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PHOTOGRAPHY

TAE GUK GI: THE BROTHERHOOD OF WAR

DVD Review by David Blackwell

DETAILS: 148 minutes, 6.25 and Up featurette, Creation featurette, War Project, Preparing For Tae Guk Gi, People behind the Camera, Making History (Making Of Featurette, Multi-Angel Storyboard Comparisons, Production Photo Montage, Previews

STUDIO: SPHE/ SHOWBOX

RELEASE DATE: 2-15-1005

ANALYSIS: TAE GUK GI is a fictional look at the events of the Korean War seen through the lives of two brothers who are drafted into the South Korean army to fight the Communist North Korea. The movie has battle scenes that pack the gritty realism seen in SAVING PRIVATE RYAN and BAND OF BROTHERS. From an American POV, I have only seen movies about the American involvement in the Korean War, but this is the first one I have seen to focus on the Koreans fighting the war against the Communist North Koreans.

TAE GUK GI shows the war as a time of harsh conditions. The army was ill supplied with some of the soldiers with no training. Then you have the issue of what happens to the people who have to do things they don't want to do if they want food or forced to join the North Korean army if captured. The two brothers are central to the movie's story as you see how the war was like to the ones who lived through it.

TAE GUK GI is one of the better war movies I have seen in a while for it's look at the conditions during the war and the brutality of war.

VIDEO/AUDIO: TAE GUK GI is shown in 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen. Colors and blacks are great. Image detail is sharp. The transfer is nice.

TAE GUK GI can be heard in the native Korean (with the option of English or French subtitles) or English 5.1 Dolby Digital. Th dialogue can be heard clearly. Sounds effects and music are well represented. The English dub track isn't bad either (even though some of the voice actors sound like I have heard them on some other movie with an English dub track).

SPECIAL FEATURES: Many featurettes on the movie and some Previews appear on disc two. A wealth of info about making TAE GUK GI is provided.

6.25 AND US has Korean War veterans talking about the war with archival footage and photos from the Korean War. Near the end of the featurette, the cast and crew of TAE GUK GI talk about the war. I wish that part wasn't there. I rather learned more about the war beyond the first year of the war that was covered.

CREATION follows the early stages of the project as the director wanted to do an anti-War movie by telling a story set in the Korean War.

WAR PROJECT goes into the difficulties into making TAE GUK GI including a steam train they had to build. People were skeptical about the project due to many recent big budget failures. TAE GUK GI had a final budget of $13.5 million. They had problems coming up with all of the financing and went to start shooting the movie. A 2 1/2 trailer shown at Cannes took care of the financing problem.

PREPARING FOR TAE GUK GI talks about the cast of the movie. Many were cast before the script was written. Many actors from the director's previous movie (SHIRI) wanted to be in TAE GUK GI no matter what the size of the role was.

PEOPLE BEHIND THE CAMERA is a featurette on the various people in the crew. The production designer was a woman who needed rest after work on movies before TAE GUK GI, but the director was able to convince her. Previs work on major scenes helped the production of TAE GUK GI which had a large production team to make sure everything ran smoothly (despite people thinking the team was too big).

MAKING HISTORY is a 45 minute featurette that shows the scenes of the movie being filmed and locations being set up along with interviews with the cast and crew during the production of TAE GUK GI. The featurette is overlong and could have been shorter.

Also among the special features on disc two is a Multi-Angle Storyboard Comparison featurette. You can see how the final scene compares to the original storyboards. Then there is a Photo Montage of stills from the movie and the production itself.

PREVIEWS: TAE GUK GI, SHIRI, STEAMBOY, HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS, WARRIORS OF HEAVEN AND EARTH

FINAL ANALYSIS: TAE GUK GI is highly recommended for fans of war movies and BAND OF BROTHERS. The DVD has some extras to boot if you can put up with English subtitles.

this DVD Review is (c)2-8-2005 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission. Send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com and look for additional content (and site updates) at http://www.livejournal.com/users/enterlinemedia