Jarhead (2005)

Genre(s): Drama / War
Universal || R - 123 minutes - $28.98 || March 7th, 2006
Reviewer: Chris Gonzalez || Posted On: 2006-03-03


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

A U D I O &
.:: V I D E O ::.

Audio and Video

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Sam Mendes
Writer(s): Anthony Swofford (book), William Broyles Jr. (screenplay)
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Peter Sarsgaard, Lucas Black, Jamie Foxx, Chris Cooper


Theatrical Release Date: November 4th, 2005


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Director Commentary
  • Screenwriter & Novelist Commentary
  • Deleted Scenes
  • News Interviews in Full


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (2.35)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

IMAGE

Note: This review is from a watermarked, pre-street screener. All features will be included after the final product has been received.

Last summer Jarhead was one of the film’s I was most looking forward to. With an all-star cast, directed by a man who had already hit two home runs, and a fantastic trailer I thought it was a heavy contender for the Oscar season. What the film actually delivered was something quite different from what everyone expected. Partly satirical, serious, meditative, hip, and intentionally slow all at the same time audiences were confused with what to make of what seemed to be a conventional war flick.

While I can see why some wouldn’t warm up to it, for me Jarhead ranks up there with one of the best war films of the past 10 years. Its themes and character clichés have been seen before, but the relevance it presents with today’s times, interesting and witty dialogue, and impeccable visual style make it stand out from the pack. The cast made up of Jake Gyllenhaal, Peter Sarsgaard, Jaime Foxx and Chris Cooper in a short cameo all do an excellent job of keeping the audiences interest.

The satire is hysterical, the emotional moments are deep and hard hitting, and while it’s not as powerful or moving as it thinks it is, Jarhead is undoubtedly a good movie, even great at times.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Note: Features also include 2 commentary tracks which will be reviewed once a final product is received. Until then, there will not be an official rating for this section.

Deleted scenes - Running a total of 19 minutes the deleted scenes are mainly comprised of scenes already in the film that are either extended or altered in some way or another. A few of them are worth taking a look at, others are completely disposable, but in the end they’re good to see if you’re a fan of the film. The last couple of scenes deleted were especially worthy of being included in the final cut.

4 Swoff’s Fantasy Scenes - These deleted scenes run about 6 minutes and are excellent to have on the disc because I think they’re great and should have been left in the film. They expand on a theme that’s only briefly touched in the final film and seeing these really expand on it and give you more insight into the main character.

Full News Interviews - These are more deleted scenes from the film during the scene where the characters are being interviewed by the news woman. It was a wise decision to keep these lengthy interviews out of the film, keeping on only the best material, but it’s interesting to see if you’re a fan. They give you further character development and a sense of improvisation to the film.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

IMAGE

Picture: Presented in 2:35 anamorphic widescreen the picture quality is good, just not as stand out fantastic as the best transfers out there. The picture is intentionally bleached out and grainy at times, which makes it hard to tell where the disc falters, but it looks nearly as good as I remember it in theaters with some minor faults that are present, but don’t take away at all from the viewing experience. It’s a fine transfer, just not reference quality. The film is beautifully shot and is incredibly bright and that fact that the video was maintained so well is a great achievement.

Sound: The audio on the disc is great. Different from other war films, Jarhead isn’t concentrated on how many gun shots are fired or how big the explosions are. The audio track consists mainly of feelings of never ending vastness, an incredibly intricate score and soundtrack and is presented very well. Dialouge is heard perfectly, the surrounds are very well balanced, and the few times action does appear on screen the sound becomes robust but not alarmingly so. Not the perfect audio mix, but a great one. A film like this could have benefited greatly from a DTS track, but the Dolby Digital 5.1 mix more than delivers.



.::OVERALL::.

It’s a great film, a great video transfer, and great audio, but the extras relied too much on the deleted scenes of the film and not enough about the actual making, which I’m sure would be provided on the 2 disc set. But, if you’re interested solely in the film this is a great presentation and I couldn’t see how anyone could be upset with it.