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Good Will Hunting
(Alliance)

review by Zach B.

 

 

Studio: Alliance

Rated R

Running Time: 126 Minutes

Starring Matt Damon, Robin Williams, Minnie Driver, Ben Affleck

Written by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck

Directed by Gus Van Sant

 

Features: Theatrical Trailer, Audio Commentary with Gus Van Sant, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, 12 Deleted Scenes with Commentary, TV Commercials, Production Featurette, Academy Award® Best Picture Montage, "Miss Misery" Music Video, Behind the Scenes Footage, Theatrical Trailers

Specs: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English 5.1 Dolby Digital, French Dolby Digital 5.1, English Captions, French Captions, Chapter Search (21 Chapters)

 

The movie which literally made Matt Damon and Ben Affleck overnight stars, "Good Will Hunting" is a very entertaining and moving character study which the duo also wrote. The film gave them Oscars® for Best Original Screenplay, while Robin Williams won for Best Supporting Actor (in a very good and dramatic performance). It was also nominated for seven other awards, which included Best Picture and Best Director for Gus Van Sant.

Will Hunting is a tempermental janitor, scrubbing and washing the floors of M.I.T. He hangs out with his pals, gets drunk, and gets in one too many run-ins with the law. Yet one thing makes Will different from everything around him. He can solve any math problem with ease that frusturate many and he can use his photographic memories to recall just about anything. Simply, Will is a genius.

An M.I.T. professor (an outstanding Stellan Skarsgard) leaves a very complex on the board outside his room, hoping a student can solve it. Will solves it, and keeps solving more and more of them, and no one knows who is getting them correct. Until the professor catches will, accusing him of ruining someone else's work. Yet the professor soon realizes that Will solved them all. Will is also in trouble with the law for a big fight, among other things. The professor offers Will a deal, instead of a jail sentence (which the judge said was okay). He works with him and sees a psychologist. Will, at first, is reluctant, but soon joins in this deal. However, he seems to be scaring away every psychologist who meets with him. Yet he soon meets his match with Sean, an old friend of the professor. As Sean and Will talk about anything and everything, Will is soon deconstructed and must realize what he has, and what he can do, while conquering his inner demons of the past.

"Good Will Hunting" is one of my favorite films ever, all because it's an incredibly strong movie. The script by Damon and Affleck is very impressive and solid. There is never a dull piece of dialogue, and it's all true to the bone and core. They capture the whole Boston feel perfectly. They really develop the characters, their thoughts and insecurities. They set up great situations for them to deal with, and while you laugh, your also tugs. It's a great premise and the way the story unfolds and how characters come to terms is simply remarkable.

The direction from Gus Van Sant is lean and perfect. Van Sant hacks into the script and really sets it up with a great pace and great visual shots of Boston. The editing is good, and the way he shoots it you won't miss a beat or any of the action. It has a very natural feel to it and I think it's Van Sant's best directing outing.

What also really makes the movie is how every performance is so true and believable. Williams is incredibly strong as the widowed psychologist, and Damon is perfectly tense and angry as young Will Hunting. They play off one another so, so well. The supporting cast, which includes Skarsgard, Affleck and Minnie Driver all hold their own and also play well against Damon. They get a great feel and handle on the characters too. Top it off with a great score from Danny Elfman and great songs, and you have yourself a wonderful movie.

"Good Will Hunting" is a film that I could watch again and again. It has a lot of depth, and there are many lessons which can be learned from it. It's a fine effort, and deserves every acclaim and award it got - perhaps even more. Don't miss it. They don't make them like this anymore. Like Will himself, it's brilliant.

This version, of course, is the Alliance version that is ONLY available to purchase in Canada. It has an anamorphic transfer and an extra deleted scene and is the best version to get out of the three versions that are in region 1.

 

The back of the box says it's letterbox, but "Good Will Hunting" is indeed anamorphic in 1.85:1 widescreen and looks better than the US Disney version. This is probably the main selling point of the film. Everything looks so much richer and not as dull when you compare it to that transfer. The movie was shot low budget, but it still looks great. Colors are rich and well saturated. Blemishes, shimmering and pieces of dirt pop up here and there, but nothing major. This is one clean and sharp transfer. Very well done and quite an improvment over the non-anamorphic Disney version. It's worth getting this version just for this.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is well done. Though the movie is really dialogue driven, when music plays it brings a lot more life to the film, and there are some action packed moments which make good use of rear channels and the subwoofer. A French 5.1 track is also on the disc, plus English and French captions.

Based on the Miramax Collector's Series version, this disc contains more and less. It is packed with some very nice supplements, sure to please everyone who buys it. First off, there is a very interesting and engaging Audio Commentary from Gus Van Sant, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. They explain about making the film, their thoughts, the shoot and I found this to be a very nice track that I loved. It's really worth listening.

Next up, there are Twelve Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary from the trio. Most of these scenes are actually very good, and could fit well back into the film, but the commentary explains why they were cut and the shoots for them. These scenes are a nice addition, and do give more into the movie. Yes, there are twelve on this version while the Miramax only had eleven. The last scene isn't much, but it's worth the inclusion and is another selling point.

There is a Production Featurette which is mostly fluff but there are only a few TV Spots, not the dozens like the US version. In addition to all of this, there is the "Miss Misery" Music Video (a great song, which was also nominated for an Oscar®), some Behind The Scenes Footage and the Academy Award™ Best Picture Montage (you know, where they introduce one of the films being nominated for Best Picture and string together a bunch of clips). There's also an English Theatrical Trailer and a French Theatrical Trailer. So, you lose some TV spots but get an extra scene.

This disc is worth importing if you can find it (try DV-Depot). The anamorphic transfer is terrific, the extras are basically the same (plus an extra deleted scene) and it has a good 5.1 mix, plus a French language track. This is the definitive version to buy. Thank you Alliance! This is a movie that should be in everyone's library, so do check it out if you have never seen it.

(4.5/5, NOT included in final score)

(4.5/5)

(4/5)

(4/5)

(4/5, NOT an average)

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