Edition - 2002 (2003) - Columbia TriStar
by Todd Doogan of The Digital Bits
Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras):
Specs and Features
Disc One - Black Hawk Down
144 mins, R, letterboxed widescreen (2.35:1), 16x9 enhanced,
single-sided, dual-layered (layer switch at ??), Digipak packaging,
audio commentary with director Ridley Scott and producer Jerry
Bruckheimer, audio commentary with author Mark Bowden and
screenwriter Ken Nolan, audio commentary with Task Force Ranger
veterans, filmographies, animated film themed menu screens with
sound and music, scene access (28 chapters), languages: English,
French & Spanish (DD 5.1), subtitles: English, French, Spanish,
Chinese & Thai, Closed Captioned
Disc Two - Production Supplements
Single-sided, dual-layered, The Essence
of Combat: Making Black Hawk Down documentary (150 mins,
4x3, DD 2.0), 8 deleted and alternate scenes with optional
director's commentary, Designing
Mogadishu featurette (15 mins, 4x3, DD 2.0), production
design archive, storyboards with optional director's commentary, "Ridleygrams"
with optional director's commentary, Jerry Bruckheimer's photo
album, title design explorations with optional commentary, photo
galleries, animated film themed menu screens with sound and music,
languages: English (DD 2.0), subtitles: Spanish, Portuguese and
Three - Historical Supplements
Single-sided, dual-layered, The True
Story of Black Hawk Down History Channel documentary (100
mins, 4x3, DD 2.0), Frontline: Ambush in
Mogadishu documentary (60 mins, 4x3, DD 2.0), mission
timeline, Target Building Insertion
multi-angle sequence with optional director's commentary, Q&A
featurettes with production team members at BAFTA, Motion Picture
Editor's Guild and American Cinematheque, Denez Prigent & Lisa
Gerrard's Gortoz a Ran - J'Attends
music video, theatrical poster concept gallery, theatrical trailers
and TV spots, animated film themed menu screens with sound and
music, languages: English (DD 2.0), subtitles: Spanish and Korean
In October of 1993, CNN gave us all a window seat on one of the
(then) most disturbing moments of recent history. As we sat
transfixed in our homes, the bodies of American military soldiers
were dragged through the streets by an angry group of men, women and
children. Author Mark Bowden saw these events too, and wanted to
know more about what lead up to them. The story he uncovered became
the basis of a bestselling, non-fiction page-turner... and
eventually this film as well.
Black Hawk Down is the story
of the ambush of U.S. military soldiers in Mogadishu. It doesn't try
to point figures, or even turn American soldiers into heroes. It
simply tells the truth (although sometimes with Hollywood flourish)
about the events of October, 1993. It seems that several teams of
soldiers were attempting to capture a militia warlord, who had been
stealing shipments of food aid from the U.N. - food meant to ease
widespread starvation deaths and political unrest in the region. But
through a series of tactical mishaps during the raid, a Black Hawk
helicopter was shot down, leading to an unfortunate change of
mission and a horrifying night of bullets, blood and grief.
Groundbreaking director Ridley Scott joined uber-producer Jerry
Bruckheimer to bring the story of this remarkable day to life on
screen, and it's thrilling to watch. The film moves with break-neck
speed from start to finish. Because it's thankfully not a preachy "America
Rocks" type of film, it doesn't get bogged down with politics.
This is all about a group of men who were doing their jobs... and
ended up fighting for their lives.
This three-disc special edition DVD features a gorgeous anamorphic
widescreen transfer, replete with great color and sharp detail.
Scott is a painter of light and motion, and this is one of his most
beautiful films in a long time. Backing up the video is a Dolby
Digital 5.1 sound field that pulls you right into the film and never
lets go with amazingly active surround sound.
But the extras on this release are what really make it a must own
set. To start, you'll find no less than three full-length audio
commentary tracks on Disc One. The first is with Scott and
Bruckheimer, discussing the film in-depth. Recorded separately, each
talks about what brought them to the film, what they were attempting
by making the film and the effect the filming had on the public,
considering the historical event was still so fresh in people's
minds. The next track features author Mark Bowden and screenwriter
Ken Nolan. They talk about the story like old chums, bringing up the
differences between the script and the reality, and what subtle
changes were necessary in order to convey the story cinematically.
Finally, and perhaps the most interesting of the three, there's a
commentary with several of the original Task Force Ranger veterans
involved in the real events. They dissect the film between fact and
fiction, and share their own stories and memories about the events.
It's really amazing stuff.
On the second disc, which mainly looks at the production of the
film, there's a two and a half hour documentary - The
Essence of Combat: Making Black Hawk Down - covering just
about every aspect of the production of the film you could fathom.
Some of this is more interesting than the film itself. Disc Two also
houses a nice selection of deleted scenes, "Ridleygrams"
(Scott's own hand drawn storyboards) and photo galleries (among
other things). The second disc alone is packed with great material,
and we still have one more disc to go.
The third and final disc tries to bring the true events into
perspective. Two documentaries originally produced for television
appear here. The first is The History Channel's The
True Story of Black Hawk Down, which recreates the events
through background information from Bowden, interviews with the
soldiers and re-enactments. Then, we get the PBS documentary Frontline:
Ambush in Mogadishu, which has a more news story approach
but is just as fascinating. Disc Three also features a text based
Mission Timeline of the events, and a multi-angle sequence showing
you how Scott shot a complicated scene involving the soldiers
dropping from a helicopter. On top of all this, three question and
answer sessions (recorded at various special screenings of the
film), trailers, TV spots, poster concepts and a music video round
out the bonus material on this last disc.
The Black Hawk Down: Deluxe Edition
is, without a doubt, one of the most comprehensive explorations of
the making of a film, and the real life events that inspired it, to
find its way to DVD in a long time. In fact, it's easily the best
DVD release of the year thus far. Any way you categorize it, the
Black Hawk Down: Deluxe Edition
demands the attention of every self-respecting movie fan.