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SONY

MOVIE INFO

Director:
David Ayer
Cast:
Brad Pitt, Logan Lerman, Michael Pena, Jon Bernthal, Jason Isaacs, Scott Eastwood
Writing Credits:
David Ayer

Synopsis:
April, 1945. As the Allies make their final push in the European Theatre, a battle-hardened army sergeant named Wardaddy commands a Sherman tank and his five-man crew on a deadly mission behind enemy lines. Out-numbered, out-gunned, and with a rookie soldier thrust into their platoon, Wardaddy and his men face overwhelming odds in their heroic attempts to strike at the heart of Nazi Germany.

Box Office:
Budget:
$68 million.
Opening Weekend
$23,702,421 on 3,173 screens
Domestic Gross
$85,707,116.

MPAA:
Rated R

DISC DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English Descriptive Audio Service
French DTS-HD MA 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
English
French
Spanish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English
Spanish

Runtime: 135 min.
Price: $34.99
Release Date: 1/27/2015

Bonus:
• 16 Deleted and Extended Scenes
• “Blood Brothers” Featurette
• “Director’s Combat Journal”
• “Armored Warriors: The Real Men Inside the Shermans” Featurette
• “Taming the Beasts: How to Drive, Fire and Shoot Inside a 30-Ton Tank” Featurette
• Photo Gallery
• Previews


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Fury [Blu-Ray] (2014)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (January 18, 2015)

Almost 70 years after the end of combat, one might think we’d run out of stories to tell about World War II. This hasn’t happened yet, as 2014’s Fury demonstrates.

Set in Germany circa April 1945, the war nears its end but Nazi soldiers continue to put up stiff resistance. Sgt. Don "Wardaddy" Collier (Brad Pitt) commands a Sherman tank unit that includes subordinates Boyd “Bible” Swan (Shia LaBeouf), Trini “Gordo” Garcia (Michael Pena) and Grady “Coon-Ass” Travis (Jon Bernthal).

After another member of their group dies, they need a new recruit, and they get stuck with Norman Ellison (Logan Lerman), a raw GI trained as a clerk/typist with no experience as a tank driver. We follow his integration into the group as well as the missions on which they embark.

Normally, war movies like this stress the tight-knit “band of brothers” side of the experience, but that doesn’t really occur in Fury. The relationships among Wardaddy and his soldiers seem fragile much of the time and can be downright hostile.

This comes across in arguably the movie’s most controversial segment. About halfway into Fury, the soldiers get some “R&R” in a bombed-out German town. At the start, this looks like it’ll be gentle, innocent fun, especially when Wardaddy ensures that Norman gets laid with a cute local girl.

However, when the others members of the tank company find them matters turn ugly, mainly due to antagonism exhibited by Coon-Ass. We get the sense that the various soldiers don’t much like each other but they unite as a team to accomplish a greater purpose: survival.

That offers a contrast to the standard war movie feel in which we find a disparate group of guys who overcome their varied backgrounds and personalities to become the proverbial “band of brothers”. Make no mistake: the members of the tank company share a deep bond, but it’s not as happy-happy as we normally find. This gives us an intriguing contrast to most war movies, one that gives Fury a different flavor.

At times, at least, as despite those instances, Fury usually progresses along a pretty standard genre path. Eliminate the scenes in the German village and you’ll find little to differentiate Fury from its brethren.

I don’t think that’s automatically a bad thing, as I don’t demand a World War II movie re-invent the wheel. I like the focus on the tank soldiers and think Fury executes its battle sequences well. It definitely comes from the Saving Private Ryan school of graphic violence, and it depicts the fights in all their brutal glory.

Given the nature of its character relationships, though, I wish Fury strayed from the beaten path on a more consistent basis. It still relies on a lot of war movie clichés and doesn’t do anything to rise above its origins.

None of this makes Fury a bad film, of course, and in truth, it’s really pretty good. It gives us what we expect from a movie of this sort. I can’t help but wish it followed its more ambitious side more often, though, and did more to break out from the pack.


The Blu-ray Grades: Picture A-/ Audio A-/ Bonus B-

Fury appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. All parts of the image looked strong.

Sharpness was always positive. Nary a smidgen of softness appeared, as the movie demonstrated nice clarity and accuracy. I witnessed no instances of jagged edges or shimmering, and edge enhancement appeared absent. Source flaws also failed to interfere.

Colors stayed extremely subdued. For all intents and purposes, this was a monochromatic presentation, with a chilly teal orientation on display. All of this fit the desaturated sensibility typical of modern war films; the colors didn’t have much to do, but they were fine within the visual constraints.

Blacks were dark and deep, while shadows showed generally positive delineation. Some low-light shots seemed slightly murky, but not to an extreme, and these came as part of a high-contrast visual design. In the end, the image was pretty terrific.

Similar praise greets the excellent DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Fury. With the level of bombast expected from a movie with many scenes of combat, the soundfield used the various speakers well.

Obviously, battles proved the most involving, as they engulfed the viewer with the sounds of the setting. That side of things worked best, but other sequences also seemed quite good; even quieter sections placed the viewer in the action and consistently satisfied. Surround usage was pleasing throughout the film, as the back speakers bolstered the various settings well.

Audio quality was also good. Speech appeared natural, and the lines never demonstrated intelligibility problems. Music was quite dynamic and lively, as the score showed excellent range and delineation. Effects were also bright and bold, with nice low-end to boot. Across the board, this was an excellent track that deserved a solid “A-”.

As we shift to the set’s extras, we get a mix of featurettes. Blood Brothers runs 11 minutes, eight seconds and offers notes from writer/director David Ayer, senior military advisor Kevin Vance, WWII veterans George Smilanich, Don Evans, Paul Andert and Ray Stewart, military advisor David Rae, and actors Jon Bernthal, Brad Pitt, Logan Lerman, Shia LaBeouf, and Michael Pena. “Brothers” looks at the actors’ training and preparation as well as reflections on WWII experiences. A few good insights occur but “Brothers” seems too unfocused to become as memorable as it should be.

With the 17-minute, 32-second Director’s Combat Journal, we find statements from Ayer, Lerman, LaBeouf, Pitt, Pena, Bernthal, producers John Lesher and Ethan Smith and director of photography Roman Vasyanov. This acts largely as a production diary that highlights footage from the set. It lacks depth but still brings us a decent overview.

Armored Warriors: The Real Men Inside the Shermans lasts 12 minutes, 11 seconds and includes info from veterans Evans, Smilanich, Anderts and Stewart as well as Ayer. Mostly we learn of the veterans’ experiences during WWII. I wish this offered a longer piece, as we find some good stories here.

For the final featurette, Taming the Beasts: How to Drive, Fire and Shoot Inside a 30-Ton Tank goes for 12 minutes, 48 seconds and presents info from Smith, Ayer, Pitt, Bernthal, Pena, tank supervisor Jim Dowdall, production designer Andrew Menzies, tank production assistant Thomas Turner, and Bovington Tank Museum curator David Willey. “Beasts” examines the tanks used in the film as well as how the actors worked in them. It becomes a fairly solid look at the subject.

16 Deleted and Extended Scenes fill a total of 56 minutes, 13 seconds. That’s a whole lot of added material – heck, this area equals more than 40 percent of the final product’s running time!

Do we find anything memorable across those 56 minutes? Yes, though most of it wouldn’t have fit well in the final film. The added footage offers lots of character exposition, and those moments become enjoyable – in a “Blu-ray bonus feature” way, that is.

While it’s cool to learn more about various backstories, a lot of the movie’s impact comes from the absence of this information. I like the clips on their own but feel glad they got left on the cutting room floor.

Finally, we locate a Photo Gallery. This shows 60 images, with a mix of publicity stills and shots from the set. It offers an average collection.

The disc starts with ads for The Equalizer, Whiplash, Foxcatcher, Predestination and Powers. No trailer for Fury shows up here.

With Fury, we get a moderately effective World War II story. While it gives us the requisite “war is hell” action and spotlights an unusual aspect of combat, it tends toward clichés and doesn’t bring much new to the genre. The Blu-ray presents excellent picture and audio as well as a fairly useful batch of bonus materials. Fury turns into a generally good war film but not one that stands out in a crowded field.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4.2 Stars Number of Votes: 15
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