Skellig: The Owl Man
Studio: Image Entertainment
US Release Date: August 17, 2010
Original Release Year: 2009
Rated: PG (for thematic elements, some peril and language)
Running Time: 104 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 widescreen
Audio: English (DTS-HD Master Audio)
Subtitles: English (SDH), Spanish
Movie: 3.5 out of 5
Michael (Bill Milner, recently cast in the upcoming X-Men: First Class) has become accustomed to being an only child, and is not too thrilled about having to move out of their apartment into a larger, albeit broken down, house his father purchased in foreclosure in anticipation of the soon to be born baby sister. While exploring the property, he finds a dilapidated shack in which Skellig (Tim Roth, Lie To Me), a mysterious, insect-eating man, resides. Michael and his new neighbor, Mina (Skye Bennett), strike up a friendship with Skellig, and in return they receive a lesson in faith.
Based on the award-wining British children’s novel, Skellig, by David Almond, and produced for British television’s SKY Broadcasting, Skellig: The Owl Man (renamed for American audiences) is an entertaining, but fairly slow-paced, family film with good performances from its mostly unknown (to us Americans) cast. The most recognizable is Tim Roth as the titular character, and he is very convincing as an old curmudgeon who has given up on life. Milner is an actor to keep an eye on, as he manages to carry the film by appearing in just about every scene, and is very invested in his character. Bennett as Mina, the home-schooled girl next door, is a delight, much wiser than her years. Kelly Macdonald and John Simm are not your stereo-typical movie parents, they are two young adults desperately trying to get by and provide for their kids.
My main complaint is with the marketing of this disc, which gives away too much, ultimately telling you a major revelation before inserting the movie into your player. That is a shame, because Annabel Jankel (Max Headroom) has directed one of the more intelligent and inspiring family films I’ve seen in quite some time.
Note: Do not hit chapter skip during the MPAA rating slide at the beginning of the film. Otherwise, you will skip past the first chapter.
Video: 4 out of 5
Image Entertainment brings Skellig: The Owl Man to Blu-ray in a delightful 1080p transfer in its original 1.78:1 aspect ratio and encoded with the AVC codec. Blacks are deep and inky, colors are not over-saturated, and flesh tones are accurate. Detail is quite good, particularly noticeable in the fabric of Grace’s robe and the skin texture on Skellig’s face.
Audio: 3.5 out of 5
Skellig is a dialogue-driven film, so the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack is fairly front-heavy. Dialogue is intelligible and well-centered, with occasional use of the surrounds for sound effects and Stephen Warbeck’s orchestral score. Fidelity is excellent.
Special Features: 0.5 out of 5
Trailer (0:47): The home video trailer is presented in standard definition widescreen, and like the cover and menu design, gives away the entire movie.
Overall: 3.5 out of 5
Although extremely light in special features, Skellig does boast a very nice audio and video transfer, and is one of the best family films I’ve seen in a long time.