The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox - 1977
MPAA Rating: PG
Feature running time: 176 Minutes
Genre: War Drama
Disc Format: BD-50
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio Lossless, French Dolby Digital 5.1, English Dolby Surround, Spanish Mono
Subtitles: English, Spanish, Cantonese, Korean
Starring: Sean Connery, Anthony Hopkins, Gene Hackman, Michael Caine, Edward Fox, James Caan, Elliott Gould, Laurence Olivier, Robert Redford, Ryan O’Neil, Maximilan Schell, Liv Ullman
Directed by: Richard Attenborough
Music by: John Addison
Written by: William Goldman based upon the novel by Cornelius Ryan
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: June 3, 2008
"Operation Market Garden"
A Bridge Too Far is an epic war picture that painstakingly recreates actual battlefield locations and boasting a remarkable cast that includes Sean Connery, Anthony Hopkins, Sir Laurence Olivier and Robert Redford. accurately recaptures the monumental scope, excitement and danger behind one of the biggest military gambles in history. In September 1944, flush with success after the Normandy Invasion, the Allies confidently launched Operation Market Garden, a wild scheme intended to put an early end to the fighting by invading Germany and smashing the Reich's war plants. But a combination of battlefield politics, faulty intelligence, bad luck and even worse weather led to disaster beyond the Allies' darkest fears.
A Bridge too far is certainly an epic style war film in every sense of the word. The huge ensemble cast, large sets, and big budget are all ingredients that go into such a big undertaking. For me it just didn’t have the cohesive feel and well paced story telling of several of the war epics that I have reviewed recently. I felt that the film was a bit too long and could have been scaled back by 30 minutes or so. I realize that there was a lot of material to cover but I felt that things were spread too thin. This made it hard to connect with all but a few of the characters. I really enjoyed the performances by Sean Connery, Michael Caine, Maxmilian Schell, and Hardy Kruger. A few that I could have lived without were Elliott Gould, Ryan O’Neil, and Gene Hackman’s Polish accent. There was a lot like about this film though. I liked how it depicted in detail the devastating effects that war can have when fought among people homes and towns. The sacrifices made by those (civilian/underground) that opted to support the Allied Troops and in some cases paid for it with their lives. I appreciated the attention to detail when simulating the paratroopers jumping from airplanes and the great camera work that was used to that end. This was a poignant film that told the story of a large Allied mission that failed during World War II. It is hard to imagine what those men must have gone through. The sacrifices that they and their families made were insurmountable. While this was not my favorite “classic” war film I believe that it has a position of significance among them.
The rating is for war violence and scenes of battle field death. I would not describe it as graphic in nature.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
A bridge too far comes to Blu-ray featuring 1080p MPEG-2 encoded video with an average bitrate of 23 mbps and DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio Lossless sound with an average bitrate of 3.6 mbps.
This video presentation did not compare favorably to the recent classic war films that I have reviewed from Fox on Blu-ray. I would describe the image quality as soft, and lacking the clarity, sharpness and depth associated with high definition video in general. There is some filtering that was applied (probably in post production) which gave the video a hazy cast that I found distracting. That coupled with the aforementioned softness had a definite impact on perceivable resolution. Colors were muted but rendered naturally with slightly warmer tonality. Fleshtones looked fine but lacked delineation among the varying cast members. Blacks were fairly deep without being crushed and visible detail in low light and shadowy backgrounds was very good. Video noise was clearly visible in the background during several scenes. At the end of the sequence when the last of the planes/gliders takes off from Holland the sky in the distance is crawling with noise. The same is true in Chapter 21 during the river crossing. The sky in the background is quite noisy. Grain is plainly visible in a few scenes but overall appeared to be well preserved.
The audio fared slightly better than the video but not by much. Dialogue was intelligible but anemic sounding during busy sequences. I was pleased with surround sound envelopment within the mix and thought that efforts made to blend the front and read soundstage was obvious. The problem is that blend was not always seamless led to fluctuations in the perception of volume during front to rear pans. The recording showed its age which I think manifested itself by intrinsically lower dynamic output. The various tank assaults, shelling and gunfire didn’t have the dynamic attack and feel that accompanies today’s digital soundtracks. I wasn’t disappointed with it and thought that for a 30 + year old film it sounded just fine. I would describe low frequency detail in the same way. Clarity and detail were above average but lacked fine articulation and subtle reproduction of sounds within the recording.
Fox has only included the Theatrical Trailer along with this Blu-ray release which fans will find disappointing.
- Theatrical Trailer
A bridge too far is considered by many to be a classic war film. Personally I didn’t see it in the same vein as some of the other war classics released on Blu-ray recently. I found the quality of the video on this catalog title to be underwhelming. That coupled along with its lack of bonus features doesn’t make this a very attractive upgrade for fans. I would recommend a rental prior to purchase.
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews
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