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PLEASE NOTE: Michael D's is currently in READ ONLY MODE. Anything submitted will simply not be written to the database.
Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
Eagle, The (Blu-ray) (2011)

Eagle, The (Blu-ray) (2011)

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Released 17-Nov-2011

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Adventure Alternate Ending
Deleted Scenes
Featurette-Behind The Scenes
Featurette-Making Of
Audio Commentary-Director Kevin Macdonald
More…-BD Live
More…-Digital Copy
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2011
Running Time 114:05
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Kevin Macdonald

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Channing Tatum
Jamie Bell
Donald Sutherland
Mark Strong
Tahar Rahim
Denis O'Hare
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI ? Music Atli Örvarsson

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     In 120 AD the Roman 9th Legion of 5,000 men marched north of Hadrian’s Wall in Britain. The men and their golden eagle standard were never seen again. Twenty years later Marcus Flavius Aquila (Channing Tatum), the son of disgraced commander of the 9th, is posted to a command in Britain. His sole purpose is to win military glory, thus redeeming the honour of his family.

     When his fort is attacked by Britons, Marcus fights courageously, saving his men by a conspicuous act of bravery. However Marcus’ leg is badly injured and he is taken to recuperate on the farm of his uncle (Donald Sutherland). When his injury does not heal properly, he is given an honourable discharge from the army, so his hopes of saving the family honour are dashed. Attending gladiatorial games with his uncle, he is impressed by the bravery of the slave Esca (Jamie Bell), whom Marcus saves from death. A result is that Esca becomes Marcus’ slave, although he hates everything Marcus, and Rome, stands for. With his military career over, Marcus decides that the only way to regain his family’s honour is to journey north of the wall to find, and recover, the lost Eagle of the 9th.

     With Esca, Marcus travels north into Scotland. Amazingly, they do manage to find Roman soldiers, remnants of the 9th Legion including Guern (Mark Strong), who has married a Briton and now has a family. They also track down the missing Eagle. It is in the possession of the Seal People, who welcome Esca as a fellow Briton, fleeing the Romans. Esca tells the Seal Prince (Tahar Rahim) that Marcus is his slave, so Marcus is allowed to live. Can Marcus retrieve the lost Eagle under the watchful eye of the warrior Seal Prince and return to Roman civilization? Indeed, can he trust Esca?

     The Eagle, directed by Kevin Macdonald (The Last King of Scotland (2006)), is based upon the book The Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff that was first published in 1954. It is very much a “boy’s own adventure” story of courage, resourcefulness, daring, loyalty, friendship and honour, with seldom a female in sight. Not that there is anything wrong with old fashioned adventure done well, as in The Eagle. It looks fabulous, courtesy of locations in Scotland and Hungary, includes energetic, but not overly brutal, action scenes and moves along without wasting time. The acting is also very good. Channing Tatum makes an excellent Roman, all square jawed and single minded, while Jamie Bell, perhaps best known for Billy Elliot (2000), is a perfect foil. The supporting cast is also excellent with Donald Sutherland and Mark Strong both good value.

     The Eagle may not be anything new but it is an old fashioned adventure done well with a good cast, wonderful location photography, energetic action sequences and a good script. There are far worse ways to spend a couple of hours.

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Transfer Quality


     The Eagle is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, the original aspect ratio, in 1080p, using the VC-1 code.

     The print looks fabulous. It is sharp and nicely detailed in the close-ups. Blacks and shadow detail are excellent. The colours are natural, if a bit on the light side, showing the wonderful Scottish Highland locations to great effect. Other than very slight occasional ghosting, artefacts were absent.

     English subtitles are available. When not enabled, white English subtitles appear automatically to translate the non-English dialogue spoken by the Britains.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


     Audio track options are English DTS-HD MA 5.1, English Audio Commentary and English Descriptive Audio.

     The English DTS- HD MA 5.1 is very good indeed. Dialogue is clear and easy to understand. The surrounds are used constantly for music, weather effects, hooves and ambient sound, such as the running water in the creeks. They also burst into life during action sequences with the cries of the fighting men and the clash of weapons. The subwoofer use is great, especially supporting the thud of the chariot horses, but also adding bass to thunder, rain and music.

     The original score by Atli Orvarsson, using orchestra, choral sections and Celtic instruments, is a good support for the film’s visuals, greatly adding to the atmosphere.

     Lip synchronisation was fine.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


Alternate Ending (4:37)

     Test audiences apparently did not like this ending. However, I think that it is much better and more poignant than the one now in the film.

Deleted Scenes (6:16)

     Two deleted scenes, one a long chariot race, the other more information on the background and family of Esca.

The Eagle: The Making of a Roman Epic (12:12)

     More an EPK with film footage, some behind the scenes footage and interview snippets with Jamie Bell and Channing Tatum plus crew Kevin Macdonald (director), Duncan Kenworthy (producer), Paul Hornsby (military advisor), Richard Ryan (swordmaster), Michael Carlin (production designer), Muffin Green (prop master) and Rebecca Alleway (set decorator).

Making The Eagle (48:02)

     An extensive behind the scenes from the day 1 script reading in Budapest to filming in the elements on the Scottish highlands. It repeats most the footage from the shorter making of and includes a look at building the fort set, boot camp, the action sequences, costume, why Americans were cast as Romans and braving the wild wet weather on location in the highlands. It includes comments from lots of people including cast Jamie Bell, Channing Tatum and Mark Strong plus the director, producer, screenwriter, director of photography, editor, costumer, set designer, armourer, horsemaster swordmaster, military advisor and a few others as well. Reasonably comprehensive, and the on location footage is fun to watch, but no-one has nothing negative to say at all, which seems a bit unrealistic.

Commentary: Director Kevin Macdonald

     Kevin Macdonald speaks about locations, filming in Hungary, plot points, action sequences, Roman strategy, budget constraints and the reasons for the alternative ending. It is chatty rather than technical, with some silences and he does talk too much about things on screen, saying how wonderful they look, but he is a friendly and engaging host and worth a listen.


     Access trailers and more information about the film through the Internet.

Digital Copy of the film

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     The Region A US Blu-ray has the same specifications and extras as our version but includes both the theatrical cut (rated PG-13 in the US) and the unrated cut of the film. Here we get a digital copy of the feature. As the director’s commentary in the US film is for the unrated version, I believe this is the version of the film we have. Our version is also the same as the Region B UK release. I cannot see the PG-13 version being of much value so I’d call it a draw.


     The Eagle may not be anything new but it is an old fashioned adventure done well with a good cast, wonderful location photography in Hungary and Scotland, energetic action and a good script. There are far worse ways to spend a couple of hours.

     The video and audio are both excellent. The extras are extensive and mostly genuine. The result is a very good Blu-ray package.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Monday, August 27, 2012
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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