The Finest Hours
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment // PG-13 // $39.99 // May 24, 2016
Review by Neil Lumbard | posted June 7, 2016
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The Finest Hours Blu-ray Review

The Finest Hours is based on a true story. During a 1952 blizzard the coast guard went out on one of their most daring rescue missions in history. It became their most successful in history. This is that incredible story. The film is based upon the book written by Casey Sherman and Michael J. Tougias and is from executive producer Douglas C. Merrifield (the Pirates of the Caribbean film series).

Bernie Webber (Chris Pine) is a young and determined member of the Coast Guard who has spent most of his life around the sea. He has recently started a relationship with the girl of his dreams, Miriam Webber (Holliday Grainger). As their relationship is starting to bloom Webber is sent on a dangerous rescue mission by Daniel Cluff (Eric Bana), a Coast Guard commander.

Webber sets forth with a small crew to try and save an entire crew of individuals who are on a sinking boat in the middle of the ocean during the blizzard. Ray Sybert (Casey Affleck) is the Captain of the sinking ship. Sybert and his crew must do whatever they can to stay afloat and survive the storm. The lives of over 30 men are at stake.

The music score was composed by Carter Burwell (Fargo, Being John Malkovich). The music blends well with the filmmaking and enhances both the action-oriented and dramatic moments throughout the story. The cinematography by Javier Aguirresarobe (The Others, Vicky Christina Barcelona) features lush colors and a beautifully filmic-image which is absorbing.  

The production design by Michael Corenblith (Apollo 13, Saving Mr. Banks) impresses throughout. The design conveys the time-period well and helps the filmmaking excel. The costumes designed by Louise Frogley (Iron Man 3, Quantum of Solace) are fitting for the characters and seem to accurately represent the time-period of the story as well.   

The screenplay written by Scott Silver and Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson (all of whom worked on The Fighter) is one which builds the story around the romance between Bernie and Miriam. This is an important aspect of the story which helps to carry the film. The story also explores the big rescue mission undertaken by Bernie and the fight for survival going on for Ray Sybert's entire crew while out at sea. Both exciting and heartfelt, The Finest Hours excels at telling the true story of the brave individuals involved in this daring rescue.

Directed by Craig Gillespie (Fright Night, Million Dollar Arm), The Finest Hours is a tribute to these heroes. It is also an entertaining film which contains exciting action sequences, strong dramatic moments (particularly between actors Chris Pine and Holliday Grainger), and an effective sense of adventure. The Finest Hours is a worthwhile film which tells an incredible story.

The Blu-ray:


Video:

The Finest Hours arrives on Blu-ray with a technically impressive 1080p MPEG-4 AVC encoded presentation in the original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.40:1 widescreen. The film appears rather stunning in the presentation with excellent color reproduction, depth, and clarity. The image is sharp and beautiful. This is a pleasing and effective presentation.

The one downside this release is that Disney did not release a 3D Blu-ray for the film (despite its theatrical 3D release). Fans of the film who hope to see it in 3D will need to import the 3D Blu-ray edition available from either India or Japan.

Audio:

The audio for The Finest Hours is presented in 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. This is a stunning showcase audio presentation with one of the best audio designs to arrive on Blu-ray this year. The audio impresses constantly with great detail and clarity throughout: from the creaking of the boat, to the howling winds of the blizzard, to a wide range of other impressive sound effects well implemented into the presentation. The film also boasts impressive bass during the action scenes. Audio enthusiasts will not be disappointed. The music score also sounds terrific with this lossless audio presentation. Dialogue clarity is excellent throughout. This is an immersive experience that is fully satisfying.


Extras:

This is a Blu-ray + Digital HD Combo Pack.

This release includes a small selection of supplements. The best extra on the release is Against All Odds: The Bernie Webber Story (HD, 14 min.) which contains interviews with individuals connected to those involved with the rescue mission. There are heartfelt moments (including the kind words of Bernie and Miriam Webber's daughter).

Deleted Scenes (HD, 5 min.): A Desperate Idea and The Story of How They Met. These are two short deleted sequences. The first deleted scene involves Ray Sybert's crew while they try and save  the boat. The second deleted sequence explores how Bernie and Miriam Webber met.

Brotherhood (HD, 2 min.) is a short behind-the-scenes promotional piece featuring Chris Pine discussing the film.

Two Crews (HD, 2 min.) is a brief promo piece featuring interview clips with Chris Pine and Casey Affleck.

What Is Your Finest Hour? (HD, 1 min.) features an account by a member of the US Coast Guard about their own finest hour of heroism in service.

The  Finest Inspiration: The U.S. Coast Guard (HD, 2 min.) is a brief piece about the work done by the U.S. Coast Guard which features additional insights from individuals who are involved with the Coast Guard.

Final Thoughts:

The story of The Finest Hours is incredible. This true-story is one of great heroism. Bernie Webber and the rest of the brave individuals who set-forth on this rescue mission saved over 30 lives. It's an incredible achievement and it still stands as the greatest rescue mission in the history of the Coast Guard.

The Finest Hours is an entertaining and heartfelt achievement with fine performances from the cast. The Blu-ray release by Disney features an excellent presentation. This release is worth a purchase for fans.

Recommended.



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