The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Sony Pictures - 2013
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 134 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, French/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Tom Hanks, Barkhad Abdi, Barkhad Abdirahman, Faysal Ahmed, Mahat M. Ali, Catherine Keener, Michael Chernus, Yul Vazquez
Directed by: Paul Greengrass
Music by: Henry Jackman
Written by: Billy Ray
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: January 21, 2013
Captain Phillips is a multi-layered examination of the 2009 hijacking of the U.S. container ship Maersk Alabama by a crew of Somali pirates. Based on a true story, the film focuses on the Alabama’s commanding officer, Captain Richard Phillips (two-time Academy Award®-winner Tom Hanks, Best Actor, 1993, Philadelphia; Best Actor, 1994, Forrest Gump), and the Somali pirate captain, Muse (Barkhad Abdi), who takes him hostage. The two men are set on an unstoppable collision course when Muse and his crew target Phillips’ unarmed ship; in the ensuing standoff, both men will find themselves at the mercy of forces beyond their control.
As much as I wanted to get out to see Captain Phillips when it was in theaters I just never got around to it, despite hearing good things from those that did. The film is based on the true story of a Merchant Marine Captain being taken hostage by Somali pirates while delivering cargo/relief supplies to Mombasa Kenya. The incident occurred on April 7, 2009 as the Maersk Alabama with cargo, a crew of 20 and their Captain Richard Phillips were traveling approximately 240 nautical miles southeast of the Somali coast. The film briefly describes the events just prior to the pirates boarding the Maersk Alabama then settles into the painstaking details surrounding the abduction and rescue of Captain Phillips by the U.S. Navy on April 12, 2009.
Let me start by saying that I am a big Tom Hanks fan and for me his presence tends to automatically lend an air of credibility to a film. Captain Phillips is a powerful and engaging drama that is heightened by its basis on actual events and the strong performances of Hanks, Barkhad Abdi as the leader of Somali pirates and Faysal Ahmed, who portrayed Najee, his second in command. I vaguely recall when this happened back in 2009 but didn’t really follow the story. What I found most evocative was Captain Phillips bravery, devotion to his crew and the phenomenal response by the U.S. Navy in order to save him. Director Paul Greengrass and cinematographer Barry Ackroyd provide a fly on the wall perspective of how intense the entire affair must have been for Captain Phillips. The script paints a vivid portrait of the players on both sides and allows us along for the ride which I can assure you is a suspenseful and emotional one.
I watched it with my family and by the end we had experienced a range of emotions including outrage/anger, empathy and a deep sense of pride in being Americans. Good films tend to bring us to the brink of stepping into the story and Captain Phillips, underscored by the brilliant performance by Tom Hanks, takes us about as close to being there as it gets. We absolutely loved it.
The rating is for sustained intense sequences of menace, some violence with bloody images and for strong thematic material.
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:
Captain Phillips comes to Blu-ray from Sony Pictures HE featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 24 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 2.3 Mbps.
This is an excellent high definition rendering from Sony (via their Mastered in 4K header) that sports plenty of fine detail with sharp edges and crisp definition that provides discerning dimensional perspective during wide angle camera pans. Colors range from warm, vivid and inviting to cool, reserved and almost tonally neutral. This is obviously a creative decision that draws definitive visual boundaries and works quite well. Contrast is strong and blacks are deep without compromise to delineation. Shadowy areas exhibit excellent depth of field and visible gradational stages. The various wide angle shots of the daytime ocean vistas look stunning. The use of filtering occasionally softened the image but I found the quality of the video to be high. It isn’t always razor sharp but is cleanly rendered with plenty of subtle refinement that increased the perception of fine detail. Framed at 2.40:1 images onscreen have excellent depth and stimulating visual aura. I didn’t see any signs of video degrading artifacts or extraneous compression related noise. It looks great on Blu-ray.
** CIH users should note that subtitles appear within the picture area.**
The lossless DTS-HD MA soundtrack has excellent dynamic range, detail rich clarity and makes ample use of the surround platform to drive the film’s elements. The detection of subtle background sounds, off camera cues and spatial dimension within the room’s acoustic environment is noteworthy. Discrete rear channel activity isn’t extensive however when applied provides an enriching level of immersion which is punctuated by palpably rich bass. Dialogue is firmly planted in the center channel and renders voices and effects with appropriate distinction. This surround mix capably handles the subtle intricacies thrown at by this excellent soundtrack as it augments the enjoyment of this film.
- Commentary by director Paul Greengrass
- (HD) Capturing Captain Phillips (3 segments totaling 57 minutes):
- Full ahead
- Stand fast
- Bonus DVD
- Ultraviolet Digital Copy
Based on the true story of a Merchant Marine Captain being taken hostage by Somali pirates while delivering cargo/relief supplies to Mombasa Kenya, Captain Phillips is a gripping and evocative drama the draws you in and doesn’t let go until the credits roll. Much of this is owed to the superb turns by the cast most notably star Tom Hanks who gives yet another compelling performance. It comes to Blu-ray from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment featuring excellent high definition audio/video and an interesting supplemental package that offers lots of insights from the cast/crew and real people involved in the story. Captain Phillips comes highly recommended and deserves a spot on your list of must see films coming to Blu-ray.
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JVC DLA-RS55 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6 Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV8801 11.2 Channel Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-103D Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (With Darbee video processing)
Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
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APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
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