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Movie Renter's Guide Number 153 - December, 2007 - Part I

ARTICLE INDEX


"Rescue Dawn"  (Blu-ray)

Rescue DawnSynopsis

Real-life story of a US fighter pilot Dengler, shot down and captured during the Vietnam War. Christian Bale as Dengler and a small group of POWs plan a death-defying escape into the harsh jungles of northern Viet Nam.

Specifications

    • MGM
      2007, Color, Rated PG-13, 2 Hr 5 min
    • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
    • 1080p
    • English DTS-HD MA 5.1
    • Spanish/French DD 5.1
    • Directed by Werner Herzog
    • Starring Christian Bale, Steve Zahn, Jeremy Davies
Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Yes
  • Sex: Themes
  • Language: Yes

Commentary

I missed this one in theaters but really wanted the chance to see it. I've become a huge fan of Christian Bale and he seems to have a great eye for material. Ultimately I wasn't as impressed with the film as a whole as I thought I would be, but I still enjoyed it a lot. The film doesn't spare much time getting into the POW aspect but isn't quite as brutal in tale as films like The Deer Hunter or Apocalypse Now. All in all though this was a good film with gorgeous photography and strong performances from most of the cast.

Technical

MGM hasn't released very many day and date titles on Blu-ray and has been relying on mainly high profile catalog releases so far. This results in dated presentations that look good, but not stellar. This is a brand new film so it benefits from a far better master and film print. But that doesn't make it perfect. The colors of the jungle are extremely lush in this presentation and the depth of image is outstanding. The image has a very natural look to it with little to no stylization. Contrast is good, but at times some of the darker scenes were slightly flat. Fine detail is excellent in close ups and fine object detail is solid throughout. I didn't see any compression issues or transfer artifacts but there is some slight chromatic aberration from the camera lens in a few instances.

The soundtrack is delivered in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and is a strong presentation. The soundstage is very open and the jungle atmosphere provides a rich soundstage with plenty of discrete effects littered throughout the track. Dynamics are good and there is some intense deep bass now and then. Despite the cover art this isn't really an action film so don't expect too much action.

Extras

Extras are quite good on this release and it marks one of the best from MGM yet. There is a feature commentary, deleted scenes with an optional commentary and a REALLY good making of documentary that shows just how hard this production was. You really get a sense of the hell these guys endured getting this film made. There are some production features, an interactive memorial for veterans that was pretty interesting, a photo gallery and the trailer.