Stalingrad: 20th Anniversary Edition (UK - BD RB)
Marcus goes technical with the 20th Anniversary release of Stalingrad on BD
In the spring of 1942 German troops advance deep into the Soviet Union, en route to Stallingrad. Hitler, seriously midjudging the tenacity of the Red Army, is convinced that the city can be conqured before winter. Inadequatly clothed and without sufficient food, the Nazi troops literally frezze and starve to death, largely abandoned by their leaders. For the soldiers, Hans (Thomas Kretschmann), Rollo (Jochen Nickel) and GeGe (Sebastian Rudolph) the struggle for life has only just begun.
This natual looking image provides a good level of detail with great textures and and a strong sense of realism. Skin tones are very realistic and all of the wartime greens, greys and browns look authentic in the period setting, especially with the snow covered backgrounds. Edges are nice and sharp and there's a solid bit of depth to some of the early scenes with archways and cobbled grounds, packed with rows of soldiers showing off the films scale.
The image doesn't really show off with light sources and keeps everything dusty, dirty and overcast for effect as opposed to using the glow that brings an HD image to life but small elements such as fire or torch light can sometimes lift the greyer scenes and the odd sliver of red on an army uniform keeps us reminded this presentation has some HD power behind it.
Grain is barely noticeable until we get to the wider, whiter snow scenes and then it plays more of a part giving the image a slightly grittier feel at times but otherwise this is a cold, colourless film that this Blu-ray release enhances in all the ways you'd want, giving a fresher, cleaner look to the film without messing with how the film has always looked.
The stereo track sounds like it wants more power. The bold score feels trapped in its stereo set up with a real sense it wants to be wider and show off a bit. The same goes for some of the more ambient sound effects such as distant explosions or battles, which add a sense of depth but never on the scale a 5.1 track can supply. It's a generally good audio track beyond that, with clear (mostly recorded in post production it seems) dialogue and some solid sound effects such as crunching snow footsteps and clinking artillery. Battles bring more power and layered action but once again provides quite a confined sense of intensity when put up against modern enhancements in the War film genre.
'The Making of Stalingrad with Joseph Vilsmaier'(05:41 SD) is the original EPK and its not really in depth or long enough to support the movie. Sadly nothing new has been added to this anniversary release to bulk the release out a bit.
Stalingrad is another bleak view of an element of the Second World War and it's very human in its approach. The 20th Anniversary release provides a good looking disc (even if the style of the film holds it back from really showing off) with a rather restrained stereo track and no extras. The anniversary for this one is not quite the bells and whistles some may have hoped for.
* Note: The images below are taken from the Blu-ray release and resized for the page. Full-resolution captures are available by clicking individual images, but due to .jpg compression they are not necessarily representative of the quality of the transfer.
Review by Marcus Doidge
Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over
Release Date: 3rd November 2014
Disc Type: Blu-ray Disc
Audio: Dolby Stereo 2.0 German
Extras: Making Of
Easter Egg: No
Director: Joseph Vilsmaier
Cast: Dominique Horwitz, Thomas Kretschmann, Sebastian Rudolph
Genre: Drama and War
Length: 137 minutes
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