When Federal Express employee Chuck Noland boards a plane on Christmas eve he expects it to be nothing other than a routing flight delivering a cargo of parcels. However, when the plane reaches some bad weather over the pacific and looses contact with air traffic control he realises he's in for a rough flight. Things get even worse when the plane suffers a catastrophic failure and plunges into the sea from which he is the only survivor.
Hanging on to a inflatable dingy for dear life he rides the storm out and next morning finds himself washed ashore on a island far away from the crash site, and ultimately the rescue craft. Unfortunately, his initial scouting mission reveals that the island is deserted and so he must fend for himself. With debris and parcels washing ashore he collects them and uses the varied contents to survive until, after four years of isolation, he decides to build a raft.
With the disc being THX certified you'd expect something special from both the picture and sound. Fortunately you won't be disappointed with either as the picture is just incredible, so much so that you could almost be on the island yourself. The picture is bright and colourful with some wonderful colour and flesh tones. The bit-rate remains continuously high throughout the film and manages to produce a flawless picture without any signs of artifacting or outlining
The sound is equally impressive, especially during the plane doomed decent and subsequent crash, but the best bit is reserved for the island. The simple sound of the crashing waves and very little else really highlighted Chucks true isolation. There is a reasonable amount of activity in the surround channels and, although preciously little of it a times, the dialogue is crisp and clear in the centre channel. There is little to separate the two sound formats although I did think that the DTS version sounded just that little bit clearer.
With the majority of the film taking place on the island you would have thought that being alone would be a challenge when it came to dialogue and indeed at times there is a lot of silence as Chuck struggles to survive. However, as one of the featurettes interestingly shows, Chuck makes friends with a volley ball and calls it, aptly, "Wilson" and thus he had someone to talk to, even if it didn't talk back.
With the length of the film and the fact a Dolby Digital and DTS soundtrack has been provided on the disc the extras have spilled onto their own disc. Both discs have nicely animated and scored menus and although only the directors commentary is available on the first disc the second is filled with many interesting documentaries. One in particular goes into some of the research done for the film, including leaving someone in isolation to fend for themselves. All interesting stuff which is rounded off by the usual theatrical trailers and television spots.
Yet again Tom Hanks manages to produce the goods and his total box office takings must now be heading in the direction of the GDP of a small country. However, this film is not really quite what I expected and its a little disjointed. This film could have been extremely boring but with the box office lure of Tom Hanks you could have him just sat there doing nothing and it would have still been a monster hit
- Director's Commentary
- "The Charlie Rose Show" Interview with Tom Hanks
- "Wilson: The Life and Death of a Hollywood Extra" Featurette
- "The Island" Featurette
- Special Effects Vignettes
- "S.T.O.P: Surviving as a Castaway" Survivalists Documentary
- HBO "First Look" Documentary
- Storyboard to Film Comparisons
- Concept Art Gallery
- Optimode THX Configuration
- Theatrical Trailers
- Television Spots