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DVD Review: JARHEAD

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JARHEAD

DVD Review by David Blackwell

DETAILS: 123 minutes, deleted scnes, audio commentary, and more

STUDIO: Universal

RELEASE DATE: 3-7-2006

JARHEAD is anti-climatic, but maybe that is the point about a war that felt anti-climatic. JARHEAD is based on the book of the smae name written by the real Anthony Swofford (aka Swoff). Swoff (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a Jarhead who becomes a sniper and goes to Saudi Arabia waiting for the word to take Kuwait back from the Iraqis in the early 1990s. The movie is so much about how the Marines spent their time while waiting for the war to start. The war is short when it happens. Peter Saarsgard steals the show as Troy (another Marine), but Jamie Fox comes close to being better in the movie. The other cool character is the drill instructor at the start of the film. JARHEAD isn't your typical military film because it isn't about the war. It is about the Marines as they wait for the war and what they do when it starts.

VIDEO: 2.35:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen)

The transfer is OK. Image detail is good enough and the film looks a little desaturated.

AUDIO: English 5.1, French 5.1, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround

Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish

Dialogue is clear and the other sound elements don't drown them out.

SPECIAL FEATURES: Two audio commentaries were recorded for the film: the first with Director Sam Mendes and the second with screenwriter William Broyles Jr. and Anthony Swofford (the author who wrote the book Jarhead). Sam Mendes talks about production details, improv by the actors, and the story while the writers talk about being in the military and the story.

19 minutes of deleted scenes (with optional commentary by Sam Mendes and Editor Walter Murch) has some interesting scenes which for some reason didn't make it into the final cut of JARHEAD (one scene was badly staged according to the director and another was cut after preview screenings. I wish the gas mask scene was kept in the film). 16 1/2 minutes of Jarhead interviews (uncut), with optional commentary by Sam Mendes and Walter Murch, are of interest to watch, but Swoff's interview uncut is insane. The only thing lacking from the DVD are featurettes on the making of the film and Desert Storm (but the limited 2 disc set has on-set video diaries and a couple of featurettes on Marines (one on Marines as extras in the film and the other on Marines how re-entered civilian life)).

FINAL ANALYSIS: If you expect a military movie like the ones before, JARHEAD might disappoint. If you have been in the military, you might enjoy it. I just thought JARHEAD was anti-climatic.

this review is (c)3-28-2006 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission (except for excerpts and a link to the review). Look for additional content at http://enterlinemedia.livejournal.com and send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com