Out Of Africa Blu-Ray Review

Cover Art and Menus: 6/10
This is a beautiful shot on the cover of Out of Africa, it portray’s Meryl Streep and Robert Redford, on a beautiful African background.  It is colorful and nicely done, and artistic.  The menu however is not so great.  It is of course the now familiar Universal Blu-ray classic dark gray menu with scenes playing in a box.  Before I said it was nice to see a familiar menu screen when I had only seen a few of the Universal Blu-rays, but now it is getting old.  It works, and is totally useful, but it is old and tired already.

Features: 6/10

  • Song Of Africa – This is a 1:15 minutes making of feature, that is really very good.  It really spends a good deal of time going into the story, and the filming and acting that makes up this epic movie.  It is quite good for an older movie.
  • Deleted Scenes – There are quite a few short scenes that don’t really add much to the story, but it is a decent watch.
  • Feature Commentary With Director Sydney Pollack – This is by far my favorite of the extras.  Sidney Pollack, the late Director and excellent actor, really goes into detail about his vision of the movie and how it developed.  It was a really great feature and excellent commentary from such a brilliant mind.
  • BDLive – This is of course the feature that sends you across the Internet to the Universal site, complete with trailers and info on new releases.  I still am not 100% sure that BDLive is useful, but we get the links here.
  • More – There are a few included trailers included here for Universal, and a few were quite odd for this type of movie.

The Movie: 8/10
Out of Africa won seven academy awards 25 years ago, and it has been named as one of the greatest movies ever made.  the soundtrack was stunning, and the acting is quite spectacular.  At 161 minutes it truly is an epic in terms of length, but the movie and pacing really helps make this seem much less of  a painful task.

Out of Africa features Meryl Streep, as the Danish Karen Finecke, who is getting up in years when she and her friend Bror Blixen (Klaus Maria Brandhauer), who also happens to be her lover’s brother, hatch a scheme to become married.  For her it is for the name recognition and to avoid looking like an old spinster, and for Bror it is a way to get money, which he seems to have run out of in his escapades in Europe.  The couple decide to set off for Kenya in Africa, where they will become married and raise cattle.  When Karen arrives the wedding commences and the friends become married.  It is only then that Karen learns of Bror’s decision to try to grow coffee instead of cattle, a decision that does not sit well with Karen, as the money has come from her parents, and the decision was made without her approval.

On the train to Kenya, Karen encounters Denys, (Robert Redford) who is portrayed as a good looking hunter who is accustomed to Africa, and seems to relish in her sights and sounds.  Denys asks Karen, who is enthralled with Denys, to take some large white ivory tusks to his friend in Kenya.

Out of Africa is set around the first World War, and deals with the war at a distance, through the eyes of Karen, who ends up falling in love with Denys, as her relationship with her new husband Bror, seems destined to fail.  The acting is quite well done, as is the story, which could have been too long and drawn out, but plays out nicely.  It is a story about Karen finding her way in the new African wonderland where the locals see her as a strange enigma, who will get her hands dirty tending to the coffee trees, as well as taking care of scrapes and injuries of her workers.  She is portrayed as a smart and savvy female, who is not afraid to speak her mind, in a time when this was not exactly something that was done.

Out of Africa is one of those movies that movie lovers have to see at least once.  It is a solid movie, and a great example of what movies can be, with a great mix of a strong story and excellent acting mixed into one package.

Audio & Video: 6/10
I was not overly impressed with the transfer of out of Africa.  Now I admit I might have been expected too much from such an old movie (25 years ago is a long time – just ask Meryl Streep) but this was not really the high definition experience that I expected.  It looks good, but it seems fuzzy and less sharp that it should be, and that might be the film itself and the cameras that were used, but I still expected more.  The movie is presented in 1.85:1 widescreen, but it was filmed in 4:3, before widescreen got big.  Some of the cinematography is sweeping and breathtaking , but it was just not what i wanted it to be.

The audio was better, with beautiful epic music and sharp dialogue.  The music by John Barry won an Academy Award, as did the movie for best sound.  It is quite a nice presentation considering the age of the movie, but it was well done in DTS-HD 5.1.

Value: 7/10
A great movie, that deserved to win so many awards, but it was not as good as I remembered it to be.  This is acting at its finest though, with Meryl Streep and Robert Redford putting in excellent performances.  There are some decent extras included on the Blu-ray, and it is cool to see that they have found a way to merge the Blu-ray and a regular DVD onto one disk.  For those who like classic, Academy award winning films, (and lets be honest, who doesn’t) Out of Africa on Blu-ray is a fine release, and a great movie.

Overall Score 7/10