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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Midway [Blu-ray]

 

(Jack Smight, 1976)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Universal

Video: Universal

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 2:11:28.297

Disc Size: 41,159,795,773 bytes

Feature Size: 36,374,876,160 bytes

Video Bitrate: 31.62 Mbps

Chapters: 18

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: June 4th, 2013

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: VC-1 Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 2231 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2231 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS Audio English 448 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps / 24-bit
DTS Audio French 448 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps / 24-bit

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), Spanish, none

 

Extras:

• The Making of Midway (38:57)

The Score of Midway (6:24)

• Sensurround: The Sound of Midway (4:19)

Scenes Shot For TV version (10:30)

They Were There - hosted by Carleton Heston (6:21)

• Photograph Montage (2:58)

Trailer (2:57)

• My Scenes

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Charlton Heston and Henry Fonda lead an all-star cast in Midway, interweaving the dramatic personal stories of the men who fought one of the most important battles of World War II. Just six months after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the battle of Midway sounded its furious thunder in June 1942, which became the turning point of the Pacific for the United States. Featuring breakthrough war footage, Midway conveys the powerful reality and epic sweep of a nation's defining battle.

 

 

The Film:

An expensive war epic, Midway emulates The Longest Day and Tora! Tora! Tora! in attempting to re-create a famous World War II battle from both the American and Japanese viewpoints. The 1942 battle of Midway was the turning point of the War in the Pacific; the Japanese invasion fleet was destroyed, and America's string of humiliating defeats was finally broken. Though the battle itself was sufficiently dramatic to fill two films, Midway also has plotline involving the mixed-race relationship between Ensign Garth (Edward Albert), son of Navy Captain Matt Garth (Charlton Heston), and Haruko Sakura (Christina Kokubo), a Hawaiian girl of Japanese descent. The real-life personages depicted herein include American Admirals Nimitz (Henry Fonda), Halsey (Robert Mitchum) and Spruance (Glenn Ford), and Japanese Admiral Yamamoto (Toshiro Mifune, his voice once again dubbed by Paul Frees, whom Mifune personally selected for the job). For its original road show release, Midway was offered in the "Sensurround" process, which electronically shook and vibrated the audience's chairs during the battle sequences.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

The summer of 1942 brought Naval stalemate to the Pacific as the American and Japanese fleets stood at even numbers each waiting for the other to begin a renewed offensive. "Midway" tells the story of this historic June battle where a Japanese carrier force, in an attempt to occupy Midway island and lure the American fleet to destruction, was meet valiently by US forces operating off of three aircraft carriers and numerous escort ships. It was the first battle in which naval air power was extensivly used, and at its conclusion the Japanese Carrier force had been completly destroyed which lead the way for the US 1943 and 44 offensives which would eventually bring the Pacific War to a close.

Excerpt from TCM located HERE

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

Midway arrives on Blu-ray from Universal in a dual-layered VC-1 encode - supporting the two 1/4 hour film with a strong bitrate.  The image quality is clean and very sharp.  Some scenes have some low frequency edge-enhancement (black halos) but you just zoom in quite a lot to identify it. Colors appear true (skin tones have some warmth) - contrast exhibits healthy, rich black levels. Daylight scenes are more impressive but nothing is overly dark. This Blu-ray has a nice realistic feel with the stock footage predictably looking out-of-place.  I think fans of the film, having only seen it in SD will probably be pleased with this Blu-ray.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Midway was theatrically shown in Sensurround - a process developed by Cerwin-Vega in conjunction with Universal Studios to enhance the audio experience during film screenings (Wikipedia). It was dramatically advertised for 1974's Earthquake but only lasted a few films. This Blu-ray has a DTS-HD Master 5.1 at 2231 and I have no idea how well it is replicating the sensurround experience. (NOTE: James tells us in email : "Although the track is encoded with 5.1, the actual sound is 2.1 (Left speaker, Right speaker, and the LFE subwoofer). The center and the rear channels are empty channels." - thanks James!) There are some decent, even potent, depth in the action sequences and bass response is heavy. John Williams score sounds strong and crisp with some abundant power behind it. All good and there are optional subtitles. My Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.

 

Extras :

The supplements encompass about an hour's worth of video extras - most vintage or seen on previous digital releases. We get the 40-minute Making of Midway and featurettes on the score and sensurround as well as 10-minutes of the footage used for the TV version. They Were There is 6.5 minutes hosted by Carleton Heston and there is a Photograph Montage, trailer and the disc has the My Scenes bookmark capability.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
I think this is a good historical dramatization with a fair dose of poetic license. Impressive for its star-studded lineup and Midway is both educational and entertaining as an extravagant account of America's naval victory in World War II. It may lack some cohesiveness and could be considered another moderate flag-waver - but I'd say a notch superior to that. The Universal Blu-ray is solid in its a/v and there are plenty of, albeit old, extras. Fans of the stars and war pictures will find enough to extol. Recommended to the right audience - especially for the reasonable price offered! 

Gary Tooze

June 11th, 2013

 

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 5000 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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