UTR readers know that we loved the movie. That we’ve interviewed at least one of the directors twice: the first time was both Michael “Mouse” McCoy and Scott Waugh for the blog and, most recently, site editor Ward Carroll sat down and talked with Scott onstage at the Milblog Conference last month. So now Act of Valor is out on Blu-ray & DVD. If you’re on the fence, should you spend the cash to get a take-home copy?
The Blu-ray transfer looks great, another in a line of action pictures that looks better on a home theater setup than it did in the theater. The crew did a great job shooting the movie and it’s hard to tell exactly which scenes were shot in 35mm and which used a digital camera. The DVD is a little dark in places and the iTunes digital copy is no more blurry compared to the Blu-ray than any other title we’ve reviewed around here. Fox does make one upgrade here: you load the digital version of the film off the DVD disk, eliminating the third disk that other studios use, the one that’s useless after you activate the digital copy.
Extras are mostly the promo documentaries that went up on YouTube before the movie showed up in theaters. These copies look a lot better than the online versions but they’re all pretty short and don’t offer much new to the PR you’ve already heard about the movie.
More interesting are 30 minutes of interviews with the SEALs who act in the picture. They can’t really reveal too many details about their lives or their missions, but their personalities come through and you get a sense of how their real lives were incorporated into the script and the characters they portray onscreen.
The real selling point here (aside from the picture and sound) is the Directors Commentary audio track. Mouse and Scott offer a lot of detail about locations, technical choices and the challenges they faced making the film. They showed up focused, prepared and ready to deliver on taping day and they offer a lot more than the by-the-numbers soundtrack that shows up on a lot of DVDs these days.
There’s a lot more detail we’d like to see about gear and operational methods, but that’s probably never going to happen for security reasons. The movie’s still a blast to watch and the new stuff is worth your time.