie again with U-Control and you will get quite a bit of additional information again about the making the movie and facts about the event, the people, and the era. The picture in picture is still just about 25% of the screen, and I STILL think they should reverse it, new information on the whole screen, movie in the picture in the corner..but no one asked me :) One excellent feature of this, um feature, is the ‘pop up’ notes about the true events, well worth reading.
- The Making Of Frost Nixon – This is an excellent all inclusive kind of extra (minus the music??) with interviews with everyone involved, how they got to film in real locations,about the play that inspired the movie, and more. It’s well made and really does fill in a lot of details that make the movie that much more compelling.
- The Real Interview – This isn’t the whole interview, just snippets and some comparisons to the scenes in the movie. You can go to the website to watch the full interview, and I think I just might!
- The Nixon Library –I was really interested in this extra. The people who run this museum have had a hard time making it a part of the whole collection of presidential libraries, and you can imagine why. They are devoted and loyal to President Nixon as a man and leader, and his memory.
- Deleted Scenes – There are several scenes here, but nothing that would have added much content to the film.
- Feature Commentary With Director Ron Howard – Ohhh I love listening to Ron Howard talk, can’t tell you why, but he’s kind of hypnotizing to me…so, needless to say I like that he made the effort to do a full commentary:)
The Movie: 10/10
Beautifully made, wonderfully acted, an honest (if not fairly Hollywoody) look at a true life event that people will remember for many generations, Frost/Nixon is one of those movies I fell in love with the minute it started. The raw footage of committee hearings and the vibe of going back to such an intense time in American history, I was hooked right away. Yes, I was a kid when the Frost/Nixon interview happened, about 10 years old but I didn’t watch it and I’m sure I couldn’t have cared any less about politics. I was more interested in rollerskating around on the patio. However, now I’m fascinated with that era and this movie sheds some light on the topic in a way I had never thought about it.
Aside from the quality of every single aspect of the film, the ideas behind how the story is told captured me most. These were not just power house card board cut out people. These were men with lives, with demons, with motivations beyond what we normally associate with TV told history. We see the flash of a moment and fill in the rest with nothing more than our imaginations, but this telling of the tale digs deeper.
It takes a look at the frailties, the mistakes, the drive of emotions behind such monumental figures in our history. That’s what I found the most mesmerizing. I found myself just letting go of all the chatter I have heard about Nixon all my life and think about him as if he were just a dude next door. His reasons for becoming a powerful man, childhood pain. His political views were born in a time when men ruled with an iron fist, make the rules, controlled everything with a stern stick to beat the crap out of anyone who threatened their way of life. He was a product of his life, just like the rest of us, he just happened to become president of a country.
This is how the movie impacted me, not just in hind site, but actually during the movie I was buzzing in my mind about what it must have been like, what it must BE like to be those people in power over our world. That’s a lot for a movie to do…not to mention I was highly entertained. It’s got a lot of humor, inspiring moments, and it’s well constructed as a duel between these two ideas, a leader facing his ultimate fear of losing the battle of public favor, and a talk show host who wants fame, money, and to be more important than he is, both driving head on toward each other to the fateful day.
I can’t say enough good things about the movie, the direction is beautiful, the sets and costumes take me back to my childhood without even thinking about it. It all looks so authentic and detailed. The performances are, well, I can’t imagine anyone anywhere has had a bad thing to say about the cast. The overall experience combines great movie watching with a glimpse at history without too much sentimentality or romance, but with a certain glow you have to expect from Ron Howard. Definitely a must watch movie for the summer.
Audio & Video: 8/10 (by Ascully)
Ron Howard uses a variety of film stocks and techniques during Frost/Nixon which can give the high definition presentation a bit of a mixed look. Some scenes are sharp colorful and pristine, some are intentionally grainy and desaturated and some are actual old footage. But looking at it overall it’s still a stunning transfer with great flesh tones and solid blacks in the few low lit scenes. Audio is pretty much front loaded with not much going on in the surrounds or sub. The uncompressed audio helps with a dialog driven movie like Frost/Nixon and all dialog is clear and centered.
Overall Frost/Nixon is a great movie even if you are not into Politics. The Blu-Ray presentation is as close as you are going to get to the theatrical version in the home and with the large amount of extras offers good value for money.
This is a movie I will watch again. I will show it to people, enjoy it more than a few times, so it’s almost worth the price. You know me, I don’t like paying ridiculous prices for movies, but this one kind of grabs me so I might consider doing without some of my fancy coffee creamer for a month or so to afford the pleasure of having it on my shelf. If you are just interested in the movie version of a political event, by all means, rent it and enjoy!
Overall Score 9/10