Sunday, May 22, 2016

Sasaki Time's Blu-Ray Review: Disney's The Finest Hours

The year is 1952, during one of the biggest storms off the coast of Massachusetts, the oil tanker Pendleton is split in half. With another oil tanker having already suffered a similar fate and undergoing a major rescue operation, the Pendleton sits alone with no radio communication and no commanding officers. A small U.S. Coast Guard boat is dispatched to find the Pendleton. But this small crew and smaller boat loses its compass and has no way of knowing if they are heading towards the tanker or not.

Leading up to this epic rescue is a love story between Coast Guard sailor Bernie Webber (Chris Pine) and Miriam (Holliday Grainger). This helps add to the tension and drama as Bernie leads his team out into the storm.

Meanwhile aboard the Pendleton, chief engineer Ray Sybert (Casey Affleck) unwillingly takes command of the remaining crew. The crew is made up of all types of sailors with every personality type imaginable. This makes for some very tense moments in an already horrible situation. And the camera work here as we swoop up and down the levels of the ship really bring the ship to life.

The cast is strong. Chris Pine plays Bernie Webber, a man who follows the rules. Holliday Grainger plays Webber's fiancee Miriam, a woman who does not abide by the rules of gender. She is proactive

and has much guts as any of the men in the movie. But Affleck is the stand out here. He takes a man of very few words into the most compelling character here. He quietly becomes the leader when he has no desire to be in charge and uses his knowledge of the ship and the currents to help save him and the remaining men on the ship. The quiet hero who steps up when no one else does or no one really knows what to do.

This man versus nature film will keep you on the edge of your seat.  You feel the hopelessness of the men on the tanker as it appears they have no hope to survive. And you feel the pain of the small Coast Guard crew on their small boat as they head towards certain death to do their job of helping others out at sea. This is one forgotten rescue story that will now never be forgotten. 

Video Quality

The 1080p video transfer is solid for a film that mostly takes place in very dark conditions. You get mostly stormy nighttime scenes and low light ship interiors. Solid details on clothing textures, skin, weathered ships and more. Another solid presentation from Disney.

Audio Quality

The 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio is huge! The power of the waves in the storm surround you as the bass pounds you. Inside the ship you hear every rattle, creak, yell as if you were trapped in the ship itself. Another outstanding effort from Disney.

Bonus Material

There are several bonus features and a Disney digital copy is included with purchase. 

  • Against All Odds: The Bernie Webber Story (1080p, 14:10): This is a wonderful feature with the main film crew and some of the residents of Chatham talking about the town history and some of the actual details behind the event, with an emphasis on Bernie Weber's heroics. 
  • Deleted Scenes (1080p): There are two deleted scenes here. A Desperate Idea (2:34) and The Story of How They Met (1:53).
  • Brotherhood (1080p, 1:49): A short feature of how well the cast got along as well as Chris Pine's leadership on the set.
  • Two Crews (1080p, 2:02): Another short feature showing the parallel stories of Weber's crew and the survivors on the tanker.
  • What Is Your Finest Hour? (1080p, 1:02): A real member of the Coast Guard discussing some of the heroics.
  • The Finest Inspiration: The U.S. Coast Guard (1080p, 1:42): A quick look at the modern Coast Guard's missions and abilities.

An exciting, edge of your seat movie on a blu-ray with Disney's high standard for both video as well as audio presentations. The bonus material could have been longer but provide some good value in a blu-ray that I definitely recommend. 

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