Pearl Harbor: Special 2 Disc Edition (2001)
Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Featurette-Making Of-Journey To The Screen: The Making Of Pearl Harbor
Music Video-There You'll Be-Faith Hill
Featurette-Pearl Harbor: The Japanese Perspective
|Year Of Production||2001|
|Running Time||175:36 (Case: 183)|
|RSDL / Flipper||
Dual Disc Set
|Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Michael Bay|
Walt Disney Studios Home Ent.
Cuba Gooding, Jr.
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 EX (384Kb/s)
Turkish Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Smoking||Yes, everyone did back then.|
|Annoying Product Placement||Yes, watch for the Coke reference.|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Last time I looked at Pearl Harbor I found it to be a pleasant enough distraction for an evening when there was nothing else to do. With my second viewing of this film, my opinion of it has actually risen. While it certainly has more than its fair share of flaws, Pearl Harbor is entertaining enough to make its three hour running time go by quickly. It rarely drags, being pulled through the slower sequences by solid performances from all three leads, and coupled with wonderful scoring and pretty enough cinematography, it both looks and sounds good.
The plot surrounds three people involved in World War II in general, and the attack on Pearl Harbor specifically. While a fair segment of the movie revolves around the attack itself (about 40 minutes worth kicking off some 80 minutes into the movie), and there is a short finalé about bombing Tokyo, the rest of the movie is a love-triangle based romance. Two best friends - Rafe McCawley (Ben Affleck) and Danny Walker (Josh Hartnett) - join the army together and progress through the ranks to become top class fly-boys. As the film starts, Rafe is about to ship off to England to help fight the Nazis, but he has a problem. He has just met and fallen in love with army nurse Evelyn Johnson (Kate Beckinsale). Despite the temptations, he still ships out to England. When his plane goes down in the channel, however, he is listed as missing in action with Evelyn and Danny assuming the worst. Through their shared feelings for Rafe, they grow closer together until the time comes when they realise that they are falling for each other. Obviously, this causes some guilty feelings, as they both try to deal with what their affections for each other mean about their feelings for Rafe. All this happens before the big Japanese attack. Once that is over we move quickly toward the revenge mission to bomb Tokyo, with John Voight as President Roosevelt. Basically, he sends his best pilots on a suicide mission to bolster the nation's pride - not really that clever, but hey, it made him feel good.
What seems to be the largest point of consternation when it comes to this movie is that it cost so much to make, and did so little with the money. What actually happened is that it did quite a bit with the money, but buried it in the midst of a sumptuous but effects-free romance movie. And that is where the biggest problem with Pearl Harbor lies - it tries to be everything to everybody. By attempting to marry the action and romance genres it will generally annoy fans of each genre, and will only please fans of both romance and action, which is a fairly small market. Really, the filmmakers should have decided before they started filming if Pearl Harbor was going to be a "guys" film in the vein of Gladiator, or a "chick flick" like Titanic, as it tries to do both and doesn't really quite make it in either category.
Presented in the theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1, this transfer is 16x9 enhanced.
The transfer is very sharp, showing a high quality image that includes, for the most part, more than sufficient detail without any side effects. There are a number of occasions, however, where the grain levels creep right up, but this is due to the filmmakers choice to use many different types of film, including high-grain stock, so what we have is about as good as it will ever look. Shadow detail is excellent, and the few dimly lit scenes come vibrantly to life. There was no low-level noise detected.
Colours are very good, and again are used by the filmmakers to give the film a different feel given the circumstances. Each of these situations are very well-handled, and the disc never lets itself down in this regard.
There are no compression artefacts at all in this transfer, and that is very nearly the story for film-to-video artefacts as well. There is only a very small amount of aliasing present, almost all of it minor. The most noticeable is at 142:53 on the gridlines of the blackboard (this occurs almost every time the blackboard is in shot). As a side note, one of the more interesting sources of aliasing I have encountered is the insignia on the breast pocket of Doolittle at 136:52. There are a few film artefacts present, such as at 45:53, but all are minor and do not detract from the image quality.
The subtitles are accurate to the word, but are still nicely paced. There is only one exception to this rule. The subtitles for the Japanese dialogue are burned into the print, are small, hard to read, and move quite quickly. With any luck, any further versions of this film will rectify this problem.
This is an RSDL formatted disc with the layer change taking place at 88:11 during Chapter 23 - exactly the same location as on the rental disc, which pretty much guarantees the two came from the same master. This placement is not particularly good, as it occurs during the attack sequence, and there were plenty of quieter moments in which to insert it only a few minutes earlier.
There are two audio tracks available on this disc, being the original English dialogue and a Turkish dub both presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 (at 384 Kbps). The English dialogue track has the THX EX flag set despite not actually being an EX encoded track - this is apparently due to digital copyright information being included in the Dolby Digital stream confusing EX enabled decoders. The problem this causes is that for a short period between 141:41 and 143:02, the EX flag turns off, causing a brief audio drop-out (much like a layer-change) both when it turns off and then again when it turns back on. There have also been reports of more recent EX enabled decoders muting entirely, and needing to be manually un-muted at times during this soundtrack. Fortunately, all these problems only occur if the decoder is set to auto-detect EX sound tracks. If set to either forced EX mode or non-EX mode, the decoders play the soundtrack without any problems. This is the final indicator that this retail disc is taken from the same master as the rental, as it is highly unlikely that the same mistake would be made in the exact same location on two separate masters.
Dialogue is clear and easy to understand at all times. The effects work never overshadows the dialogue, although there is little in the way of dialogue during the 40 odd minute attack sequence anyway. For the rest of the movie, the score and any effects are always well balanced with the dialogue.
There are no problems with audio sync on this disc.
The music is provided by Oscar winning composer Hans Zimmer, and it is a very good score. The music works perfectly for both the romance and action sequences of the film, switching gear without missing a beat. It is a very impressive effort indeed.
The surround channel behaviour can really be broken into two categories - during action sequences, and during dialogue driven sequences. During the former, the surrounds are very aggressively used, providing a perfect demo for surround systems, and split surrounds in particular. Bullets, bombs, planes, and trains whiz and steam from all directions, and give a very immersive soundscape indeed. When the action dies off however, the surround channels are really only used for score music, and no ambient sound is present at all. This is not as noticeable as on some other movies due to the finely worked nature of the score, but given the astounding surround work throughout the action sequences, it is somewhat disappointing.
The subwoofer is used extensively during the action sequences, adding vast impact to every bomb and every bullet. During the dialogue driven sequences it goes quiet, but that is really to be expected.
|Surround Channel Use|
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The video quality is excellent, with only a few source-related issues letting it down.
The audio quality is astounding during the battle sequences, and rather average during the dialogue-driven sequences.
The extras are not as extensive as they could be, and we are even short-changed compared to the R1.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-535, using Component output|
|Display||Loewe Xelos 5381ZW. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Onkyo TX-DS787, THX Select|
|Speakers||All matching Vifa Drivers: centre 2x6.5" + 1" tweeter (d'appolito); fronts and rears 6.5" + 1" tweeter; centre rear 5" + 1" tweeter; sub 10" (150WRMS)|