HTS Moderator , Reviewer
HTS Overall Score:89
I still remember January 15th 2009 when the famed “miracle on the Hudson” occurred. I was sitting in my little apartment at the time (only a few short months before we purchased our house that we live in now) and watching TV bored out of my mind. Then every station in the city was all broadcasting the same news story. A plane had gone down over the Hudson River with 155 souls on board, but everyone involved in the controlled crash had come out alive. The entire incident was only about 30 minutes in length and had the nation glued to their TV’s in a way that hadn’t happened since 9/11. Now it’s been almost 8 years since that incident, but when I saw the preview for “Sully” all of those old memories came flooding back in an instant. That sense of exhilaration when the passengers were announced as OK and the relief that comes after an intense period of raised stress and hear rate. Digging into the nuts and bolts of the story I found out that there was an actual investigation into Sully’s capabilities to land the plane elsewhere (thus saving a VERY expensive lost plane in the Hudson) and that for 15 months his career was up in the air as they deliberated over the cause of the crash and if Sully messed up. The film takes a more focused look on that scenario and embellishes a little bit to give the movie a “villain”, but other than that, it is a rather accurate depiction of the events that took place those 8 years ago.
The story starts AFTER the incident at hand, with Captain Chesley Sullenberger (Sully for short, played by Tom Hanks) reliving those final 208 seconds over and over again, wondering if there was something he could have done differently. While Sully is mostly sure of his capabilities and decision making process, the NTSB association who is investigating the crash for the airlines and insurance agencies is NOT exactly willing to let this go. They’re under the impression that Sully could have made it to a close by airport and are doing their best to pin the blame for the loss of the aircraft on the pilot, despite the rest of the world branding him an instant hero. Sully has a few self-doubts, and some sleepless nights, but both he and his co-pilot, Jeff Skiles (Aaron Eckhart) adamantly stick to their story that there was nothing they could do but make an emergency landing in the Hudson.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=87346[/img]The story flickers back and forth between the present proceedings in the investigation and back to the actual crash itself through the use of copious flashbacks. Most of the story is told several times, with Sully and Jeff telling how things when down followed shortly but the movie jumping backwards in time to the incident and the viewer watching the exciting last few minutes of the giant A320 Airbus before it hits the water. Sometimes I felt it was just slightly confusing to use the flashbacks so heavily, but once you get used to the split timeline story it becomes easier and easier to keep pace with the shifts. I have to say that I REALLY enjoyed “Sully”. Most of us already knew the outcome but it was exhilarating to watch the legendary plane crash in action. I do have to say that I was a little disappointed to see that Eastwood had turned the NTSB into the villains of the film. By all accounts the NTSB and the crew of the plane were not really at odds with each other. The original data seemed to prove that Sully might have been at fault, but once human error was introduced into the equation they were more than willing to accept the results. Here they were vindictive and out to nail Sully to a wall. I can only assume that the film needed a villain or antagonist of some sort to fight back against and the NTSB were the only viable option.
The NTSB as the villain was actually not the best parts of the movie. They made a serviceable villain for the audience to hiss and boo, but the real highlights of the film came from the flashbacks to the plane crash itself. I don’t know what it is about a true story involving heroism, but it gets the blood pumping and a few snuffles to escape one’s eye while watching. Watch the intense moments as the A320 was going down and the moments afterwards while Sully’s crew swept the plane for survivors and see if your heartrate doesn’t climb just a bit. The final ending incorporates those moments as well as a “win” against the NTSB, but really the controversy over Sully’s guilt in the crash is secondary to the actual event itself.
Hanks slips into the role of Chesley Sullenberger with the ease and grace of an accomplished actor. He never over acts or hams it up and plays that “Tom Hanks” character that he only he can pull off so well. Eckhart is another close second as Jeff Skiles, although he is really a fairly laid back character in the film and doesn’t draw attention to himself. In all honesty, NONE of the characters really stand out, and I mean that in a good way. Everyone has a very organic and symbiotic feel to the acting so that you weren’t looking at any one character and saying “wow! Look at him/her!”.
Rated PG-13 for some peril and brief strong language
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=87354[/img]“Sully” is one of the rare films coming out today that comes to us with a full 4K DI master as its source. Shot using the Arri Alexa 65 cameras and the new Arri Alexa IMAX cameras the source material is a healthy 6.5K and transferred to a 4K master that is used for both the Blu-ray and the 4K release. The results are nothing short of jaw dropping all the way around. Razor sharp detail with teal color grading that leans more towards the green elements in the teal spectrum leave us with a beautiful looking Blu-ray. Colors are soft and rather muted, but whites and blacks and contrasts are impeccably balanced. Sometimes I noticed that the faces would look so real that you almost could reach through the screen and touch them. Blacks are deep and silky deep with tons of shadow detail and even the intimate threading on the deep blue pilot’s uniforms are easily recognizable. Warner’s Blu-ray encode is simply stellar, with no signs of digital artifacting that I could notice and an image that is truly exemplary.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=87362[/img]Both the 4K UltraHD release and the Blu-ray are given the same Dolby Atmos track, so fear not. Those of you with Atmos equipment can enjoy the new object based sound format in whichever version you pick up. The Atmos experience is truly amazing on this disc, as they have struck a balance between lightly nuanced drama and a fully immersive plane crash in the shift between time periods. There are large portions of the film that aren’t wildly active, but there is still quite a bit of nuance and detail to those quieter moments. The sounds of New York City are bustling and beeping the background as Sully goes for a run or encounters a friendly barkeep in the city, and there are the little sounds of reporters mulling in the background during a busy interview. However the real amazing parts of the track focus on the flashbacks to Flight 1549. The LFE is simply punishing, with deep waves of bass slamming the listener back into the seat as the giant A320 roars off the runway and when it’s making the descent to the Hudson the entire listening position was just pulsing and vibrating with energy while the surrounds and overheads are awash with the sounds of the plain roaring into a controlled descent. Simply put, a picture perfect track that is one of the better Atmos experiences in recent review.
• Sully Sullenberger: The Man Behind the Miracle - The "Miracle on the Hudson" didn't happen by chance. The difference between disaster and deliverance rested on the character of the man with his hands on the controls.
• Moment by Moment: Averting Disaster on the Hudson - Captain Sullenberger, Co-Pilot Jeff Skiles and air traffic controller Patrick Harten take us step-by-step through the 208 harrowing seconds of Flight 1549, revealing how the wrong decision at any point would have resulted in disaster.
• Neck Deep in the Hudson: Shooting Sully - Director Clint Eastwood and producers Frank Marshall and Allyn Stewart reveal how Flight 1549's terrifying splashdown in the Hudson River was captured on film, shooting on the Hudson itself as well as in Universal's historic Fall's Lake, where parts of "Jaws" were filmed.
Retelling the true to life story of flight 1549 having to land on the Hudson River a bird strike destroyed both their engines as 2800 feet (the lowest recorded bird strike on record to incapacitate a plane), “Sully” is both an engaging and exhilarating film to watch. There’s some flights of fancy in the way they portray the actual investigation of the incident, but if you can forgive that faux pas, Eastwood has made a great drama to enjoy. The first act is a bit slow and more sober, but once the flashbacks to the actual event start to begin in earnest you can’t take your eyes off the screen. The Blu-ray boasts stellar video and absolutely impeccable audio to boot. Extra are middle of the road, but more than capable with several really good featurettes to dig into the nuts and bolts of the film. Definitely recommended.
Starring: Tom Hanks, Aaron Eckhart, Laura Linney
Directed by: Clint Eastwood
Written by: Todd Komarnicki (Screenplay), Chesley Sullenberger (Book)
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 AVC
Audio: English: Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 Core), French, Spanish, Portuguese, DD 5.1, English Descriptive Audio DD 5.1
Studio: Warner Brothers
Runtime: 96 minutes
Own Sully on Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack, Blu-ray and DVD on December 20 or Own It Early on Digital HD on December 6!
Buy Sully On Blu-ray at Amazon
Buy Sully On 4K Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: Great Watch
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