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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Das Boot aka The Boat [Blu-ray]

 

(Wolfgang Petersen, 1981)

 

NOTE: This Blu-ray package contains the 208 minute (director's cut) and the original theatrical 149 minute version. It does NOT contain the 293 minute (uncut version).

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR)

Video: Sony

 

Disc:

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

 

Director's Cut Disc 1 Theatrical Cut - Disc 2

Runtime: 3:28:08.517

Disc Size: 48,663,907,541 bytes

Feature Size: 47,900,522,496 bytes

Video Bitrate: 23.02 Mbps

Chapters: 16

Case: Standard Blu-ray case inside cardboard slipcase

Release date: July 5th, 2011

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 2278 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2278 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio German 2553 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2553 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio French 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps
Commentary: Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / Dolby Surround

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), English, Arabic, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, Hindi, Norwegian, Swedish, none

 

Extras:

• Commentary by Wolfgang Petersen

Runtime: 2:29:08.940

Disc Size: 48,921,704,481 bytes

Feature Size: 31,432,839,168 bytes

Video Bitrate: 22.95 Mbps

Chapters: 16

Case: Standard Blu-ray case inside cardboard slipcase

Release date: July 5th, 2011

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1713 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1713 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio German 1718 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1718 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), English, French, none

 

Extras:

• Wolfgang Petersen - Back To The Boat (44:46)
Maria's Take (9:16)
The Perfect Boat-The Director's Cut (13:02)
Rooms Overview (8-part - 8:12)
Entry Conning Tower
Torpedo Room and Crew's Quarters
Captain's & Officers' Rooms
The Control Room
Petty Officers' Room & Galley
Diesel & Electric Motor Rooms
Behind The Scenes (1981 - 1:00:20)
The Battle of The Atlantic (1983 - 40:16)

 

Bitrates:

(Director's Cut TOP vs. Theatrical BOTTOM)

 

 

Description: Wolfgang Petersen's harrowing and claustrophobic U-boat thriller Das Boot was released as both a theatrical film and a six-hour mini-series, and remains the most expensive production ever made by a German studio. This epic story became an instant classic on its first release, provoking critical and audience acclaim worldwide for its sympathetic and entirely truthful portrayal of a German U-boat crew. Faithfully adapted from the bestselling novel by Lothar-Günther Buchheim, Petersen and his committed cast (led by the amazing Jürgen Prochnow) were concerned to ensure that every detail was rendered with painstaking accuracy--both physical and psychological--and the result is not only the best submarine drama ever made but also arguably the finest cinematic portrait of men at war and the terrible madness they must endure.

 

(Director's Cut TOP vs. Theatrical BOTTOM)

 

 

The Film:

This belongs to that least enticing of genres, the submarine movie. Yet, despite a narrative almost wholly confined to the cramped interior of a U-boat patrolling the Atlantic, it isn't hard to understand why Germany's most expensive film ever became an international hit. Apart from the fact that, like Chariots of Fire, it exploits a contemporary soft spot for nostalgic, non-sectarian patriotism, Petersen's shooting style displays a breathtaking, if impersonal and faintly academic, virtuosity comparable to that of Lean or Coppola. As the brilliantly deployed Steadicam whizzes through the sweaty clutter of the vessel's living quarters, the film's unfailing (and paradoxical) sense of spectacle is rendered even more dynamic by appearing about to burst at the seams of its own claustrophobia.

Excerpt from TimeOut located HERE

A gripping thriller set on a doomed German submarine during the final years of WWII, Das Boot (1981) established Wolfgang Petersen's gift for directing action films. Petersen received Academy Award nominations for Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay as his film garnered a total of six nominations. Costing almost $12 million to make, Das Boot was the most expensive German film of its time and significantly altered the common perception of the German cinema as anti-Hollywood intellectualism typified by directors like Wim Wenders and Rainer Werner Fassbinder.

The story for Das Boot was taken from the actual experiences of photographer Lothar-Guenther Buchheim (played in the film by Herbert Gronemeyer) who chronicled his wartime adventures in a best selling semi-autobiographical novel published in 1973. In addition to the insights into submarine warfare provided in his novel, many of Buchheim's photos of the interior of a German U-boat proved invaluable in recreating the look of life on the sub.

Excerpt from TCM located HERE

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

This package consists of two Blu-ray discs. The first has the 3.5 hour Director's Cut and the second has the 2.5 hour Theatrical. Both discs are dual-layered from Sony. I watched disc one and the image looked softer than I was expecting with some waxi-ness. This seemed to leave as the film progressed and overcame the early 80's stock to produce a reasonable image. I couldn't detect any boosting and I think this will easily be regarded as the best digital representation for home theater consumption. The DC is so long that despite filling the entire first Blu-ray disc space (48.5 Gig) there is still some compression noise. Thankfully, it wasn't a big factor in my viewing - in fact this hi-def rendering gave me a great presentation. Jost Vacano's expert cinematography seems all the more claustrophobia-inducing in the higher resolution. The comparison captures indicate that the frame is marginally cropped on the top, as compared to the DVDs, but has an equal amount additional on the bottom as well as minutely on both sides. There isn't a lot of depth but the visuals seem to be reporting an accurate representation which definitely elevates about SD. I didn't view the shorter 'theatrical' version on the second Blu-ray yet, but tested under the microscope of screen captures (we may add a few later) and it seems to be producing a similar image to the first disc with equivalent stats. Hopefully, the captures below will give you a decent idea of the image quality.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

1) Eurovideo Special Edition Germany - Region 2 (PAL) - TOP

2) Columbia Tristar Superbit UK - Region 2 (PAL) - SECOND

3) Columbia Tristar Superbit USA - Region 1 (NTSC) - THIRD

4) Columbia Tristar Uncut Original Version USA - Region 1 (NTSC) - FOURTH

5) Sony - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Eurovideo Special Edition Germany - Region 2 (PAL) - TOP

2) Columbia Tristar Superbit UK - Region 2 (PAL) - SECOND

3) Columbia Tristar Superbit USA - Region 1 (NTSC) - THIRD

4) Columbia Tristar Uncut Original Version USA - Region 1 (NTSC) - FOURTH

5) Sony - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Both the original German and an English DUB are available on the both cuts. On disc one, the Director's cut, they are presented in DTS-HD Master 5.1 tracks at around 2300 kbps. I only briefly checked the DUBs. The surround track is not overwhelming but does a decent job with separations as well as some foreboding power (in the depth charges scene etc.). The shorter version is transferred at a 2.0 channel lossless. Klaus Doldinger's score doesn't dominate but overall the sound quality is notably superior to my Columbia DVD. The director's cut has many options for foreign language subtitles but the theatrical has only English and French. My Momitsu has identified both discs as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.

 

Extras :

The Director's Cut has the previous released commentary with director Petersen, Jurgen Prochnow and director's cut supervisor Ortwin Freyermuth. It's pretty good but hard to fill 3.5 hours but they seem to be having a good time - enjoying the camaraderie. This is all that is on the first disc with more features relegated to the theatrical version disc - due to space constraints. There are over 3-hours worth of video supplements including some that were already available on the last multi-disc DVD package. Highlights include a 45-minute piece entitled Wolfgang Petersen - Back To The Boat, an interactive overview of the rooms on the Sub and two interesting historical documentaries - the hour-long behind the scenes from 81' and from 83' The Battle of The Atlantic which sheds some detailed light on the World War II effort by Nazi Germany to disrupt Allied shipping with U-boat attacks and the Allied efforts to prevent it. Great stuff!

 

Director's Cut Blu-ray

 

Theatrical version Blu-ray

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Penetrating film experience that hits home just that much more impacting in 1080P. I didn't mean to avoid discussing the theatrical but I am more partial to the longer director's version. There is a lot to this package and it is hard not to recommend. My only advice would be not to get video expectations too atmospheric. I will reiterate that the Blu-ray gave me a draining presentation and certainly my 'best' of a film I've seen three or four times previously. This is pretty close to essential in my mind. Easily the director's most distinguished work and Sony have loaded the package up. Easily recommended! 

Gary Tooze

June 28th, 2011


 

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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