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Amelia - drama DVD / biopic DVD review
AMELIA Rated PG by the Motion Picture Association of America rating: 3 stars
Actors: Hilary Swank, Richard Gere, Ewan McGregor, Christopher Eccleston, Joe Anderson
Director: Mira Nair Studio: 20th Century Fox
DVD release: 02 February 2010 Runtime: 111 minutes (1 disc)
Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, DVD, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
DVD Features: Aspect ratio 2.35:1, Audio tracks (5.1 Dolby Surround - English), Subtitles (English, French, Spanish), Deleted scenes, Making Amelia, The Power of Amelia Earhart, Movietone news reels

Hilary Swank as legendary aviatrix Earhart in AMELIAThe mystery of Ameila Earhart's disappearance has been pondered on and profited from since she vanished in 1937. Thankfully, Amelia does not muse about her continued survival or any outlandish theories, but focuses on the amazing flying feats achieved by Earhart.

Hillary Swank plays Earhart, a feisty, amazing woman with a love for flying. Amelia approaches George Putnam (Richard Gere) about financing her quest to become the first woman to fly the Atlantic Ocean. He helps her out, but there are concessions to be made: she can't fly. Essentially she breaks onto the scene as a passenger, though she is a pilot. Unfortunately, she is a woman and has too little experience to be trusted behind the stick. She makes it but feels like a fraud.

It was a time when there were still some firsts left to achieve, especially for women. Earhart had an adventurous spirit and seemed to loathe her feet on the ground. She made or broke several flying records. When she finally attempted to circumnavigate the globe around the equator, she went missing before she made her final refueling at Howland Island. Due to navigational problems, she was unable to locate the tiny island.

While Amelia paints the broad strokes of her career, the film fails to make a connection emotionally with its audience. We never really believe that Earhart and Putnam are truly connected. Some of their body language suggests that Earhart was reluctant to be close to Putnam. I'm not sure if that's a Swank/Gere thing, or an Earhart/Putnam thing. It isn't made clear enough for me to be certain, but it is off-putting and grounds this film. The accents used by Swank and Gere are inconsistent as well. They seem to be some form of New Englandish/1930's-ish newsreel-ese that doesn't stick well enough to be believed.

Extra features include a making-of featurette, deleted scenes, and Fox Movietone newsreels. I hate to complain, but it would have been nice to see a complete newsreel, not just the bits concerning Earhart.
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reviewed by Eric Renshaw
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