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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Captain Phillips [Blu-ray]


(Paul Greengrass, 2013)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Sony

Video: Sony Picture



Region: 'A'-locked (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 2:14:04.036

Disc Size: 42,039,496,624 bytes

Feature Size: 31,244,310,528 bytes

Video Bitrate: 24.91 Mbps

Chapters: 16

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: January 21st 2014



Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 2779 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2779 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio French 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / Dolby Surround



English (SDH), English, French, Spanish, none

English subtitles available for commentary



• Commentary by director Paul Greengrass

• Capturing Captain Phillips (3 parts 58:16) (Embarkation - 20:23) (Full Ahead - 24:43) (Stand Fast - 13:35)

• DVD with Ultraviolet code




Description: Two-time Academy Award winner Tom Hanks teams with Oscar-nominated director Paul Greengrass and screenwriter Billy Ray to tell the true story of Richard Phillips, a U.S. cargo-ship captain who surrendered himself to Somali pirates so that his crew would be freed. The MV Maersk Alabama was en route to Mombasa, Kenya, when it was surrounded and boarded by a gang of hardened bandits led by the determined Muse (Barkhad Abdi). As the crew of the Maersk Alabama rushed into a fortified "secure room" created for just such an incident, Phillips and Muse found themselves in a tense standoff that threatened to erupt into violence at any moment. Catherine Keener and Michael Chernus co-star.



The Film: Captain Phillips,” a movie that insistently closes the distance between us and them, has a vital moral immediacy. It was directed by Paul Greengrass, the British filmmaker who quickened the pulse of contemporary action cinema with the second and third installments in the Bourne franchise, features that proved yet again that big-screen thrills and thought need not be mutually exclusive. Kinetic action and intelligence are similarly the driving forces in “Captain Phillips,” which, like Mr. Greengrass’s Bourne movies, shakes you up first with its style and then with its ideas.

Excerpt from Manhola Dargis at the NY Times located HERE


When Paul Greengrass directs a thoroughly dramatic tale based on true events and Tom Hanks takes on the title role, you think you know what to expect. But just you wait — the piercingly realistic "Captain Phillips" will exceed your expectations.

The story of the six days that Richard Phillips, captain of the cargo ship Maersk Alabama, spent in April 2009 first trying to avoid a gang of Somali pirates and then as their restive captive, this film does an impeccable job of creating and tightening the narrative screws. The result is so propulsive that you may find yourself looking at your watch not out of boredom but because you're not sure how much more tension you can stand.

Excerpt from Kenneth Turan at the LA Times located HERE

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

Captain Phillips comes to Blu-ray from Sony although it appeared to be at the theatre not too long ago.  The film was shot with a variety of cameras but exhibits no real weaknesses of the digital video format. Typical for Greengrass we have some hand-held modulations, obtuse angles and extreme close-ups. This is dual-layered and the two+ hour film is supported with a decent bitrate. There is a lot of darkness but black levels are not crushed and there is no noise. Filming on water has its own difficulties but the kinetic, un-focused - often hazy, visuals didn't appear to be overdone. The 1080P looks like an effective replication. There are plenty of instances of depth and the aerial shots of the water crafts helps identify the crispness. The film is professionally shot as is the Blu-ray transfer.
















Audio :

Sony transfer the audio via a DTS-HD Master 5.1 at a decent 2779 kbps. Effects benefit from the surround and the score by Henry Jackman (Wreck-it Ralph, X-Men First Class, Monsters vs. Aliens) is perfectly in-line with the ever-building tension. Deep bass is very evident. There are optional subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked although there are releases available in many countries in region 'B' (or free).


Extras :

Extras include an informative commentary by director Paul Greengrass - he is good to listen to although I still have 45-minutes left to indulge. There are also 3 separate parts of a featurette entitled Capturing Captain Phillips which runs close to an hour. Each part has a specific focus and we get merchant mariner Captain Richard Phillips - of the Maersk Alabama hijacking who also published the book A Captain's Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALS, and Dangerous Days at Sea from which the film is based. The package also contains a DVD and an 'Ultraviolet' code for the downloadable digital edition for your portable devices.



Brilliant and tense film. Greengrass (a former documentarian) knows how to build a thriller and he is in expert form here. Tom Hanks is excellent and the story makes for a fine film-night presentation. The excitement is so high for so long that it almost feels anti-climactic when it ebbs. It may have run overly-long (over Hollywood-ified for lack of a better term) for my personal taste but there is no doubt about its effectiveness as a gripping piece of modern cinema and the Sony Blu-ray offers solid a/v and some worthy extras. This is recommended! 

Gary Tooze

January 13th, 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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