Michael Scott

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Ford v Ferrari


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Movie: :4.5stars:
4K Video: :4.5stars:
Video: :5stars:
Audio: :5stars:
Extras: :2stars:
Final Score: :4.5stars:



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Movie

Ferrari is kind of a legend in the car world. They make some of the sleekest, sexiest, fastest, and most desired (and pricey) cars in the world. Their world racing record has been incredible, and while I love me some American muscle, Ford is not a company that you think of as beating the legendary Italian car company at a race. However, the American car company actually beat Ferrari at the Le Mans international race from 1960 to 1965 using the Shelby/Ford GT40, developed by none other than Carroll Shelby himself. It was a huge amount of pride for America that they were able to beat the Italian stallions not just once, but for half a decade in the 60s. I vaguely remember my father talking about this when I was a kid, so I naturally was rather curious when I saw the trailer for this a few months back. For some reason I actually forgot the movie existed until I saw the home video press release, and interest was once again renewed. The trailer looked promising, but not overly so, meaning I went in with mild expectations. Expectations that were totally blown away as I ended up being riveted from beginning to end with a great dramatic race film that left a huge happy smile all over my face, and really wishing I had seen this in theaters.

The story about the infamous rivalry has been mulled over in Hollywood for quite some time according toe the interviews on the disc, and had been turned over and over until the film could be made to appeal to everyone instead of just professional race car enthusiasts. Ford v Ferrari opens up with the infamous Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon), maker of the Shelby Mustang GT, having to give up professional racing due to his health problems. Years later he’s designing cars for a living, and utilizing his friend/colleague Ken Miles (Christian Bale) as his lead driver. Ken is known for being a straight shooter, but a real difficult person to deal with, as only Shelby can reign the guy in. Still, he’s an incredible driver, and it’s that feature that makes him a shoe in for a never before heard proposition.

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Henry Ford II (Tracy Letts) is watching the Ford name sink into bankruptcy as every other American car manufacturer in the nation is starting to outpace his legendary company. However, when marketing director Lee Iacocca (Jon Bernthal) suggest that Ford gain better brand recognition by creating a race car, there was only one man to go to in order to fast track that design, Carroll Shelby. As much as this is an impossible venture, Shelby, Miles, and his crew design a car that will go fast enough to defeat the infamous Ferrari in the French race of Le Mans, and put Miles in the drivers seat to bring Ford to victory.

Ford v Ferrari is a fantastic film. I can’t believe that the trailer didn’t overly excite me, yet somehow the film riveted me to the seat for over 2.5 hours and barely notice the time going by. The film smartly steers away from being JUST a race movie (although there are more than enough high octane racing scenes to satiate people), but instead crafts a character drama that transcends the trappings of action and racing adventure. While I would have liked to have seen some of the back story of Shelby himself (the film glosses over the fact that he actually beat Ferrari in Le Mans years prior driving an Aston Martin), the characters are the best part of the movie, and the actors playing them knocked the roles out of the park. Matt Damon shines as Carroll Shelby, giving his usual impressive performance, but Christian Bale is unbelievable. The man is known for totally absorbing himself into the roles he plays, doing some crazy things to try and BECOME the character, but he knocked the rough and group role of Ken Miles out of the park. I didn’t ONCE see Christian Bale. His laugh, his gestures, his facial expressions all screamed someone completely different. Not to be outdone, Caitriona Balfe is probably my favorite character of the entire movie as Mrs. Miles. Her dynamic with Bale was so incredibly rich, and the chemistry they shared was so comfortable and fluid that she stole ever scene that they were in together (the fist fight scene was a definite highlight in that respect). Josh Lucas playing a slimy Ford executive does exactly what Lucas does best. Play a scumbag who you adore to loathe the entire film.




Rating:

Rated PG-13 for some language and peril




4K Video: :4.5stars: Video: :5stars:
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While it was finished at 2K, the 4K UHD disc shows noticeable improvement from the already perfect 1080p Blu-ray disc. The detail levels are still astounding, but show more noticeable fine levels around facial pores, the details on the cars as they race down the runway, and various backdrops. The use of HDR is quite well done, with the vivid reds, blues and pale shades of various colors really showing a rich and robust look to them. They are so much deeper and nuanced, and the darker shots of Miles in the rain is exceptional. The blacks maintain a deepness and richness to them that is spectacular. The image is not AS razor sharp as some others I’ve seen, but this is still quite a good improvement over the already great Blu-ray, and makes the 4K UHD disc well worth checking out.








Audio: :5stars:
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Well, we all knew this was coming, but the 4K UHD disc gets the upgraded Atmos tracks, and it is every bit as perfect as the 7.1 DTS-HD MA track found on the Blu-ray, and then some. To be honest, the Atmos upgrade isn’t WILD from the 7.1 mix, but that’s more to do with the fact that the Blu-ray’s audio was about as perfect as it gets. This mix is every bit as perfect and adds some really nice directional shifts during the races, as well as some mild overhead usage (such as when Shelby brings the plane down, or the helicopter carrying Mr. Ford in it). Voices are still clean and clear, but as I said in the Blu-ray review, Christian Bale’s heavy limey accent is a bit hard to understand some times. The cars are vicious and full of raw low end power, utilizing the subs quite often during the more boisterous racing moments. A fantastic track, and a nice minimal upgrade over an already great 7.1 mix.







Extras: :2stars:
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• "The 24 Hour Le Mans: Recreating the Course" Featurette – Discover how the climactic race of the film was achieved, from recreating the track to capturing and editing all the action.
• Pre-Vis: Daytona & Le Mans Races – These animated pre-visualization sequences worked as a roadmap for filmmakers throughout
• "Bringing The Rivalry to Life" * – Go behind the scenes of the film with this 8-part, 60-minute documentary.
• Matt and Christian: The Conversation (iTunes Extras exclusive) – Sit down with Christian Bale and Matt Damon for an intimate reflection on the making of the film.















Final Score: :4.5stars:


As I mentioned in the last paragraph, the film is not without it’s excitement either. This is not some dry drama, as a good chunk of the film is spent on the various races Miles undergoes to gain access to Le Mans, and the end race is a good 30+ minutes alone. Those scenes put that huge smile all over my face, as the surge and adrenaline of high speed cars is so well done and so intense that I really wish the movie could have been adjusted to 3 hours instead of 2.5. All in all, I have to give credit where credit is due and admit that I was surprised by Ford v Ferrari. It blends just the right amount of thrilling car races with a rich character drama that it appeals to people of many tastes. The acting is out of this world and it has fast become one of my favorite movies of the year (so far). 20th Century Fox’s 4K UHD disc is absolutely stunning, with perfect audio and near perfect video. The only thing (both) releases have as a weakness is the mediocre extras. Definitely a great watch, and a great buy in my opinion.


Technical Specifications:

Starring: Christian Bale, Matt Damon, Josh Lucas, Jon Bernthal, Caitriona Balfe, Noah Jupe, Tracy Letts, Remo Girone
Directed by: James Mangold
Written by: Jez Butterworth, John-Henry Butterworth, Jason Keller
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 HEVC
Audio: English: Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 Core), English DTS-HD MA 2.0, French, Spanish, English DD 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Rated: PG-13
Runtime: 152 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: February 11th, 2020.
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Recommendation: Great Buy

 

bkeeler10

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Adding it to my list now. Sounds great. Thanks for the review.
 

Todd Anderson

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I'm doing the same... ordering!
 

JBrax

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Rented this and after watching should have just purchased. Great movie!
 
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