Blu-ray Pick of the Week
Warner Bros. was able to kill two birds with one remaster this year. Not only are we getting this classic story of faith and fitness in a glorious Blu-ray release, but they’re also giving it a renewed theatrical showing in the UK in honor of the 2012 London Olympics. It’s all perfectly timed, as Chariots does tell the story of two Olympians, a Jewish man who runs to battle prejudice and a devoutly Catholic Scottish man who runs despite his dedication to his faith and its missions. Together, they brought glory to Britain in the 1924 Olympics. The result is a timeless convergence of sportsmanship and cinema showmanship, a well-acted, thoroughly emotional experience at the hand of director Hugh Hudson. The score, most notably the synthesizer heavy opening theme, is the stuff of pop culture legend. It will live on long beyond the memory of those who know where it originates, from the Academy Award winning score of Vangelis. The choice to go 80s synth instead of big, sweeping orchestral work for a triumphant story of national heroism in the 1920s was a bold one, but it’s what make this film such a unique experience. On Blu-ray, the film sings. The remastered visuals are gorgeous. Crisp and colorful with only a minimal amount of digital noise, something rare in transfers from the films of the 1980s. The soundtrack is full-force, as ever. From the packaging to the special features, this release has all the fine touches of something made specially for a year of Olympians.
Extras Highlight: This special edition comes with a CD sampler of the soundtrack. Which is excellent when combined with a few hours worth of behind the scenes footage and the aforementioned great looking Blu-ray transfer.