Audio: DD Plus 5.1 English, French DD Plus 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH and French
Released: 27 March 2007
HD-DVD/DVD Combo case
I love science fiction; from the space opera to the
near future world that we all live in. Films from
our world seem to tell stores of want and will or
death and doom, of which all make for great
storytelling. Films like
Runner, Escape From New York, When Worlds Collide,
Planet of the Apes and on and on all give the
future a new twist. In Children of Men we
are told a story of where our world will be in 2027
with a twist of apocalyptic speculation.
Children of Men for me is one of those rare
films that doesn’t wear sci-fi on its sleeve but
tells a beautiful tale that even the non-science
fiction fan can enjoy. This film starts in a not so
distant future where the last child born on earth
(born in 2009) has just been murdered at age 18. In
the film human infertility has left humanity with no
chance for continued existence and with it, no hope
for any kind of future. People have accepted this
and go about their days working and carrying out
what is left of their lives. The audience is lead
to believe that Britain has the last surviving
government and there are hundred upon thousands of
illegal immigrants that want to seek refuge there.
Stuck in the middle of all of this chaos is our hero
Theo (Clive Owen) has been chosen to guide our
heroine, Kee (Claire-Hope
Ashitey), a pregnant African refugee, out of
the city and into safety.
The film is presented in 1080p, 1.85:1 aspect
ratio. The director’s choice to make the film
gritty (ala Blade Runner) and real leaves the viewer
with the often used steady cam operation that in
this case gives the film that lived in feel. Many
shots give you so much to look at regardless of the
Cuarón has proven that he is quite the
master behind the camera. He has given us great
Y tu mamá también and Harry
Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, both films
have great stylization and in the case of Harry
Potter gave the series a much needed change of
pace. Both films also use the single-shot sequence
to great effect, which is an uncut length of film
that has been used by filmmakers like Alfred
Hitchcock (Rope), Stanley Kubrick (2001: A
Space Odyssey), PT Anderson (Boogie Nights)
and Kevin Smith (Clerks) just to name a few.
One cannot talk about Children of Men without
mentioning the long single-shot sequences. There
are two instances of the single-shot sequence in
this film. Both are extremely well crafted and used
to great effect.
Alfonso Cuarón, the director, aided by a few CGI
tricks made the two scenes remarkable as well as
ground-breaking in their use of the camera. The
film was recognized by the not only the Academy but
also BAFTA and other awards for its outstanding
The creation of the single-shot sequences was a
difficult, lengthy process that caused apprehension
within the studio. It took fourteen days to prepare
for the single take in which Theo (Clive Owen's
character) searches for a safe building under attack
from all sides. When the actor or director needed
to reshoot this scene it took nearly five hours for
the crew to reset for the shot.
The other single-shot sequence is a getaway where
the camera is station outside of the car then placed
inside with the actors and put on a 360-degree
automated tripod that swiveled around the action to
great effect. As the action stops the camera exits
the car with the cast and creates such an
astonishing sequence it will have the viewer hitting
the last scene button to watch it again and again.
Every aspect of the film is amazing. When Theo
first visits Jaspers (Michael Caine) house be sure
to take note of the flora surrounding his home, to
witness just how amazing the HD DVD’s 1080p
presentation can aid a films look and feel.
The age of High Definition is here and it is
something to behold. During scenes of explosions
the flames carry a three dimensional feel to them
that give the film a real world feel as well. This
film may not be demo material due to its grainy,
drab feel, but for those trying to woo their friends
to HD DVD Children of Men will certainly be a
presentation for what a down and dirty film can look
like in 1080p glory.
The transfer is speckled from time to time with
white noise (particularly the opening sequence) as
well as color banding here and there but I don’t
feel it takes away from the presentation as a
whole. I have seen many instances of color banding
in 1080p material and my guess is to fault our
current technology for it. We still have to deal
with the digital age and how new all of it is,
however with that, color banding is not (in this
reviewers mind) something that takes away from the
film. To use the parlance of our times, ‘it is what
Fun Fact (IMDb):
- One scene contains a car driving past a heavily
guarded gate and over a bridge towards what is in
fact Battersea Power Station. Between the four smoke
stacks of the power station can be seen a floating
pig, a recreation of the cover image of the Pink
Floyd album "Animals".
- In the car chase scene, just before the car is
attacked, Miriam can be seen peeling an orange in
the back seat and again just before the refugee camp
falls into chaos, Kee and Marichka share orange
slices. In films oranges often represent impending
danger or tragedy. This motif is also prominently
featured in The Godfather.
The audio is presented in 5.1 Dolby Digital Plus and
makes good use of the whole soundstage. The film
has one hell of a mix to it as well. The sound
designers did a top notch job of giving an over the
shoulder style to the film as a whole, making you
feel like you are there and coordinating with the
visuals on the screen. Be sure to turn your
speakers up and enjoy the third act where explosions
are placed all around you and really give you that
trapped inside a war zone feel.
The U-Control feature is present. U-Control is
Universals in movie feature that allows you to
select Picture in Picture interviews with the
director, the cast and the crew.
There are many ads in the movie that give it that
‘our world’ feel and this HD DVD gives you a chance
to check out those ads in another of its special
“The Possibility of Hope” is a 25 minute documentary
where the director talks to philosophers about the
humanity, reality and sadness of the world that
surrounds the film. Some are very wrapped up in
theory but overall it is worth at least one viewing.
“Under Attack” while promotional in its approach
does tackle some of the single-shot sequences.
While I would have liked to see more of the “how
to’s” of these sequences it was a nice extra and
also worth a single viewing.
“Futuristic Design” was actually a nice accompany
piece for this film. It goes into how they did some
of the set designs and some of the thought behind
them. This was a short and sweet segment that gives
a lot of quick details on the set pieces used in the
“Comments by Slovoj Zizek” should have been added
into the ‘Possibility of Hope’ segment and to this
review I cannot understand why it was given its own
segment as the material presented within were vastly
similar to previously tread water.
Deleted Scenes are present but really didn’t add to
the story and upon viewing them one can see why they
were seen as supplement material.
"Visual Effects - Creating the Baby" is an amazing
featurette that covers the creation of a CG child.
The process of creating the child in the film goes
from shot to shot and gives the viewer an
opportunity to witness how amazing this scene was.
On-screen titles give the viewer the insight into
what is happening at every stage and gives one the
explanation of how complex this process is.
Clocking in around three minutes this was one of the
best supplements on the disk. In all this
featurette was really worth watching and a strong
recommendation to anyone wanting great extras after
all this is one of those films that can be watched
time and time again and will hold up. Every aspect
of the film was special from the visual style used
to the single-shot sequences within. The extras
were a tad light but for the few that are worth
watching they are great in spades. I can easily
recommend a purchase on this film for any fan of the
science fiction genre as well as those that love a
good drama. Sit back and enjoy, I did.