The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Paramount - 1990
MPAA Rating: PG
Feature running time: 135 Minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: MPEG-4 (AVC)
Video Aspect: 2.20:1
Audio Format(s): English Dolby TrueHD 5.1, French/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese
Starring: Alec Baldwin, Sean Connery, James Earl Jones, Scott Glenn, Sam Neill
Directed by: John McTiernan
Music by: Basil Poledouris
Written by: Larry Ferguson & Donald Stewart based upon the Novel by Tom Clancy
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: July 29, 2008
" Invisible, Silent, Stolen "
Based on Tom Clancy's bestseller, directed by John McTiernan (Die Hard) and starring Sean Connery and Alec Baldwin, The Hunt For Red October seethes with high-tech excitement and sweats with the tension of men who hold Doomsday in their hands. A new technologically-superior Soviet nuclear sub, the Red October, is heading for the U.S. coast under the command of Captain Marko Ramius (Connery). The American government thinks Ramius is planning to attack. A lone CIA analyst (Baldwin) has a different idea: he thinks Ramius is planning to defect, but he has only a few hours to find him and prove it - because the entire Russion naval and air commands are trying to find him, too. The hunt is on!
Well I have to tell you that I am ashamed to admit that I have NEVER seen The hunt for Red October in its entirety. I have caught glimpses here and there on cable etc. but that is about it. I saw Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger first and really liked Harrison Ford in the Jack Ryan role and just couldn't see Alec Baldwin in the part. Since most are probably familiar with this movie I will forego any in depth commentary on the film. I am sure that I am not stating anything new to those reading this when I say that I really enjoyed this film. Its strength lies in its story about a decorated Russian submarine Captain who along with a few of his key officers desires to defect to the United States. In order to facilitate this he needs the use of the newest and most advanced (Russian) submarine on the planet. The protagonist in the story is the only one who believes that the Russians are not looking to attack the U.S. and is under the gun to prove it before its too late. Add to that the excellent casting and John McTiernan's superb direction and the results speak for themselves. It is easy to see how this film started the Clancy/Ryan movie franchise that followed.
The rating is for some violence and brief language. I see no problem for pre-teens and above.
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:
The hunt for Red October comes to Blu-ray Disc from Paramount featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 32 mbps and lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 surround sound that has an average bitrate of 4 mbps.
Having never seen this film I felt at a bit of a disadvantage when trying evaluate it. Grain is definitely part of the equation and is visible throughout. Its presence is obvious and at times heavier than others. I wouldn't say that it impeded the ability to clearly render detail but on occasion fidelity wavered during scenes where grain's presence was more noticeable. I noticed some minor mosquito type noise during a low light scene where the Red October is about to submerge. It can be seen on the submarine's hull as it begins to lower into the water. The anomaly was visible briefly and most may not even notice it. I was pleased with the level of detail present and thought that image depth was quite good. The interior shots of Red October were brimming with object detail that made it easy to see the dials, electronics etc. on the instrument panels. The weave of the fabric on the black uniforms worn by the crew was apparent as was visible texture on the skin and hair of the cast. Long distance shots such as the one at the beginning of chapter 3 when Jack enters the large Maryland Shipyard had excellent dimensionality and plenty of descriptive representation. I did notice a few instances where sharpness was inconsistent which created a slight softening effect but this was brief in duration. Resolution was quite good which helped to give the video a stable and clean overall appearance. Colors were well saturated and visually pleasing. Flesh tones had natural tonality with good delineation and lifelike pigmentation. Blacks were deep with good dynamic range and contrast. Visible detail in dark areas and shadows was present but lacked the visual acuity of the best that I have seen. This was a high bitrate encoding that I felt that was solid for an 18 year old catalog title release.
The lossless Dolby TruedHD audio easily equaled the video presentation in terms of overall fidelity. It was obvious from the start that this was going to be a mix that was going to utilize the entire surround platform. Imaging, clarity and detail combined to create an atmosphere where subtle nuances contained in the soundtrack were easy to comprehend. Dynamics were excellent and really helped to drive the film's underwater battle sequences. This mix made regular and fervent use of the surround channels. Sounds passing through the room had a wonderfully immersive feeling as they matched the onscreen action. I detected that surrounds may have been mixed just a tad too hot which sometimes overshadowed dialogue. During quieter passages dialogue was intelligible with concise tonal quality and articulation. I would like to have seen (or felt) deeper bass impact. It was present but didn't have the quality and tactility that would have made it a better match with the rest of the audio. Like the video I felt that this was a high bitrate encoding that made its high resolution benefits obvious. Well done.
The bonus supplements offered here featured a 29 minute making of documentary with cast/crew interviews and behind the scenes footage which was pretty informative. A Director's audio commentary track and theatrical trailer (in high definition) rounded things out with little fanfare.
- Commentary with Director John McTiernan
- Beneath the surface - cast and crew interviews
- (HD) Theatrical Trailer
Considered by many to be the best of the Clancy/Jack Ryan films, The hunt for Red October is an excellent film. This high definition Blu-ray presentation was my first experience with it and what an impressive introduction. This is sure to be an upgrade over any previous home video version in both audio and video quality which fans will appreciate. This is a film that should have a place in your collection. Recommended.
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