has an average rating of 7.6 on IMDb
1080p in VC-1 on a 25gb disc
Dolby Digital 5.1 @640kbps
are pretty decent
– 97 minutes
Overall Verdict – Recommended
— Review written by: Justin Sluss —
The Movie Itself was Directed by Rob Reiner and written by Justin Zackham. The basic and simplistic yet beautiful plot to this film involves two terminally ill men in their early 70′s who just so happen to share a hospital room together. The first man to the room is a car mechanic / trivia wiz named “Carter Chambers” (played by Morgan Freeman). Soon arriving in the hospital room as roommate to Carter is a man who’s just had both a bad day in court and medical emergency of a large degree. This man named “Edward Cole” (played by Jack Nicholson) is oddly enough the owner of this particular hospital and many others and it’s actually his policy to have two patients per room. That policy itself, in fact was why Mr. Cole was previously in court before he started to have some medical problems. With this situation in hand our rich hospital owner and his assistant “Thomas” (played by Sean Hayes) have to deal with the roommate.
Eventually as these men have to spend time together they start to form a friendship. One day Carter is writing down a list on a piece of paper when Edward interrupts him asking him what he’s doing. To cover up what he’s doing and make him forget it, Carter wads up the paper and throws it away. The next morning Edward’s assistant hands him the list. Edward questions Carter about the list and he explains it’s a basic idea of a “to-do list” of things you want to do before you “kick the bucket” (a.k.a. die). When they are given the bad news from their doctor that they don’t have long to live they decide to actually go through with this idea of the list and make some additions to the original. This leads to our new but old friends skydiving, visiting the Egyptian pyramids, racing vintage Mustangs at a speedway and much more. Along the way we really learn how much these two men’s lives really differ yet they make great friends.
This is an absolute treat in terms of the great acting put forth from the two lead Actors Nicholson and Freeman as well a great Directed film by Rob Reiner. Some critics weren’t as kind to the film but I think generally the audiences seemed to leave this film really touched and believe it to be sincere and heartfelt. I’d definitely say anyone can relate to this as Director Rob Reiner said it best, “It’s audience is really anyone who’s had someone close to them die or is going to eventually die — which really means everyone.” I suggest you give “The Bucket List” a viewing (especially on Blu-ray Hi-Def) once before you go and “kick the bucket” (so-to-speak).
Video Quality on this release is 1080p in VC-1 on a BD-25 — 25 gigabyte Single Layer Blu-ray Disc. The film was shot on Panavision cameras and lenses using traditional 35mm film source and makes a nice transition to High Definition here in the Blu-ray release. There’s certainly a great amount of detail to be found here from start to finish in the film’s cinematography (done by John Schwartzman). The black level here is perfectly solid, color palette vibrant with great emphasis on reds especially and wonderfully accurate fleshtones. There seem to be no signs of any filters such as DNR or EE being used or even really any issues of compression despite the choice by the studio to put this only on a BD-25 (25 gigabyte) disc. This makes for a visually pleasing presentation with some obvious natural film grain and noise at times and earns a respectable “4 Star Rating” for overall video quality.
Audio Quality on this release is sadly only in Dolby Digital 5.1 @640kbps. Warner‘s choice to not opt for new Hi-Res audio like Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD MA is pretty dim of one I have to honestly say. That opinion aside this does manage to deliver the film to you — although requiring some obvious amplification on your stereo receiver. The dialogue from the very beginning of the film is bold and stands out throughout the film. The Score by Marc Shaiman and slight bit of music (namely the song by John Mayer during the closing credits) come across nicely in the 5.1 soundscape with pretty good rear channel presence.
I will end this assessment of the audio quality as I started it, complaining that the studio needs to obviously realize Dolby Digital 5.1 (a codec that’s been used for the past 8 years) has obviously “kicked the bucket” and it should be the ‘norm’ to put TrueHD on every release. One of Blu-ray‘s slogans of the “Best in picture and sound quality” could easily be questioned by releases like this in ways. Time for Warner to “step up to the plate” so-to-speak here and listen to the critics like myself, others and most importantly you guys the consumers!
Bonus Materials are presented 480i/p Standard Definition using VC-1 codec for video. Sound is obviously presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo @192kbps.
- “The Bucket List Trivia Track” is EXCLUSIVE to Blu-ray Disc and allows you to watch the film and get pop-up graphics with facts throughout the film. This is a tad bit full of “dead spots” (so-to-speak) where nothing is presented to you on-screen. This makes me think this could have really used an audio Commentary track from Director Rob Reiner to fill in these gaps. Regardless of it’s shortcomings this feature is still impressive to see being used.
- “Rob Reiner Interviews the Stars” is a 2-part Interview session between the film’s Director and two leading men. Warning to those who haven’t seen the film, these contain *SPOILERS* of sorts and should be watched after you’ve seen the film. Aside from that they’re really awesome interviews that prove to be informative and extremely entertaining to fans of all three the guys here.
- “Rob & Jack” (22 minutes) is a 1-on-1 interview with Jack Nicholson who gives us some really awesome information like the fact he was actually sick during the filming and they had to delay for a week or two. He talks about how this was actually used to inspire some of his character’s actions in the film and so forth. Nicholson discusses working with long-time friend Morgan Freeman as well which is an absolute treat.
- “Rob & Morgan” (17 minutes) is a 1-on-1 interview with Morgan Freeman. This was filmed via satellite with Reiner in L.A. and Freeman in NY. We get a really great discussion of what it was like working with Reiner and especially how honoring it was to do a film with Nicholson for Morgan. Also we learn that Rob and Morgan we big fans of hugs daily during filming but Jack’s usually not a big hug guy. And with that I’ll end it like they do, BIG HUGS!
Overall, the bonus materials we get here are somewhat impressive in the sense we have a Blu-ray EXCLUSIVE in the “Trivia Track” (regardless of how good it is) and really in-depth Standard Definition featurettes that have the great interviews between Director Rob Reiner, Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman as well as even the interview with the film’s Screenwriter Justin Zackham.
Blu-ray Disc packaging:
NOTE: The full-sized 1920×1080 files are in a .PNG file format and uncompressed. Bare with the slow loading times, keep in mind these files are at least 1MB (1 megabyte) in size each.