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Green Zone (2010) Print E-mail
Monday, 28 June 2010
ImageAnyone that has read my previous reviews will already know my stance on war films.  "Green Zone" is really no exception despite that fact that is more well done than most present war films.  "Green Zone" keeps the audience somewhat interested but it does drag on from time to time.  The film feels too much like "Three Kings" meets "Bourne Identity."  Let's face it, the film is directed by the same director of "Bourne Identity" and it has the same lead star, Matt Damon.  There are bound to be striking resemblances between the films.

Sure enough, "Green Zone" is about a soldier on a mission that isn't sanctioned by the government, well at least one part of the government.  Intelligence agencies for the US stationed in the Middle East are fighting over what stance to take after the removal of Saddam from power.  Basically, it is the US sticking its nose in other people's business once again.

However, I am going to try and leave politics aside as we certainly don't want to go down that road.  Watch the film and you will feel powerfully toward one stance or the other.  Matt Damon plays Roy Miller, an army officer that is in charge of a team responsible for locating the WMDs.  Just in case you don't know, since the film never specifically tells you, WMDs are weapons of mass destruction.

When Miller finds that each assignment turns up a big goose egg he begins to question the intelligence and its source.  It is plainly obvious to see what it happening in the government and the conspiracy that is at hand.  The film may have worked a little better if they didn't reveal it so soon in the film.  Once reveal there is simply nothing left in the film to really pay attention to.  It is simply another hour of tying up loose ends and getting the end in which nothing is resolved.  Of course this is how the real world is so I am not going to hold the ending of the film against it.  In fact, it most certainly works for this film.

Despite the somewhat unique delivery of the story, the film is too reminiscent of previous action meets war meets suspense film.  I suppose I am just looking for something too new.  But after the number of films that I have seen, you begin to question whether Hollywood has any magic left in it.  Besides, the film is dated.  It is not about the current "war" but about, you know, that other country that we like to meddle in.  Time to bring the boys home.
Like with all war films of present day, the film doesn't have a unique photographic style.  It employs the "you are there" technique.  The Blu-ray transfer accurately represents this intention, but it wasn't done well enough to begin with to convince me.  It feels somewhere in the middle.  There are times it sucks me in, but more often than not I'm still sitting at home watching any other film.  The contrast ranges from low-key to overblown, more of the former.  Black levels are solid with only minor crushing in the shadows.  Details in the shadows and nighttimes chase sequences are decent for the handheld camerawork but quite a bit is lost in many cases.  Details in the daytime are nicely textured and prominent.  Grain is fully intact adding a gritty texture to he image.  Colors all relate back to an amber hue, intentional of course, and nicely represented here.  The transfer is very close to the intentions of the filmmakers but it is not a piece of demo material.

The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is phenomenal.  My only gripe with the sound relates back to the original sound design so it is hard to ding the sound rating, but I have to just ever so slightly to put the track in perspective with those tracks that truly work as a whole.  Sound effects abound in this war film, as to be expected.  Bullets whiz by your head.  Explosions are thunderous.  More than anything in this film it is the audio that keeps you engaged.  The LFE channel is supple throughout.  Each channel is constantly filled with discreet effects and ambience.  My problem here is that the film sound a bit too Hollywood for the style of the film.  If the story and the video are supposed to work together, then why is it that the sound takes on a blockbuster feel during many sequences.  There is a lot of juxtaposition in this film that hold it back.  That being said, the dialogue is clear throughout.  Panning and directionality are spot on and immersion is deep.  Normally this would get five stars, but it just doesn't quite work with the intents of the film.

"Green Zone" has some of the better special features that I have seen been put on a disc recently.  The U-Control section features both a behind the scenes PiP as well as PiP video commentary by Damon and Director Greengrass.  There is also a standalone audio commentary by Greengrass and Damon which contains some different content than the video commentary.  "Inside Green Zone" contains standard behind the scenes footage.  "Matt Damon: Ready For Action" shows Damon with real life war participants.  Finally there is a collection of deleted scenes.  The disc is also enabled with D-Box and has pocketBLU and BD-Live functionality.  A Digital Copy is also included.

"Green Zone" will likely bring out strong emotions in the viewer, so I suppose it is a success on that level.  I simply find it hard to watch any war film as they all seem to run together into one big long film (with the exception of "Saving Private Ryan," which stands alone).  The video and audio quality are superior to most Blu-ray transfer.  While many might find the video quality to be too soft, the audio quality is bombastic.  Recommended for fans of the genre.

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