(1981/Sony Blu-ray Set)
Picture: B Sound: B Extras: B Film: B
Petersen’s Das Boot (1981) was an
international sensation, with critical raves and surprising commercial success
worldwide. It showed Petersen could
direct and handle interesting material, something he became known for until
recently, when he hit commercial muddiness.
Thirty years later, it has now arrived in a new Blu-ray set and finally,
we have a version that does justice to the film.
not in the know, “The Boat” as the title translates tells the tale of a Nazi
German U-Boat trying to survive a living hell towards the end of WWII with a
very young crew that starts out happy and slowly discovers the horrors of war
in the most claustrophobic fashion. A
film on this subject and done this well had not been seen before, so some of it
might not seem as amazing, but it was in its time.
puts aside the usual “bad Germans” WWII cliché as it deals with the situations
in a more complex way than you might expect without being apologetic in any
way, shape or form for the Nazis actions.
If anything, it shows their actions causing a decline that brought the
whole war to slowly implode on them and reveals another side of the
ugliness. Like Gettysburg,
William Peterson’s Das Boot (1981) is
a TV mini-series as well as a feature film, but it offers coverage of its
subject in a way that resonated and the Blu-ray set delivers it in a way that
will impress all.
has mostly remained unknown outside of Germany, though all are very
convincing here and Jurgen Prochnow (A
Dry White Season, Lynch’s Dune, The English Patient) heads the cast.
1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image has some grain, but Das Boot is one of those films plagued with substandard video
copies for years that never did justice to the film and this version looks as
fine as I could have ever expected. The
print is clean without being overly cleaned, the depth and color range is a
welcome plus and the overall work by Director of Photography Jost Vacano (Robocop, Total Recall) is as effective as ever. This is a very imitated film, especially in
similar later commercial productions (Crimson
Tide, U-571) and its raw
approach is on the money. The DTS-HD MA
(Master Audio) 5.1 mix comes from the same 1997 digital upgrade Director’s Cut
remix soundmaster that included Sony Dynamic Digital Sound 8-track
multi-channel theatrical release and the result is as good as this is ever
going to sound. Sony passed on trying to
do DTS-MA 7.1 and that was the right decision as the audio in location
recording can show its age.
include BD Live interactive features, the shorter theatrical cut, feature
length audio commentary by Petersen, vintage 1981 Behind The Scenes featurette, 1983 The Battle Of The Atlantic featurette, Captain’s Tour – Inside The Boat featurette, Wolfgang Petersen – Back To The Boat documentary and Going Deeper: Maria’s Take, The Perfect Boat.
have never seen this film before, don’t settle for anything less than this set
or a theatrical screening!
- Nicholas Sheffo