The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox - 2012
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 125 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, Spanish/French Dolby Digital 5.1, English Dolby Surround
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Nate Parker, David Oyelowo, Ne-Yo, Elijah Kelly, Tristan Wilds, Gerald McCraney, Bryan Cranston, Cuba Gooding Jr. Terrence Howard
Directed by: Anthony Hemingway
Music by: Terence Blanchard
Written by: John Ridley & Aaron McGruder
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: May 22, 2012
"Courage has no color"
Italy, 1944. As the war takes its toll on Allied forces in Europe, a squadron of black pilots known as the Tuskegee Airmen, are finally given the chance to prove themselves in the sky... even as they battle discrimination on the ground. Featuring jaw-dropping aerial action and thrilling special effects, RED TAILS is a breathtaking tribute to the unsung heroes who rose above extraordinary challenges and ultimately soared into history.
The story of the Tuskegee Airmen is an amazing part of our history. Taking on such big subject matter for portrayal in a dramatic film is no simple task. Produced by George Lucas/Lucasfilm Red Tails is a fictionalized story based on events that surround the 332nd Squadron based on Italy during World War II. I tend to enjoy films that are based on actual events/people especially when it involves historically significant material. I had high hopes for Red Tails, unfortunately the script’s fragmented, clichéd and somewhat corny narrative has a rather narrow scope that when it comes to conveying the poignancy of the struggle for equality and respect suffered by these men who simply wanted to fight for their country never truly rises to stirring levels. Looking at it from a Hollywood/drama perspective Red Tails has something to offer although it remains hampered by a problematic script. At times I found some of the dialogue and situations to venture into campy/melodramatic territory that teetered on mawkishness. I liked the variety of characters/personalities among the members of the squadron and was engaged by the personal nature of their interaction. The action sequences and production elements are entertaining which when combined with the depiction of these events which speak to the human condition make this a (flawed but) watchable film. I appreciate the spirit and thematic tone of Red Tails but those hoping for an evocative, accurate and fulfilling docudrama will probably be disappointed. Going in with reserved expectations may make for an more enjoyable experience.
The rating is for dome sequences or war violence.
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:
Red Tails comes to Blu-ray Disc from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 26 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.6 Mbps.
Shot in high definition this is a pristine video presentation that looks great. Images are transparent with exquisite detail and a near infinite sense of depth. Fidelity is never in question regardless of perspective. At times I found the visual style to be visually engaging. Primary colors appear natural and secondary chromatic elements are kept within the scope of the historical time frame which means lots of browns, grays, greens and blacks. Blue and gray tones permeate several of the CGI based background elements. The various shades of gray/light blue have appreciable gradational steps that enhance depth. Skin tones are lustrous, tonally rich and chock full of fine textural nuance. Blacks are dynamic and stable. Contrast is bold and punchy without overdriving whites/grays and washing out detail. This is a dimensional and definitively resolute video presentation that features impeccable high definition imagery.
This Lossless DTS-HD MA surround mix accents the video presentation and makes regular use of the entire system to drive the film’s elements. This is a well balanced and active soundtrack that features pulsating bass that reaches far into the room to augment the dynamic impact associated with the films action based elements and music score. The surround channels are actively engaged with a blend of discretely placed sounds and spatial ambience that fills the room. Dynamic range is extended and visceral at times when combined with the high level of sonic detail present in the recording. I never had any trouble discerning subtle vocal inflections or the presence of low level sounds that were contained in the background. The mix facilitates seamless integration of the front and rear channels which creates a stable and well proportioned listening experience that is complimented by rich, room resonating bass that has excellent palpability and tight extension.
- (HD) Double victory: The Tuskegee Airmen at war – 65 minute documentary (narrated by Cuba Gooding Jr.)
- (HD) Geroge Lucas: Executive Producer – 3 minute featurette
- (HD) Anthony Hemingway: Director – 5 minute featurette
- (HD) Terence Blanchard: Composer – 6 minute featurette
- (HD) The cast of Red Tails – 25 minute featurette
- (HD) Movie Magic – 5 minute production featurette
- Bonus DVD
The story of the Tuskegee Airmen is an amazing part of our history. Taking on such big subject matter for portrayal in a dramatic film is no simple task. Produced by George Lucas/Lucasfilm Red Tails is a fictionalized story based on events that surround the 332nd Squadron based on Italy during World War II. I had high hopes for Red Tails and while I acknowledge its spirit/tone it only skims the surface of its excellent subject matter and results in a flawed (but watchable) dramatic film that will leave those desirous of an engaging, accurate and fulfilling docudrama disappointed. It comes to Blu-ray Disc from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment featuring excellent high definition audio/video quality and a strong supplemental offering that is highlighted by a documentary on the Tuskegee Airmen. It is worth a rental especially during this time of year.
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