"Flags of Our Fathers" focuses on three men that took part in raising a flag that inspired a nation when it needed it most. Iwo Jima was a tactically important WWII battle near the end of the war...five marines and a navy corpsman raised the second American flag at the top of the island's mountain, after the first smaller one was taken down. A war photojournalist happened to catch the raising of the flag in one quick photograph, which started a huge chain of events. Back in the states, the photo was instantly recognized for its propaganda and campaign potential. "Flags of Our Fathers" focuses on the three men who remained alive after the picture was published. It's a story of war, love, and the struggle these three men go through in their lives with the weight of our nation on their shoulders.
Within a week of the photograph being taken, three out of the six flag raisers had been killed in action. John (Doc) Bradley (Ryan Phillippe), Rene Gagnon (Jesse Bradford), and Ira Hayes (Adam Beach)are immediately sent back to the states to raise money for the war effort. With the realization that they are home safe while their brothers are still fighting and being killed over on Iwo Jima, they are struggling with some serious guilt and flashbacks. They must attempt to come together and help each other bear the burden the photograph put on their shoulders.
The thing that I love about Clint Eastwood as a director is that he knows his stuff. He is not afraid to go above and beyond, just to show us something that might not be the biggest detail but is an important detail. His attention to every significant fact, no matter how small, is fantastic and the accuracy of the war is absolutely moving. Clint Eastwood creates an intense and compelling drama that motivates, informs, and draws us in for more.
My favorite part about "Flags of Our Fathers" is the absolute accuracy of the film. As my wife and I were watching we had Wikipedia.com pulled up and were reading the story of Iwo Jima and the flag raisers. This was by far the best way to watch the film since we could really understand each detail and event. After reading about Iwo Jima we were able to see exactly what was described on the page happen during "Flags of Our Fathers." It was interesting to begin to understand the intricacies of the events as well. For instance, the fact that there were two flag raisings could get confusing, because only the second became of any importance. And because the photograph didn't show the faces of the flag raisers, the identities of the individuals became an issue when one was misidentified. The film goes over everything with amazing precision and is definitely more compelling than those school history lessons.
"Flags of Our Fathers" gets a royal treatment with this BD release. Presented with a AVC MPEG-4 Codec, everything about this video transfer is fantastic. From the beginning we are given a de-saturated feel that puts us in the history mood if you will. The film feels old but that doesn't mean it isn't pretty. The detail is outstanding. With each and every explosion I felt as if I could reach out and actually feel the heat. The blacks were spot on; the colors were not "popping" because of the de-saturated feel, but they still fit perfectly with the look of what "Flags of Our Fathers" was supposed to have. Everything about the video transfer is perfect, with one of the best transfers I have seen yet!
The only complaint, and this is a small one, is there were a couple scenes that had too much contrast and detail was lost momentarily. These instances were mainly in darker scenes and only lasted for a very brief moment. That being said, there is no way that I can drop down a notch from perfect video for "Flags of Our Fathers."
Here we get a 5.1 Dolby Digital track. I still don't understand why we are not given a 5.1 Uncompressed PCM track but the Dolby Digital will have to do. The audio is definitely not as impressive as the video is, but it still does a good job bringing us into the action. The surrounds are fantastic with bullets and explosions raging around the speakers, even causing us at home to feel as if we are lost in the middle this nasty battle. The dialogue is very good and even, sometimes getting lost in the action but almost in a good way. This causes us to pay more attention...after all, if we were actually there in the battle I think we might have trouble hearing as well.
I just wish we could have heard an uncompressed track. I think it would have given the extra oomph that "Flags of Our Fathers" needed. The overall action seems to be a little quiet, and makes us turn up the volume a good amount. Also, the explosions seem a little weak...but this is just me being excessively critical. Overall, a very nice audio track.
This is a 2-Disc edition of "Flags of Our Fathers" and all of the special features rest on the second disc.
Into By Clint Eastwood: Here is a fantastic, but quick, introduction to "Flags of Our Fathers." Clint Eastwood is passionate about this film and in his introduction is able to explain to us the history and emotions behind this incredible film.
Words on the Page: This is a translation of the book to the film as we learn more about the history of the flag raisers.
Six Brave Men: Here we actually learn about the six men who rose the flag. We learn who they were and more details about their lives.
Making of an Epic: This is a really nice making of that brings us through the entire process of creating "Flags of Our Fathers."
Raising the Flag: A quick glimpse of this one real moment in history.
Visual Effects: The Look & the Feel: Here we learn how they created the look and the feel of "Flags of Our Fathers" using visual effects.
Looking into the Past: This is nice to see some actual footage from the war. Also a very mournful reminder that this is not a movie created solely for entertainment value, but this is a film that depicts a very real war that happened and real lives that were changed in dramatic ways forever.
"Flags of Our Fathers" will go down in history as being one of the greatest war movies created in our time. It easily compares to films like "Saving Private Ryan" and "Braveheart." "Flags of Our Fathers" is a must see...yes, it can be hard to watch at times and it can take you on an emotional rollercoaster, but the film itself is brilliant. Clint Eastwood put his heart and soul into the film and you can really tell. The audio and video are very nice...especially the video as it makes it into my personal top ten list for video quality. The extras are good and very heartfelt. I can easily recommend this to anyone and is by far one of the greatest films in recent history. This makes it easy to give this a DVD Talk Collector Series Review!