Memorial Day is a deeply stirring account of two soldiers from the same family but vastly different eras weaved together. It's Memorial Day 1993, when 13-year-old Kyle Vogel (Bond) stumbles upon his grandfather Bud's (Cromwell) World War II footlocker. Though reluctant to discuss the war with his grandson, Bud strikes a deal with Kyle: he'll tell the stories of any three objects from the footlocker that Kyle chooses. As we flash back to see Bud's WWII tales (the younger Bud played by James Cromwell, the son) from Europe unfold through his souvenirs and memories, we also flash forward to see how the present day Staff Sergeant, Kyle Vogel's (Bennett) experiences in Iraq parallel them—and how that day on the porch with his grandfather will affect how he ultimately deals with the losses, regrets, and moral dilemmas that unite all soldiers across all wars and generations. Based on a story by Jeff Traxler, Kyle O'Malley, and Marc Conklin. (Gary Reber)
Director Sam Fischer, Writer Marc Conklin, and Actor John Cromwell; a behind-the-scenes featurette (HD 01:54); and up-front previews.
The 1.78:1 1080p VC-1 picture is nicely photographed with a stylistic appearance, portraying three time periods: grandfather memories, flashback to actual war situations, and current-day remembrance. Each setting has its own distinctive style. Current day and the grandfather porch scenes exhibit naturally saturated colors, while the WWII action sequences are a bit desaturated. The Iraq flashbacks in current day exhibit pushed contrast and appear intentionally visually exaggerated. The overall appearance, however, appears natural with a sense of realism. Fleshtones are naturally hued except for the Iraq segments, in which they are orangish. Contrast is well balanced, with deep blacks and revealing shadow delineation. Resolution is nicely revealing of fine detail, especially in close-ups of facial features, hair, clothing, and object texture. A slight film grain permeates, for a cinematic feel. This is an effective visual experience that communicates the war-torn emotional storytelling. (Gary Reber)
The DTS-HD Master Audio™ 5.1-channel soundtrack, for all its intense battle segments, sounds subdued, with instances of directionalized intensity that penetrates the soundfield. The music score is nicely recorded, though, varying in presence, depending on the scene. Deep, natural-sounding bass is effectual with, at times, sub-25 Hz energy. Surround envelopment is often quite impressive and fills the soundfield with immersive directionalized atmospherics and sound effects. Dialogue consistently sounds natural, with excellent spatial integration. This is a stylized, yet effective sonic treatment of a telling of war and its emotional impact, with both nuanced and dynamic moments. (Gary Reber)