Gods and Generals Extended Director's Cut (Blu-ray)

Recounting the fierce allegiances and combat of the early Civil War, Gods and Generals recreates the two years prior to the historic battle of Gettysburg and delves into the lives of Stonewall Jackson (Stephen Lang), Joshua Chamberlain (Jeff Daniels), and Robert E. Lee (Robert Duvall).

I love history (especially American history), so I really wanted to like this film. Unfortunately, the script is all over the place and the pacing is downright awful. It doesn't help that it's been expanded with an additional hour of footage and clocks in at 280 minutes in order to lengthen certain scenes and adds a subplot of John Wilkes Booth (Chris Conner). On the plus side, the battle scenes are well done and Duvall's depiction of Lee is marvelous.

Video Highlights

  • AVC/1080p encode on a BD50 disc
  • Very soft and filtered, especially long and medium length shots
  • Close-ups look outstanding
  • Rich color saturation
  • Excellent black levels

Audio Highlights

  • DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack
  • Excellent bass response
  • Intelligible dialog
  • Battle scenes sound outstanding

The original Blu-ray looked decent enough and I don't see many improvements with the new encode. At 280 minutes, it's testing the limits of a BD-50 disc capacity and there are times where it looks bit-starved. The audio track is improved with a lossless mix (the previous track was 640kbps Dolby Digital Plus) with a hefty low end and plenty of atmospheric effects.

Bonus Materials

  • Introduction by Executive Producer Ted Turner and Director/Screenwriter Ronald F. Maxwell
  • All-new audio commentary
  • 3 Featurettes
  • Music Video
  • Theatrical trailer

This is a very polarizing film because of its bloated runtime and controversial storytelling from the South's perspective. Frankly, if you're a history buff then I would take a look at the Ken Burns documentary Civil War because it's much more enlightening and is a better use of your time.

Release Date: May 24, 2011
Studio: Warner

Movie: 4/10
Picture: 7/10
Sound: 8/10

Review System

Oppo BDP-93 Blu-ray player

JVC DLA-RS40 projector
Stewart FireHawk screen (76.5" wide, 16:9)

Integra DTC-80.2 pre/pro
Anthem PVA-7 power amplifier
Belkin PVA-PF60 power conditioner

M&K S-150s (L, C, R)
M&K SS-150s (LS, RS, SBL, SBR)
SVS PC-Ultra subwoofer

Monoprice HDMI cables (source to pre/pro)
Best Deal analog-audio cables
PureLink HDC Fiber Optic HDMI Cable System (15 meters) from pre/pro to projector

Acoustical treatments from GIK Acoustics