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|Home: BigScreen Journal - DVD Review: The Astronaut Farmer|
The Astronaut Farmer
DVD - Single Disc
Warner Home Video 82292 - Region 1
List Price: $27.95 (Check Price at Amazon.com)
Available on DVD 7/10/2007
Dolby Digital 5.1
This DVD is a two-sided flipper disc, the likes of which I haven't seen in so long, I wasn't aware that they were still being produced for major releases! The theatrical widescreen version is on side 1 and the Pan and Scan version is on side 2.
Pan and Scan needs to die an ugly death (and should have long ago), so I won't be reviewing anything on that side of the disc. (The table of contents of each side is the same.) For more information about why Pan & Scan is the devil's handiwork, please see this great Help document: "Why am I seeing black bars when I watch movies?"
Charlie Farmer (Billy Bob Thornton) dreams of launching himself into space and joining the ranks of other esteemed astronauts who have made that incredible voyage. The only problem is that he isn't part of NASA any longer; he's a rancher in Texas with a family and a mortgage. His dream has driven him to build an Atlas rocket in his barn, which has stretched his finances to the breaking point and made him the laughing-stock of the small town in which they live.
This movie requires that you set aside your disbelief and pay attention to the underlying message of this story. Does a man stop dreaming and risk losing everything that defines him as an individual? Married to the most supportive wife in the entire world (Virginia Madsen) and cheered on by his three enthusiastic kids, Charlie Farmer dares to see his dream come to reality.
The video quality was good, with a little edge enhancement here and there, and maybe a little more graininess than one would prefer.
Audio quality was acceptable, but unremarkable. I would like for the rocket launch to have been more compelling, but since the point of this movie is its message and not the special effects, that's not a huge problem.
Like I mentioned, you need a healthy dose of disbelief to enjoy this movie. If you think about the details too hard, it'll just keep you from concentrating on what the movie is really about. In this pursuit, Billy Bob Thornton delivers a performance that saves this movie. If not for him, the audience would not root for his ambitions and want to see him succeed. Virginia Madsen does an excellent job as his supportive wife who isn't afraid to lose her cool when he goes too far in pursuit of his dream.
Overall, this movie is definitely worth renting. I can't see a justification for buying it unless you find that you really like the story and/or the performances, as there isn't much to warrant repeated viewings.
Don't just take our word for it, check out these resources for more reviews of the movie and of the DVD.
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