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"U-571" on DVD

Torpedoing Careers?

by Johnny Bray

Generally, war films are great. They’re exciting, suspenseful, action-packed, and very well made. Not to mention historically accurate.

U-571 is a pale comparison to most war movies. It’s even a pale comparison to most submarine movies. But it was still not a bad flick.

The movie is about a U.S. submarine sent on a mission to retrieve a code encryption device from a Nazi U-Boat. Once they get aboard the German craft, they nab the device. But their own sub explodes before they can get back to it.

Sucks to be them.

So there they are, in the middle of nowhere on a foreign vessel. Everything’s written in German, but no one speaks German. Oh wait, one guy does. So I don’t understand why everyone was so upset that everything was German. Hello, it’s a German sub, what do you expect. I don’t think the Nazis would have everything written in Australian ("thingamadoo "– Australian for "Torpedo tube, mate").

Unfortunately, once they’re on the U-Boat, it becomes exactly what you’d expect. A bunch of guys on a sub, and they get attacked.

A great portion of the movie (spread out into several scenes) is nothing more than the crew waiting for depth charges to explode. It’s okay for a while, but it does get very boring after the first few times. And I don’t get why they have to be so quiet. Are the depth charges not going to find them that way? Maybe they should cover their eyes so they won’t be seen either.

And of course, what boat movie would be complete without the entire vessel getting flooded. Seen it, seen it, and saw it.

Starring Matthew McConaughey as Lt. Tyler and Bill Paxton as Lt. Commander Dahlgren, U-571, even through it’s a clichéd and repetitive plot, is not a bad flick. It’s entertaining, which I think is the main purpose behind any movie (with the exception of anything involving Pauly Shore).

It co-stars Jon Bon Jovi (does anyone else have trouble seeing him as an actor??), Harvey Keitel, Jake Weber and David Keith.

One thing that bugged me was the historical inaccuracy. The Americans tend to see themselves as kings of the world, and here they prove that. They dub themselves the heroes for finding the device, when in fact it was the British who actually did it. Not only that, but at the time this movie is set, the British already had one.

Anyway, I think I’ve done enough rambling for one day. U-571 is a decent, entertaining movie that many people would enjoy. However, if you’re really into the whole submarine thing, I suggest Crimson Tide or Das Boot. Great movies. Not just decent. But that’s just my opinion.

The Collector's Edition DVD is in widescreen, with Dolby Digital and DTS audio, and the quality of all is very good. As with most Collector's Editions, there are plenty of extras, including "Spotlight on Location," a director's commentary, behind the scenes stuff, submarine background information and historical data, the trailer, DVD ROM features, and liner notes.

U-571, from Universal Home Video
117 minutes, Widescreen (2.35:1), Dolby Digital 5.1/DTS audio
Starring Matthew McConaghey, BIll Paxton, Harvey Keitel, Jon Bon Jovi, Jake Weber, David Keith
Produced by Dino de Laurentiis, Martha de Laurentiis
Written by Jonathan Mostow and Sam Montegomery and David Ayer, Directed by Jonathan Mostow


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Updated May 13, 2006