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Customer Review

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars RED BARON ON BLU-RAY, 9 Nov. 2012
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This review is from: The Red Baron [Blu-ray] [2008] (Blu-ray)
Having read Manfred Von Richtoffens' autobiography, which was published in 1917, I think the films director, Nikolai Mullerschon, and the young actor who plays the Baron, Matthias Schweiger, have done a pretty good job at nailing his character. With just the correct amount of egotistical disdain for the German hierarchy, the titular Red Baron comes across as an arrogant but surprisingly sympathetic youth beloved of his airmen and revered by friend and foe alike. At the age of just 25 this young knight of the air was offered command of the entire German air force and turned it down in favour of flying; a decision of course that lead to his untimely death soon after. Interwoven throughout the story of the air-ace is the often confrontational relationship with his younger, hot-headed brother, Lothar, who Richthoffen describes in his autobiography as a butcher, and the possibly factual love story between the Baron and his Belgian nurse, Kate Ottersdorf, following a head injury Richtfoffen incurred during combat. Neither story-line is in my mind intrusive, actually allowing the viewer necessary breathing space between the aerial combat sequences. The dog-fight scenes are particularly well handled, and using a combination of full-scale replicas and green-screen CGI techniques, appear far more authentic than those of the more recently released, World War Two action saga from Lucasfilm, 'Red Tails' (see my Blu-ray review of that film). Though featuring bi-planes the dog-fights in Red Baron are far more stately in execution than those in Red Tails, they are, none the less, breathtaking, and one is left wanting more.
With an aspect ratio of 2.39:1, the film fares well on Blu-ray. It is not the crispest transfer I've seen and in some scenes offers little qualitative superiority over the DVD. Colour saturation is good, however, and blacks are deep though lacking in detail. Outdoor scenes are particularly bright and crisp; the exterior CGI shot of Berlin being exceptionally detailed and well done. As already hinted at, it is the aerial sequences that really stand-out in this film and they fare exceptionally well under high definition scrutiny; the action looking realistic and not overly stylised and the assortment of aircraft appearing wholly authentic. The extras - including 'making of' documentaries, out-takes and deleted scenes amongst others, are interesting and worth a watch, though are not in HD.
Over-all I feel the Red baron on Blu-ray is a good buy, especially for the price at which it is available these days. It will definitely appeal to aviation enthusiasts and contains enough factual content for those interested in learning a bit about the man who became a legend. It is also a fine example of how an aerial-action war film can be made with subtlety, using an intelligent script without recourse to clichéd platitudes and stereotypical nationalism. Hollywood film-makers take note!
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 29 Mar 2014, 09:56:59 GMT
I purchased this in London and it played perfectly the first time, but since my Phillps blu ray play just comes up " unknown disc" and it will not play. Yet it will even play none blu ray ntsc discs. Have you had any trouble?

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Mar 2014, 12:30:29 GMT
J. Blakemore says:
No problems at all and I have watched it on numerous occasions. I have had no problems with any disc on my Panasonic SA-BTT262 and if you are ever in the market for a new player I would highly recommend Panasonic.
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