Invictus Blu-Ray Review

Available on Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD, On Demand and for Download 5/18!

Cover Art and Menus: 5/10
The cover and menu don’t do much for me. The cover is too rah rah and the menu is just the same. I wouldn’t have this cover as a poster. I would have a poster with just a muddy rugby ball or a wide shot of Robben Island Prison, but that’s not the route they chose, so it’s just a bland little package.

Features: 9/10

  • Picture In Picture – An excellent collction of behind the scenes and about the truth of living with Apartied in South Africa and during it’s demise. A very good extra that makes it worth watching the movie again (as if I need an excuse ).
  • Mandella Meets Morgan – I think in a lifetime a person hopes to be important and whatever our definition of that is keeps us going. Someone like Nelson Mandela and his impact on a country, even the world, towers above the importance of a Hollywood actor’s contribution to this life. So, how does someone like Morgan Freeman feel when he’s in the presence of Nelson Mandela? Nervous, of course 🙂
  • The Eastwood Factor – Clint Eastwood is featured in a full length documentary that you can get soon. It covers his career and his impact on the Hollywood movie list since the 50’s. This extra covers his role in directing a movie like Invictus and how he views his multi-faceted participation in all the movies he’s done. It’s very interesting actually, more compelling than I thought it would be.
  • Matt Damon Plays Rugby – When a big name star tells the group of hard core rugby players he’s just one of the guys, not a star or anything like that…well, it sounds pretentious and there are hints of that when you see Damon behind the scenes. Whether he’s a cool dude or a man-diva I don’t care, he delivers in the movies he does and Invictus is right up there with some of his best performances. Oh, I mean, they show him getting all muddy and stuff.
  • Invictus Music Trailer – Blah
  • Digital Copy – Put it on your laptop and watch it again, it’s worth it.
  • DVD Version Of The Movie – Take it to your mom’s and watch it on her old fashioned DVD player, she’ll dig it.

The Movie: 9/10
Just to get us rolling in a learning kind of vibe today, I’m adding the text of the poem Invictus. In the movie, presumably in real life, Nelson Mandela took comfort and inspiration in this poem during his incarceration that spanned almost 3 decades. My montra in life is “Think for yourself or someone will do it for you.” and some of my young family members don’t like it when I tell them that a lot of their personal choices are what lead them to their own misery, it’s in their minds how they can interpret and cope with life…so this poem REALLY hits home with me. If you want to know more about it, go look it up like I did.


Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

A delicious and satisfying movie is always something I remember and want to revisit many times. Invictus is one of those stories put to film that I just felt a strong respect for, along with being entertained. I was in college during the beginning of the end of Apartied. I never really knew wnat it was. I won’t claim a movie can teach me about history, however, I do know it got me to looking up a few things and that’s saying something about the impact of the film.

Nelson Mandela was in prison for almost 30 years as a political prisoner. When he was released South Africa was on the edge of abolishing Apartied, which was legal segregation of the population between blacks and whites. While the white population was the minority, they had the rule of the country and by any and all accounts of real life history during the time it was brutal, unjust, and such an amazing structure of a government to be alive and well into the 1990’s.  Wow, 1990 sounds like such a long time ago, a whole other century..haha now I know what it’s like to live through the change of a century….it’s like being old:)

In the beginning of Mandela’s presidency he saw that the South African rugby team wasn’t doing well. Their team, their colors, name, and even anthem represented a very dark thing for the black population. An almost all white team, playing for the white population. The movie depicts crowds at games in which the black citizens were always cheering for other countries, not their own South African SpringBokk team. In this telling of the story Mandela is an avid rugby fan and he sees this team and the upcoming world cup of rugby as a chance to unify his country.

His main philosophy when the black citizens want to get rid of the whole package of the team that represented such a negative aspect of their nation’s history was to say if we take away the thing that the white population loves so dearly just to punish them for our pain, we are no better than them. If we keep their symbol, their team they cheer for and we also cheer for them, we are unified. It’s not a cure all, that we all know. But then again, as a human I also know that sometimes when you find common ground with someone you don’t really like, and it can be as simple as a shared favorite movie or favorite food, well, you change your view of them even for just a minute or two and all it takes is more of those commonalities that can help bring a nation so split back together enough to make life more balanced for everyone there.

That’s what I got out of the movie. We can’t solve every problem with simple solutions, but we can move everyone toward a better understanding of each other, even if we just smile more. That was one thing they emphasized about Mandela, that he wanted his body guards to smile more, and the people in his offices. I guess it sounds corny and ineffectual, but imagine it’s hard to be full of hate or disagreement on a level of violence and destruction when everyone makes and effor to just be a tiny bit more pleasant, more civilized.

The movie looks awesome. It’s got an incredibly solid pace and it is grounded in a kind of reality that has that Hollywood shine skimmed off, leaving a lot of muted but so intense moments. The rugby matches are really well done. I don’t know anything about the sport, but to me it was compelling, even if I’m not a sports fan and you can take out most of those games in movies for me…I accept they exist and it’s important in this story so it worked well.

Matt Damon and Morgan Freeman, for me, really do themselves proud in this movie. It’s unpretentious and scaled back to (or so it seems) represent the real life, still living folks they are portraying. There are no flaws in the acting or the music, or the dialogue. It’s just a really really good movie with an awesome message and a little known bit of history we could all be a little better off knowing.

Audio & Video: 8/10 (By Ascully)
Invictus is a movie full of color but with an almost reserved color pallet. It seems to me the movie was slightly desaturated and color corrected in post production  for artistic purposes. The Blu-Ray handles this with ease providing a sharpish rich looking image with some artistic overblown whites courtesy of Mr Eastwood’s DP Tom Stern.

The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track uses the surround speakers mostly during the Rugby scenes and is front and center when it needs to be during the dialog. There are a couple of problems with clarity of speech (when Damon talks to Morgan at the very end of the movie on the Rugby field, it’s quite hard to hear what is said over the roar of the crowd.) but apart from a couple of instances of that the rest is a real treat.

Special mention should be made of the music in the movie which heightens some real emotional and inspiring scenes. Overall Invictus is an important film that highlights a little known story about one of the worlds greatest men, recommended.

Value: 8/10
I don’t say this often, but this is a movie I think I, and anyone who enjoys it, would watch a few more times. It’s not raucous and loud like a lot of sports movies are, while it’s not heavy and brooding like a lot of political movies are. It’s a great story, great extras, and it’s worth the price to keep it on my shelf for future inspired Saturday afternoons.

Overall Score 9/10