I can't really saying anything original about this film. I remember watching "The Neverending Story" when I was a child, and it's surprising the director narrated that as well.
For a film that's thing long, I still couldn't help but feel it was slightly cliched, quite Hollywood. It was better than the recent Israeli film "Lebannon" which was a claustrophobic tank setting. I hated that because it felt like Hollywood.
Obviously if I didn't like this film I wouldn't of watched all of it. You didn't really get to understand this from a German WW2 perspective. There were some emotional responses that could of been portrayed more realistically. I believe this film was very expensive to make.. The most expensive outside of USA and USSR at the time. What does that tell you so far?
It was quite average in most places really. I did think it was going to be more psychological and less on the action, considering its lengthy runtime (but hey, look at LoTR). You're supposed to feel like you're part of the crew, and I can understand where that's coming from, but the characterisation wasn't very good at all, and the dialogue didn't really cover anything you'd expect.
This film doesn't have any gaping holes in it that really make it bad, it manages to pull through and reward you with decent entertainment for over 3 hours but I think the key word there is "entertainment".
"I am categorically against entertainment in cinema: it is as degrading for the author as it is for the audience." - Andrei Tarkovsky
Obviously quite an extreme thing to say but when I think of a film being described as "entertaining" I just think of the hours I had wasted witnessing action or thriller films. On TV I saw a film about some shipsinking and a few survivors making their way through claustrophobic passages... Das Boot didn't totally remind me of that trash, but I think that it doesn't go into the depths of intellectual thought or give itself enough character to be hailed as a piece of art rather than a cliched expensive feature film. That said, you can't call this a bad film at all, if you accept it for what it is.