The Review at a Glance: ( max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Universal - 2011
MPAA Rating: PG-13 & Unrated Version
Feature running time: 114 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD MA 5.1, Spanish & French DTS 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Channing Tatum, Jamie Bell and Donald Sutherland
Directed by: Kevin Macdonald
Music by: Atli Örvarsson
Written by: Jeremy Brock (screenplay), Rosemary Sutcliff (novel)
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: June 21, 2011
"No Roman can survive north of the wall alone."
In 2nd-Century Britain, A celebrated Roman soldier embarks on a dangerous quest to restore the tarnished reputation of his father and find the golden emblem that disappeared with him and thousands of troops twenty years earlier.
My Take:'The Eagle' is based on the book "The Eagle of the Ninth" written by Rosemary Sutcliff, published a half a century ago. It was one of Director Kevin Macdonald's (The Last King of Scotland) favorite stories and a film he has longed to make. The story is about Centurion Marcus Aquila (Channing Tatum) who is motived through the ranks of The Roman military by a personal crusade to clear his family's name. His father was in command of five thousand Legionnaires who disappeared in England 20 years ago. Marcus embarks on a journey to unfriendly territories with a slave/friend named Esca (Jamie Bell) to retrieve the lost legion's golden standard, the Eagle of the Ninth. The unlikely pair find themselves in hostile territory, dealing with rouge tribes out for blood as they try to gather clues about the Legion's disappearance and the the eagles whereabouts.
Though never feeling as grand in scale as epics such as Gladiator, Director Kevin Macdonald keeps things simple, focusing on our two leads, their relationship, and how they handle aversion as they journey deeper into forbidden territory. The cinematography was, at times, breathtaking, and the films pacing and directing were top notch. I could feel MacDonald's passion for the subject, but some bad delivery by Donald Sutherland (he was as bad in 2011s The Mechanic as well) and Channing Tatum hurt the film. I am not a believer in needing a name brand leading man, but the wooded Channing Tatum had absolutely no charisma or pull, other than six-pack abs that made my wife happy, but were not enough to let me forgive and forget. Thankfully the story's second fiddle, Esca was played quite will by Jamie Bell (Billy Elliot). His performance saved the film and had me caring about him more than the lead.
'The Eagle' deals with the same legend of lost legionnaires that we follow in this years "Centurion", and I must say, other than not feeling Channing Tatum can carry a film on his shoulders, I did enjoy this better. If you are a fan of films dealing with the roman empire you will find this smaller scale story refreshing, though not as fulfilling as grander titles in its genre.
Rated PG-13 for battle sequences and some disturbing images.
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:
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Universal delivers a superb new Blu-ray release with 'The Eagle'. I found the image to be quite enjoyable, where the direction and cinematography were more concerned with mood and beauty than anything else. They succeeded and what we get is a rich presentation that is warm in hue and natural in lighting. Black levels were quite strong, exhibiting some minor crush at rare and random times. Fine details did waiver due to the artistic choices, but never does the presented image look soft or undefined. This is a very enjoyable and filmic transfer. The DTS-HD MA 5.1 track was impressive, closing in on reference quality. It handled everything with ease, from bombastic battles with room shaking LFE to defined sibilance in quiet scenes of dialogue. The surround channels were full of life, sucking the viewer into the journey. I could not find a fault in this track and recommend giving it a spin.
- Audio Commentary with Director Kevin Macdonald
- (HD) The Eagle: The Making of a Roman Epic
- (HD) Deleted Scenes
- (HD) Alternate Ending
- BD Live enabled
If you are a fan of films dealing with the roman empire you will find this smaller scale story refreshing, though not as fulfilling as grander titles in its genre. Universal's transfer looks and sounds great, and was fun to crank on my system. The special features are short and of no real interest and Kevin Macdonald audio commentary is super stiff, but technically interesting. 'The Eagle' has some gorgeous cinematography, an interesting story and these positives can, at times, out weigh some uninspired acting. Give it rental, it's worth a watch.
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Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-X3 3D 1080p 3D High Definition Front Projector
Screen Innovations Solar HD 1.3 120" 2.40:1 CinemaScope Screen
Marantz AV7005 Pre/Pro
Sunfire Cinema Five 200 Amplifier
Sony PS3 Slim Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sunfire Cinema Ribbon Trio On-Wall (5.1)
Sunfire True Subwoofer EQ Solitaire 10"