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Columbia TriStar Home Video presents
Wind (1992)

Kate: We've gotta use my new sail!
Will: Your what?
Kate: The Whomper!
Will: Whomper?
Kate: You're gonna put it up, it'll go "whomp," and we're gonna get back in this race!

- Jennifer Grey, Matthew Modine

Review By: Joel Cunningham   
Published: March 10, 2003

Stars: Matthew Modine, Jennifer Grey
Other Stars: Stellan Skarsgård, Cliff Robertson, Jack Thompson
Director: Carroll Ballard

Manufacturer: DVSS
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some sensuality
Run Time: 02h:05m:54s
Release Date: March 11, 2003
UPC: 043396085206
Genre: drama

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
A- B-B-B D-

DVD Review

It might seem odd to draw comparison between Wind, director Carroll Ballard's 1992 movie about the adrenaline-fueled world of sailboat racing, to Rocky. After all, Rocky was a hard-luck schlub who won over audiences through tenacity of will, while the typical image of a sailboat captain is a middle-aged white guy in a blue blazer with a few extra million in the bank to blow on a costly, dangerous sport. But Wind apes the Rocky formula, managing to cast the racing team of Will Parker (Matthew Modine) and Kate Bass (Jennifer Grey) as the underdogs in a competition that is as much about image as ability. Though the film does little to dispel the stereotype that boat racing is a sport for the privileged, it manages to find the drama by turning attention to the events at sea.

The story is pure hokum, a cheesy blend of romance and sports film. Will and Kate are long-time partners in both racing and love. Kate chooses Will over grad school when he gets the chance of a lifetime to work with the crew of Morgan Weld (Cliff Robertson) on a boat that will be competing for the prestigious America Cup, but the two split up when she is kicked off the team for being a distraction during races. Will stays on with Morgan, but Kate moves to the desert with eccentric inventor Joe (Stellan Skarsgård), an aeronautical engineer who spends his time designing planes that will fly faster through better aerodynamics.

Disaster strikes Morgan's team at the America Cup competitions; they are the first U.S. team to lose the cup in the race's 132-year history. Morgan is despondent, and retreats into Howard Hughes-style seclusion, but Will tracks down Kate and presents a plan to design a better boat, win independent financing, and take back the Cup. Just when you expect a teary reunion between the former lovers, Will becomes involved with Abigail (Rebecca Miller), the shunned daughter of millionaire Morgan, and the film deftly avoids a sports movie romance cliché.

Similarly refreshing is the good-natured competition between Will's crew and the Australian team. The Aussie captain isn't the typical sneering, cheating villain; he's simply a sportsman who wants to win. That's not to say that the picture isn't thoroughly predictable—the victor at the finale is never in doubt, and plot point for plot point, the script follows cookie-cutter formula.

Luckily, the gorgeous, sea swept cinematography draws attention away from the clunky, platitudinous dialogue. Award-winning director of photography John Toll works wonders with his camera, capturing the climactic races with an apparently effortless ease, hovering inches away from the action, then swooping away in stunning panoramic shots. Ballard, a former cinematographer himself, has specialized in films about man and nature (The Black Stallion, Never Cry Wolf, Fly Away Home), and in its better moments, Wind is about a man's love affair with the sea—much more relatable than a rich man's quest for racing glory.

Wind was a cinematic depth charge in theaters, returning only $5 million of a $30 million budget. The six-month shoot was plagued with problems, from injured stunt men, to disagreeable weather patterns, to countless rewrites of the script (based on the true-life story of the first U.S. team to lose the America Cup, it was thought to have no dramatic center). Ballard even commented that he'd never shoot such an ambitious picture again, saying it was, "no fun." It's sad that so few got a chance to experience the film in theaters, where the majestic photography would have had real impact. Perhaps it will have a second life on DVD, a format that allows for such visual and auditory clarity you'll think you can feel the salt spray on your face.

Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: B-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: While I'm generally pleased with this transfer, the quality varies quite a bit. Overall, colors are solid and nicely rendered and black level is decent. Edge halos are occasionally present but unobtrusive. In most scenes, some fine grain is visible, giving the picture a filmlike appearance, but there are a few bright outdoor scenes midway through the film that show a lot of grain and significant dirt on the print. This grain doesn't appear to be intentional, as it distorts fine detail somewhat.

Image Transfer Grade: B-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno

Audio Transfer Review: This is a decent, if dated, DD 2.0 mix. Most of the action takes place in the front soundstage, though the surrounds to add some oomph to the action-packed sailing scenes. Otherwise, dialogue is clear, featured primarily in the center channel with some bleed into the mains. The sounds of the crashing waves and of Basil Poledouris' moving score expand the front soundstage quite nicely and with limited directionality. Dynamic range is generally good, and while LFE is decent, I can't help but wonder how good this would sound with a dedicated .1 channel.

Audio Transfer Grade: B


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 28 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
2 Other Trailer(s) featuring Dogtown and Z-Boys, Vertical Limit
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: RSDL

Extras Review: As is typical of a low profile catalogue release, this disc includes only the trailer and bonus clips for Dogtown and Z-Boys and Vertical Limit.

Extras Grade: D-


Final Comments

Wind is a charming sports movie that manages to avoid clichés as often as it embraces them, and the amazing aquatic cinematography more than makes up for any hokey plot points. The cult fan base will be happy to finally have a chance to own the film on DVD, and happier still to learn that it's a decent presentation, despite a dearth of extras.


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