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FIRST LOOK: "Enemy At the Gates" - Extraordinary!


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#1 of 52 Ronald Epstein

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Posted August 09 2001 - 10:02 AM

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ENEMY AT THE GATES


This film could have been a masterpiece
war epic. It comes very close in many ways
to being just that with a few minor flaws.
However, ultimately, this is a highly riveting
two hour film that should be on everyone's
must purchase list.

Enemy at the Gates is based on a true
story of two snipers -- one Russian and
one German who ultimately must face each
other with only one left to stand.

But I am getting a little ahead of myself here.

The year is 1942. The Germans are closing in
on one of the last standing cities in their way
of dominance. The city is Stalingrad. It is
there that Kruschev (Bob Hoskins) leads a worn
band of soldiers known as the Red Army. Times
are tough and the army needs a hero. That hero
is Vassili Zaitsev (Jude Law), a remarkable
sharpshooter who takes out four German soldiers
in a beautifuly choreographed sequence near the
start of the film.

As witness to Vassili's heroism, a political
officer named Danilov (Joseph Fiennes) uses
propaganda to catapult the name of Vassili as
Russia's greatest sniper hero.

This bothers Russian heroism bothers German
Major Konig (Ed Harris), who goes to Stalingrad
to face Vassili.

It's sniper vs. sniper!

There are so many things to love about this
film. From the very start, you can't help but
fall in love with the beautiful cinematography
as the Red Army disembarks from an arriving train
as you look out upon the shores of Stalingrad.
The sky is overcast and pale with rising smoke
as boats war amongst each other in the water.

Although much of this movie takes place
amongst the ruins of Stalingrad, there seems
to be such beauty in the way these scenes are
photographed accompanied by a sweeping harmonious
soundtrack by James Horner.

This film at many times looks like a piece
of artwork, and I really fell in love with
it all. The war sequences are well-done and
often riveting.

Where this film falls short is in the pacing.
There is a 3-way love story between Vassili,
Danilov, and a beautiful soldier (Rachel Weisz).
Most of the times a love story can compliment
a picture like this, but I felt it got in the
way. Still, the movie had so many more strong
points to it.

The DVD looks and sounds spectacular. It is
nothing less than what you would expect from
Paramount Home Video. The disc also has a
chock-full of extra material including a
BEHIND-THE-SCENES featurette, cast & crew
interviews and a theatrical trailer.

I have to be honest. I bought this title
blindly after hearing mixed reviews. This
was another one of those movies that I found
myself applauding once the end credits rolled.

Buy this!



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Ronald Epstein (pronounced like the English "Ronald Epstein")
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#2 of 52 Tom Ryan

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Posted August 09 2001 - 10:12 AM

A featurette, interviews and a trailer is "chock-full" Posted Image?

-Tom

P.S. I saw this movie during its theatrical release and liked it. My roommate is getting the DVD so I will watch it then Posted Image.


[Edited last by Tom Ryan on August 09, 2001 at 05:13 PM]

#3 of 52 Dan Wetzel

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Posted August 09 2001 - 10:22 AM

Aren't there any deleted scenes?

btw.. its Gate(s) Posted Image

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#4 of 52 David-alexander

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Posted August 09 2001 - 10:46 AM

Hi Ron Posted Image

Mine should arrive next week. Must have for those who appreciate quality war movies (btw, war movies are perfect for home theaters).

How is the sound ? I was a bit disappointed, while not expecting SPR sound level of course, by the track in the theaters. How is it ?

cheers
David

#5 of 52 Ronald Epstein

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Posted August 09 2001 - 10:50 AM


Quote:
A featurette, interviews and a trailer is "chock-full"

For Paramount it is.
For any other studio robust edition
it is not.

Quote:
Aren't there any deleted scenes?

No

Quote:
How is the sound ? I was a bit disappointed, while not expecting SPR sound level of course, by the track in the theaters. How is it ?

Very good, but not the best I have heard
out of a war movie.




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Ronald Epstein (pronounced like the English "Ronald Epstein")
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#6 of 52 Haywood

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Posted August 09 2001 - 11:13 AM

I just watched this film Monday and it was pretty good. I do feel that it was kinda drawn out at times, but I am not really a Drama buff. I guess that's what Ron was talking about. The soundtrack was pretty good but I expected a little more from the LFE track. Anyway overall I would have to say it was pretty good, But I don't plan on buying it.

Later Haywood Posted Image

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#7 of 52 David-alexander

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Posted August 09 2001 - 11:20 AM

thanks Ron.



#8 of 52 Matt_P

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Posted August 09 2001 - 11:59 AM

As a WWII history and war film fan, I have been eagerly awaiting this release ever since I saw it twice theatrically. I feel this film should get some serious attention from the Academy. It's nice to hear the film had the same effect on you as it did on me, Ron. It really is a moving picture. Thanks for the review!

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#9 of 52 Knut

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Posted August 09 2001 - 12:12 PM

I got my disc last week and took a look at it a couple of days ago. I found it to be decent action/war movie. Not a movie to turn to for a deeper message or somthing like that but very good at what it does. I think it would probably have been a better movie without some of the romantic elements. I wont go into specifics since that would be a tad of a spoiler.

The deleted scenes that are on the disc (8 or 10 of them) are the type of scenes that you understand why they took them out Posted Image


#10 of 52 Tom Ryan

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Posted August 09 2001 - 12:35 PM

Ron: at least the audiovisual qualities are usually great with Paramount these days. In the end, that's the one thing that really matters. However, extra material is really nice. Therefore I say, bring on the Gump, and may there be a plentitude of 2-disc sets to follow!

-Tom

#11 of 52 Travis D

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Posted August 09 2001 - 01:46 PM

Knut, deleted scenes? I thought Ron just said there were no delete.... oh, god. Lemme guess, you got a disc other than Region 1 since you're in Sweden didn't you? I can hear the outcry coming.
*Child holds up Fullscreen version*
Child : Lord of the Rings, Lord of the Rings! Daddy, what does it say at the top? I can't read it.
Father : There are few who can. The language is that of Mordor, which I shall not utter here.
Child : Mordor?
Father : In the common tongue, it reads, 'One...

#12 of 52 Kenny Goldin

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Posted August 09 2001 - 02:26 PM

Thanks Ron! I am a war film junkie and missed this one and cant wait for Tuesday!

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#13 of 52 todbnla

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Posted August 09 2001 - 02:58 PM

I cant wait for this one either!

thBIG 900only 100 more to 1K bg:

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#14 of 52 Sean Moon

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Posted August 09 2001 - 04:24 PM

Great movie, could have been better if the whole love triangle was left out. The best scene was the showdown at the boiler room with all the broken glass. Great stuff.
The video on this disc was great, and the sound was good, just nothing to write home about.
Another great release from Paramount. Watched this one last week of July.

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#15 of 52 Yumbo

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Posted August 09 2001 - 04:37 PM

well,

it does have deleted scenes.
sound is very so-so.

James Horner needs a new career...oh, he has one - self-rips.
I like the cast.
nothing wrong with the romance.
but the BRITISH accents from Russian characters - talk about distraction.

picture is so-so, with obvious CGI.

it is dramatic, but only so much.

worth a watch, not a rave.

ps. just watched POTApes (2001) - is edge enhancement possible on film? or is our cinema projection just BAD? with low lighting to boot - is it a really dark movie?

you want a good DVD, and entertaining movie - THE MEXICAN!
very cool soundtrack and score.
talk about misunderstood!

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#16 of 52 David-alexander

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Posted August 09 2001 - 06:24 PM

mmh, now dvdfile ( which I rely a lot for fair accurate reviews in general ) praises the 5.1 track which they say is quite reference material with deep loud bass. could it be then a hardware or configuration issue ?

I'll know soon enough Posted Image but still, my theatrical viewing does not ring a powerful dolby track to my memory and it was an excellent theater ( now, theaters are really more and more disappointing these days.... or is our home systems that get so good ? ...... ).

As for Stalingrad battle, there's an excellent German movie called STALINGRAD made in 1992 or 1993, on dvd. I'll pick up that one too.


#17 of 52 Yumbo

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Posted August 09 2001 - 07:55 PM

the mix is weighted to the front, even during the aerial sequences.
no sense of directionality.

the .1 is there, just not for the action, but the score rather.

very lightweight.

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[Edited last by Chris Caine on August 10, 2001 at 01:34 PM]

#18 of 52 Dan Wetzel

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Posted August 09 2001 - 08:31 PM

No deleted scenes?

CRAP, thats one of the main reasons I wanted this disc.

Could someone confirm if the Region 1 discs have the deleted scenes? Piss me off if they dont.

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#19 of 52 Robert McClanahan

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Posted August 09 2001 - 08:38 PM

I think it is a very well done film.When I saw it in the theater I felt like I was in Stalingrad.The cinematography and CGI were first rate.I hope more WWII movies are made this well.

#20 of 52 Ronald Epstein

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Posted August 09 2001 - 09:03 PM


CORRECTION


The disc DOES have additional scenes.

I totally overlooked that on the back cover.
It is the last feature listed.

Go buy it!

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Ronald Epstein (pronounced like the English "Ronald Epstein")
Circa 2000
Home Theater Forum Administrator
All forum questions & to get on our private forum mailing list (new members)... Email: hometheaterforum@home.com
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Ronald J Epstein
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