SRP $39.95 2.35:1 DOLBY TrueHD 5.1 WARNER BROS
SRP $34.95 2.35:1 DOLBY TrueHD 5.1 WARNER BROS

WARNER BROS. has released Clint Eastwood's "LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA" on dvd, Blu-Ray and also as part of a HD-DVD combo piece.  The film is a bookend to his earlier release, "FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS." "LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA" is told from the perspective of a group of Japanese soldiers attempting to hold back the advance of the Allies on the island.  Unlike most war films, "LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA" is less about the potential heroic potential men can find in war, and more on the psychological trauma that men deal with, knowing not only that their end is approaching, but what the end of their lives mean.  It's often stunning, somber, and unforgettable. While the earlier film was quite good, "LETTERS" is even better, as there aren't any of the slower passages that dragged "FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS" down at times.  Certainly, Eastwood's best film by far, "LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA" is so well made that it's hard to imagine it's helmed by the same man that gave us the crappy "MILLION DOLLAR BABY" and other dreck. 

WARNER BROS. has provided the correct 2.35:1 aspect ratio for both the dvd and HD-DVD presentation. The HD-DVD and Blu-ray are both presented in 1080p/VC-1.  While colors have been intentionally restrained, the level of depth is astounding. The dvd offers exquisite detail in virtually every scene, and contrast is good enough to make this one of the best dvds so far of 2007. However, the HD-DVD and Blu-ray are a huge improvement over the dvd!  The level of detail in 1080p is noticeably superior in scene after scene!  What seemed amazing on dvd, pales in comparison to the depth and eye-popping imagery conveyed in the high-def transfer. Blacks are much deeper and scenes that previously stood out, now have that nearly 3-d effect!  "LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA" offers demonstration quality imagery throughout! There are no discernible differences between the two high-def formats.

WARNER BROS. has provided a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix and Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 mix for the HD-DVD, as well as a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix and Dolby Digital 5.1 mix for the blu-ray.  The level of detail achieved in virtually every scene will impress the most cynical listener.  Surround and discrete effects are utilized with great impact, but even the most subtle passages are among the most impressive sound moments found on any high-def mix thus far!  The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix offers an aggressive mix as well, however, in comparison to the Dolby TrueHd mix, it seems strikingly inferior.  Ambient effects are more impressive on the Dolby TrueHd mix and bass/treble levels are even more astounding to realize.  A sensational mix, and certain to rank up there as one of the best HD-DVD and Blu-ray mixes available. The Dolby TrueHD mix on both formats is indistinguishable from one another.  It's superior to both the Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 mix offered on either format. In addition to offering better nuances within the mix, it offers better overall balance.

All of the featurettes found on the standard dvd have been carried over for this release. However, most of them are now available in high-definition. Unfortunately, there's no commentary and it's a sorely missing item as one can't help but wonder how Eastwood created such a masterpiece, working with the actors to achieve what he has, without knowing the Japanese language.