Featured In Issue 110, July 2006

WSR Score
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
Universal Studios Home Video
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For war violence.
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Single Side, Dual Layer (HD-30)
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Jonathan Mostow
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Dolby Digital+ 5.1, DTS 5.1
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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)

Includes several featurettes: Spotlight On Location, Inside The Enigma, U.S. Naval Archives: Capturing The U-505, Creating And Constructing U-571, Britain Captures U-110, A Submariner's WWII Experience; and director commentary.

If you think maneuvering through the menu on HD DVD takes a while, try going back to your old D-VHS® D-Theater™ tape deck. Other than that, comparing the two formats reveals that the HD DVD picture appears to be virtually the same as the D-Theater. Colors are pure, solid, and impart realistic hues. In the cramped quarters of the submarine you can realistically identify with the high temperatures and sweat on the faces of the stressed crew. Black is so vividly pure, with every seemingly shade of black clearly discernable. There is an absolute lack of edge enhancement, as image outlines are perfectly natural. During the rain sequence at sea, as the undercover American submariners are approaching the German U-boat, the detail in the pouring rain is absolutely unbelievable. While the interior submarine scenes are dark, the shadow delineation is simply remarkable, with every nuance of detail and texture discernable. The visual experience of this HD DVD blows the standard-definition DVD out of the water. (Suzanne Hodges)

Both the Dolby® Digital•Plus and DTS® Digital Surround™ encodings of this classic 5.1-channel soundtrack far surpass the quality of the Dolby Digital soundtrack on the D-VHS D-Theater release. Dialogue is more distinctly natural sounding, bass is more articulate and powerful, and the entire sonic character is much more realistic sounding. While differences in Foley and atmospheric effects are not always immediately discernable between the Dolby Digital•Plus and DTS encodings, the benefit of the more advanced codec is immediately recognizable in the dialogue, with the DTS encoding imparting unnatural edginess. The mix is the same on both the HD DVD and D-VHS versions, but when comparing the two, one thing is certain: D-VHS is officially dead. (Danny Richelieu)