Pirate Radio Blu-Ray Review

Cover Art and Menus: 6/10
Would I have this as a poster? No. I think it’s bold and kind of fun, but oh-so-obvious. I’m a killjoy. The menu is pretty cool, with a very 60’s style with images of the cast. The thing is they have used about 5 pictures and come on people..it’s a Blu-Ray, how about a few hundred groovy pictures?

Features: 7/10

  • Deleted Scenes (3 Exclusive To Blu-Ray) – The writer/director likes to get a lot of footage (is it still footage these days?) and with these additional scenes the movie would have been about 4 hours long, which might be a bit much. They are well finished and pretty fun, but they are fine to be left behind.
  • Featurettes – Talking heads revealing some behind the scenes through interviews and discussions, but nothing very elaborate and they seem more promotional and less interesting.
  • Feature Commentary – For more telling of tales about pirate radio from the 60’s and stories abut making the movie, this is your extra.
  • Pocket Blu – Whatever.
  • BDLive – Nothing to offer except new trailers.

The Movie: 7/10
I was neutral about this movie. I know, it’s getting worse and worse these days. I see a trailer or hear a movie mentioned on the radio and I think, “hmm sounds ho hum” or the trailer completely tells the entire story, shows what are arguably the best bits, and then ruins the experience of the movie in the end. I’m the type who likes to know absolutely nothing about the movie I’m about to watch. I mean, if I don’t even know who’s in it or what it’s about, I’m thrilled.

So, The Boat that Rocked, or Pirate Radio, depending on which side of the pond you are from,was all but laid out on a silver platter for me. I knew the cast, the story, the director and his style. Clips in the trailer and online ads seemed to sum it up so completely I had to take a deep breath and remind myself that I loved Love Actually, by the same writer/director, so there was hope.

The movie opens and it’s like Introduction of Colorful Characters 101. It moved fast and furious to establish a potentially pretentious collection of raucous individuals who had taken to the wide open seas in the 60’s while Great Britain was not open to airing Rock and Roll or Pop on mainstream radio. It sounds like an eye roller. I don’t mean the story. The whole thing sounds like it has the heart of rebellion, individualism, fighting against the powers that be, and all that good stuff I love so much. The problem is that the market made this movie seem like a throw away little trendy flick and I don’t respond well to those things….and then it is British, so I am bound by lifelong infatuation of all things British and marital obligation (married to a Brit) to give it a fighting chance.

After meeting the characters and settling in, I had a change of heart. It was slow to brew, but that feeling of good clean grown up heartwarming fun began to kick in. That’s what the Curtis seems good at and it was true this time around. Feel good, it’s not a crime. That’s pretty much a theme in the movie.

It captures time in our modern history when music ‘rocked’ the world. I’m sure there were some old timey composers back in earlier centuries, but that’s a whole other movie. From our perspective, this movie tells the tale of a time when a line got blurred. The people in the movie who are listening to the crazy degenerate rock music vs. the people who despise self-expression for fear it might lead to chaos and anarchy.

The characters grew on me, one by one. The naughty DJ who talks down and dirty to the listeners and the token American brash loud brooding DJ. The young man who has come to the boat to find his way…questionable since the boat is full of sex, drugs, and rock music. There’s the nerdy news man, the nervous comedy guy, the lesbian who cooks for the whole bunch, and a few other colorful folks who make up this sea bond family.

Through the story we get the slightest vibe that this boat of music is doing its civil duty by giving people who are back home in England a great time with their music and chatter to get them through their otherwise mundane jobs and lives. And isn’t that what art and leisure does for us all?  The evil government official who wants to bring them down is the exact opposite of all things relaxed and fun. He’s bound and determined to destroy their self-expression. Will he succeed?

The spirit of rebellion is alive and well in the story, but it is a bit tame to be honest. The original boats of pirate radio stations must have been a whole lot more grungy and stinky, or at least I would imagine. We are getting a washed down version, but that’s OK, Rock and Roll can be a bit hard core for some people 🙂

I came away from the movie feeling like “down with the man!” and that’s what I like about it the most. It invigorates that seed of anti-authority that lives in most of us right under our crusty surface. It gave me a jolt and I had a good time watching, that’s well worth a couple hours and a few laughs. I started neutral and ended up loving the feeling, loving the story, loving that ‘give ’em hell’ attitude. 🙂

Audio & Video: 9/10 (by Ascully)
What a refreshing movie Pirate Radio is, it’s basically fun all the way through and it tells a story that not much of the planet is aware of. Video quality on this Blu-Ray release is actually very good and right up there with the best of 2010 HD releases so far. The picture is razor sharp at all times and color and brightness levels never waver.

Audio uses the DTS-HD Master audio codec and for a movie that deals with the music of the 60’s sounds awesome. You could say some of the music here will be the best you have ever heard it. Alongside the music the soundtrack itself is quite lively for a comedy movie, the final scenes actually come off just like a blockbuster action movie in the audio department.

Overall I really enjoyed Pirate Radio. I am a big fan of Richard Curtis though so that might have something to do with it. The movie is a little long and takes it’s sweet time getting to where it’s going but the ride or should I say voyage is well worth taking.

Value: 5/10
I don’t need to own this movie, however, I would watch it again. Therefore I’m torn. I say it’s a good buy at around 12 bucks, but anything more and I’m ready for a rental. If you must own it, invite a load of fun loving’ friends around to have a movie party and make it worth your investment.

Overall Score 7/10