directed by Clint Eastwood
USA 2006

 

“It seems hard to believe there is anything left to say about World War II that has not already been stated and restated, chewed, digested and spat out for your consideration and that of the Oscar voters. And yet here, at age 76, is Clint Eastwood saying something new and vital about the war in his new film, and here, too, is this great, gray battleship of a man and a movie icon saying something new and urgent about the uses of war and of the men who fight. Flags of Our Fathers concerns one of the most lethal encounters on that distant battlefield, but make no mistake: this is also a work of its own politically fraught moment.

What do we want from war films? Entertainment, mostly, a few hours’ escape to other lands and times, as well as something excitingly different, something reassuringly familiar. If Flags of Our Fathers feels so unlike most war movies and sounds so contrary to the usual political rhetoric, it is not because it affirms that war is hell, which it does with unblinking, graphic brutality. It’s because Mr. Eastwood insists, with a moral certitude that is all too rare in our movies, that we extract an unspeakable cost when we ask men to kill other men. There is never any doubt in the film that the country needed to fight this war, that it was necessary; it is the horror at such necessity that defines Flags of Our Fathers, not exultation.

In this respect, the film works, among other things, as a gentle corrective to Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan, with its state-of-the-art carnage and storybook neatness. (Mr. Spielberg, whose company bought the film rights to Flags of Our Fathers, is one of its producers.) Where Saving Private Ryan offers technique, Mr. Eastwood’s film suggests metaphysics. Once again, he takes us into the heart of violence and into the hearts of men, seeing where they converge under a night sky as brightly lighted with explosions as any Fourth of July nocturne and in caves where some soldiers are tortured to death and others surrender to madness. He gives us men whose failings are evidence of their humanity and who are, contrary to our revolted sensitivities, no less human because they kill.”

Excerpt from Manohla Dargis, The New York Times

Posters

Theatrical Release: 20 October 2006

Reviews    More Reviews  DVD Reviews

DVD Comparison:

Paramount (2-Disc Special Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Paramount (HD-DVD 2-Disc Special Edition) - Region 0 - PAL

Big thanks to Yunda Eddie Feng for all the Screen Caps!

(Paramount (2-Disc Special Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Paramount (HD-DVD 2-Disc Special Edition) - Region 0 - PAL - RIGHT)

DVD Box Covers

Order:

Distribution Paramount
Region 0 - PAL
Runtime 132 min
Video

2.35:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

Audio

Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 English, Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 French, Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 Spanish

Subtitles Optional English, English SDH, Spanish, French
Features Release Information:
Studio: Paramount

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.35:1

Edition Details:
• promo for Paramount High Definition
• An Introduction by Clint Eastwood
• Words on the Page
• Six Brave Men
• The Making of an Epic
• Raising the Flag
• Visual Effects
• Looking Into the Past
• theatrical trailer

 

DVD Release Date: 22 May 2007
slim dual HD-DVD case

Chapters 21

 

Comments:

As Gary Tooze stated in the Casablanca HD-DVD review, our reviews of HD-DVDs are currently a bit more subjective than our reviews of SD-DVDs due to practical and technical limitations. However, we will do our best to convey what we see and hear.

Disc 1 has a Top Menu that allows you to set up the viewing experience (audio and subtitles) before jumping into the movie. During the movie, you can make audio and subtitle changes with a layered menu, or you can return to the Top Menu. When pausing, fast-forwarding, and rewinding, a time bar appears at the bottom of the screen.

Video:
Though shot in color, the 2.35:1 1080p image was drained of bright hues to simulate the “by-gone era” feel of Saving Private Ryan. Eastwood also used a variety of visual tools to obtain a grainy, raw picture. As such, the movie seems to be in perpetual “sunset”. However, this is a visual style, not an indication of visual defects. The video transfer appears to be free of print defects and compression problems.

The HD-DVD offers video that is much sharper, detailed, and smoother than the SD-DVD’s video. The colors are much richer, too. I imagine that watching the HD-DVD in a home-theatre setting would be comparable to watching the movie in a movie theatre, though I don’t recommend blowing up the HD-DVD image to the size of a movie-theatre screen.

I took screenshots of the HD-DVD with a digital camera pointed at my TV. Despite the problems associated with this method, you can still see the increased resolution of the HD-DVD compared to the SD-DVD. Pixels and jagged edges are not immediately apparent any more.

Audio:
As to be expected from a war movie, the Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 English track is thunderous and enveloping when appropriate. The spare music score--composed by Eastwood--is given a wide berth across the front soundstage. The rear channels are fairly active throughout the whole movie, either for zinging bullets and distant explosions during the war scenes or for ambient noises during the non-combat sequences.

The HD-DVD’s audio is tighter and clearer than the SD-DVD’s audio, though the audio differences are less striking than when you compare the video.

You can also watch the movie with DD Plus 5.1 French, and DD Plus 5.1 Spanish tracks.

Optional English, French, and Spanish subtitles as well as optional English Subtitles for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (SDH) support the audio.

Extras:
--Disc 1--
Upon loading, the disc plays a promo for Paramount’s high-definition offerings.

--Disc 2--
All of Disc 2’s extras were encoded in high-definition.

“An Introduction by Clint Eastwood” has the director explaining his motivations for making the movie.

“Words on the Page” provides details about the writing of the book on which the movie was based.

In “Six Brave Men”, the actors talk about how they approached their roles.

“The Making of an Epic” is a broad overview of the production.

“Raising the Flag” focuses on the movie’s re-enactment of the flag-raising on Iwo Jima.

“Visual Effects” shows how a lot of the complex digital animation was created and inserted into the frame.

“Looking Into the Past” is a compilation of vintage newsreel footage that provides a bit of a summary of the promotional tour that took place after the flag raising.

Finally, you get the movie’s theatrical trailer.

--Miscellaneous--
An insert advertises other Paramount HD-DVDs.

 - Yunda Eddie Feng

 



DVD Menus
(
Paramount (2-Disc Special Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Paramount (HD-DVD 2-Disc Special Edition) - Region 0 - PAL - RIGHT)


 

 


 

Screen Captures

 

(taken with digital camera)

 


 

 

 

 


(Paramount (2-Disc Special Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Paramount (HD-DVD 2-Disc Special Edition) - Region 0 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 

 


DVD Box Covers

Order:

Distribution Paramount
Region 0 - PAL




 

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