Archy Hamilton (Mark Lee) has been trained to be a runner and he has immense skills in that field, even world class level performance. He could take his skills and become a professional athlete, but he yearns for more than his small town in Australia can offer. At a track meet, Archy meets another runner, Frank Dunne (Mel Gibson) and the two strike up an instant friendship. Archy is sure that the path to take is to enlist in the military, after all, that ensures world travel and adventure. Frank is doubtful, but lured in by the flashier side of the service, so after a time, both men are enlisted. As time passes, the two train and become even closer friends, but a fate looms ahead that neither could expect. At Gallipoli, the unit that both men are in is ordered to serve as fodder, a certain suicide mission. When the chance comes for one of them to avoid this horrific fate, will he accept, or will they brave death together, as friends?
This is not the kind of war movie that makes you want to run down to the recruiting office and enlist, not even close, in fact. The role of honor is prominent, but more to the point of following orders at all costs, as opposed to doing the right thing. That creates a bitter conflict, as the men in Gallipoli face certain death, no doubt about that, but they choose to forge onward. Even when a chance to avoid the suicide mission is offered, the loyalty to friends takes precedence. Mel Gibson turns in a solid performance here, even though his role is not the lead, so he shows he can provide support when needed. The rest of the cast is quite good too, especially Mark Lee, who is pretty close to flawless in his role. Paramount’s new Special Collector’s Edition is not a huge improvement, but cheap enough to warrant the upgrade.
Video: How does it look?
Gallipoli is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. I’ve never seen the previous disc’s transfer, but I do know it was also anamorphic, so I suspect this is the same presentation. That is not bad news however, as the image is quite good in all respects. The print is in good shape, with no serious woes to mention and softness is not a concern here. The visuals can be a tad dark at times, but this is corrected in most scenes, though contrast is a little off in some instances. I found colors to be well represented, but in those darker scenes, the hues can be, well darker than they should be. This transfer has some issues, most of which are minor, but in the end, the movie looks more than solid.
Audio: How does it sound?
A Dolby Digital 5.1 option is present and while not remarkable, the soundtrack offers a good all around atmosphere. The more action driven scenes provide some spark, but this isn’t as action driven as some war movies, so don’t expect the world. But in some sequences, the surrounds do perk up and supply some power, which adds to those scenes. The music also provides a boost to the audio, while dialogue is crisp and never wavers, a more than solid overall soundtrack. This disc also includes a 2.0 surround option, a French language track, and subtitles in English and Spanish.
Supplements: What are the extras?
The main attraction here is Entrenched: The Making of Gallipoli, a collection of six featurettes that explore the production. I was quite impressed with the featurettes, as they provide a good deal of insight, both from a technical standpoint and a more relaxed, candid angle. Gibson shares his concerns over potential nude scenes, while Weir focuses more on the material and production issues. In the end, a well crafted look inside the movie, one that fans should enjoy. This disc also includes the film’s theatrical trailer.