Blu-ray Review “The Descendants”

Directed by: Alexander Payne
Starring: George Clooney, Shailene Woodley, Amara Miller, Nick Krause, Patricia Hastie
Distributed by: Fox Searchlight
MPAA Rating: R
Release Date: March 13, 2012
Running Time: 115 minutes

Film: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3.5 out of 5 stars

As much as I love the film “The Artist”, it is obvious that George Clooney should have won the Oscar for his role in this movie. It is hard for an actor to be able to both make you laugh and cry in the same 2 hours and Clooney does it. When this film first came out I really had no interest in it but once it started picking up some pace, it grabbed my interest. Clooney’s performance seems to come so naturally and feels really laid back just like the Hawaii setting in the film. The film also features great performances from Beau Bridges and Matthew Lillard, though overall this is a real ensemble.

Following an accident of his wife leaving her in a coma, Matt King (Clooney), a high-powered Hawaii real estate lawyer (George Clooney) finds himself in charge of their young daughters (Shailene Woodley, Amara Miller) that he barely knows. Matt is also on the verge of making a very important family decision of selling a large portion of Hawaii’s beaches for hotel space. While spending time with his daughters, reflecting his wife’s situation he realizes that there are things that he has never noticed before about his family and his wife. With his daughters help he is able to find a way to change his life and theirs on the process.

The video looks absolutely fantastic and really shines in it 1080p transfer. The film was shot in stunning Hawaii and this film literally transports you to the beaches and just feels really laid back. The audio in this release packs a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track. It is not really pushed hard but it works well with the ambient sounds in the film and just seems to work well overall.

The special features are good though lacking any commentary track from Payne or Clooney. Since the film is all about George, so is this feature “Everybody Loves George”. “Working with Alexander” is lead by the director as he takes us through the production himself. “The Real Descendants” tells the real story story behind this film. “Hawaiian Style” focuses on the production side of shooting on location in Hawaii. Alexander Payne chats about the “Casting” in the next feature to come up with this dream-team cast. “Working with Water” deals with the difficulties of shooting on water.

More features include three music videos featuring footage from Hawaii: “Will I Ever See You Again”, “Postcards from Paradise” and “Honolulu’s Whisper”. My least favorite feature is “Waiting for the Light”, which a short montage of behind-the-scenes footage. From least to favorite, the next one is “The World Parade: Hawaii”. which is shows a reel of silent documentary like footage from turn-of-the-century Hawaii. “A Conversation with George Clooney and Alexander Payne” is a sit down with director and its star and ends up being a lot of fun. There are two short deleted scenes that were included, an explanation of each is given from the director. Lastly there is a theatrical trailer included.

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