Enemy At The Gates BRAY Cover Art
SP $29.99 2.35:1 Dolby TrueHD 5.1 PARAMOUNT
 
 

The first half-hour of "ENEMY AT THE GATES" is fantastic!  Brilliantly shot, deliberately paced, the viewer is brought into the turmoil of the battle of Stalingrad with hints of the same power that opened up "SAVING PRIVATE RYAN."  Inspired more than "based" on the story of a nazi and russian sniper out to kill one another, for the morale boost it will bring back to their homeland, "ENEMY AT THE GATES" could easily have been entertaining enough, just sticking to the facts. However, a love story is thrown in, and as bad and non-essential as that idea is by itself, the love story had to have two lovers competing for the same girl, to boot!
 
Jude Law is terrific in his role as Vassili Zaitsev, a Russian soldier with such good shooting skills, he's made an unwitting poster-boy for the Russian army, and the pressure mounting for him to please upper command, is met with pressures on a formidable, brutal nazi sniper, played by Ed Harris, expected to kill Zaitsev, and restore Nazi order and morale.
 
This basic plotline is compelling and one wishes it just remained the focal point of the film. Instead, plenty of other silly, unnecessary sub-plots emerge. The film is still far better than most war films, however, it's just disappointing that what starts off as a great film, tumbles so far from where it was headed. It's last  25 minutes induces yawns just when it should have viewers leaning forward!
 
PARAMOUNT has provided the correct 2.35:1 aspect ratio for this 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 blu-ray.  Although colors are deliberately restrained, achieving the somber, gritty atmosphere intended, detail is consistently impressive. There are some scenes appearing flat, but these are few. Most of the image offers "jump-off-the-screen" depth!  Detail is impressive in even the darkest scenes, due to inky blacks.
 
PARAMOUNT has provided a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix. There are some great immersive moments, particularly during the first battle scene, however, much of the film tends to be front speaker focused. Bass is impressive whenever used, however, as with ambient effects, the mix doesn't take full advantage of what arguably should've been a more aggressive mix.
 
The same extras offered on the dvd, are carried over, but they're unfortunately just in standard resolution.