Alive (1992)

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Released 9-May-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Disaster Featurette-Miracle Of The Andes - The Making Of Alive
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1992
Running Time 121:11
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (84:14) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Programme
Region Coding 4 Directed By Frank Marshall

Paramount Home Entertainment
Starring Ethan Hawke
Vincent Spano
Josh Hamilton
John Haymes Newton
Bruce Ramsay
David Kriegel
Sam Behrens
Case ?
RPI $39.95 Music James Newton Howard

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None German Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles Danish
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Alive is based on the book by Piers Paul Read and tells the true story of a group of 45 Uruguayan rugby players who, together with some friends and relatives, hire a plane to fly them across the Andes mountains into neighbouring Chile to play a match.

    Unfortunately, the plane crashes into the mountains due to navigational error, killing some and leaving many others stranded with limited warm clothing and almost no food or water. If this isn't bad enough, 8 of the survivors are killed shortly after when an avalanche engulfs the fuselage of the plane in which the survivors are sheltering. After waiting fifty days it seems that no one will ever find them and three of their number, Nando Parrado (Ethan Hawke), Robert Canessa (Josh Hamilton) and Antonio "Tintin" Vizintin (John Haymes Newton),  set out to trek across the mountains and bring back help.

    This is a harrowing tale, all the more because it's a true story. It's also a controversial one as the crash survivors turned to cannibalism of their dead friends as an alternative to dying of hunger when their meagre provisions were exhausted. Be warned that there are several shots of the survivors cutting flesh from the dead bodies and consuming it so this tale is definitely not for the faint-hearted.

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Transfer Quality


    Overall, this disc offers a good video transfer with a few minor problems that shouldn't be a cause for concern.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is 16x9 enhanced. This is very close to, but not quite, the original aspect ratio of 1.85:1.

    The sharpness is quite acceptable. There are no problems with shadow detail or low level noise. Some mild edge enhancement is seen occasionally, however this never reaches an annoying level.

    The colour is nicely rendered and fully saturated.

    Some very mild pixelization can be seen occasionally. Film artefacts are limited to a few small marks which are infrequent enough to almost go unnoticed. This transfer exhibits almost no aliasing and on the rare occasion that this artefact does appear it is only very minor.

     This disc is kitted out with 11 subtitle options including both English and English for the Hearing Impaired. I sampled approximately 10 minutes of each of these two subtitles and found them to be close enough to the dialogue, although not word perfect. The subtitles are displayed in large white text at the bottom of the screen and are easy to read.

    This is an RSDL disc, with the layer change occurring at 84:14, during Chapter 11. While this change does occur mid-scene it happens at a quiet moment and is therefore not particularly distracting.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    This is a very good sound track with no problems to speak of.

    Five audio tracks are provided. The default audio track, which is the one I listened to, is an English  Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track. The other tracks are Spanish, French, Italian and German Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded.

    The dialogue is generally clear except for the odd word that may be indistinct or which gets lost in the background noise. There didn't appear to be any problems with audio sync.

    James Howard Newton's music score can only be described as low key and unobtrusive basically leaving the story to be told with the dialogue and the on-screen action.

    The surrounds are used for the music score and to support effects such as the avalanche and the crash.

    The subwoofer is used occasionally when needed for impact (no pun intended) such as during the crash scene.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    There's only one extra but it's a good one.


    This is a bare bones affair with neither audio nor animation. It is offered in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

Featurette - Miracle of The Andes - The Making of Alive (47:44)

    If this movie is one that has high interest for you then I think you'll enjoy this featurette. It contains film and interviews with many of the actual survivors including Nando Parrado (who also served as a technical advisor on the film) and Roberto Canessa who recount their personal experiences of the crash, the conditions in the mountains and their lives after the rescue. In addition there is plenty of additional background information on both the crash and the making of this movie.

    This featurette is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced. The audio is Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded. German, French, Italian and English subtitles are provided. The quality of the audio and video is quite good except in the case of some archival footage that has been used.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    There is no Region 1 version of this disc.


    A true, but controversial, story of survival against the odds that has been given good treatment for its transfer to DVD.

    The video quality is very good.

    The audio quality is very good.

    There's only one extra but it's a good one.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Peter Cole (Surely you've got something better to do than read my bio)
Monday, March 25, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-515, using S-Video output
DisplaySony VPL-WV10HT LCD Projector on to 100" (254 cm) 16:9 ratio Screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 720p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationYamaha RXV-995
SpeakersFront L&R - B&W DM603, Centre - B&W LCR6, Rear L&R - B&W DM602, Sub - Yamaha YST-SW300

Other Reviews - Darren R (read my bio (fun for the whole family))

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