Snow Falling on Cedars
Even its critics would surely agree that Scott Hicks' Snow Falling on Cedars is a film of rare visual beauty, making it an ideal film for DVD. Universal has not wasted the opportunity; this is an outstanding disc in every department. The stunning look of the film is maximized with an anamorphic widescreen transfer that magnificently realizes the elegant, almost poetic visuals. James Newton Howard's highly emotive score is equally well cared for with a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track that also delivers clean dialogue throughout. A host of special features are included on the disc, including the original theatrical trailer, cast and crew biographies, and some very detailed production notes. The "Spotlight on Location" featurette lasts around 21 minutes, and includes interviews with all the main players. "Manzanar" is an educational, text-based history of a real-life relocation center. There are nine deleted and alternate scenes, the most interesting of which is a scene showing Ethan Hawke's Ishmael throwing away his Purple Heart. On his hushed feature commentary, Hicks sounds endearingly like a child slowly unwrapping a Christmas present, but he does discuss the complex shooting logistics and editing, and it is generally an engrossing accompaniment to the film. Snow Falling on Cedars perhaps merits more acclaim than it has had since its release, and this glorious DVD will do its reputation nothing but good.