The Superbit titles utilize a special high bit rate digital encoding process which optimizes video quality while offering a choice of both DTS and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. These titles have been produced by a team of Sony ... more »Pictures Digital Studios video, sound and mastering engineers and comes housed in a special package complete with a 4 page booklet that contains technical information on the Superbit process. By reallocating space on the disc normally used for value-added content, Superbit DVDs can be encoded at double their normal bit rate while maintaining full compatibility with the DVD video format.« less
"This review will attempt to assist those who already own the Director's Cut (or Superbit version), but who are thinking about also buying the newer "Original Uncut Version" (293 minutes on 2 DVDs).The first thing you should know is that the English dub has been largely redone; if you are familiar with the Director's Cut dialogue, you will immediately notice that the English dub's script has been changed in many places within the Uncut Version. In particular, the saltier comments throughout the movie have been deleted and replaced with much more 'polite' translations. Moreover several of the characters (Werner the war correspondent, Kriechbaum the Navigator, the boat's second-in-command [whom is referred to as "Number One"], as well as the comical red-haired Second Officer, etc.) have received new voices in the English dub (if only in select places), and their scripts have been changed in numerous instances as well. I raise this as a concern because I realize diehard fans may find these (sometimes unnecessary) dialogue changes irritating. This is the main flaw of this edition, in my opinion.While the Uncut Version soundtrack includes new sound effects, and adds frequent narration in old footages areas (largely excerpts from Werner's diary), short pieces of the new footage have not been remastered and look very grainy. Most of the new footage is however seamless and not of unacceptable quality (contra another reviewer). The sections that have been neglected are mainly external shots of the uboat -- in one such instance an obvious blue line spans the vertical width of the screen for about 20-30 seconds.The new footage that appears in the Uncut Version is not simply superfluous addition either, but in a few instances actually clarifies or adds completely new elements to the Director's Cut storyline (I won't ruin that for you, suffice to say that some very interesting plot elements are introduced in this newer edition). This cut is also much more pointed in depicting the stress, paranoia, poor morale, and sheer boredom of the crew, who are shown praying, making mistakes, complaining, and doing many stupid things just to pass the time and ease the strain of being a submariner. Of interest is the enthusiasm that the crew eventually displays at the prospect of going into battle: not because that is what they have trained to do, but because anything is preferable to the endless waiting and resulting apathy between enemy contacts. Numerous conversations between various characters have been added, and minor characters that didn't make it into the Director's Edition appear in the Uncut Version. A few treats exist as well, such as a shot where the Second Officer can be more clearly seen using a Kreigsmarine four-rotor ENIGMA machine to decode a transmission. Most importantly of all, the new footage emphasizes the sense of watching the story unfold through the eyes of the war correspondent, which is what Director Wolfgang Peterson originally intended. The new footage adds considerably to the picture's atmosphere, and contributes important characterization -- particularly for Johann the Chief Engineer, the second-in-command, and Grade, the Chief of the Boat.German with English subtitles is the default option, but an English dub with French subtitles is also available. The English track has been upgraded to Dolby 5.1.This 2-DVD Uncut Version is highly recommended, but isn't for everyone -- note that it is deliberately aimed at the fan base. This special-interest group is likely the only one this version of the film will please. If you've never seen Das Boot, borrow a friend's copy of the shorter Director's Cut first; when you've cultivated an appreciation for this benchmark in WWII filmmaking, come back and get this edition. I would not recommend buying this version if you've never seen the movie -- it might turn you off due to its sheer length and relatively slower pace. Neither should the fan looking solely for special features purchase this Uncut Version - the featurette entitled: "The Making of Das Boot: Behind the Scenes" is a little over seven (7) minutes long, and is mainly a justification for the re-release of the full length cut.A member of the Das Boot `cult' would be very pleased to see the extra footage in this Uncut Version. If you're a diehard fan, don't think twice; I bought mine even after having read the more negative reviews here. Four stars given for the substantive quality and importance of the new footage to the overall picture; the image quality and sound in places is not perfect, and there are no new special features worthy of the name, so this cut cannot receive five stars. Since you are willing to sit through close to 5 hours of Das Boot anyway, the instances of grainy new footage shouldn't overwhelm you. In all, the extra tidbits (in my estimation) are worth the money."
High pressured, silent and deadly.
Anthony Hinde | Sydney, Australia | 05/05/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Any movie that is subtitled has to overcome a lot to get me totally involved in its plot. In the case of Germany's celebrated Submarine classic "Das Boot", I don't remember there being subtitles past the first five minutes. What originally drew me to the film was Jürgen Prochnow. He's such a great actor and he really impressed me in "Dune" and "The Seventh Sign". As usual, his portrayal of the German Navy Captain is understated and yet impressively powerful.
If you know your modern history, you'll be familiar with the German Submarine Command's service history, during the Second World War. In the early years these subs caused havoc in the Atlantic Ocean and beyond, virtually bringing merchant shipping to a standstill. Over time however, the Allies' newly commissioned sub-hunter ships challenged the German's stealthy supremacy. Disappointingly, those great "sub verses sub" duels rarely happened during WWII.
Das Boot's story takes place in 1941, and gone were the days when "wolf-packs" of U-Boats ruled the seas. German subs were hounded everywhere they went, resulting in a survival rate that drew sympathy even from the Luftwaffe. Despite these desperate straits, the German high command continued to find missions for the remaining sub crews. Naturally, the men making up these crews were a special breed, and as such, they drew a lot of attention from the civilian press around the world.
In this case a newspaper correspondent called Lieutenant Werner, has joined the boat for the duration of its mission. Events unfold from his point of view and so we can lose our misconceptions and innocence along with Werner. He has no responsibilities on board and is therefore under less stress that most, but at the same time he has nothing to distract him from the pressure of each enemy attack and the many fathoms of sea water over the sub.
Holding it all together, under terrifying conditions, is a single man. The captain is a scruffy, mildly cynical, bastion of strength. He deals calmly with almost any situation, drawing on a seemingly unlimited store of courage. He also uses this courage in the face his 1st Lieutenant, a goose-stepping Nazi loyalist, who disapproves of his captain's lack of respect for Hitler, the high command and much else about Germany's military efforts.
The film takes an even darker turn when, during the middle of their tour, the captain receives orders to commence a new mission; a mission which amounts to suicide. They are asked to enter the Mediterranean Sea via the Gibraltar Strait and make an attack on enemy shipping. The strait is very narrow and heavily monitored but the captain accepts his orders, devising a strategy that gives them at least some hope.
Not surprisingly, things go bad from the start. I'm not going into a blow by blow description. Suffice to say that every moment is chock full of dramatic tension and the relationships within the crew become more obvious with every crisis. In the end, the audience feels almost as exhausted as these brave men, which makes the final scenes even more powerful.
One warning for those that want to see this absorbing movie. Do not watch the dubbed version. In some versions, the voice acting is a joke and distracts form the story. Instead, stick to the subtitles. Trust me, you're not going to notice them."
YES!! IT'S ABOUT TIME!!
Emanci Rolve | Englewood, CO USA | 04/01/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Finally we can see the full cut of Das Boot on DVD. Not only does this new edition have a remastered anamorphic transfer, it finally has the full, original 4 hour 50 minute cut (290 minute)that was cropped into the US theatrical edition (2 1/2 hours) and the Director's Cut (3 1/2 hours), but in a movie where the quiet moments where we learn about the characters are the best, the original cut (it was originally made for TV as a 6 part mini-sieres)has my strongest recommendation. The movie itself is the BEST submarine movie ever made without question, and also a realistic portrayal of life in a crowded, dirty German U-boat in WWII, filled with people who just want to go home and live normal lives, but due to the war are denied the chance. You see throughout the movie that the characters are not sympathetic to the German cause and that they aren't really fighting for their country, but their lives. This is one of my favorite war movies for showing the war through a different viewpoint than the one normally seen and an example of great filmmaking (p.s. - aviod the dub at all costs - go for subtitles)."
DVD is the only way to go for Das Boot
Won Hong Lo | 8 miles SW of MDW airport | 05/03/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have watched this 2 1/2 times so far (in 2 days)! You can watch w/the original German (english subs on/off) or dubbed or w/director's & actor's commentary. Also, this has to be the best-dubbed film in history - mainly because most of the main actors did both the german & english versions. I have no idea why the sound didn't get a 5 rating, it's just the best - the attention to detail is amazing. I've been listening with headphones and you are INSIDE that damn U-boot. This has been called anti-war but for a much more subtle reason than Platoon or Private Ryan - sorry you won't see cow-guts exploding across the screen. You get inside this crew and it turns out they're pretty much just like an American or British sub crew, just speaking a different language. You find yourself rooting for the "wrong" side (the germans) - then asking yourself who's on the "right" side? Watch for the scene where the captain realises the crew of a British ship which has been burning for hours hasn't been rescued by any friendlies - he realises the brass on BOTH sides have no idea what's really going on."
One of the absolute best WWII movies ever made!!!
Walter Slaven | Arlington, TX USA | 10/03/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am updating this review to encourage fans of the movie to get the newly released "Original Uncut" version. This version is the one originally aired as a mini-series on German TV and is approximately 5 hours in length. It goes into much greater detail about the crewmembers and shows some critical dialogue and battle scenes that were left out of the theater version and the directtor's cut.
Get this DVD!! It is far superior to the VHS version. Watch the movie in German with subtitles to really get the flavor of the dialogue. The English dubbed version is, to me, sanitized.
Das Boot recreates a combat patrol of a German submarine operating out of France in 1941. The prologue explains that the war in the North Atlantic is turning against the Germans as the British have developed superior Anti submarine tactics. Nevertheless the Captain (brilliantly portrayed by Jurgen Prochnow) takes his baby-faced crew into harm's way in an effort to do his duty as a German Naval officer, even though his distaste for the High command is evident.
The movie was extremely well made. You really feel like you are inside this cramped 200' long piece of sewer pipe that was home to 50 sailors. The claustrophobia, boredom, lack of hygene, and loneliness all are effectively portrayed. Someone once wrote that being a soldier in wartime was 97% boredom punctuated by 3% of absolute terror. That axiom is evident throughout the film.
The DVD version has enhanced Dolby sound, which makes the depth charge attacks all the more realistic. In one sequence the depth charge attacks are so intense that it seems that the sound alone will destroy the U boat.
Some consider Das Boot an "anti-war" film. I am not sure that it really falls into that category. It certainly doesn't glorify war, nor does it really offer much commentary on the merits, or lack thereof, of the German war effort. The Officers onboard never really discuss politics, or what the war is about. Their attitude is, rather, that they are there to do a job and that's what they're going to do. Only one officer, a clean shaven die-hard Nazi expresses any real commitment, and he's made fun of by the others.
No, Das Boot is a film about war, and those who are called upon to fight it. It is intense, gripping and moving. You'll never spend $23 for a better DVD.