[box cover]

Grey Owl: Special Edition

Richard Attenborough's ambition is his undoing in Grey Owl. Although the director seems to delight in making complex films about historical figures he finds personally fascinating — witness his spectacular Ghandi and the flawed but enjoyable Chaplin — Attenborough doesn't succeed in breathing life into the story of famous Native American naturalist Archie Grey Owl, and it doesn't help that Pierce Brosnan's performance as an American Indian is about as convincing as Al Jolson's blackface schtick in the original Jazz Singer. Although beautifully filmed and crafted with obvious love by the director, Grey Owl simply isn't very interesting, and despite the best efforts of Attenborough and Brosnan, the character of Archie never emerges as anything more than a dialogue placeholder for the other characters. But the real tragedy is the way this lackluster construction makes the disc's extensive supplements feel like overkill (the feature-packed DVD includes a Grey Owl trivia game, two short films starring the real Archie Grey Owl, two "making-of" featurettes, two audio commentary tracks, and multiple theatrical trailers and teasers.) All of us at The DVD Journal applaud Attenborough's desire to infuse his work with complex themes, as well as any DVD that gives consumers a lot of bang for the buck, but this disc bites off a little more than what's worth chewing. Beautiful anamorphic transfer, 2.35:1 widescreen. Keep case.
—Joe Barlow

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