I'm sure there isn't a person on this planet who hasn't heard of that fateful September 11, 2001 day when the World Trade Center was attacked and destroyed by terrorists. Two-thousand, seven-hundred forty-nine people were killed in the attacks, and there were few survivors. Two of them, New York City's Port Authority policemen John McLoughlin (Cage) and Will Jimeno (Peña), were trapped amongst the rubble as their wives clung to the hope that they were still alive. This is their story. Based on the accounts of the surviving participants and on the true life events of John & Donna McLoughlin and William & Allison Jimeno. (Tricia Spears)
Special features on Disc One of the DVD include two commentaries: the first with Director Oliver Stone, and the second with Will Jimeno, Scott Strauss, John Busching, and Paddy McGee; nine deleted/extended scenes with optional director commentary; previews; and up-front ads. On Disc Two, you will find a three-part making-of featurette; a two-part, tear-inducing feature about the actual PAPD officers depicted in the movie; 12 minutes looking at the special and visual effects; a 24-minute tour of The City with native New Yorker Stone; a Q&A session with Stone; the theatrical trailer; five TV spots; and a photo gallery. The special features on the Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD versions are exactly the same as on the DVD.
The anamorphically enhanced 1.78:1 DVD exhibits bold, vibrant colors and well-balanced fleshtones, with deep blacks and good, although not great, shadow delineation. Details are captured well, but edge enhancement and pixilation can become distracting. The high-definition versions look very good, with intense hues and sharp details. Differences between the VC-1-encoded HD DVD and the the Blu-ray Disc are not very noticeable, but the HD DVD version does seem to be slightly sharper in the finest details. Whites can bleed slightly, but this could have been a creative choice by the filmmakers. The HD DVD version is preferred, but only by a slim margin. (Danny Richelieu)
The Dolby® Digital 5.1-channel soundtrack is mixed well, with each of the available channels incorporated into the soundstage nicely throughout. The LFE channel is incorporated well, and while the levels can be extreme, the very good dynamic range helps bring tension to even the most quiescent scenes. The Blu-ray Disc's Dolby Digital encoding provides slightly improved fidelity, mainly noticeable in the midrange, and the HD DVD's Dolby Digital Plus encoding improves upon this as well. While the three versions are not night-and-day different, the HD DVD's Dolby Digital Plus encoding is preferred. (Danny Richelieu)