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WSR Detailed DVD Review
Director's Edition
Genre: Drama

Reviewed In Issue 74 (July 2003) Of Widescreen Review®

Nicolas Cage, Adam Beach, Peter Stormare, Noah Emmerich, Mark Ruffalo, Brian Van Holt, Martin Henderson, Roger Willie, Frances O

WSR Review Scores
WSR Picture Rating: 3.5
DD Sound Rating: 5
DTS Sound Rating: NA
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Reference Systems
Critics' Composite Score: 2.5
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Special Features
Disc One of this three-disc supplement-packed special Director's Edition includes the movie with an optional John Woo introduction, audio commentary with director John Woo and producer Terence Chang, a second commentary track with actors Nicolas Cage and Christian Slater, a third insightful audio commentary featuring Native American actor Roger Willie and Albert Smith (who served as Navajo Codetalker Adivsor for the movie), two trailers, and MGM bonus trailers. Go Beyond The Story with Disc Two, which includes the historical 23-minute featurette about the unsung Native American heroes in The Code Talkers: A Secret Code Of Honor; a nine-minute segment dedicated to American Heroes: A Tribute To Navajo Code Talkers; and a five-minute featurette on scoring Windtalkers, featuring composer James Horner. Finally, go Behind The Scenes and get an inside look with Disc Three, which features a multi-angle segment for four battle sequences; be a fly-on-the-set (

 DVD General Information

(Studio/Distributor): MGM Home Entertainment
(Catalog Number): 1004522
(MPAA Rating): R
(Rating Reason):

Pervasive graphic war violence, and for language
(Retail Price): $39.98
(DVD Type): 3-Disc Set: DVD-9 & DVD-5 x 2
(Widescreen Edition): Yes
(Full Screen Edition): No
(Anamorphic Widescreen): Yes
(Running Time In Minutes): 153
(Color Type): Color
(Chaptered/Scene Access): Yes
(Closed Captioned): Yes
(Regional Coding): 1
(Theatrical Year): 2002
(Theatrical Release): Yes
(Direct-To-Video Release): No
(DVD Release Date): 05/20/03
(THX® Digitally Mastered): No

 Credits Information

(Director): John Woo
(Screenplay/Written By): Subscribe Now!
(Story): Subscribe Now!
(Music): Subscribe Now!
(Director Of Photography): Subscribe Now!
(Production Designer): Subscribe Now!
(Visual Effects): Subscribe Now!
(Costume Designer): Subscribe Now!
(Editor): Subscribe Now!
(Supervising Sound Editors): Subscribe Now!
(Re-Recording Mixers): Subscribe Now!
(Executive Producers): Subscribe Now!
(Co-Producers): Subscribe Now!
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(Academy Awards): Subscribe Now!

  DVD Picture Information

(Principal Photography): Subscribe Now!
(Theatrical Aspect Ratio): Subscribe Now!
(Measured DVD Anamorphic Aspect Ratio): Subscribe Now!
(Measured DVD Letterbox Aspect Ratio): Subscribe Now!

  DVD Sound Information

(DVD Soundtrack): Subscribe Now!
(Theatrical Sound): Subscribe Now!
(Theatrical Re-Issue Soundtrack): Subscribe Now!
(DTS Bit Rate): Subscribe Now!
(Dolby Digital Bit Rate): Subscribe Now!
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  WSR Narrative Review
Story Synopsis:
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. The movie is presented here in an expanded 153-minute version. (Suzanne Hodges)

DVD Picture:
With an additional 20 minutes of new footage, this new anamorphically enhanced 2.40:1 DVD exhibits a different transfer, though one that is not necessarily better or worse than the previously released DVD. The cinematography visually complements the war setting of the movie, with highly contrasted images. Comparisons of similar shots reveal more richly saturated colors that can appear greenish (affecting blues and the fidelity of the green army fatigues and grasslands), but there are drastic contrast differences (like a blown-out sky compared to a pale blue on the previous DVD). Closely comparing the first few seconds of Chapter 12 (Chapter 10 on the previous DVD) reveals a noticeably sharper image on the Special Edition, with finer facial textures revealed on Nicolas Cage before he jumps up to fight. Unfortunately, during that same comparison, edge enhancement is much more of a distraction. The previous DVD appears slightly soft by comparison. (Suzanne Hodges)

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