HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: The Walk 3D
HTS Overall Score:90
There is something truly magnificent and unifying about watching a person of incredible talent pull off feats that boggle the imagination. We scream and cheer over a Basketball star who can pull off dunks and three pointers like a maestro. We gasp in awe and amazement at a musician whose fingers are dancing over the strings of his instruments, and we even clap in respect for the exotic sports fanatics who pull off death defying feats because they can. That little bit of magic is what Robert Zemeckis pull off with “The Walk”. A film that chronicles the true life story of Philippe Petit, a French tight rope walker that spanned the entirety of the famed twin trade towers back in 1974. A feat which was never replicated due to the extreme danger (and well, because the towers are no longer there anymore). The movie is intense, delightfully charming and incredibly awe inspiring as you watch Philippe perform probably the greatest tight rope act the world has ever seen.
The movie takes its subject seriously, but allows Joseph Gordon-Levitt to keep the mood light and airy with a charming narration throughout the whole film. While we know about Philippe’s famous walking act, JGL (with a very heavy French accent) takes us back to a time when Philippe was not nearly so famous. Born in an average French family, Philippe was a normal boy who just so happened to fall in love with a group of tightrope walkers in a local circus. Fascinated and eager to learn more, the young boy catches the eye of the Papa Rudy (Ben Kinsley), the patriarch of the circus tight rope walkers. Soon the young man is going to new heights, even if he’s immediately let down by the limitations he has. His famous walk is nothing more than a speck in his eye, but it is a very powerful speck. One that burgeons into full blown obsession when he catches an article about the famed two towers.
Along the way he captures the eye and the heart of Annie Allix (Charlotte Le Bon), and the help of photographer Jean Louis (Clement Sibony), as well as a motley crew of French and Americans who share his dream to some extent. Traveling to New York is the easy part, but what becomes the most difficult part of the journey is actually setting up his high wife, as you see, it’s kind of an illegal act. No one has allowed Philippe access to the two towers, so he and his crew have to secretly hang a tight rope wire weighting hundreds and hundreds of pounds across empty space and THEN tighten it just perfectly because even one mistake can send the man hurtling downwards to a very nasty splat.
If you look at the movie from afar, it seems like a weird conglomeration of film genres. You have a romance between Annie and Philippe, as well as what seems like a character study for the first portion of the film. Then mix in a dash of what feels like a criminal heist movie and you’ve got the ingredients for “The Walk”. Simply mesmerizing from beginning to end, the film keeps a jovial and light tone to the narration which keeps it from getting too bogged down in the character study. With a 2 hour and 3 minute run time, “The Walk” could have very easily just lost its way in the drama, leaving the audience bored before the final titular act. However, Joseph Gordon-Levitt does a great job at being over the top, yet strangely subdued at the same time, adding a sense of street performer charm that keeps you constantly watching his every movement.
The final act is really what we’ve been waiting to see, and it does not disappoint in the least. Philippe’s walk is something that has gone down in history books as being one of the most impressive tight rope walks of all time for a very good reason. He does not go across just once, not twice between the towers, but continues to walk back and forth as New York’s finest bracket both ends of the towers. Not satisfied to walk across and call it a day, Petit had to claim victory over the famed walk, traversing the wire so many times that even his own girlfriend was terrified at the risks he took.
I have never really studied the life of Philippe Petit except on a very cursory level, so I honestly can’t say HOW accurate the inner workings his journey to the top of the twin towers really is. I can only judge the movie on the merits of a film itself and how it affected me. As you can see by my gushing I really REALLY enjoyed “The Walk”. It has everything a good movie requires and proves that Robert Zemeckis ISN’T really dead in the film making world. He had made some great movies back in the late 90’s and early 2000’s (even in the late 80s), but recently he has dropped in quality quite a bit, making some fairly mediocre films like “Flight”. The famed director of “Castaway” and “Back to the Future” has a certain flair and visual style that is unmistakable in his dramas and “The Walk” is easily on par with those masterpieces (in my opinion).
Rated PG for thematic elements involving perilous situations, and for some nudity, language, brief drug references and smoking
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=62385[/img]While being nearly perfect, “The Walk” displays a rather flat looking image that bathes itself in slightly pasty pastels that range from the soft greens and browns of France, to the decidedly light steel blue of New York’s concrete jungle. The 3D presentation is just about flawless, with extravagant depth and incredible sense of height, but the 2D presentation is just as spectacular despite the strange color grading. Fine detail is magnificent as you can see every pore and little detail on the strange 1970’s pants that JGL wears, of the frumpy toupee and bush eyebrows that don the little man. Long shots are simply INCREDIBLE as Zemeckis blends a masterful bit of CGI in with practical effects to make it look like Joseph Gordon-Levitt actually is an experienced tight rope walker. Blacks are deep and inky with no ill looking artifacting going on that I could detect. If it wasn’t for the ever so slightly pasty skin tones due to the soft grading than this would be a perfect image.
While I’m usually not impressed with 3D imagery as a whole, “The Walk” is nothing short of amazing. Huge amounts of depth and height to the 3D layering, especially during the final 30 minutes while we watch Philippe dance over the top of the two towers. There are a few pop out effects in the film, the main one being that cable snapping moment as it grinds to halt 2/3 of the way through the film, but mainly the emphasis is on depth and layering of the effects. Watching it in 3D is very similar to my reaction after seeing Gravity in 3D. It’s just a film that looks BETTER in 3D than it does in 2D. the dimensionality of the film takes on a life of its own in the 3rd dimension and the whole film just feels more intense and visceral in this viewing environment.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=62393[/img]With the amount of Dolby Atmos titles breaking onto the home theater scene, I have to say that I’m always sad to see a big title receive the “lesser” audio codecs for their home video release (I say that in finger quotes as there is NOTHING wrong with lossless audio, I’ve just become spoiled with the barrage of Atmos titles hitting Blu-ray). Still, “The Walk” gives a SUPERB audio presentation in 5.1 DTS-HD MA. Dialog is exquisite. Ranging from soft whispers, to Philippe yelling in that heavy French accent of his. The surrounds are incredibly diverse and detailed as you can hear the creaking of his tight rope wire, the whistling of the wind through his hair and the subtle rumble of the crowd underneath his feet. Even when the film is not as intense as the final act, we hear those chirping of birds in the background, or the rumble of the city hustle and bustle behind them to the murmuring of bar talk while the crew discusses their plans. LFE is tight and powerful, adding deep waves of power to the more intense scenes and you can actually FEEL the heavy weight of the creaking cable twanging in the wind. 100% perfect from beginning to end.
• Deleted Scenes
• First Steps - Learning to Walk the Wire
• Pillars of Support
• The Amazing Walk
Charming, witty, intensely gripping as a film “The Walk” is easily one of my favorite movies of the last year. I honestly wish I could have seen this film in the theater as I wasn’t too impressed by JGL’s heavy French accent when I saw the trailers, causing me to poo poo the film. Sadly I was mistaken and missed out, however the 3D blu-ray is a SUPERB presentation for home theater fans and while the scope of the movie is best seen on a large screen (my 120 inch projector screen barely felt adequate for the final walk), the intricacies are not lot on the smaller screen (too much). The Audio, the video, the 3D presentations on the Blu-ray are top notch allowing me to overlook the fairly minimal extras found on the disc. Still, a MUST WATCH in my opinion.
Starring: Joseph Gordon Levitt, Charlotte Le Bon, Guillaume Baillargeon
Directed by: Robert Zemeckis
Written by: Robert Zemeckis, Christopher Browne
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, Portuguese DTS-HD MA 5.1, French, Spanish, Thai DD 5.1
Runtime: 112 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: January 5th, 2016
Buy The Walk 3D Blu-ray on Amazon
Buy The Walk 2D Blu-ray on Amazon
Recommendation: Must Watch
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