Pirate Radio (2009) [Blu-ray]

Genre(s): Comedy / Drama / Music / Romance
Universal || R - 116 minutes - $36.98 || April 13, 2010
Reviewer: Brad Lowenberg || Posted On: 2010-04-22

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

.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.

.:: A U D I O ::.

B L U - R A Y

Blu-ray Exclusives

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Director: Richard Curtis
Writer(s): Richard Curtis (written by)
Cast: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Bill Nighy, Nick Frost, Kenneth Branagh

Theatrical Release Date: November 13, 2009

Supplemental Material:
  • Feature Commentary
  • Featurettes
  • Deleted Scenes
  • BD-Live

Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (2.35)
  • English (DTS-HD MA 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

I briefly remember seeing ads for Pirate Radio (aka The Boat that Rocked in the UK) and it really didn't seem like it would be that funny. Sure it has Nick Frost in it who was great in Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, but it just didn't seem like a movie that would connect well with US Audiences - and I was right. It's very short run put it at only $8 Million at the box office (where it was quickly pulled) so it's a bit surprising to see Universal even decided to release this one on Blu-ray. But maybe it'll find an audience on home video... maybe.

Synopsis (From IMDb): Pirate Radio follows a band of hilarious rogue DJ's who boldly defied the British Government by playing the music that defined a generation In the 1960s this group of rogue DJs, on a boat in the middle of the Northern Atlantic, played rock records and broke the law all for the love of music. The songs they played united and defined an entire generation and drove the British government crazy.

By playing Rock n Roll they were standing up against the British government who did everything in their power to shut them down. The band of rebels is lead by The Count, played by the Academy Award Winning Philip Seymour Hoffman, Quentin the boss of Radio Rock, Gavin the greatest DJ in Britain, Midnight Mark, Doctor Dave and Young Carl who comes of age amidst the chaos of sex, drugs and rock n roll. The film includes artists such as The Who, The Kinks, Jimi Hendrix, David Bowie, Cat Stevens and The Rolling Stones.

Somebody please wake me up! I typically enjoy British TV ("The Office", "Being Human", "Life on Mars") but gees...this movie was just brutal in the comedy department. Even though the film was apparently trimmed of nearly 20 minutes for the US audience (thank god), I was far too often checking the remaining time to see when this turd would finally end. Film-wise you have a plot that is very stream-lined (why the British Government cared so much about stopping this music is beyond me - how much tax dollars were spent?), but the comedy just isn't there. These guys just spin records, talk obscure music factoids, sleep with each other's woman, and run around Benny Hill-like.

The best thing the film has going for it is the amazing soundtrack. As mentioned in the Synopsis, there is a pretty good selection of tracks from some amazing artists (who are on heavy rotation on this young reviewer's iPod), and they are very well laid out in regards to when they are being played. One of the last tracks in film is Cat Stevens "Father & Son", and wow...just a beautiful song to play at such a perfect moment.


Commentary with Writer/Director Richard Curtis, Producer Hilary Bevan Jones and Actors Nick Frost and Chris O'Dowd

Deleted Scenes (70 minutes) - Gees. It's like an entire movie was cut from the film. This offers up 16 or so deleted/alternate/extended scenes. Some decent gags (The Beatles), but most of this can be skipped. 3 of these are ** Blu-ray Exclusive **

Featurettes: (HD, 20 Minutes) (All ** Blu-ray Exclusive **)
* Tuning In - Richard Curtis and cast members discuss the enormous influence pirate radio had in the UK during the 1960's.
* 7" of Heaven - Cast members discuss the life-changing effects of the music in the 1960's.
* All at Sea - A short discussion on the fun of filming the movie at sea.
* Getting Ship Shape - Nick Frost and Chris O'Dowd discuss re-creating the Radio Rock boar as a set on dry land (with a short tour of the ship).
* Marks Love Den - Tom Wisdom (who plays Mark) shows us around his 'love' cabin.
* Hitting the Decks - Cast members discuss how fun it was to learn to be a DJ in the 1960's.

As usual, a BD-Live Portal has also been included along with My Scenes and Pocket Blu.


Pirate Radio is presented in 2.35:1 (VC1) on a 50GB Disc. Even though the film is a drab, the film looks pretty sharp. Colors are rich and vivid and the smallest of details on the ship are brought to light.

Universal has included an lossless 5.1 DTS MA Track for this release. Given how heavily this film leans on music from the 1960's, I was very pleased to hear how well Universal has treated this release. There are some freakin'' amazing tracks being spun in this film, including a Cat Steven's favorite of mine towards the end. Dialog can sound a bit low at times when the soundtrack is being played, but overall I'm pleased.


If you're a fan of British humor you might enjoy this film, but otherwise I'd say just skip it. It only managed to get a few small chuckles out of me, and a few days later I could barely remember what was going on in the film and who plays who. The Picture and Audio are pretty typical of Universal lately, and some decent Special Features, but sadly the film brings the whole thing down.