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Edward Berger
Felix Kammerer, Albrecht Schuch, Aaron Hilmer
Writing Credits:
Edward Berger, Lesley Paterson, Ian Stokell

A young German soldier goes through terrifying experiences and distress on the western front during World War I.

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
German Dolby Atmos
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Spanish Dolby 5.1
French Dolby 5.1
Castillian Dolby 5.1
Italian Dolby 5.1
Czech Dolby 5.1
Hungarian Dolby 5.1
Polish Dolby 5.1
Turkish Dolby 5.1
Ukrainian Dolby 5.1
English Descriptive Audio
German Descriptive Audio
French Descriptive Audio
Castillian Descriptive Audio
Italian Descriptive Audio
Spanish Descriptive Audio
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 147 min.
Price: $29.98
Release Date: 5/9/2023

• Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Edward Berger
• “Making of” Featurette
• Trailers


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-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


All Quiet On the Western Front [Blu-Ray] (2022)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (May 4, 2023)

In general, it seems like a mistake to remake a movie than won the Best Picture Oscar. However, when that film came out 92 years earlier, I guess it becomes fair game, and this brings us to the 2022 version of All Quiet On the Western Front.

Three years into World War I, teenaged Paul Bäumer (Felix Kammerer) and a group classmates find themselves strongly encouraged by society to join the military as soon as legally possible. Young and callow, the boys buy into the propaganda and enlist.

Thrown into battle without adequate preparation, they struggle to survive. However, Paul does endure and still finds himself alive in November 1918, when the powers that be consider armistice talks – but keep the soldiers unaware and under the continued belief that victory remains at hand.

That last plot point marks an alteration from the 1930 movie and Erich Maria Remarque’s 1929 source novel. Both of those end in October 1918, not November, and they don’t feature the negotiations between the war powers.

This makes the finale to the 1930 film more sadly ironic, as it features the death of characters close to the end of the war – which formally concluded November 11, 1918 – but not with the tantalizing proximity of the 2022 flick’s events. This feels like a misstep to me, as it makes the unnecessary sacrifices too on the nose.

With the versions that end in October, we find ourselves saddened by deaths because we know the soldiers only needed to hold out a few more weeks. Though on the surface the decision to make the time span for survival only a few hours might sound like one that adds impact, I think the reverse proves true.

Mainly I think this because I believe the change feels trite. The 2022 Front features a ticking clock that doesn’t really exist in the 1930 film, and this seems like an unnecessary distraction.

Also, the scenes with the various officials detract from the original first-person orientation. The book and 1930 movie revolve around Paul’s POV virtually the whole time, whereas here we lose him for considerable chunks of cinema.

The original Front acted as an anti-war tale that showed how impressionable youth go from wide-eyed and eager to beaten down and cyncial. It focused less on the brutality of war and more on the dehumanizing aspects and the role of propaganda.

For the most part, the 2022 Front abandons these notions. While Paul changes through the story, he doesn’t undergo quite the same journey, and another alteration in plot impacts this theme as well.

While the 1930 Front included a sequence in which Paul visited home. During this span, he sees how the townspeople still buy into the propaganda and witnesses the same people as they spin the same lies that seduced him and his friends.

That powerful sequence aptly depicts Paul’s changes and gives them impact, especially because they demonstrate the knowing manner in which authority figures mislead kids. Unfortunately, the 2022 Front loses the segment entirely, so we don’t get this revealing view of how war altered Paul’s perspective.

Instead, the 2022 Front largely just sticks with combat. While it offers occasional scenes of the German soldiers in quieter moments, it doesn’t develop any of them especially well – not even Paul – an it favors the loud violence instead.

Which can be seen as a viable choice to deliver the ugly truth of war. However, scads of other movies cover similar territory, and I find little to separate Front from that pack.

Not that we don’t need reminders of these issues, especially in the way Front depicts how little most of the leaders care about the lives of the soldiers. The movie shows the war machine in full froth and implies how the boys exist as little more than meat for the grinder.

Front establishes these concepts in some vivid ways. For instance, the opening shows how the uniforms of dead soldiers got recycled for use by new recruits, with the implication that the deadly carousel never stops.

These work, but I still feel this Front loses a lot of the purpose found in the novel and 1930 movie. In his commentary, writer/director Edward Berger explores these domains and tells us why he made the changes.

I respect his positions and don’t feel a source needs to be copied explicitly when re-adapted. However, the changes need to improve the tale, and I don’t think that occurs here, as the alterations tend to feel gratuitous.

I don’t want to sound wholly negative about Front, as it creates a fairly evocative war film. I just think it doesn’t fare as well as the 1930 movie and it delivers a movie that doesn’t stand out as above the rest of the pack.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio A/ Bonus B-

All Quiet On the Western Front appears in an aspect ratio of 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The movie came with a fine visual presentation.

Overall sharpness worked well. Some dimly-lit shots could feel a smidgen soft, but the majority of the film felt accurate and well-defined.

No issues with jagged edges or moiré effects appeared, and I saw no edge haloes. Print flaws remained absent.

To the surprise of no one, Front opted for a pretty standard orange and teal palette. Though cliché, the disc at least replicated the tones in a positive manner.

Blacks felt deep and dense, while shadows showed good clarity. This would up as a fine image.

Downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1, the movie’s Dolby Atmos soundtrack packed the expected punch. With tons of combat action, the film fleshed out the spectrum in a consistently active manner.

This meant gunfire and explosions and whatnot on a frequent basis, and these elements placed the viewer in the action. Quieter scenes also added good involvement.

Audio quality appeared positive, with speech that came across as natural and distinctive. Music showed solid range and punch.

Effects delivered high-octane material, as those components appeared vivid and dynamic, with deep low-end to boot. The movie delivered a top-notch sonic experience.

When we move to extras, we open with an audio commentary from writer/director Edward Berger. He offers a running, screen-specific look at the source and its adaptation, cast and performances, sets and locations, costumes and effects, music and audio, photography, themes, and connected domains.

From start to finish, Berger makes this a terrific commentary. He digs into a broad array of topics and does so in a vivid, informative manner, all of which means we get a thorough view of the film.

Footnote: Berger speaks English for the commentary – a relief for those of us rusty on our high school German!

In addition to four trailers, we get a Making of featurette. It spans 18 minutes, 27 seconds and offers notes from Berger, director of photography James Friend, producer Malte Grunert, production designer Christian Goldbeck, stunt coordinator Marek Svitek, makeup effects designers Tamar Aviv and Jorn Seifert, costume designer Lisy Christl, makeup designer Heike Merker, composer Volker Bertelmann, and actors Daniel Daniel Brühl, Edin Hasanovic, Felix Kammerer, Albrecht Schuch, Moritz Klaus, and Aaron Hilmer.

The program looks at photography, sets and locations, cast and performances, combat sequences, various effects, costumes, and music. We get a brief but good general look at the production here.

This 2022 version of All Quiet On the Western Front brings a good but not exceptional adaptation of a classic novel. While it keeps us with it, the movie diverges from the source in unnecessary ways. The Blu-ray brings strong picture and audio plus bonus materials highlighter by an excellent commentary. Expect a quality flick but not one that adds much fresh to the war film genre.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 4
4 3:
View Averages for all rated titles.

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