Battle of Britain (Blu-ray)

January 28, 2012 4 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

As World War 2 rages on, British forces prepare for an imminent German invasion. If the British cannot repel the Germans from their own shores, the situation will become dire in a short timeframe. The German plan is to send in Luftwaffe pilots ahead of the main attack, to soften the British defenses. These planes are to attack British air bases and take out Royal Air Force pilots, making the German invasion much simpler. The R.A.F. hold steadfast however, taking on wave after wave of Luftwaffe fighters and keeping the British borders intact. But these waves have taken a toll on the R.A.F., putting them in a critical situation, given the losses of both pilots and planes. There is no time to make a new plan however, as German forces prepare for their largest scale attack yet. Can the R.A.F. outlast the Germans for one more assault?

I’m sure we’ve all seen more movies about World War 2 than we could count, but Battle of Britain is one that deserves to be seen, even if you’ve seen a hundred others. In this film, the focus is put on the aerial dogfights and it stays there, so the movie knows what it wants to do, then sticks to that. The positive side to that is some of the coolest aerial dogfights ever captured on film and here, real planes are in use. That adds so much to the tension, knowing the flights are real and not the work of computer graphics programs. On the negative side, the film puts so much focus on the dogfights, the narrative suffers and despite a stellar cast, there just isn’t much depth here. Even so, Battle of Britain entertains because what it does focus on, it does well. This Blu-ray disc has no extras, but looks so good, fans will want to upgrade in an instant.

Video: How does it look?

Battle of Britain is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. I wasn’t sure how good this would look, but MGM has given us a more than solid presentation. This isn’t on the same level as the elite high definition transfers out there, but this is a sizable step up over the standard edition. The image is clean and clear, with much more depth than I anticipated. I found detail to be impressive, with a lot more subtle touches visible. The stock footage isn’t up to par with the rest of the movie of course, but by and large this is a very good visual effort.

Audio: How does it sound?

The lossless DTS HD 5.1 option provides an active, effective soundtrack here. The surrounds come to life when needed and add atmospheric elements. So when the planes soar in the skies, you’ll hear the wind all around you. This enhances the experience more than a little, to be sure. The overall surround use isn’t as expansive as in more recent films of course, but this is a solid remix that helps add life to the soundtrack. The music sounds good also, while dialogue is clear and never muffled. So in the end, a nice update that enhances the film’s experience. This disc also includes the original mono option, a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, a French language track, and subtitles in English, Spanish, Cantonese, and Korean.

Supplements: What are the extras?

This disc includes no bonus materials.

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