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Warner Bros. Home Video presents

The Perfect Storm (2000)

Bobby: "So what are you so happy about?"
Billy Tyne: "You just caught me on a good night. I'm doing what I was made to do—and I've got a feeling I'm going to do it even better this time."- Bobby Shatford (Mark Wahlberg) and Billy Tyne (George Clooney)

Stars: George Clooney, Mark wahlberg
Other Stars: Diane Lane, John C. Reilly, William Fichtner, Karen Allen, Allen Payne, Bob Gunton, and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio
Director: Wolfgang Peterson

Manufacturer: WAMO
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for language and scenes of peril
Run Time: 02h:09m:42s
Release Date: 2000-11-14
Genre: action

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
A- B+AA B+


DVD Review

I was all of 14 years old when the events that are depicted in The Perfect Storm took place. I vaguely remember numerous news outlets claiming the late October event was "The Storm of The Century," and that there had never been another like it. Meteorologists called it "The Perfect Storm," the extremely unusual occurrence when three different fronts collided to form one huge storm. Little was known about the storm, until journalist Sebastian Junger published his novel in 1997. While many thought Junger's book to be unfilmable (myself included), director Wolfgang Peterson proves many doubters wrong with this taut and enthralling film.

Focusing on the six-man crew of the fishing boat The Andrea Gail, the film follows crewmen Bobby Shatford (Wahlberg), Dale Murphy (Reilly), David Sullivan (Fichtner), Bugsy Moran (Hawkes), Alfred Pierre (Payne), and Captain, Billy Tyne (Clooney). At the start of the film the Andrea Gail returns home with a light load of fish. The trip earns Tyne so little money that he decides to take to the sea one more time this season. The members of his crew complain, but each agrees because they need the paycheck. While the trip to the Flemish Cap yields a large amount of fish, behind them bad weather is brewing that is blocking their return home. When the icemaker fails they are faced with losing $250,000 worth of fish (and their cut from it), so the crew decides to risk heading into the storm. The only alternative is to go around the storm, but this means losing the fish and the payday.

The worst thing about making a disaster movie based on actual events is the problem that many viewers already knowing the outcome. And even though I knew the fate of the Andrea Gail going into the movie, it is to Peterson's credit that he creates such a nail biting sense of adventure I found myself on the edge of my seat throughout the film.To say that the scenes showing the Andrea Gail's peril in the midst of the storm are intense is a vast understatement. Peterson does a good job of building the tension more and more as the film comes to a close. The special effects are top notch with only a few moments of obvious CGI tampering. Director of Photography, John Seal, shoots the film with an intentionally grayish tone and the shots inside the boat during the storm are lighted so well that it feels as though you are in the boat with the crew. Watch this in a darkened room for full effect.

George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg, together again after Three Kings, share top billing as the main characters in the film. Clooney does a good job as Tyne, showing that he is a true movie star. Wahlberg is also good as Shatford, and his scenes with Clooney and Diane Lane are some of the best in the film. Diane Lane plays Shatford's love interest, Christina, and gives her best performance in years. Supporting actors John C. Reilly and an unrecognizable William Fichtner do well in smaller roles. Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio and Michael Ironside show up in a few key moments in the film and are fine in their time on screen. Karen Allen, Bob Gunton, and Christopher McDonald all do well in small, supporting roles.

Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: B+


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio2.35:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: I am going to be blunt and say out right that the 2.35:1 anamorphic transfer for The Perfect Storm is the best I have ever seen. Sharpness and detail are first rate, especially in the scenes during the storm. Black levels are strong throughout with very little grain. I did notice one moment of pixelization during the coast guard rescue scene. Colors are vibrant and clear when shown. With the film having an intentionally gray, dirty look there aren't very many moments where colors show up, but the yellow raincoat Wahlberg wears during the storm looks fantastic. As I said earlier, Warner Brothers has outdone themselves with this transfer.

Image Transfer Grade: A

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital
English and Frenchno

Audio Transfer Review: For about 45 minutes the Dolby Digital 5.1 EX audio track is uneventful. Dialogue and music come across clearly and the ambiance of the bar surrounds the viewer, creating a nice atmosphere. But when the first wave comes crashing through your home theater room this mix gets interesting. With each wave the bass gets louder and the surrounds get more active. From waves that wrap around the room to the sounds of a sailboat flapping its sail this mix constantly pleases. As a side note this is the first Dolby Digital EX mix that I have had the chance to listen to, and I must say that having an EX decoder is well worth the money. A Dolby Digital 5.1 French mix is also offered.

Audio Transfer Grade:

Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 39 cues and remote access
Cast and Crew Filmographies
1 Original Trailer(s)
1 Documentaries
2 Featurette(s)
3 Feature/Episode commentaries by Director Wolfgang Peterson
Visual Effects supervisors Helen Elswit and Stefen Fangmeier
Author Sebastian Junger
Packaging: Snapper
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: RSDL
Layers Switch: 01h:10m:49s

Extra Extras:
  1. Yours Forever photo montage
  2. Conceptual Art gallery with commentary by director Wolfgang Peterson
Extras Review: To start off this special edition DVD there are three very interesting commentary tracks. Director Wolfgang Peterson provides the first track on the disc, and it is not done in typical commentary style. Much like his track for his 1997 blockbuster Air Force One it is performed interview style. I like this format better than the traditional format simply because it seems to flow better. There are very few pauses due to the fact that the interviewer never lets the track stop.

The second track is by visual effect supervisors Helen Elswit and Stefen Fangmeier, and is more technical in its nature than the Peterson track. I enjoy tracks with effects supervisors for the simple reason that I love finding little pieces of the background in a scene that are CGI. This track points out quite a few of those instances and also shows the hard work that went in to making the tidal waves in the film. This is a very good track.

My favorite track includes author Sebastian Junger describing his thoughts on the film. This is a track that is most definitely worth a listen. Junger goes into great detail on his research for the novel and how he found out so much about the lives of fisherman. There are a few moments where Junger lapses into silence, but for an over all view of the true events this is a great track.

The documentary titled HBO First Look: Creating The Perfect Storm is among the more interesting HBO docs I have seen recently. With interviews with cast and crew as well as locals in Gloucester, MA this is an informative 30-minute behind the scenes look.

Creating and Emotion shows composer Hans Zimmer writing the score for the film, and features interviews with Zimmer and Peterson. It is a fairly short piece but it is still worth a look.

Witnesses to the Storm is also a featurette that is worth a look. Featuring interviews with residents who lived in Gloucester at the time of the storm, this is a nice piece, but I would have rather seen the The Learning Channel special about the storm on the disc instead.

Conceptual art with commentary by Wolfgang Peterson and storyboards round out the pre-production aspects of the extra features. A nice feature on the storyboards is that they advance without the viewer having to do it.

The films theatrical teaser is available in Dolby 2.0 sound. While the back of the case advertises the trailer, it is only the teaser. A photomontage featuring the song Yours Forever as well as a soundtrack promo round out the extras.

Extras Grade: B+

Final Comments

The Perfect Storm is a good movie, in fact next to Gladiator it is my favorite from this past summer. It is worth a rental at the least, and for those who have seen the film and like it, the extra features make this all the better. Recommended.

Kevin Clemons 2000-11-15