Blu-Ray Review | Dead Poets Society
Title: Dead Poets Society [Blu-ray]
On January 17th, 2012, Dead Poets Society will be available on Blu-ray. Dead Poets Society won an Academy Award® in 1989 for Best Original Screenplay, and stars Robin Williams in one of his most beloved performances ever.
Robin Williams portrays John Keating, a new professor at stuffy Welton Academy (known as a school that produces future leaders of America), who becomes targeted by parents and his fellow faculty for choosing to teach in unorthodox manners.
A core group of Keating’s students, who carry on the legacy of the Dead Poets Society (a secret group of students that Keating himself was a part of when he attended Welton Academy), learns to put their own desires for their futures ahead of what society and their parents expect from them. Roommates Neil Perry (Robert Sean Leonard) and Todd Anderson (Ethan Hawke) are the most affected by Keating’s teachings; Neil pursues an acting career against his father’s wishes, and Todd learns how to overcome his fear of public speaking and verbally articulating his feelings.
Even though I’ve seen this movie at least a half dozen times (I probably even have an old VHS copy of it around somewhere), I’m always deeply affected every time I watched it. I never had a teacher as memorable as John Keating, but I imagine that a lucky few out there had someone that touched their lives the way the way Keating does in Dead Poets Society. This film is a celebration of educational leaders out there who make a difference in their students’ lives.
Dead Poets: Look Back is a short documentary with interview footage of Ethan Hawke, Robert Sean Leonard, and other cast members as they reflect on what it was like working on this film as young, impressionable actors. They also talk about what it was like working with director Peter Weir, who looked to them for input on what their characters would say and do. I especially loved Hawke’s anecdote about a monologue that he didn’t want to say that was not in the final cut. There is also a very memorable deleted scene that is shown as well.
Raw Takes is unedited footage of the actors and actresses at a Dead Poets Society meeting and shows how Peter Weir used music to inspire the cast.
Master of Sound: Alan Splet David Lynch narrates much of this feature, talking about what it was like to work with Alan Splet. The director, Peter Weir, also weighs in.
Cinematography Master Class is an interesting behind-the-scenes look at how lighting and the positioning of cameras are used to create the perfect shot. I learned that the outside scenery in the dormitory was actually a painting!
Audio Commentary Watch the entire film with commentary from Peter Weir, John Seale (cinematographer), and Tom Schulman (screenplay writer) to find out more behind-the-scenes information on this beloved film.
*I was not financially compensated for this post. I received a sample of the product for review purposes. The opinions are my own, based on my personal experience with the product.*