Tora! Tora! Tora! (Remastered) (1970)

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Released 5-Jun-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category War Theatrical Trailer
Audio Commentary
Trailer-The Longest Day
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1970
Running Time 138:53
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (76:08) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Richard Fleischer
Toshio Masuda
Kinji Fukasuka
Studio
Distributor

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Martin Balsam
Joseph Cotten
E.G. Marshall
James Whitmore
Jason Robards
Soh Yamamura
Tatsuya Mihashi
Takahiro Tamura
Eijiro Tono
Case Six-Sided Star Clamp
RPI $36.95 Music Jerry Goldsmith


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.0 (384Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (96Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Tora! Tora! Tora! would have to be one of the best-known war movies of all time. Rather than write another synopsis for the same feature, I will refer you to Carl's magnificent review of the original Tora! Tora! Tora! and instead focus my attention and time on the differences between the two releases.

    Being a re-mastered release you would expect to see improvements in either the video transfer, the audio transfer, or better still, in both. The video transfer is the same as the original release, with close comparison between the two failing to find any differences. The audio receives a face-lift and so too do the subtitles, both of which I will detail below.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Don't let the opening scenes fool you into thinking this is a poor quality print. This area obviously did not receive any attention and was a little unsettling at first with the frequent and large film artefacts. However, from the moment the credits finish, there is a dramatic transformation where artefacts and blemishes simply fade away.

    The transfer is presented in the original aspect ratio of 2.35:1, 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer has a very clear and sharp appearance and was a real pleasure to watch. Shadow detail is also excellent with an good level of detail revealed in almost every shot. There is very mild grain and, as Carl mentioned regarding the first release, the worst grain is in the outdoor scenes with the Japanese aircraft carriers from 82:30. There is some mild low level noise.

    The colours were well defined and, for a 1970s movie, offer good skin tones and depict a realistic level of colour across all objects. The only area that really lacked colour was the tree-lined hills just outside Pearl Harbor. The planes were flying over some colourful and, dare I say it, pretty coastlines, but this was depicted more as a dull or dark green than the vibrant colour it really is. The same colour bleeding at 7:54 that appeared in the original release is still visible on this disc.

    There were no MPEG artefacts seen. Aliasing is very rare and very mild with the most obvious example being towards the end of the movie at 105:46 on the edge of a carport. Film artefacts are visible but are very small and well controlled. The majority are during the opening credits and just after the intermission from the 85:00 mark onwards for a short time. The same mark on the camera lens at 86:37 is there but the preceding shots in the wheelhouse are very clean.

    The subtitles are the area of greatest change between this and the original release. Previously, the subtitles were burnt into the video and could not be turned off for the Japanese speech. Now, they are replaced by a subtitle stream for those portions of Japanese dialogue, even if your subtitles are set to off. Should you have subtitles turned on whilst viewing this, you will get both the Japanese and English subtitles shown cleanly in the same font and timed to work with the video rather than a mixture of subtitles overwriting each other to create an on-screen disaster. This is no doubt why there is only an English subtitle option and all other languages have been removed. The amount of time and effort that has gone into this section clearly shows and it is a much better movie for it. The slip cover still contains the original insert which shows all 11 subtitle tracks but there are definitely only English for the Hearing Impaired subtitles available on this disc.

    This disc is an RSDL disc, with the layer change placed between Chapters 17 and 18, at 76:08. This is just after the audio has stopped and fades to black making it the perfect place for a layer change. The same long intermission is here and shows the word "Intermission" for a full 22 seconds before the music begins again as the screen fades to black until 78:12.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There are two audio tracks on this disc. The first is presented as an English Dolby Digital 4.1 soundtrack. The sound channels used are the front Left, Centre and Right followed by a mixed surround channel and a discrete subwoofer channel. On my Denon Amp and DVD player the track shows up as 3/1.1 for those who are interested. There is also an English Audio Commentary track with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. I listened to both soundtracks in their entirety.

    The dialogue was clear and easy to understand at all times.

    Audio sync was not a problem at all with this transfer, and was completely spot on.

    The musical score by Jerry Goldsmith was well mixed and a fitting choice for this style of movie. This is a movie with large sections that contain no sound at all and this can take some getting used to, but when the sound is there it really adds to the movie's feel and sets the mood. The Japanese scenes are usually accompanied by harsh and strong musical notes, whereas the Americans get a slightly softer music accompaniment. The volume levels did not drown out the dialogue at any point during the movie.

    The surround channels were a lot quieter than I would have hoped. There are literally hundreds of sections where some slight touch-ups could have been made to make the sound of the planes carry from the front soundstage to the rear. In almost all cases the sound remains very frontal. Music is the big user of the rears and it works well, but with a little more work this re-release could have been so much more. There are a lot of directional sounds, again across the front soundstage, particularly when the Japanese are standing in a row across the screen. You get to hear good sound placement, with their dialogue coming directly from where they are standing.

    Whilst this audio track has a discreet subwoofer channel, its presence was rarely felt. The explosions were a little flatter than they could have been but what is provided certainly added to the movie.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

    The menu design is themed around the movie and features the image used on the front cover as a backdrop. It is static and silent.

Audio Commentary

    This is the same commentary track as that found on the original release and provides an informal discussion about the movie and the co-ordination of the two different film crews. There is also some interesting information about the problems they faced while trying to integrate the two teams to make a coherent story. It is well worth a listen if you find the main feature particularly appealing.

Trailers

    This time around, the trailer for Patton has been removed so we are just left with the following:

R4 vs R1

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

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;

   The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;     This is the same video release as the previous one that Carl directly compared to the R1 version he owns. It is because of this that I would have to agree that the R4 version is still the pick due to the brilliant picture quality. The available subtitles may be an issue for some.

Summary

   

    Whilst Tora! Tora! Tora! is a very long and at times drawn-out movie it is still one of the best examples of World War II movies and the terrible events of the day in question.

    The video quality is absolutely wonderful.

    The audio sits heavily in the front soundstage but when the music opens the track up it is a pleasure to listen to.

    The extras are limited but the audio commentary track will be appealing to some.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Peter Mellor (read my bio)
Wednesday, August 06, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-1600, using RGB output
DisplayLoewe Aconda 9381ZW. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationDenon AVR-2802 Dolby EX/DTS ES Discrete
SpeakersWhatmough Classic Series C31 (Mains); C06 (Centre); M10 (Rears); Magnat Vector Needle Sub25A Active SubWoofer

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
slick difference.....? - wolfgirv REPLY POSTED
2 disc reissue - wolfgirv
Re: 2 disc reissue - munster (read my bio)