> The Rock Blu-ray - Sean Connery




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A view from the Blu (-ray) on DVDBeaver by Leonard Norwitz

The Rock - Blu-ray

(Michael Bay, 1996)










Review by Leonard Norwitz



Theatrical: Hollywood Films

DVD: Buena Vista Home Entertainment (USA)



Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 2:17:22.678

Disc Size: 38,803,470,820 bytes

Feature Size: 32,932,030,464 bytes

Video Bitrate: 23.45 Mbps

Chapters: 33

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: January 8th, 2008



Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



LPCM Audio English 4608 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 4608 kbps / 16-bit
Dolby Digital Audio English 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio French 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB



English (SDH), French, Spanish, none



• Audio Commentary with the Director, Producer, Technical Advisor and Actors Cage and Harris

Behind the Scenes Docu-featurettes:

The Rock World Premier

Navy SEALs On The Range

Hollywood Humphries & Teague

Special Effects & Action Effects

Secrets of Alcatraz

Jerry Bruckheimer Interview


TV Spots

Theatrical Trailers



The Rock ~ Comment

As the film's dedication to the Don Simpson indicates, this was to be the last collaboration between producers Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer - the pairing that gave us Flashdance, Top Gun, Beverly Hills Cop, Crimson Tide and Days of Thunder – all popular films with lots of action.  This was also the movie that earned Nicholas Cage his merit badge for the next action hero, a feat that he was to capitalize on the following year with Con Air and Face/Off.  In The Rock, Cage shares the lead with Sean Connery, who many feel eats him alive – at least Connery's character is consistent.


One thing you've got to admit about movies like The Rock is how seriously the producers take the premise, no matter how outrageous, yet somehow manage to engage an audience - for over two hours on this outing.  This isn't science fiction, after all.  In fact, there is even room for a little political discussion.  For example, The motivation of General Hummel, the bad guy in this story, is not without some merit, but his solution is just the sort of thing that attracts a certain breed of men with even crazier ideas.


Sure, there are things that I wish were different: As much as I enjoy looking at Vanessa Marcil, the idea of moving her character to San Francisco so that Cage could worry about her, is just silly.  The drama would have been a lot more effective if it stayed focused on the pairing of Connery and Cage on the one hand and Harris and Morse on the other – but things got a little out of control as the body count mounted.  And, speaking of body counts, am I the only person in the audience who thinks Michael Biehn's Commander Anderson, of whom we had such high hopes at the outset, is an idiot!




The Rock

The Score Card

The Movie : 7.5

Brigadier General Francis Hummel (Ed Harris), a multi decorated commander of close covert operations in various war theaters from Vietnam forward, is unhappy with his government's refusal to recognize American casualties in these operations or to offer reparations to the families.  He sees this as a colossal betrayal of trust.  Over the years he has complained and demanded, but no luck, so he figures a little treason might get the attention of the Pentagon and the White House.  Hummel and a small number of men steal a dozen or so rockets armed with the deadliest chemical weapons imaginable, assume control of Alcatraz (holding 81 hapless tourists in the bargain), point his weapons at San Francisco, and threaten to send them off if he doesn't see the money.


While obliterating the island remains an option (doesn't it always!), hope rests with a team of SEALs, guided by John Patrick Mason (Sean Connery).  Mason was once a guest of Alcatraz, but escaped, only to be recaptured and secretly imprisoned since for reasons that would make for a good story of its own.  Since he got out of Alcatraz, the Feds reason, he could get back in - in exchange for a pardon.  The team also requires the presence of an expert in chemical weapons – thus FBI agent Stanley Goodspeed (Nicholas Cage), who hasn't fired a weapon since the Academy.  But the forces under Hummel are waiting and ready for the inevitable.


 NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.


Image : 9.5 (9~9.5/9)

The score of 9.5 indicates a relative level of excellence compared to other Blu-ray DVDs on a ten point scale.  The score in parentheses represents: first, a value for the image in absolute terms; and, second, how that image compares to what I believe is the current best we can expect in the theatre.


This is one excellent Blu-ray DVD and, except for just a little edge enhancement, easily ignored in the heat of battle, it is of demonstration quality.  The image has what I think of as mass – like the difference between an enlargement from a medium format negative and a 35mm.  Headroom is another analogy that fits here – the image gives the impression of being infinitely expandable without loss.  Of course, it's only an impression, but at 104 inch diagonal it's all pretty damn incredible.














Audio & Music : 9 & 8

Like Disney's Con Air Blu-ray DVD, released this same week, the image and sound are both appreciable upgrades from any existing SD DVD.  The mix is outstanding, offering all sorts of military noises, competing with but not overwhelming the dialogue, along with the by now familiar score reinforcing the mission of the good guys.


Operations : 9

I rather like the menu functions here: bold, clear, with prison door slams to punctuate your selections.


Extras : 7

While nearly all of the short (2-14 minutes) self-explanatory features are retained from the Criterion SD, including the commentary, the image is in variable SD.




Recommendation: 8

The excellent image quality here makes the Blu-ray edition of The Rock a must have if you're a fan of the genre.  Add to that a respectable supply of extra features, though not made especially for this release, and that adds up to a Recommended UpThumbing.

Leonard Norwitz
January 11th, 2007









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