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1917 Blu-ray Review


Great extras. Gimmicky movie.

In this WWI set drama, 2 Lance Corporals (Will and Tom) are assigned to deliver a message to Colonel Mackenzie to call off an attack that would prove catastrophic for British forces (including Tom’s own brother). The mission is easier said than done though as the journey to get there is fraught with peril.

Despite being a clearly personal project for director Sam Mendes, “1917” feels less like a movie and more like a big budget gimmick or experiment. From a storytelling standpoint, it is a very simple film that becomes tedious from the get go. I get it, Mendes wanted to create an immersive cinematic experience in which we follow 2 characters every step of the way. In doing so though, the movie lacks character (actors George MacKay and Dean-Charles Chapman have little to work with) and the story comes across more like watching (but not playing) a video game quest. I’m not disrespecting video games here (in fact, I was left thinking I’d rather be playing “Battlefield 1” and watching its compelling story as opposed to viewing “1917”). I’m merely pointing out the narrative differences between film and video games. What works for one doesn’t necessarily work for the other. 

Now, make no mistake, “1917” is a grand technical achievement. Sam Mendes had a very clear vision and is almost a magician in how he and cinematographer Roger Deakins (I’ll get to him in a second) create the illusion that the movie was done in a single take (obviously it was not). Speaking of Deakins, he is the clear MVP. His stunning visual style elevates every second of the movie. In a career littered with greatness, Deakins can add another one to the list with his work here. 


Presentation: 2.39:1 1080p. How does it look? The picture quality is first rate. The lighting and the clarity of the image is perfection.

Audio Track:  Dolby Atmos. How does it sound? Every gunshot and every step into mud provides a dynamic audio experience.

* DVD copy
* Digital copy
* “The Weight Of The World: Sam Mendes”- A featurette on Sam Mendes and what this project means to him.
* “The Score Of 1917”- A featurette on the score by Thomas Newman.
* “Allied Forces: Making 1917”- A behind-the-scenes look at the complex production and storytelling approach.
* “In The Trenches”- A short featurette on the 2 leads
* “Recreating History”- This extra covers the sets,  production design, pre-production models, the location shooting and the scale of the production. This is the most involving extra outside of the commentaries as it really showcases the amount of work that went into every sequence.
* A solo commentary by Sam Mendes and a solo commentary by Roger Deakins. Both tracks provide a great deal of in-depth descriptions about the production experience and shots. A must listen for those interested in the technical aspects of this film.
* Universal trailers

March 16, 2020 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , , , ,

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