As "Flags Of Our Fathers" told the battle for Iwo Jima from the American perspective, "Letters From Iwo Jima" tells us the story from the side of the Japanese. Under the strict command of Lt. General Tadamichi Kuribayashi (Watanabe), Japanese soldiers defended their position on this now-famous island for 36 days, most of them knowing from a battle in which they would not return. From deep within the foxholes and tunnels they had dug, these men wrote letters to their family and loved, many of which were finally received long after their deaths. Based on "Picture Letters From Commander In Chief" by Tadamichi Kuribayashi. (Jack Kelley)
Special features include a 21-minute making-of featurette (Red Sun, Black Sand), 19 minutes about the cast (The Faces Of Combat), a three-minute image montage (Images From The Frontlines), footage from the world premiere at Budo-kan in Tokyo and from a press conference at the Grand Hyatt Tokyo, and the theatrical trailer.
The VC-1-encoded HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc releases look identical, with good image depth and good resolution. Fine details are not defined as well as on the best high-definition releases, looking slightly soft, but this could have been intentional to better fit the time frame. Compression artifacts and edge enhancement are not noticeable. (Danny Richelieu)
The HD DVD's Dolby Digital Plus encoding provides a very subtle improvement over the Blu-ray Disc's Dolby Digital encoding in overall fluidity, with tighter, more natural bass. Both the HD DVD version and the Blu-ray Disc version also include a lossless Dolby TrueHD encoding, which provides an even greater sense of realism, with better fidelity, tighter bass, and better dynamic range. (Danny Richelieu)