has an average rating of 7.1 on IMDb
1080p in AVC MPEG-4 on a 50gb disc
PCM 5.1 @4.6Mbps & Dolby Digital 5.1
are just ported over from the DVD
– 116 minutes
– Hollywood Pictures (Buena Vista)
Overall Verdict – Recommended
Buy it for $20.99 @ Amazon.com
— Review written by: Justin Sluss —
The Movie Itself is Directed by Tony Scott and Produced by the legendary duo that was (the late) Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer. The story tells the tale of a world in global crisis, nothing too short of what we live in today. Russia is threatening to launch nuclear weapons so as a result the United States (Navy) sends in a nuclear powered ballistic missile submarine, The “USS Alabama” (hence the film’s name) commanded by veteran “Capt. Frank Ramsey” (played by Gene Hackman). Joining them on this mission is the newly appointed “ Lt. Commander Ron Hunter” (played by Denzel Washington) who at first seems to really get along with the captain (Hackman). They soon find themselves getting a message for launch which they authenticate and begin preparations for the ordered attack. While this happens they meet up with a renegade Soviet attack submarine and exchange torpedo fire. A new message is being received from the radio systems but they are damaged and the message is cut short.
With this new message Hunter goes to his superior officer Captain Ramsey who doesn’t think twice about trying to fix radio communications to see what the message was trying to say, for example maybe to abort mission as Hunter suggests. It’s from this disagreement and the serious threat of a nuclear attack about to take place that mutiny takes place on this submarine not once but twice. This film is action packed full of drama and really an all around great film that makes you think. It’s safe to know that this much power to launch a nuclear attack no longer rests in the hands of a nuclear submarine captain, instead it now rests in the President of the United States *gulp*. Some great co-stars in this film like James Gandolfini and Viggo Mortensen to just name a few. This is another winning combination of Tony Scott & Denzel Washington (like the later “Man on Fire“) as well as a great effort from the Producer duo that was the late Don Simpson and currently successful Jerry Bruckheimer. This is a must see film for anyone who’s fans of any those guys.
Video Quality on this release is 1080p in AVC MPEG-4 on a BD-50 (50 gigabyte Dual-Layered) Blu-ray Disc. First off you’ll notice a slight bit of film grain and noise but again, only slightly. This High Definition transfer holds a very solid black level, nice color palette, good flesh tones and a great deal of detail to it’s picture clarity. There’s some really beautiful shots early on in the film before the submarine submerges with the sun setting on the horizon. It’s brighter shots like that that really seem to show off how much this has been restored.
I mean at this point let’s face it, Buena Vista is a Studio that just doesn’t seem to ever release Hi Definition transfers that suck. Even back catalog titles like this film as well as “Con Air” and “The Rock” for example (which I also reviewed and gave identical score to what you find here). Look at their track record, they have been scoring at least 4 stars average with us and most every other online review site for video quality. It comes as absolutely no surprise this gets it’s “4 Star Rating” for video quality. Keep up the good work Buena Vista on the catalog transfers, I’m loving what I’m seeing and have been for quite some time!
Audio Quality on this release is in both PCM 5.1 @4.6Mbps and Dolby Digital 5.1 @640kbps. Immediately in the film you’re going to hear some very lifelike rain and thunder. This comes across great with an excellent bass presence to start things off with, along with the amazing Score done by Hans Zimmer which truly sets the vibe of the film early on and then keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout. Dialogue is perfectly focused primarily on the center channel and delivered very clearly throughout the film.
For mostly the last hour of the film you’ll be treated to the amazing sound presentation (now in Uncompressed Linear PCM 5.1 surround) you’d expect from a Simpson & Bruckheimer Production like this. The sound of torpedoes firing and traveling under water are absolutely awesome as well as all the other sound effects that really help this deliver an almost 100% perfect audio presentation. It’s not quite as elaborate as some of Bruckheimer‘s current Productions but it does a great job and easily earns a “4 ½ Star Rating” for audio quality. Very impressed by this Buena Vista, keep it up just like I said about the catalog High Definition video transfers!
Bonus Materials are presented in 480p Standard Definition video in MPEG-2 and Stereo Dolby Digital 2.0 @192kps sound. Despite the back of the box saying that the bonus materials are in High Definition 1080i & 1080p with Dolby Digital 5.1 sound they aren’t. The only things that are, are the “Movie Showcase” scenes from the film. I don’t count those really as even bonus materials as most of my readers will know from all my past Buena Vista reviews.
This also lacks an Audio Commentary track from Director Tony Scott or maybe actors Denzel Washington and/or Gene Hackman and/or Producer Jerry Bruckheimer for instance. That would have been nice, but not found here. All we get are the ported over original DVD bonus materials that are as follows:
- Deleted Scenes (6 minutes) which prove to actually be worth watching (even in the horrid video quality) and at times funny.
- “All Access: On the Set of Crimson Tide” (10 minutes) is somewhat hosted by actor George Duzundza (who plays “Cob” in the film) taking us on a tour of the set of the “USS Alabama” (the submarine where a majority of the film takes place). This again proves to be very much worth watching and funny at times as well. Lots of great footage of “behind-the-scenes” with the Director Tony Scott and with the actors.
- “The Making of Crimson Tide” (20 minutes) carries on with that spirit from the previous featurette and serves up really nice interviews with Producers Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer, Director Tony Scott as well as actors Denzel Washington and Gene Hackman to just name a few. This really rounds out the bonus materials with a definite “MUST WATCH” seal of approval from myself.
Overall the bonus materials are like I just said, a definite “MUST WATCH” if you enjoyed the film but they could have contained a commentary track, trivia and even new High Definition material such as newly done Interviews. This does get the job done and won’t leave you horribly disappointed but I will admit it could have been a little bit better. Plus I don’t like the fact the back of the box labels the bonus materials as being in High Def and 5.1, that’s just how Buena Vista is conveying that the “Movie Showcase” is in that. I think they shouldn’t personally do that myself, as I mentioned I don’t consider those even bonus material.