Disillusioned by his parents' (Hurt/Hardin) disfunctional marriage, recent Emory graduate Christoper Johnson McCandless (Hirsch) decides to cut all ties with his family. After donating nearly his entire remaining college fund to the charity Oxfam and destroying his I.D., Chris changes his name to Alexander Supertramp and sets off Into The Wild to find himself. On a journey that starts in Atlanta and ends up in the Alaska Wilderness, Alexander finds that true happiness can only occur when it is shared with loved ones. Based on the novel inspired by true events, written by Jon Krakauer. (Stacey Pendry)
Special features includes the following featurettes: Into The Wild: The Story, The Characters (21 minutes) and Into The Wild: The Experience (17 minutes), and the original theatrical trailer.
The anamorphically enhanced 2.36:1 DVD exhibits a pleasing image, with nicely balanced contrast and well-resolved fine details. Black levels are fairly deep, but there are scenes where the black levels are too gray. Shadow delineation is rendered well, but detail can be lost in the whites, causing them to look dimensionless and static. Color fidelity appears natural, and fleshtones have a believable hue. While pixilation is not overly problematic, there are times when shimmering can be noticed. Edge enhancement is also noticeable over the high-contrast transitions. The H.264 AVC-encoded HD DVD shows a similar picture quality to the DVD, with the requisite improvement in resolution. Compression artifacts aren't a problem, but the same inconsistencies in the black levels can be seen. There are also times when the image is slightly softer than it should be. White crush can still be noticed. (Danny Richelieu)
The Dolby® Digital 5.1-channel soundtrack favors the front three screen channels, and while the front stage is mixed well with a good sense of depth and breadth, it can seem somewhat dimensionless. Fidelity is fairly good, but there are times when effects can sound overly digitized and noisy. Dialogue generally sounds natural, but it occasionally sounds hollow and thin. The front stage is nicely crafted for the most part, which does help move the story along. The HD DVD's Dolby Digital Plus 5.1-channel encoding sounds very similar to the DVD, with the same mix. The audio does sound slightly more fluid, with less digital harshness. (Danny Richelieu)