In the brutal World War II Battle of Saipan, tormented marine Sergeant Joe Enders (Cage) is given the mission to guard native American Ben Yahzee (Beach), a young Navajo trained in the one wartime code never broken by the Japanese: the Navajo Code. "Windtalkers" is loosely based on a real-life WWII operation. (Suzanne Hodges)
The anamorphically enhanced 2.40:1 DVD exhibits a harshly contrasted picture that visually complements the war setting of the movie. While colors are well balanced, hues are stylistically desaturated. Images are sharp, and exhibit satisfying detail and definition, though shadow delineation is limited in the darker scenes. Edge enhancement can be quite obtrusive when apparent, but pixelization is minor. (Suzanne Hodges)Also includes a modified 1.33:1 version (not reviewed) on the disc
This Dolby Digital 5.1-channel soundtrack delivers, as anticipated, movie sound of excellent fidelity in all respects. The music score sounds great and liberally engages the spatial soundstage, with a full-bodied deep bass foundation, as well. Dialogue sounds convincingly natural, with good spatial consistency. But as expected, the winning factor is the very dynamic and powerful rendering of the many intense war sequences. Dynamic range utilization can be almost to the extreme, especially in a few scenes where the sudden onset of an explosion or gunfire is enough to lift you out of your seat. (Chapter 23 has a great example of this.) The sheer energy of the many fly-by sequences, detonations, and the like, can be enough to really challenge your system if you play back at or near reference level. Needless to say, there's enough deep bass energy in all channels, including the .1 LFE, to really give your subwoofer a serious workout. The entire dimensional soundstage is fully engaged throughout, with very dynamic and aggressive use of the surround channels. As well, back surround decoding results in substantial imaging of sound behind you, seemingly providing for an enhanced sense of dimension all around. The essential aspect of the production of this soundtrack is the sheer poignancy and often discomforting emotional impact of effect associated with war. Some great examples are the fly-by of bullets and their impact on bodies. And the gunfire and cannon explosions seem to have an authentic feel to their sonic character, their own
Reading Widescreen Review for the past four years has been a liberating experience for me. Issue after issue you continue to write the most intelligent, full depth, and logical reviews and you do not pull any punches. I've bought many of my home theatre items after reading about them in WSR, and I must say they perform exactly as you have written in your reviews. I'll be a customer for a long, long time. Thanks for a great magazine.