Well – this qualifies as one of the most bizarre examples of casting and scripting that I have ever seen in my life. Kelsey Grammer plays what is supposed to be a near-unemployable submarine captain whose insane antics are about to get him kicked out of the naval submarine command program. The movie chronicles his “return,” so to speak, as he overcomes insurmountable odds in a naval war game exercise to win a respectable submarine to command. His weapon – a WWII sub against the modern Americ…n nuclear submarine fleet. His crew – misfits and rejects that noone else in the navy would take.
The Acting: Is atrocious. Kelsey Grammer plays Captain Whatever-his-name-was with all of the panache of … a radio show psychiatrist. Stilted, formal, overly compassionate and caring – and this is the “wildman” were supposed to believe has a raging drinking problem and a tattooed penis. Mmmmm hmmm. Picture Fraser Crane as Harley riding, leather wearing gun toting biker gang member – kind of hard, eh? Comes off as more Village People than Hell’s Angels and the same effect can be experienced here – Kelsey Grammer shouldn’t have been cast as a crusty bad-ass submarine captain.
The only other notable cast inclusion is Rob Schneider. I’m not a big fan of his brand of humour, but in this movie he’s deprived of even much physical or situational comedy – he’s just an angry, bitter, unfunny executive officer. In fact, I have to say that this is the most serious role I’ve ever seen him in – not what I was expecting.
Ok – at this point, you can probably tell that I didn’t particularly like the movie – a sentiment with which the box office concurs. That being said, however, click the Amazon link and take a look at the submitted reviews – a large fan base seems to adore this movie. Perhaps I’m in the wrong demographic, but to me it played as pompous and uninspired comedy with some gratuitous uplifting happy-rainbow scenes and some lowbrow sex humor thrown in to appease the unwashed masses. But, maybe I’m missing something.
Special Effects: Not a section I figured I would include, but its worth noting that the production values here are very high. The submarine scenes are as good as any, and the sets for the submarine interior are extremely well done.
Video is alarmingly good. Underwater scenes usually come out murky, grainy and hard to enjoy – not the case here. And there are numerous underwater scenes here – both of subs from the outside, and the interiors. Colours are great through-out, contrast is well done, black levels are good too, and to cap it all, near perfect transfer with no particulate or scratch damage.
Audio is as improbably good as the special effects. A great 5.1 mix. The sound engineers must go ape when they have a chance to render sonar pings in 5.1 because they always sound great, and do so hear as well. Good bass, nice placement, good audio all around.
Obviously, I wasn’t enamoured of this disc, but Grammer fans may be – certainly a large and vocal group (as evidenced by Amazon) liked it. If you’re interested in taking a chance with it, it is a well done DVD release, although the absence of any special features diminishes its value considerably.