GLORY
The Technical Stuff
Format: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada)
2 DVD Set; Single Sided Dual Layer Discs
Disc 1  - Theatrical Version of the Film; Anamorphic Widescreen Presentation
Disc 2  - Full Screen Version of the Film and Supplementary Material
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 - English; Dolby Surround - French

The Really Cool Stuff
   
Best Feature:
Here, the best feature is the film itself.  Glory is a fantastic Civil War drama about Colonel Robert Gould Shaw and America's first African-American military regiment.  For stirring, true military drama, Glory is about as good as it gets.  A five star film.
       
       
Documentaries:
      
1) Original Featurette - Voices of Glory
This is a neat 11 minute 'Ken Burns' style documentary, told using the actual words and writings of the soldiers, accompanied by stills, scenes from the film, and period photographs.  Good content that gives more insight into the history of the 54th Mass. Infantry. The style compliments the movie quite well, since Colonel Shaw's own letters to his family play a prominent role in Glory.
       
2) Documentary - The True Story of Glory Continues
Narrated by Morgan Freeman, this is a nicely produced 45 minute history lesson, much like you would expect to find running 'every hour on the hour' at an American Civil War museum.  Good information, tailored to interest military history buffs.  Others may be less enthralled.
      
3)  Featurette
In a true show of honesty, this 7 minute advertisement for Glory isn't even titled as a documentary!  Voiceover is provided by some disinterested Hollywood-type announcer not actually involved in the film, occasionally interrupted by sound-bites from people who are.  Only cool because it never pretends to be more than that.
        
   
Commentary Tracks:
Audio commentary is provided on one track by director Edward Zwick.  A second commentary track, which uses a novel 'picture in picture' format, includes insight from Zwick, Morgan Freeman, and Matthew Broderick.
  
Zwick's solo audio track is the more informative of the two, providing a wealth of good content about the making of the film. 
   
The 'picture in picture' video commentary utilizes a small window which fades in occasionally, showing one of the participants watching and commenting on the film.  While it's a neat idea, the 'picture in picture' commentary doesn't really seem to be neccessary for this movie.  All of Zwick's input duplicates his audio commentary track, and Matthew Broderick does a fine job of pointing out the obvious.  Morgan Freeman's portions of this track are by far the most entertaining and informative. Perhaps a solo Morgan Freeman audio track would have been the better way to go.
     
Edward Zwick's audio commentary is available on the widescreen and full-screen versions of the film, while the 'picture in picture' track is available only on the widescreen version.  All commentary tracks feature scene-index screens. 
   
    
The Not-So-Cool Stuff  A.K.A. The Complaints Department:
   
Deleted Scenes:
Yikes!  Okay, there are two very poor quality, full-screen deleted scenes included in this set.  Scratchy sound and picture, and the scenes do not add to the enjoyment of the story.  However, they do include a director's commentary option, with Zwick actually having the guts to declare one scene, "genuinely terrible", which I suppose should count as one of this DVD's coolest features!  In addition, some satisfaction can be derived from the fact that these scenes were cut from the film. 
   
    
    

Final Thought:
  
While extra content is always worth having, it seems to me that the content of this 2 DVD set could easily have fit onto a single disc.  Perhaps the 'picture in picture' commentary requires more room than a normal commentary would.  Overall, this is a descent DVD set with a spark of originality.  Fans of the film will not be disappointed.
The Usual Stuff 
 
Menu Screen Presentation:     
User interfaces for this DVD set are easy to navigate.  Disc 1 features a panning montage of Glory's central characters, accompanied by sound-bites and film score.  This montage makes a transition to the Main Menu screen, which features full motion scenes from the movie.  The scene-index menu also includes scenes in full motion.  Main Menu and scene-index screens feature James Horner's film score, and sub-menus feature stills from the film.  Disc 2 offers no intro or music, but sub-menus feature production stills from the film.  Scene-index features stills from appropriate scenes.  A simple, workable design.
    
   
Sound and Image Quality:
Looks & sounds pretty good to me, except for the deleted scenes, that is. (see below)
   
   
Theatrical Trailers:
One full-screen trailer for Glory is provided, along with trailers for two more lesser-known films starring Denzel Washington.
   
   
Cast & Crew:
Includes 'talent files' for director Edward Zwick and stars Matthew Broderick, Morgan Freeman, Denzel Washington, and Cary Elwes.
   
   
Subtitles:
Subtitle options are provided in English, French, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, Thai, and Spanish.
A.J.'s DVD Rating: 3 Stars - Give 'em Hell, 54!
Review published
February 13, 2001
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