The world truly is a painful place at times and throwing in the confusion that is life doesn’t really help any either. Just when we think things are going the way we want or hoped, life jumps up and smacks us right in the face. Our lives are going according to plan, or at least not in the wrong direction, and then the world steers us down the path we shouldn’t travel. Some people just don’t have it in them to stand up and be strong so they simply accept what life has given them and adjust, but they’re never happy. Others will go out of their way to get what they want and end up miserable because all they do is fight a losing battle. Then there are those that fight the losing battle and keep their high spirits. They accept what they’ve been given and thrive in it while all the time doing whatever they can to better themselves. It is those people we should look at as inspirations and heroes; not just those with flashy cars and full pockets.
Antwone Fisher (Derek Luke) had to deal with turmoil and hardships before he was even out of the womb. He was born to a woman in prison and also born without a father, since he was murdered before Antwone had seen first light. He made his way through different streets, homes, and foster care centers. His life was the antithesis of consistency, and as for love and affection – there was none directed at him. Even when Antwone ended up finding a home, he was beaten and abused (physically and mentally) so that even the thought of finding loving parents was something that was only a false hope to him.
Antwone eventually ends up realizing his life needs some sort of substance and guidance so he enlists in the Navy and knows that it will shape him into a man. The only problem is that everything he has come to know about life so far has been unfair to him so his emotions and history lead him into trouble even though he now has affairs to keep him in line. It is then that Antwone meets the one man who would get him onto the path of self acceptance and that is Commander Davenport (Denzel Washington). With the Commander’s help, Antwone set out to be a better person and find out if those he’s never even known in life really wanted him or not.
There are so many stories of hardships and living the life that no one should ever have to experience that it is quite hard to keep dealing with all of them. Ninety-nine percent of the time we’re going to see this trying and troubling story and have it come to a conclusion that things worked out after all and the troubled soul now has a purpose and meaning in life. Please don’t think I’m trying to take anything away from Fisher’s story, because it shows he has a lot more inner strength than I’ll ever possess in my entire life. My only beef is that these kinds of things are starting to get old, and even though they may be true stories, they all come through the same. That is the problem with Hollywood. There are probably thousands of true story scripts that are all completely different and would make fantastic stories for the screen but rewrites and revisions will make the different stories fit some kind of “based on a true”- formula.
Antwone Fisher is shown in 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen format and while the colors are bright and look good; this is not one of those films that goes for the grander scheme of things in ways of visuals. Nothing really stands up tall or jumps out at you but this transfer gets the job done.
The film is heard in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound and it does a more then adequate job with the occasional gunshot or loud moment during the musical score will make the back speakers perk up. But it’s a mostly dialogue-driven film so that’s why the center speaker gets the most work and does a great job.
Audio Commentary – Director/actor Denzel Washington and producer Todd Black offer up a rather fun and light-hearted commentary track that is really enjoyable to listen. The two of them, of course, discuss the very intense story at hand, but also relay a lot of production stories and experiences they had while filming. They came across a number of issues in dealing with the Navy and shooting with some unknown lead stars, but obviously worked through the issues with little problem.
Meeting Antwone Fisher – Scenes from film along with interviews from the cast and crew give us a better idea of who the real Antwone Fisher was. This featurette discusses his hardships in life and how the Navy shaped him up into the man he eventually became. This is a pretty good little feature although it wouldn’t have hurt had it been a tad longer. (14:12)
The Making Of Antwone Fisher – Nothing of much interest here as this is really quite basic and the normal “behind the scenes” stuff. (22:16)
Hollywood And The Navy – Even though it is the shortest extra of them all, this is by far the most interesting one. It discusses the Navy cooperating with Hollywood and how they have worked together for films especially with all the difficulties following 9/11. (4:41)
Antwone Fisher is a feel good story that is all about perseverance and having the ability to do anything in your life no matter what may stand in your way. It is inspirational and something that should make you realize things are never as bad as you make them out to be and no matter what, there’s always a way out if you try hard enough. There are times though that it just seems to be too much and that this miraculous true story was overblown for the screen and it turned into more Hollywood then anything. The special features are hit and miss because some are just OK and not worth much of anything, while one or two of them come through as great extra stuff to check out. Give this one a rental for at least the story more then anything because it is one that should be seen by everyone at least once.
20th Century Fox presents Antwone Fisher. Directed by: Denzel Washington. Starring: Denzel Washington, Derek Luke, Joy Bryant. Written by: Antwone Fisher. Running time: 120 minutes. Rating: PG-13. Released on DVD: January 20, 2009. Available at Amazon.com