1941, Germany was loosing its foothold in the North Atlantic.
The elite U-boats of the German Navy were given the task of destroying the
convoys of Allied ships crossing the ocean. U-96 had shipped out La Rochelle,
France and was awaiting orders. The relatively young crew under the command
of Captain Henrich Lehmann (Prochnow) were aching to get amongst the action
but when their chance came they would be thrown into a war they could have
One of the greatest war movies ever made is released as the
director intended and at over four and a half hours long, you can now experience
the full version of Das Boot.
Wolfgang Petersen's masterpiece was already the best submarine
film ever released but you have to remember that this is also one of the
most authentic and accurate representations of the Second World War ever
put to film and it was from the point of view of the Germans. Gone are the
faceless Nazi's that are just fodder for the American or British hero's
gun. In their place we have a more realist view of submariners doing their
duty and fighting for their survival. It doesn't matter that they are German
as you feel the pain, fear and anguish of every single member of the crew.
This is the movie that set a new standard for the war epics back in 1981
and it would issue in a new era of realism, which would bring us films like
Full Mental Jacket, Saving Private Ryan, Platoon and The Thin Red Line.
What makes you invest so much of your time in the film is
the fantastically realised characters. From the hardened, war-weary commanding
officer to the sex obsessed, can't wait to get back to base submariner,
the U-boat is filled with real people in an extraordinary situation. First
they are dogged by endless hours of loneliness and depression as they wait
in the Atlantic for word of their mission, then battered by a storm for
almost two weeks and then they face the terror of combat as they engage
The performances are first rate. Jürgen Prochnow is amazing
as the captain of the U-boat. Disillusioned with the way the war is going,
as he see his commanders make mistake after mistake, he is like many German
officers towards the end of the war because he can see and chance of victory
disappearing. Prochnow brings the character to life and he gives you someone
who you can really emphasise with as he battles to safe guard his crew from
the relentless British attacks. Herbert Grönemeyer is also exceptional as
Lt. Werner, a correspondent for the German Navy who has been charged to
document the entire mission. He soon realises that there is more at stake
than just propaganda, as he becomes part of the crew when they face insurmountable
odds. Bernd Tauber is also good as Kriechbaum and Uwe Ochsenknecht as Chief
Bosun. It fact every performance is first rate and extremely believeable.
Das Boot is not just a classic war movie, it is probably one
of the best ever made. It set new standards for the genre and showed that
there are two sides to a war. The enemy is not just a faceless person to
be hated but also a human being with feelings, a family and a life of their
own. Wolfgang Petersen might have gone all Hollywood with his films following
this but this is the movie that made his name and the one that he will be
remembered for. Not many people will have a legacy like that.
PICTURE & SOUND
Presented in Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1 with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround
sound, this digitally remastered transfer is superb. Cutting together
the six part into one feature length uncut version works very well. Spread
across two discs, you can watch the film in the original German or with
an English dub, both of which are in Dolby Digital 5.1. The picture quality
is very good, even though some of the exterior shots are slightly grainy,
but this is more to do with the rear projection special effects used at
the time that the print itself. The sound quality is also very good but
I would recommend watching it in the original German, as it does sound
a lot better and more authentic.
Behind the scenes of the original Director's Cut (6.04 mins)
A very short featurette that looks into the original re-mastering of film
for the director's cut. It has short interviews with Wolfgang Petersen
and actor Jürgen Prochnow as well as behind the scenes footage from shoot.
Watch trailers for Das Boot: The Director's Cut, In the Line of Fire,
Black Hawk Down and The Bridge on the River Kwai.
While the extras might be not worth bothering with, anyone who loves
the movie will adore this DVD. Columbia/Tristar have done an amazing job
with the transfer giving you the chance to watch Wolfgang Petersen's complete
version of Das Boot. This is a must own for all fans and war movie aficionados.
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