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Clint Eastwood
Tom Hanks, Aaron Eckhart, Laura Linney
Writing Credits:
Todd Komarnicki

The story of Chesley Sullenberger, an American pilot who became a hero after landing his damaged plane on the Hudson River in order to save the flight's passengers and crew.

Box Office:
$60 million.
Opening Weekend
$35,028,301 on 3525 Screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated PG-13

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
English Dolby Atmos
French Dolby 5.1
Latin Spanish Dolby 5.1
Portuguese Dolby 5.1
English Descriptive Audio
Latin Spanish
Supplements Subtitles:
Latin Spanish

Runtime: 96 min.
Price: $35.99
Release Date: 12/20/2016

• “Moment By Moment” Featurette
• “The Man Behind the Miracle” Featurette
• “Neck Deep in the Hudson” Featurette
• Previews


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


Sully [Blu-Ray] (2016)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (December 13, 2016)

Most real-life tales of aviation calamities don’t end happily, but the story of US Airways Flight 1549 deviates from that path. For an exploration of these events and their aftermath, we go to 2016’s Sully.

On January 15, 2009, Flight 1549 departed LaGuardia Airport to fly to Charlotte. Soon after takeoff, the plane struck a flock of geese, an event that caused engine failure.

With little time to think, Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger (Tom Hanks) felt he couldn’t make it back to LaGuardia or any of the other local airports. Instead, he landed the plane on the Hudson River, a decision that led to positive and negative ramifications.

When I saw Sully theatrically, I felt struck by the movie’s fairly brief running time. 96 minutes seems really short for a story like this, and I think the length shortchanges the characters and narrative.

Going in, I figured the movie would run two hours, 15 minutes or so. That running time would give the movie enough time to really dig into the participants and events.

At 96 minutes, though, Sully feels rushed. It doesn't have the legroom to delve into deeper areas, so it careens from one topic to another without room to pause for air.

This leaves the characters too thin. Even Sully doesn't get good exploration, as we're left without much insight related to his personality. The movie hints at character beliefs/traits but doesn't develop them in a satisfying manner, and poor Laura Linney gets almost nothing to do as Sully’s wife.

In the role of First Officer Jeffrey Skiles, Aaron Eckhart provides little more than amiable moral support, and we don’t learn a lot about Sully. He's clearly haunted by events and self-doubt but other than the occasional nightmare, the movie doesn't expand on these areas. Why not invest the tale in more of these moments and give us a more human picture of the man?

Sully does excel at its depiction of the flight/crash itself. The movie puts us right there with the crew and passengers in a dynamic manner that left my heart in my throat - and made me not want to take a flight anytime soon.

I also like the way the movie dollops out bits and pieces of the flight. At first I felt annoyed that it didn't show us much from the cockpit POV, but by the end of the film, I understood that decision to hold off on those moments. We learn about what the pilots did in a direct way eventually and the delay creates a bigger payoff.

Maybe I shouldn't fault Sully for its lack of character introspection, as I suspect the filmmakers didn't really desire to follow that path. The movie's release date doesn't seem like a coincidence: Sully hit screens two days before the 15th anniversary of 9/11 for a reason, as it offers a sloppy wet kiss to heroes of all stripes who dealt with an aviation disaster that comes with a happy ending.

And that rah-rah spirit works. Maybe - probably? - because of the proximity to the 9/11 anniversary, Sully made me more emotional than I would've expected, and it really does offer a big old hug to the pilots, the crew and first responders of all kinds. I still wish the movie offered more ambition, though, and I think it winds up as a mixed bag. Largely entertaining and emotional, I did enjoy Sully, but I walked away from it with a nagging sense that it lacked something to take it to a higher level. It's a nice feel-good movie that could've been great if it'd taken more on its plate.

Footnote: stick around through the end credits to see a reunion of Flight 1549.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B+/ Audio A-/ Bonus C

Sully appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. The movie came with a pleasing transfer.

Most of the movie brought us satisfying delineation. Some interiors appeared a smidgen soft but not to a distracting degree, so most of the flick looked accurate and concise. I saw no shimmering or jaggies, and edge haloes failed to mar the image. Print flaws also remained absent.

Colors tended toward a muted palette. The hues favored teal in a subdued manner, with a little orange as well, and it executed these tones as intended. Blacks were dark and deep, and shadows showed positive clarity. This ended up as a positive presentation.

One note about aspect ratio: shot almost totally on digital IMAX cameras, Sully used a 1.90:1 ratio in IMAX theaters, whereas it played 2.40:1 on “standard” screens. Why did the Sully Blu-ray opt for 2.40:1 instead of 1.90:1?

Answer: I don’t know. Prior Warner Blu-rays such as The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises opened up their IMAX shots to fill the 1.78:1 TV screen, so I can’t understand why Sully wouldn’t optimize for 1.90:1. Director Clint Eastwood chose that ratio for a reason – why not use it?

The absence of the digital IMAX ratio creates a disappointment. Perhaps a subsequent Sully Blu-ray re-release will give us the 1.90:1 ratio I saw at the IMAX theater, but this disc should’ve used it.

No quibbling greeted the movie’s Dolby Atmos audio. Downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1 on my system, as it worked well. This became especially true during the various airplane or rescue related scenes, all of which opened up the soundscape in a dynamic manner.

These offered a convincing sense of the settings, especially when the material tended toward havoc and disaster. The crashes and mayhem created impactful material that used the spectrum well.

Much of the flick opted for quieter moments, and those seemed satisfactory as well. These lacked the punch of the action-oriented sequences, but they suited the tale and formed a nice feel for the narrative.

Audio quality also worked well. Effects fared best of all, especially when we got louder elements, as those boasted great range and impact. Clarity remained terrific, which meant the material provided strong power and lacked distortion.

Music tended to be low-key, but the score was full and rich. Dialogue always appeared concise and natural, without intelligibility issues. Even though much of the soundfield opted for subdued material, the air scenes worked so well that I felt this became an “A-“ mix.

Three featurettes fill out the set. Moment By Moment: Averting Disaster on the Hudson goes for 15 minutes, 44 seconds and offers notes from Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, air traffic controller Patrick Harten and First Officer Jeff Skiles. They discuss the events that occurred during the eventful January 2009 flight.

“Moment” mixes movie shots with actual air traffic audio of the event. Mixed with the comments from participants, this becomes a quick but terrific overview. While it doesn’t substitute for a long documentary, it offers a fine recap.

During the 19-minute, 49-second Sully Sullenberger: The Man Behind the Miracle, we hear from Sullenberger, Skiles, wife Lorrie and daughter Kelly. The show looks at aspects of Sully’s life, with an emphasis on his career as a pilot and the aftermath of Flight 1549. “Miracle” tends to be fluffy but it gives us an interesting look at its subject.

Finally, Neck Deep in the Hudson: Shooting Sully spans 20 minutes, 17 seconds. The show presents comments from Chesley Sullenberger, director Clint Eastwood, producers Frank Marshall, Tim Moore and Allyn Stewart, executive producer Kipp Nelson, costume designer Deborah Hopper, screenwriter Todd Komarnicki, special effects technician Nick Nicholson, ferry captain Vincent Lombardi, stunt coordinator Doug Coleman, NYPD Scuba Team members Det. Robert A. Rodriguez and Det. Michael Delaney, American Red Cross’s Christopher Mercado, and actors Tom Hanks, Aaron Eckhart, Mike O’Malley, Anna Gunn, Laura Linney, Jamey Sheridan and Ann Cusack.

We hear about the project’s roots and development, cast and performances, Eastwood’s work on the set, recreating the plane/crash, and attempts at realism. Like its predecessors, “Deep” doesn’t offer great depth, but it becomes a worthwhile view of the production.

The disc opens with ads for Collateral Beauty, The Accountant, Suicide Squad and Live By Night. No trailer for Sully appears here.

A second disc provides a DVD copy of Sully. It lacks any of the Blu-ray’s extras.

Though not as introspective as I’d like, Sully offers a rousing tale. I’d prefer something deeper but the movie packs a nice emotional punch. The Blu-ray boasts very good picture and audio along with a handful of supplements. Taken for what it is and not what it could’ve been, Sully entertains.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.7333 Stars Number of Votes: 15
4 3:
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