Best Blu-ray Deals
Best Blu-ray Deals, See All the Deals »
Top deals |
Flags of Our Fathers(2006)
February 1945. Even as victory in Europe was finally within reach, the war in the Pacific raged on. One of the most crucial and bloodiest battles of the war was the struggle for the island of Iwo Jima, which culminated with what would become one of the most iconic images in history: five Marines and a Navy corpsman raising the American flag on Mount Suribachi. The inspiring photo capturing that moment became a symbol of victory to a nation that had grown weary of war and made instant heroes of the six American soldiers at the base of the flag, some of whom would die soon after, never knowing that they had been immortalized. But the surviving flag raisers had no interest in being held up as symbols and did not consider themselves heroes; they wanted only to stay on the front with their brothers in arms who were fighting and dying without fanfare or glory. Flags of Our Fathers is based on the bestselling book by James Bradley with Ron Powers, which chronicled the battle of Iwo Jima and the fates of the flag raisers and some of their brothers in Easy Company.
For more about Flags of Our Fathers and the Flags of Our Fathers Blu-ray release, see Flags of Our Fathers Blu-ray Review published by Kenneth Brown on February 3, 2009 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Ryan Phillippe, Jesse Bradford, Adam Beach, John Benjamin Hickey, John Slattery, Barry Pepper
Director: Clint Eastwood
» See full cast & crew
Flags of Our Fathers Blu-ray Review
A different kind of war film for a different breed of filmfan...
Reviewed by Kenneth Brown, February 3, 2009
One need only look at Clint Eastwood's impressive list of directorial nominations and awards to see that he's successfully overcome the clichés of his action-western heritage to become one of the foremost filmmakers of our time. Whether it be a character drama, a political thriller, or a western, the acclaimed director has never been content with adhering to the tired conventions of any genre. So it comes as little surprise that when approaching a pair of interconnected WWII films, Eastwood decided to do something rarely seen in American cinema: treat the opposing forces of a historical conflict with equal respect and compassion. Before examining sacrifice and honor from the perspective of fallen Japanese soldiers in Letters from Iwo Jima, he used Flags of Our Fathers to explore the regret, sorrow, and self-reflection of homebound American soldiers.
Based on Ron Powers and James Bradley's New York Times bestselling book, Flags of Our Fathers opens in the wake of the Battle of Iwo Jima. Shortly after US forces defeated a battalion of entrenched Japanese soldiers, a photograph was taken of a group of men hoisting an American flag atop a mountain. The now-legendary photo quickly became an inspiring symbol to the world of sacrifices made during the war. In an effort to capitalize on these soldiers' newfound fame and raise money for the war effort, the army sent three of the surviving men -- corpsman John Bradley (Ryan Phillippe), Rene Gagnon (Jesse Bradford), and Ira Hayes (Adam Beach) -- back to the States as heroes. Despite the rampant praise they encounter, each man begins to quietly grieve their fallen comrades. Distraught at being called heroes for simply appearing in a photograph, the men recoil from the public attention.
I hate to beat the same drum as every other reviewer on the planet, but Flags of Our Fathers definitely isn't for everyone. After the film's first act leaves Iwo Jima and follows its protagonists home, pacing slows dramatically, social crises of the era are explored at length, and domestic propogandeers become the film's central source of conflict. That's right... no firefights, exploding bunkers, or blood-stained beach-sand to stir up the emotions war buffs might look for in a WWII flick. Moreover, a handful of critics accused Eastwood of exploiting the story to comment on US policies and practices in modern-day Iraq. Me? I quickly shrugged off any such criticism as contrived and unsubstantiated, and enjoyed Flags of Our Fathers for what it is: a stirring dissection of three men caught between their duty and their sense of honor.
The performances -- from Phillippe, Gagnon, and Beach to the many supporting actors (some of whom only appear for a single scene) -- are heartbreaking and authentic, effortlessly introducing us to the personal motivations and struggles of most everyone who walks on screen. The psychological ramifications of war and rampant propaganda have been examined at length in other war films, but usually in the context of more controversial conflicts like Vietnam. While WWII isn't usually the source of such studies, Flags of Our Fathers reveals a level of deceit and sleight-of-hand that populates even the most noble clashes. At the same time, Eastwood's film never struck me as an overbearing commentary on our current political affairs. It seemed to me that the director was simply offering a glimpse of the tragic disconnect between those in power and those who give their lives to maintain it. As it stands, Flags of Our Fathers delivers a series of emotional climaxes that leave as lasting an impact as most physical deaths in other war films.
Flags of Our Fathers certainly isn't the most groundbreaking or emotionally harrowing WWII epic I've seen, but it's still quite impressive and unique in its own right. Just be warned: if you're expecting a Saving Private Ryan experience, prepare yourself for some serious heartbreak.
Flags of Our Fathers Blu-ray, Video Quality
Flags of Our Fathers boasts a striking 1080p/AVC-encoded transfer that faithfully renders every inch of Eastwood's meticulously researched production with the utmost care. The film's palette may alternate between its subdued battle scenes and its warmer homecoming sequences, but colors remain stable, primaries are bold, and blacks are consistently rich and inky. Moreover, contrast is strong and delineation is revealing, injecting the image with an at-times startling sense of depth and dimensionality. Detail is also incredibly clean and precise -- shards of flying rock, droplets of blood, the freshest stubble, and every nick and stitch on a soldier's uniform look fantastic. There are a few shots in which textures soften a bit, but it rarely detracts from the overall quality of the transfer. It helps that the picture doesn't suffer from any distracting mishaps like artifacting or source noise. Instead, a steady veneer of grain is present at all times, giving the presentation a lovely filmic appearance. While I did catch glimpses of color banding and some minor edge enhancement, I didn't encounter anything of serious note. Ultimately, Paramount has produced a near-perfect video presentation of Flags of Our Fathers that makes this Blu-ray release well worth the cost of admission.
Flags of Our Fathers Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Released in 2007, the Blu-ray edition of Flags of Our Fathers arrived long before lossless audio wormed its way into every high-def release. As such, Paramount's 640kbps Dolby Digital 5.1 surround track just doesn't pack the punch and polish you might expect from a war film. Dialogue is crisp and balanced, prioritization is spot on, and chaotic scenes offer weighty explosions and shouts throughout the soundfield... yet it all sounds a tad thin and artificial. Likewise, the LFE channel delivers some powerful bass tones, but they don't seem as refined as the thooms and booms on more recent releases. Thankfully, the track's fundamentals are in tact. Pans are transparent, directionality is flawless, and the rear speakers bring a nice sense of realism to the soundfield. Subtle ambience and convincing acoustics are on hand as well, making it quite easy to immerse oneself in the film and ignore the disc's technical shortcomings. All things considered, Flags of Our Fathers sounds pretty good. While I hope Paramount has plans to one day re-release the film with an upgraded audio package, fans shouldn't avoid this version simply because it doesn't include a lossless mix.
Flags of Our Fathers Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Presented in high definition on a separate disc, Flags of Our Fathers offers a restrained but effective supplemental package with more than 100 minutes of quality material. An Introduction by Clint Eastwood (5 minutes) starts things off on a relatively interesting note as the director describes America over the decades and explains his vision for the film. Better still is the disc's main attraction: a massive six-part Behind the Scenes Documentary (96 minutes) that tracks the development of the project from start to finish. Digging into the original book, casting, editing, special effects, and the tone of the shoot. I do wish Eastwood had recorded an audio commentary, but it's a small complaint when measured against a fantastic and engrossing documentary like this one.
Flags of Our Fathers Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Flags of Our Fathers may not have received the critical acclaim granted to its sister production, Letters from Iwo Jima, but it's still a solid war film with plenty to offer history buffs of any generation. The Blu-ray edition features a stunning video transfer, a decent (albeit dated) Dolby Digital audio track, and a fitting collection of behind-the-scenes material. I'm sure Paramount will end up reissuing the film with lossless audio in the future, but fans shouldn't sit tight waiting for that day to come. Considering its affordable price tag, this edition is still worth a purchase.
Flags of Our Fathers: Other Editions
Use the thumbs up and thumbs down icons to agree or disagree that the title is similar to Flags of Our Fathers. You can also suggest completely new similar titles to Flags of Our Fathers in the search box below.
Similar titles suggested by members
Flags of Our Fathers Blu-ray, News and Updates
No related news posts for Flags of Our Fathers Blu-ray yet.
Flags of Our Fathers Blu-ray, Forum Discussions
» Show more forum discussions for Flags of Our Fathers Blu-ray
Flags of Our Fathers Blu-ray Screenshots
Back to Flags of Our Fathers Blu-ray »
Trending Blu-ray Movies
Trending in Theaters
This web site is not affiliated with the Blu-ray Disc Association.
All trademarks are the property of the respective trademark owners.
© 2002-2014 Blu-ray.com. All rights reserved.