Touchstone plan no less than three different "Pearl Harbor" DVD releases for the US market. Now whether you'll want the three-disc 'Vista Series' Region 1 monster that they plan for release in January is up to you. This review covers the two-disc set for Region 2 and 4, released 3rd December 2001, and will probably provide most people with their DVD fix.
Disc one contains the movie and whatever your feelings on the plot, there's no denying that this is a film that's big on spectacle. There's a hazy romantic glow to it that's transferred with enough care to make sure that it doesn't just become soft and blurry.
Unlike the Region 1 release, there's no DTS track. The 5.1 Dolby Digital mix we get is hardly a shabby option though. There's plenty of effects steering between the speakers during the Japanese attack, but there are key devices employed here that make this a particularly sophisticated soundstage. Rather than just using the subwoofer for explosive effects, it's used to underpin and enhance plane swoops so that they really seem to be tearing through the room with a perceptible motion rumble ripping through the floor.
Disc two is not the loaded effort you might expect. It really strips down to a documentary, a featurette, music video, and a trailer. You know what? It's quite enough, and the main 48-minute documentary nicely sews-up the making of the film.
There are the usual cheese-coated comments from the cast and crew to kick-off proceedings. Once past those we get into the far more interesting territory of interviews with the veterans with footage from the film spliced in that for them reflects the reality of the experience for them. These scenes are then later broken down in behind-the-scenes special effects footage and technical staff interviews.
As two-disc releases go for blockbusters, this is a restrained effort that's refreshingly free of boring extras that claim to be special but aren't. Of course if it just makes you hungry for more, you know what to do.
Region: 2 and 4
Ratio: 2.35:1 (anamorphic)
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1
Extra Features: Disc One:
- Scene selection
- THX Optimizer
- Animated menus, multiple languages and subtitles, and English for the hearing impaired.
- 'Making of' documentary
- 'The Japanese Perspective' featurette
- Faith Hill music video and trailer
Check out our interviews with the cast and crew: