Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Green Berets Blu-ray Review

Disc Size: 29.7 GB
Film Size: 29.1 GB
Film Rating: G
Region: ABC

The Green Berets comes to Blu-ray with a 1080p VC-1 video presentation. Unfortunately it’s quite clear directly after the opening credits that DNR has been applied. Overall clarity is nice and it does look high-def, but detail is never very strong and facial details tend to be a bit more on the waxy side.

Colors on the other hand are quite strong, there are a few dull moments but overall they are minimal. Environment colors such as greens are rich and pop off the screen. Black levels are also quite deep and inky for the majority of the film.

There are moments where the film and look quite good despite the ‘enhancements’ added, but other times the film looks like a big blurry mess and it’s definitely disappointing. Darker scenes towards the end face the most challenges and it’s not very pretty.

The film has been cleaned up, but not in such a great way. I am disappointed by the high-def release, it’s not terrible and it’s certainly not the worst case of DNR we have seen on the format, but I do think had it been left alone it would have looked significantly better. I do think this as good as we will see The Green Berets on Blu-ray, as it is right now, it’s definitely mediocre. 6/10.

A Mono Dolby TrueHD audio track is included and while I do appreciate that Warner Bros. has provided it in lossless form, there’s not very much to be excited about. The audio mix is quiet and it’s far from smooth and clean. There is constant hissing and crackling, and dialogue feels surprisingly flat from beginning to end.

Unfortunately I do not have a DVD release to compare it to, but I don’t think the difference would be significant in this situation. What the audio needs most is a cleanup and it does not matter to me whether it stay a mono mix or if the studio decides to separate it a bit more for 5.1, but either way there is a lot that can be improved upon.

I think the track is decent and despite dialogue feeling flat it was usually very easy to understand as there is nothing happening surround-wise. I honestly think this is the best we will hear the film on Blu-ray and possibly ever, The Green Berets is not a highly acclaimed film that screams for a pricey cleanup. 5/10.


The Moviemakers (7:12) (SD)

A vintage making of the Green Berets.

Theatrical Trailer (2:58) (SD)

The extras included are dull, but I do not believe anything is missing from previous releases. The vintage making of featurette is certainly interesting but definitely feels dated. The inclusion of a theatrical trailer is nice, but it could have at least been included in high-definition. Overall this is an underwhelming supplements package. It would have been nice had they updated the extras at least a little. 2/10.

Blu-news Summary
The Green Berets is a film about the Vietnam War starring John Wayne, David Janssen and Jim Hutton. John Wayne not only stars but he co-directs the film, in what really shows the man was not what he used to be and was much better talent on-screen than behind-the-scenes.

The film has its moments but it’s drowned by political opinion that is more than obvious. The lines in the film are dreadful and exhibit some serious political commentary that is so one-sided that it’s actually quite annoying.

War movies are difficult to review, particularly regarding what is accurate and inaccurate about a film. This movie definitely feels like it was made to make viewers feel a certain way about an issue rather than just telling a story regardless of accuracy or inaccuracy, extreme opinion makes this one far from subtle.

What could be considered even worse by some is the film is extremely boring. With a runtime of 2 hours and 22 minutes you will definitely be finding every excuse to get up and leave the room for a few minutes, whether it be getting a snack or taking a restroom break. I have no problem with John Wayne and others involved having a certain opinion about something, just leave it out of what could have been a decent war film (save it for an interview or better yet a book).

I have never liked The Green Berets and the Blu-ray release does absolutely nothing for me. The movie is not subtle at all which takes away the little entertainment the film provides. It’s an extremely boring and political mess that is FAR from John Wayne’s better work. 4/10.

The Blu-ray release is not so great either, featuring an average video presentation and underwhelming audio track. Extras are far from impressive either, making this Blu-ray release ‘For Fans Only.

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