As avid admirers of the film The Finest Hours (see our review here: http://scenecreek.com/reviews/review-the-finest-hours/ ), we were excited when it was released recently on Blu-Ray/Digital HD so we could share the little seen, hidden gem with our family and friends. Therefore it is with great disappointment that we report back on our experience with the blu-ray/digital HD.
Let’s start with the positive news. The gripping portrayal of the most daring small-boat rescue in U.S. Coast Guard history is just as enthralling on the small screen, thanks to the top notch 1080p high definition widescreen picture quality and 7.1 DTS-HDMA sound. Once you’ve watched the extraordinary film, we highly recommend you view the special feature titled Against All Odds: The Bernie Webber Story. The true story of the humble yet heroic Bernie Webber (portrayed in the film by Chris Pine) is retold by elderly residents of Chatham (where Bernie and his fellow Coast Guards resided and were stationed from), producers of the film, and Webber’s daughter Patricia. The exceptional intercutting of the varied dramatic interviews draws you right back into the story and the fourteen minute length of the narrative is over before you know it.
Now for the bad news. Not only are the other special features incredibly short in length (each one registers under three minutes), at least two of them (Two Crews and Brotherhood) show clips for the theatrical release of The Finest Hours. Why would viewers of the blu-ray need to know when the film was released theatrically? (Let alone see clips from the film they already have in their possession) To make matters worse, in those same features members of the cast give basic plot synopses and offer no further insight to the making of the film or their characters (unless you count banal soundbites such as “We come to work and we build things together”). One would have hoped that more than one real-life Coast Guard would have been asked What is your finest hour? in that particular feature, and yet only one is interviewed. To find out two other Coast Guards’ answers, you have to click on The Finest Inspiration, which is nonsensical to say the least. A commentary track by a U.S. Coast Guard would have been a fascinating addition but alas, there is no commentary option by anyone on the disc.
Thankfully, The Finest Hours film itself as well as the Against All Odds special feature make this Blu-Ray/digital HD well worth adding to your home entertainment collection.