Epic films require more than a gripping, adventurous plot. An epic requires close identification with the central character, breathtaking cinematography and expansive plotlines. Such is the case with not only the 1965 film ""Doctor Zhivago,"" but also its long-awaited DVD debut, which is of great quality and loaded with extra information.
Based on Boris Pasternak's novel, the story is based on the odyssey of Dr. Zhivago (Omar Sharif) during the Russian Revolution. The movie chronicles Zhivago's attempt to raise a family with the aristocratic Tonya (Geraldine Chaplin) but also maintain his love for a nurse named Lara (Julie Christie). Zhivago not only has to deal with war but also the love he has for the two ladies in his life.
What separates this two-DVD set from others is not only the amount of the supplementals provided, but also the quality of the restoration of the old film.
Shown in widescreen, the video quality is superb and very good considering its age. This film is 36 years old, and with the touch-up work done, it almost looks fresh out of the theater. The richness of the colors are apparent throughout the film, especially when a sweeping scenery shot occurs.
The DVD of ""Dr. Zhivago"" is also full of supplementals and extras that complement the film. Not only is there a feature-length commentary by Sharif and Rod Steiger, but there is also a music-only track. Unlike many commentaries, this one is not only relevant to the understanding of the film, but also has many anecdotes.
Although the sound is in Dolby Digital 5.1, the soundtrack is too old to be salvaged according to today's standard. However, Maurice Jarre's bittersweet, memorable score makes up the difference.
Other features include a one-hour documentary, cast interviews and a theatrical trailer.
It has been a long wait to see ""Dr. Zhivago"" on DVD, but it is certainly worth the patience. It is very fitting that such a fine epic as ""Dr. Zhivago"" has a DVD that matches the grand scope of the film.
Starring Omar Sharif, Julie Christie and Geraldine Chaplin
$29.99 suggested retail price