Spike Lee again shows why he is one of the master filmmaker's of my generation.
No extras.Miracle At St. Anna tells the gripping tale of four African American soldiers trapped behind enemy lines during World War II. After attempting to save an Italian boy they become separated from their unit, and it is here that Director Spike Lee chooses to examine all the glory and pain that is human combat. Taking a sociological look at what it meant to be a soldier, especially an African American one, during that period in our nation's history is really the crux of this story. How can these men defend a country that doesn't even give them basic rights? Yet, they find a way to stand up for this nation, and the enemy, in a story that shows the basic strengths of our world's humanity. Add an element of mystery that events during the war play out in the not so distant past, and you have got a movie that is satisfying on many levels.
While certainly a different sort of film from Spike Lee, Miracle At St. Anna is the kind of movie that really deserves a lot more attention than it got.
No Extras came with this release.
Widescreen - 2.35:1 - Enhanced for 16x9 Televisions. This standard definition DVD looked pretty darn good in my player. As I watched this film I was excited by how much Spike Lee seems to be pushing himself as a director. When you considering that he got his start many years ago with She's Gotta Have It, I thought it was amazing how much he still likes to experiment with the language of film. All of this comes across really well on this DVD and the way it was compressed.
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. Spanish and French language tracks. The audio on this release was really solid as well. I like how it seemed like Lee was using different sounds to help flesh out the characters in this story. Sometimes things were ominous, other times they were joyous, and there were even times when things were downright foreboding. Not knowing what the characters were going to do next all played itself off really well here.
The four stars of this movie stand in silhouette atop a hill with an American flag and a cloudy sky behind them. The back features 4 different images from the movie, a critics quote, movie description, technical specs, and a cast list. There isn't anything too special but overall things look solid.
What in the world happened to this film? I guess since it cost $45 million to make (which is really a pittance for a war movie nowadays) and only grossed $9 million, the execs at Disney maybe didn't feel the need to push this movie as much as they should have? Whatever the case I think it is really sad that a filmmaker of the caliber of Spike Lee can make a film as good as this, and it almost goes unnoticed by the filmic tastemakers in our society. Sure, this movie is dealing with an old war and it does run a little long, but that doesn't take away from the fact that it has so much to offer in every other arena.
While you may not want to own it outright, Miracle At St. Anna is certainly worth your viewing time.
Miracle at St. Anna was released September 15, 2008.