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WSR Detailed DVD Review

Genre: Action Adventure

Reviewed In Issue 43 (Nov 2000) Of Widescreen Review®

Matthew McConaughey, Bill Paxton, Harvey Keitel, Jon Bon Jovi, Jake Weber, Dave Power, Derk Cheetwood, Matthew Settle

WSR Review Scores
WSR Picture Rating: 4.5
DD Sound Rating: 5
DTS Sound Rating: 5+
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Reference Systems
Critics' Composite Score: 4
Internet Links
Special Features
Supplements include audio commentary by the director, a spotlight on location featurette, a segment on creating and constructing U-571, a segment on the inner workings of submarines, a segment on WWII veterans recalling their submarine experiences, the history of the actual British capture of the U-110 in WWII, the theatrical trailer and DVD-ROM enhancements.

 DVD General Information

(Studio/Distributor): Universal Studios Home Video
(Catalog Number): 20785
(MPAA Rating): PG13
(Rating Reason):

Rated PG-13 for war violence.
(Retail Price): $26.98
(DVD Type): Single Side, Dual Layer (DVD9)
(Widescreen Edition): Yes
(Full Screen Edition): No
(Anamorphic Widescreen): Yes
(Running Time In Minutes): 116
(Color Type): Color
(Chaptered/Scene Access): Yes
(Closed Captioned): No
(Regional Coding): 1
(Theatrical Year): 2000
(Theatrical Release): Yes
(Direct-To-Video Release): No
(DVD Release Date): 10/24/00
(THX® Digitally Mastered): No

 Credits Information

(Director): Jonathan Mostow
(Screenplay/Written By): Subscribe Now!
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(Costume Designer): Subscribe Now!
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(Supervising Sound Editors): Subscribe Now!
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  DVD Picture Information

(Principal Photography): Subscribe Now!
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  DVD Sound Information

(DVD Soundtrack): Subscribe Now!
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  WSR Narrative Review
Story Synopsis:
Based loosely on actual events, U-571 tells the story of a German submarine sinking during World War II. The ship is carrying an Enigma Machine, a device for sending and decoding secret messages. The allied forces are anxious to get their hands on one to enable them to intercept enemy transmissions. They call on a crack tream of Navy men who are just about to enjoy 48 hours of shore leave, instead the must reboard their submarine, disguise themselves as Nazis, and infiltrate the U-boat with the hope that these men can steal the device and finish sinking the sub before the Germans catch on to their plan and recover the device themselves. (Laurie Sevano)

DVD Picture:
The anamorphically enhanced 2.35:1 DVD exhibits a picture that is quite pleasing in all aspects. Set in the '40s, colors are warm and nicely balanced with an occasionally stylized, dated look. Images are sharp, with nicely rendered fine detail and background definition. Inside the submarine, images are quite natural, with a smooth, solid appearance and good shadow delineation. However, exterior scenes outside the sub are quite hard-edged with apparent enhancement. Overall, the picture should surely please with naturally balanced colors and minimal distractions. (Suzanne Hodges)

The Dolby

This Disc Contains The Following WSR-Rated Superb Qualities:
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  WSR DVD-ROM Review
DVD-ROM Enhancements Rating:

DVD-ROM Review:
After installing the PCFriendly components for this title, you are brought to the DVD-ROM main menu, which is nicely done. From this menu, you are given seven links to other sections, Mission Objective, Personnel, DVD Newsletter, Below the Deck, Features, Reconnaissance, and Historical Specs. The Mission Objective is a very small section telling why they decided to create this film. There is a neat little Flash intro, with an equally nice layout once into the section. Biographies for 15 of the cast and 12 of the crew can be found in the Personnel section. This has the same great theme ass the Mission Objective, with an easily legible font. The only downside to this section is the scroll method used for the text: slow. Why these newer Universal titles have been released with this feature is beyond my knowledge. An online Web link can be found in the DVD Newsletter section. This link sends you to a page where you can sign up to receive emails telling about upcoming Universal DVD and home video releases. Below the Deck is where you can find all the information about the behind the scenes efforts that occurred during the filming of U-571. This has the same easy to read font, with the same slow as ever scrolling. In the Features section, you can find links to each of the special features available on the DVD-Video side of the disc. These features work well transferring over, and can be exited any time by clicking anywhere on the viewable screen. Ten photos from scenes in the film can be found in the Reconnaissance section. Each of these can be enlarged into your favorite Web browser by simply clicking on the fingernail image. My favorite part of the DVD-ROM features, Historical Specs, includes diagrams and information on 10 of the more prominent German and American submarines used in World War II. Each has a small description of their more famous missions, and also includes the fate of each after the war ended. Playing the film from the PCFriendly software loads through the usual Universal advertising on to the start of the movie. This title has a great theme throughout, and is complete in every aspect except the script. Even without it, I really enjoyed the features found here. U-571 is definitely worth trying out. (Danny Richelieu)