Best Blu-ray Deals
Best Blu-ray Deals, See All the Deals »
Top deals |
Gorillas in the Mist(1988)
The story of Dian Fossey, a scientist who came to Africa to study the vanishing mountain gorillas, and later fought to protect them.
For more about Gorillas in the Mist and the Gorillas in the Mist Blu-ray release, see Gorillas in the Mist Blu-ray Review published by Kenneth Brown on March 5, 2014 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.
Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Bryan Brown, Julie Harris, Iain Cuthbertson, Iain Glen, Maggie O'Neill
Director: Michael Apted
» See full cast & crew
Gorillas in the Mist Blu-ray Review
"Get off my mountain!"
Reviewed by Kenneth Brown, March 5, 2014
Gorillas in the Mist is a moving drama but a frustrating biopic, offering a rousing glimpse into the life of renowned naturalist Dian Fossey without ever really delving into who Fossey was beneath her accomplishments, where her drive and motivation sprang from, or the full extent of the legacy she left after her tragic murder in 1985. Blame shouldn't fall on Sigourney Weaver, though. Weaver is perfectly cast, exuding the conviction and fortitude necessary to bring such a larger than life zoologist to the screen. It's little wonder -- even some twenty-five years after the film's original 1988 release -- that the Alien starlet's heartfelt performance earned her a Golden Globe, or a second Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. (The first being for James Cameron's Aliens.) No, it's Anna Hamilton Phelan's at-times dutifully one-note screenplay and Michael Apted's blunt-force direction that make Gorillas in the Mist the slippery, overly simplified yet, all at once, gripping and memorable film it is.
Based on the true story of naturalist Dian Fossey's firsthand study of the mountain gorillas of the Congo -- a 19-year passion project that eventually cost Fossey her life -- Gorillas in the Mist opens in 1966, as Fossey (Weaver) convinces famed paleoanthropologist Louis Leakey (Iain Cuthbertson) to support and supply an expedition into the jungle. There she not only encounters the mountain gorillas, but finds herself at violent odds with agitated Congolese soldiers, forcing her to relocate to nearby Rwanda. Unfortunately, Rwanda proves as inhospitable as the Congo. Machete-wielding poachers, corrupt government officials and merciless traders make it increasingly difficult for Fossey to protect the gorillas, bringing her into direct conflict with armed men on more than one occasion. Fossey's boldness only makes the situation that much more volatile, though, no matter how much her companions -- African animal tracker Sembagare (John Omirah Miluwi) and National Geographic photographer Bob Campbell (Bryan Brown) -- try to persuade her to place her safety above that of the gorillas.
It's a testament to Weaver's prowess as a performer that Gorillas in the Mist is as captivating as it sometimes is. Even when a syrupy romantic subplot muddies the waters and nearly poisons the well (by no fault of Brown's), Weaver remains a convincing, altogether magnetic presence, adding more clout to her challenging choices as an actress. Her Fossey bears more than a few striking similarities to Ellen Ripley, but she goes out of her way to distance one from the other, substituting Fossey's innate resolve for Ripley's reluctance to thoroughly effective ends. At her side, Miluwi makes the most of his one screen role -- with a character that's inadvertently more interesting and nuanced than Fossey -- and Brown rises to the bar set by his co-stars, even though his Bob Campbell is only on screen to highlight Fossey's growing emotional attachment to the primates she's studying (encapsulated by her mother/child relationship with Digit) and questionable detachment from her fellow man.
But beyond the performances, there isn't much that separates Gorillas in the Mist from other environmentally minded docudramas of the '80s and '90s, other than John Seale's jungle cinematography and the lovely moments Fossey shares with the mountain gorillas. By all accounts, Fossey was far more colorful and far less down-to-Earth than depicted in the film, making the Everywoman Weaver portrays a rather safe rendition of a firebrand who was much more at odds with the world around her. The relative simplicity of the Fossey vs. African poachers narrative is troubling too, with Sembagare feeling more like an back-door apology or PC addendum than a full-fledged element of the story. (A shame considering how naturally Miluwi lends himself to the proceedings.) Still, the friendship forged between Fossey and Sembagare leads to some of the film's most quietly powerful beats, leaving one to wonder why the rest of the story couldn't be as touching or insightful.
Gorillas in the Mist Blu-ray, Video Quality
It's always interesting to read the wildly different responses various viewers have to a maligned Universal catalog presentation. Some are quick to mount a defense... It looks fine! What's the problem? It looks so much better than the DVD! Others are quick to point out the issues that plague the image; issues that are quite telling when trying to identify the era of the transfer being utilized, the outmoded techniques used to spiff up and sharpen the original source, and the mild to severe consequences of employing such techniques. Regardless of how satisfied or dissatisfied one might be with the results, though, it's next to impossible to make a case that Universal's 1080p video transfer is anything but problematic. I'd go so far as to call it a bit of a first generation Blu-ray mess, but I'm more sensitive to the issues on display than those who have shown themselves far more forgiving and willing to settle for a mediocre presentation.
Colors are richer and more generously saturated than ever before, sure. Black levels are deeper, clarity and detail boast a marginal upgrade, and the encode itself is largely free of macroblocking, banding, aliasing and other eyesores. No argument here. However, the image isn't film-like at all, despite the presence of grain. Noise reduction has certainly been employed (note the smearing, poorly resolved fine textures and pulpy, chunky, oft-times displaced grain), edge enhancement is out in full force (as many a glaring edge halo will attest), and very few scenes, if any, showcase the precision or refinement a proper ground-up restoration or well-sourced remastering would offer. Yes, softness is present, and in many cases, attributable to the original photography. But there's a big difference between a soft shot and one rendered soft by overzealous noise reduction, and there are just to many of the latter to give this one a pass. Does it best its DVD counterparts? Absolutely. Is this the best Gorillas in the Mist could look? Not even close, and you don't have to be an eagle-eyed videophile to come to the same conclusion.
Gorillas in the Mist Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Universal's DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track is much better, at least in terms of its faithfulness to the source. There's still a presiding front-heaviness to the mix, which is to be expected, but there's enough use of the rear speakers to make up for it, particularly when Fossey makes her way deep into the jungle. Dialogue is clean, clear and nicely prioritized, with only a few instances of muffled, tinny or less than intelligible voices. (The film's original sound mix and design being the culprit.) LFE output is steady and strong, albeit a tad inconsistent, and dynamics are quite good, barring a few elements that should hit with more oomph than they do. (Again, blame the film, not the lossless track.) In fact, other than the age of the production, there's very little to complain about. Gorillas in the Mist's mix fares about as well as it could. Other than a handful of underwhelming moments, I was pleased with what I heard.
Gorillas in the Mist Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
The Blu-ray edition of Gorillas in the Mist features the same extras as the previously released DVDs: a short behind-the-scenes featurette (SD, 9 minutes) and the film's theatrical trailer (SD, 2 minutes). It's not a lot, but it's better than nothing I suppose.
Gorillas in the Mist Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Gorillas in the Mist is a problematic biopic saved, even elevated, by Weaver and co-star John Omirah Miluwi's performances. The years haven't been quite as kind as the 1989 Golden Globes and Academy Awards, though, and the film isn't as profound, powerful or true to reality as its various honors might suggest. Universal's Blu-ray release is problematic too, with a video presentation that suffers from a number of issues and a slim, almost barebones supplemental package. The film's DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track is more than serviceable, thankfully, and it does look much better than its DVD counterparts. It doesn't fare nearly as well as it could with a proper restoration or remastering from the original film negatives, mind you, but at a budget price, I suppose it'll do.
Use the thumbs up and thumbs down icons to agree or disagree that the title is similar to Gorillas in the Mist. You can also suggest completely new similar titles to Gorillas in the Mist in the search box below.
Similar titles suggested by members
Gorillas in the Mist Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Gorillas in the Mist Blu-ray - November 13, 2013
Universal Studios Home Entertainment has announced the Blu-ray release of director Michael Apted's Gorillas in the Mist, which stars Sigourney Weaver as groundbreaking naturalist Dian Fossey. The Oscar-nominated drama arrives on January 7, 2014.
Gorillas in the Mist Blu-ray, Forum Discussions
Gorillas in the Mist Blu-ray Screenshots
Back to Gorillas in the Mist Blu-ray »
Trending Blu-ray Movies
Trending in Theaters
This web site is not affiliated with the Blu-ray Disc Association.
All trademarks are the property of the respective trademark owners.
© 2002-2014 Blu-ray.com. All rights reserved.