Finest Hours, The

WSR Score5
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Walt Disney Home Entertainment
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Intense sequences of peril.
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Single Side, Dual Layer (BD-50)
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Craig Gillespie
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DTS HD Lossless 7.1
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Based on the non-fiction book of the same name by Casey Sherman and Michael J. Tougias, The Finest Hours is an historic action-thriller that tells the story of the greatest small-boat rescue in Coast Guard history. In 1952, a massive winter storm strikes on the coast of Cape Cod, ripping a T-2 oil tanker in half and trapping more than 30 sailors inside its rapidly sinking stern. When word of the disaster reaches the U.S. Coast Guard, four men, led by Captain Bernie Webber (Pine), set out in a 12-seat boat on a daring mission to rescue the stranded men, braving freezing cold, 60-foot wave,s and hurricane-force winds, and guided by Webber's vow that “We all live, or we all die.” (Gary Reber)

Special features include five featurettes: Against All Odds: The Bernie Webber Story (HD 14:10), Brotherhood (HD 01:49), Two Crews (HD 02:02), What's Your Finest Hour? (HD 01:02), and The Finest Inspiration: The U.S. Coast Guard (HD 01:42); two deleted scenes (HD 04:28); upfront previews; and a digital copy.

The 2.40:1 1080p AVC picture was photographed with the Arri Alexa XT Plus digital camera system and exhibits gorgeous imagery throughout. Originally released in 3D theatrically, with 3D conversion by Legend 3D, Disney has yet to release a 3D version on Blu-ray Disc™, which was exhibited in IMAX 3D. The color palette is warm and with cinematic quality. The storm scenes depict gray turbulent seas and dense clouded skies, which contrasts with the dark gray, blackish tone of the distressed T-2 tanker, of which only one-half remains adrift in 60-foot swells. Interior scenes are richly colorful and nicely contrasted with deep blacks and revealing shadow delineation. In such scenes, fleshtones are naturally hued, while at sea the tone is more pale on the sailors’ faces. At times colors exhibit strong primaries. Resolution is excellent, with fine detail revealed in facial features, hair, clothing, and all manner of object textures, including elaborate detailing within the distressed ship. The picture is effectively realistic and beautifully rendered throughout, with reference-quality imagery that is impressive. (Gary Reber)

The DTS-HD Master Audio™ 7.1-channel soundtrack is dynamic sounding, with an aggressively active soundfield that is dimensional in character. Deep bass has a constant presence during the distressed ship and rescue scenes, with intense energy extending to sub-25 Hz frequencies. Atmospherics and sound effects are prevalent throughout and directionalized. Pounding sea spray and gusty winds heighten the sense of intense peril. Motor sounds on the Coast Guard boat are realistic sounding, as are the sounds of the ship’s engines and pumps stressing out against pounding waves. Carter Burwell's orchestral music score is quite dynamic sounding, with a wide and deep soundstage image that aggressively extends to the surrounds. The added two surround channels really heighten the sense of spacial dimensionality, with every channel fully energized during the intense slow sinking of the tanker. Fidelity is excellent throughout. Dialogue is impressively integrated spatially and natural sounding, as well as intelligible, even during the intense scenes of peril with sailors having to yell to be heard. This is a very impressive and intense soundtrack that is reference quality throughout. (Gary Reber)