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Tora! Tora! Tora! Blu-ray Book Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, English Dolby Digital 4.0, French, Portuguese, and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Subtitles: English SDH, Cantonese, Mandarin,French, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish, Thai
  • Region: A (Region-Locked)
  • Rating: G
  • Run Time: 145 Mins
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
  • Blu-ray Release Date: December 6, 2011
  • List Price: $34.98

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BestBuy.com:
Tora! Tora! Tora! - Widescreen Dubbed Subtitle AC3

Purchase Tora! Tora! Tora! on Blu-ray Book at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3.5/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG  thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:4/5]

Tora! Tora! Tora! came in at a budget of ~$25 million dollars making it one of the most expensive films ever made at the time, which wasn’t good for 20th Century Fox, which was already teetering on the brink of bankruptcy. Although the film initially arrived in 1970 to lukewarm critical and commercial reception, it was enough to stave off the studio’s demise.

The massive undertaking was meant as a continuation of The Longest Day (1962), another successful war film. But anxiety was high that American audiences would not be as receptive to a film about an American defeat as they were about an American victory. Production moved ahead anyway, and the innovative idea of collaborating with the Japanese filmmakers and military to help make as accurate a document on film about the Pearl Harbor attack as possible has, in hindsight, proven to be a wise one. Japanese directors Kinji Fukasaku and Toshio Masuda directed the Japanese sequences with the former Imperial Navy Commander Minaru Genada acting as technical advisor. Genada was the officer responsible for planning the attack on Pearl Harbor. The end result was a film in Tora! Tora! Tora! told from both American and Japanese perspectives that almost feels like a documentary and, despite knowing the inevitable conclusion, it draws you in to the story.

The first half is a tense build up of the conflict, switching back and forth between the Japanese and American military and political leaders and showing the American blunders that would ultimately lead to the Japanese’s ability to carry off the surprise attack. After an intermission,the second half begins with the launch of the attack and finally, the bombing, which is a spectacular display of visual effects that earned Tora! An Academy Award.

Video Quality

[Rating:4/5]

Tora! Tora! Tora! in this Blu-ray book edition from Fox comes with an AVC/MPEG-4 1080p/24 encodement that looks miraculously good given the age of the film. Grain levels are rather subdued, but it remains a constant with a fine structure imparting a good, film-like quality. Detail is strong and flesh tones are natural. There’s good contrast and brightness without any clipping of white levels and darks are deep, but there are issues with crush. I saw no evidence of compression artifacts during the active second half of the film.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4/5]

Tora!‘s soundtrack has been spruced up nicely with both a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix and a lossy Dolby Digital 4.0 option. French, Portuguese, and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 dubs are also available.

Both English tracks offer pretty a pretty good spread of sound across the front with a bit of ambience in the surrounds to help it sound a bit more expansive. The DTS-HD Master Audio mix has less edgy, more natural sounding high frequencies and a bit of a fuller sound to it, but only slight. Either way, the mixes don’t really come alive until the second half of the film when the attack on Pearl Harbor commences.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:3.5/5]

The release provides both the theatrical version and an extended Japanese version on the disc. The extensive extras, including the deluxe Blu-ray Book, offer a treasure trove of historical information on the attack with plenty of interviews with veterans to bolster credibility. The Fox Movietonenews reels are particularly appreciated here as they offer a glimpse into the past.

The supplements provided with this release are:

  • Commentary by director Richard Fleischer and Japanese film historian Stuart Galbraith IV (Theatrical Version only)
  • Documentary: Day of Infamy (1.33:1; 480i/60; 00:20:02)
  • History vs. Hollywood – Tora! Tora! Tora!: A Giant Awakes (1.33:1; 480i/60; 01:30:16) – Burt Reynolds narrates this look into the historical accuracy (or lack thereof) of Tora! Tora! Tora!, which features commentary from veterans and filmmakers alike.
  • AMC Backstory: Tora! Tora! Tora! (1.33:1l 480i/60; 00:22:06) – The cable network AMC’s segment on the undertaking of Tora! Tora! Tora!
  • Behind the Scenes Gallery (1080p/24)
  • Production Gallery (1080p/24)
  • Fox Movietonenews:
    • The 1st Pictures of the Attack
    • Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941 “Now it Can Be Shown”
    • A Year of War Since Pearl Harbor”
    • War with Japan
    • U.S. Declares War on Japan
    • 1st Pictures of Attack on Japan Islands
    • Japanese Cities Were Bombed by U.S. Army Planes
    • President Honors “Jimmy” Doolittle for Raid on Japan
    • War Reports of the United Nations
    • Doolittle’s Raiders, Who Bombed Tokyo, Mark Anniversary
  • Theatrical Trailer (1.33:1)

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

Over the years, Tora! Tora! Tora! Has grown in respect and popularity becoming one of the must see World War II movies for anyone interested in the era or this fateful day “that will live in infamy.” Fox has done the film great justice with a superb transfer and excellent Blu-ray Book Package.

Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product]B005OOSPZO[/amazon-product]

BestBuy.com:
Tora! Tora! Tora! - Widescreen Dubbed Subtitle AC3

Purchase Tora! Tora! Tora! on Blu-ray Book at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3.5/5]

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