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Good Will Hunting

review by Zach B.


Rated R

Studio: Disney

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

Written by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck

Directed by Gus Van Sant

Retail Price: $29.99

Features: Theatrical Trailer, "Miss Misery" Music Video

Specs: 1.85:1 Non-Anamorphic Widescreen, English 5.1 Dolby Digital, English 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.

Though it is not anamorphic, Good Will Hunting is presented in 1.85:1 widescreen, and looks quite nice. Colors are unsaturated now and then, and dirt, grain and artifacts are visible. Still, detail is good and colors are strong. A good, though flawed, transfer.

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.

If you don't like extras, this is your boat. You have the original (and nicely done) Theatrical Trailer and the Miss Misery Music Video by Elliot Smith. The song was nominated for an Oscar®, and it's an excellent song. Still, for ten bucks more, you get a whole mountain of stuff, so if I were you, I'd go for that. Hell, if you can, try to get the Canadian Alliance edition. It has even more.

"Good Will Hutning" is an excellent movie, but this standard edition isn't that great compared to the Collector's Series. For ten bucks more, you'll get a whole load of extras that are definently worth it. Or shop around on the web for the Alliance Canadian version. It'll be the same price as this standard version, you'll get more extras that in the American Collector's Edition plus it'll be anamorphic. But if you couldn't care less about that, this standard edition will please you.

(5/5 - NOT included in final score)




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