Zoë's Blu-ray Review: DEAD POETS SOCIETY

Starring Robin Williams (Good WillHunting); Ethan Hawke (Training Day); Robert Sean Leonard (TV’s “House”), directed by Peter Weir and written by Tom Schulman (who won the Best Original Screenplay Academy Award® for the film in 1989), Dead Poets Society was released in Blu-ray on January 17, 2012.

The Film

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This 1989 Academy Award winning film has now been released on Blu-ray for the first time. Full of nostalgia and informative special features, this remastering of Dead Poets Society will bring you back to the days of baby face Ethan Hawke and Robert Sean Leonard. Hawke and Leonard are the angsty pre-college students longing for more than their over bearing parent’s plans. They relish in the unconventional teachings of new professor, John Keating; the iconic role played by Robin William. This movie has won over viewers for 22 years, and is shown in all its glory on this new edition. New viewers will undoubtedly come to appreciate this classic while old fans will want to stand a desk and proclaim “Oh captain, my captain” once again.

Special Features Breakdown

Dead Poet’s: A Look Back - Almost a half hour of interview of cast members such as Hawke, Leonard and Kurtwood Smith reflecting on the inspirational methods of director Peter Weir. Hawke compared Weis to the character of Keating himself, praising his artistic qualities and how he inspired passion in the actors. They all recall how Weiss changed the lives of all the actors involved.

Raw Takes - This is a sequence cut from the film, full of unedited takes shows a meeting of the boys with Keating in the cave after the production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Then we are shown a walk through the woods to a waterfall frozen where the actors are left to simply be themselves, giving us a glimpse on how Weis infamously let the actors interact in front of and behind the camera.

Master of Sound: Alan Splet - Peter Weir speaks of his tremendous admiration for Sound Editor Splet’s work in previous work and why he wanted to work with him. Writer David Lynch (Twin Peaks, Mulholland Dr.) also introduces himself and explains why he is a fan of Splet’s work and give an intellectual insight on why his music and sound effects enhanced the story telling in this film.

Cinematography Master Class - We are shown footage in documentary style of how the sets were made, with diagrams on why each set was designed the way it was and the science of lighting.

All the footage is clearly from the 80s and, even though a remastering was made, it's a little hard to stay interested. The interviews with the actors are also old and performed in a casual setting, making the features all very rough around the edges. The Blu-ray also includes the original theatrical trailer and audio commentary by Director Peter Weir, cinematographer John Seale and writer Tom Schulman.

4 Stars

Academy Award winner Robin Williams (Best Supporting Actor, Good Will Hunting, 1997) delivers one of his most memorable performances in Dead Poets Society – digitally restored and presented for the first time ever in breathtaking Blu-rayTM High Definition.

For generations, Welton Academy students have been groomed to live lives of conformity and tradition – until new professor John Keating inspires them to think for themselves, live life to the fullest and “Carpe Diem.” This unconventional approach awakens the spirits of the students, but draws the wrath of a disapproving faculty when an unexpected tragedy strikes the school. With unforgettable characters and beautiful cinematography, Dead Poets Society will captivate and inspire you time and time again.