Hackman Speaks for His Own

A mixture of historical recollections and informative short, We, the Marines follows the training methods of the US Marine Corps. That’s not necessarily special. Doing so with IMAX cameras is.

Kudos to those who joined. What the men and women go through to earn their rank is arduous. We, the Marines follows those steps, from early morning runs to dips in freezing waters. Although brisk, We, the Marines builds an understanding of how such training builds a team dedicated to keeping one another safe.

Ground, air, and sea; each is featured in some capacity. Gene Hackman narrates, himself a Marine. He adds gravitas to scenes of trainees crawling through mud and under barbed wire, as if the visuals were not enough.

Insofar as capturing the experience of becoming a Marine, this is a success

What’s missing is a human component. We, the Marines is partially funded by the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation, honing in on WWII battles in Iwo Jima and modern Middle East firefights. Other than Hackman though, no one is given a name. What that relates is a feeling of unity instead of the individual, but removes a sense of who and why.

We, the Marines is worth watching for its footage though, dazzling as the IMAX camera sweeps overhead of aircraft carriers, follows helicopters as they fire missiles during an exercise, and get right into the muck with those mentally tough few. Insofar as capturing the experience of becoming a Marine, this is a success. It’s beautiful too. Knowing and celebrating those who earn their way seems crucial too though.

Video

Calm down. Unlike some of Shout Factory’s previous IMAX UHDs (Dream Big especially), We, the Marines comes to the format with a handful of minor concerns. Some images exhibit notable halos. Shots of the aircraft carriers at sea seem particularly prone. That gives those moments an edgier look, unnatural and harsh. Some shots clearly come from non-IMAX handheld cameras too.

When not impacted by those faults, sharpness offers impeccable definition. Texture on cliffsides as Marines climb present dazzling detail. Deserts visually show grains of sand, clearly discernible. A close-up of a Marine uniform early defines every stitch, no matter how small.

An HDR 10+ pass adds the needed gloss. The white hats worn by Marines glisten in the sun. Intense highlights continue for the full runtime, reflecting off water or metal. Much of We, the Marines takes place during daylight, keeping image density high with minimal reliance on black levels. The few scenes requiring black? Those look sensational too.

Marvelous color gives an intensity to blue skies. A shot of families waiting for their newly christened Marines at an airport offers an intense skyline. Gorgeous landscapes, snow and deserts alike, keep a variety of natural hues passing the screen.

Audio

Dolby Atmos is missing a low-end punch. Mortar fire and missile launches lack the needed power. That’s disappointing.

The rest creates an active soundstage, stretching wide. Radio calls can come from any number of directions, with some natural rear placement. Airplanes and helicopters sweep around without fault. Some gunfire during target practice widens the stereos.

Hackman’s narration comfortably fills the center. A booming score balances out, producing awesome range without being overwhelming.

Extras

Other than the trailers, the only bonus is 21-minute addendum to the main feature – and quite frankly, it’s better. With actual Marine interviews and deeper insight into the training process, it’s more interesting, even if the footage isn’t as dazzling.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

We, the Marines
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras
3

Movie

Sold primarily on its gorgeous IMAX footage, We, the Marines discusses the history of this military force while following the training regime.

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The following six screen shots serve as samples for our Patreon-exclusive set of 30 full 4K screen shots grabbed directly from the UHD: