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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Tora! Tora! Tora! [Blu-ray]

 

(Richard Fleischer, Kinji Fukasaku, Toshio Masuda, 1970)

 

  

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Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Video: 20th Century Fox

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 2:25:02.398 / 2:28:53.153

Disc Size: 44,187,303,291 bytes

Feature Size: 31,661,635,584 bytes / 30,852,943,872 bytes

Video Bitrate: 19.95 Mbps

Chapters: 31

Case: Digibook Blu-ray case

Release date: December 6th, 2011

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 3740 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3740 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
* DTS Audio Japanese 768 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit
Dolby Digital Audio French 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Portuguese 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio English 448 kbps 4.0 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps / DN -4dB
Commentary: Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps / DN -4dB

 

Subtitles:

English, Chinese (traditional and simplified), French, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, Thai, none

 

Extras:

• Commentary by Director Richard Fleischer & Japanese Film Historian Stuart Galbraith IV (Theatrical version only)
Day of Infamy Documentary (20:02 in 480i)
History vs. Hollywood – TORA! TORA! TORA!: A Giant Awakes (1:30:16 in 480i)
AMC Backstory®: TORA! TORA! TORA! (22:06 in 480i)
Behind-the-Scenes Gallery
Production Gallery
• 11 FOX Movietone Newsreels (39:45 in 480i)
Original Theatrical Trailer (3:40 in 480i)
Collectible Hardcover Book

 

Bitrates:

 

 

 

Description: A Japanese-American co-production, director Richard Fleischer (SOYLENT GREEN) and two Japanese directors put together this ultrarealistic account of the bombing of Pearl Harbor as presented from the perspectives of both nations, as diplomatic tensions rise between the two countries. While the Japanese military plans its attack on American military installations, the American forces nearly stumble into a much greater calamity due to a series of errors and mistakes. As the two sides plunge closer to war, the tension escalates until the final, spectacular air raid, arguably the most realistic ever filmed. This ITA award winner has a fabulous cast, including Martin Balsam, Joseph Cotten, Jason Robards, James Whitmore, and E.G. Marshall.

 

 

The Film:

Fleischer was a good choice to head up the American aspect of Tora! Tora! Tora! since he had previously compiled a documentary of Japanese war footage for the 1948 Academy Award winning documentary, Design for Death. That film provided a concrete link to the 1970 project since the producer for Tora, Tora, Tora had edited Fleischer’s documentary along with a few other films over the years.

Originally the project was started by Twentieth Century Fox with the proviso that Akira Kurosawa direct the Japanese portion, and the legendary director agreed to do his first Hollywood film. However, the studio began to have second and third thoughts when Kurosawa’s independent streak inevitably emerged. The producers became concerned when Kurosawa submitted a 400 page script that would take over four hours of film, just for the Japanese version, but were relieved when Kurosawa finally agreed to some cuts. But studio executives soon began to worry when he cast 15 Japanese businessmen instead of using experienced actors—could it be that Kurosawa was seeking financing for future films?

Excerpt from John Nesbit at CultureCartel located HERE

Tora! Tora! Tora! is meticulous in its approach to dissecting the situation leading up to the December 7, 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Whereas most movies about the war in the Pacific have a tendency to demonize the Japanese (in the same way that the majority of films about the European theater make the Germans unequivocal villains), Tora! Tora! Tora! elects to be even-handed, presenting both the Japanese and American sides of the story, and doing so without resorting to caricatures or cheap shots. The Japanese are not faceless bad guys, nor are the Americans presented as innocent, blameless victims.

Excerpt from James Berardinelli at ReelViewslocated HERE

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

Tora! Tora! Tora! was problematic on DVD but Fox's new Blu-ray has improved quite strongly in all digital transfer areas. What this package gives us is the theatrical version and the 'Extended Japanese version' -about 3.5 minutes longer.  They are seamlessly branched on the same dual-layered disc and therefore export the exact same audio and video quality. This Blu-ray is exceptionally sharp with strong contrast.  There is depth and consistency in colors (skin tones). Aside from maybe one or two scenes that looked less HD (recall there are stock footage inserts) this is a solid visual presentation. This Blu-ray does its job well - looking frequently impressive - clear, clean and sharp with no visible manipulations. Thumbs up.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Audio is transferred via a DTS-HD Master 5.1 at 3740 kbps. The Surround can surprise at times and the overall bombing, fire, guns etc. sound crisp enough with some potent depth. The Jerry Goldsmith score sounds better than I've ever heard it. There are some foreign language DUBs and subtitle options and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.

 

Extras :

Supplements duplicate the extras from the latest DVD package with the excellent Fleischer / Galbraith commentary (only available on the theatrical version) exporting loads of information - both production based and historically. Included is the extensive 1/.5 hour documentary History vs. Hollywood – TORA! TORA! TORA!: A Giant Awakes as well as the 22-minute AMC Backstory®: TORA! TORA! TORA! and 11 FOX Movietone Newsreels running just shy of 40-minutes in total. There is also a trailer some galleries and the disc is housed in a wonderful Collectible Hardcover Book. Very impressive.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
I enjoyed revisiting this film in 1080P and got a lot more out of it than I have in past viewings. Everything was more... cinematic - larger with the scope aspect being more prevalent. Aside from the Digi-book - no new extras but this is both a film and transfer worthy of owning. This is infinitely superior to my old DVD and a great viewing experience to have on Blu-ray in my opinion. We recommend! 

Gary Tooze

November 29th, 2011

 

 

  

Other Blu-ray editions:

   

   

 

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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