Review by Yunda Eddie Feng
Audio: DD Plus 5.1 English, DD Plus 2.0 stereo French
Subtitles: Optional English SDH, French
Extras: audio commentary by director Rob Cohen; “The Making of Daylight”; “The Featurette”; music video; trailers; My Scenes
Released: 12 June 2007
The Film: Director Rob Cohen is very well-represented on HD-DVD. Logistically, this makes sense since most of his features career has been spent on Universal’s productions, and Universal is the only major Hollywood studio to support only HD-DVD and not Blu-Ray. The Fast and the Furious and Dragonheart are already on HD-DVD, and it’s safe to expect Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story, The Skulls, and The Mummy 3 on HD-DVD, too.
Daylight is the latest Rob-Cohen project to hit HD-DVD. Disaster flicks
based on realistic scenarios aren’t really imaginable in the post-9/11
world, but we got a smattering of them during the 1990s. Heck, we got
two volcano movies (Dante’s Peak and Volcano) and two
falling-heavenly-objects movies (Deep Impact and Armageddon).
Daylight’s contribution is a workman-like hustle through a
collapsing tunnel without exits. The moviemakers managed to create some
intense action sequences, but the by-the-numbers script has too many
clichés and dead moments. Do we really need another hero who redeems
himself after falling from grace? Sylvester Stallone...that formula
works really only with
The 1.85:1 1080p image has good moments and so-so moments, though on the whole, the video is above-average--certainly better than what you get with The River or Midnight Run but quite a ways away from Letters From Iwo Jima and Black Snake Moan. Some of the darkest scenes are the most problematic, but film grain tends to be a difficult factor to control given low light levels.
The Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 English track has several powerful moments as befitting a disaster flick. When the mix gets a little busy, the center channel can get overwhelmed, though I suppose this makes sense since you wouldn’t be able to hear someone else’s voice anyway when explosions and collapsing infrastructure surround you. Randy Edelman’s overwrought and overbaked score swells mightily from every speaker.
You can also watch the movie with a DD Plus 2.0 stereo French dub. Optional English SDH and French subtitles support the audio.
Rob Cohen contributed a yak track to the movie’s various incarnations on optical disc, and the audio commentary makes a re-appearance on this HD-DVD. Cohen gets technical about the complicated logistics, but he doesn’t really sustain interest.
“The Making of Daylight” is a near-hour-long documentary that
covers various aspects of the production but features interviews with
people who take the movie too seriously. “The Featurette” is basically
an extended trailer. You also get a music video and two trailers.
Finally, you can bookmark your favorite moments with “My Scenes”.
An insert advertises other Universal HD-DVDs.
This HD-DVD actually drops some of the promotional items (mostly photos of sketches, storyboards, and the like) that are on the SD-DVD.