New to Blu-ray/DVD: The Walk


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Editor’s Notes: The Walk is available on a 2 Disc Edition including both the 3D Blu-ray and standard Blu-ray versions January 5th. Single-disc Blu-ray and DVD editions are also available. 

The Walk (Tri Star) is the story of Philippe Petit, the French high wire artist who in 1973 was determined to walk a wire between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, still under construction at the time. The stunt required intricate, methodical planning, assistants, and a rigid time plan. Director Robert Zemeckis (Back to the Future, Forrest Gump) takes us through the eventual feat that captured headlines worldwide and made Petit a folk hero.

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The early part of the film takes place in France, where we first see Petit (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) performing as a street mime and juggler. It is in Paris that he first sees pictures of what the World Trade Center will look like and immediately becomes obsessed with stringing a wire between the North and South Towers and walking across. This would be the ultimate wire walk. He seeks the expertise of veteran tightrope artist Papa Rudy (Ben Kingsley), who explains the intricacies of safety and relates trade secrets he’s guarded his whole life. When Philippe meets attractive singer Annie (Charlotte LeBon), she soon becomes his girlfriend and accomplice.

Most impressive in The Walk is its incredible re-creation, through computer-generated imagery, of the Towers in all their nascent glory. Director Zemeckis has filmed the walk from many angles, just as if it were a traditional movie. We soon become totally transported to the early 1970s as we witness the suspenseful organization and execution of one of the most fantastic capers ever attempted. The 3D gives us bird’s eye views and a visceral feeling for the height of the Towers and the distance between them and the exhilaration and danger as if we’re up there on the wire with Philippe.

Gordon-Levitt as Petit is on-screen narrator bridging sequences and commenting on the step-by-step planning, setbacks, disappointments, lucky breaks, and amazing coincidences that made the walk possible. He conveys the charm of Petit, his obsession that drew in others enthusiastic to see his stunt succeed, and his often maddening failure to acknowledge the contributions of his hard-working, law-defying team. To look proficient as a wire artist, Gordon-Levitt trained with Petit himself. In only a week, he mastered enough technique to balance and move gracefully and safely across a wire — albeit from a much lower position.

The Walk, based on the documentary Man on Wire, incorporates computer-generated imagery and 3D to breathtaking effect, inspiring us to wonder and marvel at the daring of one man’s vision.

The 2-Disc edition contains 3D Blu-ray and standard Blu-ray versions as well as a digital HD copy. Bonus extras include deleted scenes, and the featurettes “The Amazing Walk,” “First Steps - Learning to Walk the Wire,” and “Pillars of Support.” To watch the movie in 3D, a 3D HDTV, Blu-ray 3D player or Playstation 3, compatible 3D glasses, and high speedHDMI cable are required. The Walk is also available in single-disc standard Blu-ray and DVD editions.


About Author

For over 25 years, I was the Film and Home Entertainment Reviewer for "The Villadom TIMES," a New Jersey weekly newspaper, and have written for several other publications. I developed and taught a Film Studies program for two New York City high schools that included Film History, Horror/Fantasy, and Film Making.