Tigerland (2000)

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Released 12-Nov-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category War Main Menu Introduction
Audio Commentary-Joel Schumacher (Director)
Featurette-Casting Session with Colin Farrell (4)
Theatrical Trailer
TV Spots-2
Featurette
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2000
Running Time 96:52 (Case: 101)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (57:33) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Joel Schumacher
Studio
Distributor

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Colin Farrell
Matthew Davis
Clifton Collins, Jr.
Tom Guiry
Shea Whigham
Russell Richardson
Case ?
RPI $31.95 Music Nathan Larson


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (96Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles Czech
Danish
Dutch
English for the Hearing Impaired
Finnish
French
Greek
Hebrew
Hungarian
Icelandic
Norwegian
Polish
Portuguese
Swedish
French Titling
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Deserving much more attention than it received, Joel Schumacher’s war film Tigerland has become one of my favourite films of the past two years, and it is arguably his best work in a filmmaking career spanning almost thirty years. Have you heard of it? Most people I’ve spoken to haven’t, which is a d*** shame. But then again, maybe it’s a good thing, because I always love discovering hidden gems like these for myself. Actually, to call it a war film is incorrect, as there is never a sight of the opposition. Perhaps more taking a note out of Kubrick’s book, as opposed to Spielberg’s, Schumacher (The Lost Boys, Flatliners, Falling Down) places us in boot camp, amongst a bunch of young cadets, gearing up to go to war in Vietnam.

    Shot hand-held for the most part, the camera rarely sits still. And I don’t mean for just the scenes involving action, it shakes in nearly every shot. Not only that, it contains zooms, and unorthodox edits, which even Schumacher admits is usually seen as bad filmmaking, but complementary in Tigerland. An approach that not only looks great in my opinion, but it actually places you there, and builds the tension – which is one thing all good war-oriented films have. Actually, Tigerland never lets up for the entire film, creating a realistic sense of the unpredictability and anxiousness that soldiers must deal with day-to-day. Adding to the grittiness is a fair amount of grain, which only makes the film look better if you ask me. The acting is absolutely top notch across the board, with perhaps three stand-outs being the Irish-born Colin Farrell (Minority Report, Phonebooth, Daredevil), Matthew Davis (Pearl Harbor, Legally Blonde) and Clifton Collins Jr (The Replacement Killers, Traffic). Farrell, in particular, was excellent, and is fast becoming a big star, something he really deserves. His rebellious character (Bozz) has no respect for authority, but demands respect from those around him.

    If Pearl Harbor is your idea of a good war film, then look elsewhere, because Tigerland features no gratuitous violence – something which stood out like the proverbial in Michael Bay’s disastrous dung heap - and won’t be used as a "demo disc" – a trend that is ruining the genre in my opinion. Apart from Spielberg’s two masterpieces (Schindler’s List, Saving Private Ryan), this is the best war-oriented film since Oliver Stone’s Platoon.

    While watching films I always look for a flaw – something that keeps a film from being perfect. Some films from the past few years have scraped through without a fault in my mind - American Beauty, Memento, The Matrix, The Fellowship Of The Ring, Road To Perdition, Minority Report, and I now add Tigerland to that list. I know that some of you may not agree with me, but it sucked me in from beginning to end, like all of those other films I just mentioned did. For what it is, it is a superbly crafted film that I urge everyone to watch. Just remember – it’s no Pearl Harbor…………thank God for that.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The transfer for Tigerland is fantastic, in that it could not fit the film more perfectly. It features a fair amount of grain, which is not a fault of this transfer, and is the original intent. Some shots are out of focus, and poorly lit – in terms of cinematic quality, but all of these factors contribute to the enjoyment of the film. This is a hard video transfer to analyse, so I will judge it more on how it complements the film, rather than the quality of each frame.

    It is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1, and is 16x9 enhanced.

    Sharpness is great when it is needed to be, giving off some nice detail to certain scenes. Shadow details and black levels are quite strong. I previously mentioned that there is constant grain, and low-level noise, which is not distracting, as it is very fitting.

    Colours are good in a palette that mainly consists of shades of green, but everything looks great.

    MPEG and film-to-video artefacts are non-existent, but film artefacts such as dirt and white specks are visible from time to time, but these again are not a fault of this transfer.

    The disc is RSDL-formatted, with the layer change placed at 57:33. It is unintrusive.

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

Audio

    The audio transfer for Tigerland is good, more like a documentary than an action film’s soundtrack, which is how it should be. It’s quite front-heavy, with some surround activity at times, and a bit of bass here and there.

    We have the choice of listening to Tigerland in English Dolby Digital 5.1, or French Dolby Digital 5.1.

    Dialogue was always intelligible, never distorting throughout. There were no problems with audio sync

    The film’s fitting score by Nathan Larson is presented quite well, with some support from the surrounds, and the subwoofer.

    The surround channels were used enough – and thankfully not too much. Occasional sounds such as echoing voices from loudspeakers or ambience can be heard, but you’ll mainly notice surround activity when the action heats up a bit during training drills, or with the music.

    The same goes for the subwoofer. It is heard most during the training drills, and supports the music.

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

Extras

Main Menu Introduction

    This consists of a few seconds of quick edits from the film, supported by a sample of the film’s score, which all ends up on a silent static menu.

Audio Commentary - Joel Schumacher

    This screen-specific director’s commentary is one of the better tracks I’ve heard of late, as Schumacher talks non-stop for pretty much the entire track, perhaps drying up a bit towards the end. It is full of information in regards to the score, casting, acting, and creating the realistic feel through the unorthodox camera work and editing. Schumacher is a great talker who has many interesting stories to tell in regards to the making of the film and certain locations, along with real-life Vietnam stories. My opinion of Schumacher has changed after sitting through Tigerland and this commentary track. With his recent track record, he hasn’t really impressed me, especially with the last two Batman sequels, but I’m certainly a fan now.

Featurette - (4:17)

    Presented in full frame video, with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio, this is just your usual promotional featurette that contains a few shots of behind the scenes footage. Perhaps if the film was more successful at the box office, we might have seen a more extensive documentary.

Theatrical Trailer - (2:34)

    Presented in full frame video, with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio.

TV Spots - 2 (0:34)

    Both run for the same time, and are presented in full frame video, with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio.

Featurette – Casting Session with Colin Farrell

    Four audition shots, which are of poor video and audio quality, and which run for a total of six and a half minutes. Interesting to watch, as Farrell shows presence in these clips, which are long enough to not become boring – something that normally plagues audition footage.

R4 vs R1

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

    The Region 1 version contains nothing that is not included on the Region 4 version. The PAL formatting makes the local version the winner.

Summary

    Tigerland is an excellent war-oriented film that takes the boot-camp approach as opposed to the action film approach. Never relying on gratuitous violence or “demo disc” qualities as all war films since Saving Private Ryan seem to, it is a breath of fresh air for what seemed to be a dying genre. Fantastic acting, and brilliant directing make this one of the better films I’ve seen in the past few years, and certainly one of my favourite war-oriented films.

    The video transfer is poor in comparison to most, but very complementary to the film’s grittiness.

    The audio transfer is great, if unexpected for a war film – which is again complementary.

    The extra features are a bit limited, but a fantastic director’s commentary track is included - that is enough for me. A decent documentary would have capped the disc off perfectly, but due to its poor box-office takings, is unfortunately nowhere to be found.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Pockett (If you're really bored, you can read my bio...)
Thursday, October 24, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-525, using Component output
DisplayTeac 82cm 16x9. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationSony STR DE-545
Speakers5 Sony speakers; Sherwood 12" 100w Powered Subwoofer

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Good Film, Good DVD - Daria Nicolodi's Fringe