Unbreakable - BRD
(M. Night Shyamalan, 2000)
Review by Leonard Norwitz
Theatrical: Blinding Edge Pictures
Video: Touchstone Home Entertainment
Aspect ratio: 2.35:1
Feature film: 1080p
102 minutes: 31 chapters
English 5.1 Uncompressed (48 kHz/24-bit)
English DD 5.1 Surround
French DD 5.1 Surround
Spanish DD 5.1 Surround
Feature: English SDH, French, Spanish
Extras: English SDH, French, Spanish
• Behind the Scenes hosted by Bruce Willis
• Comic Books & Superheroes: with Samuel L. Jackson
• Deleted Scenes with M. Night
• The Train Station Sequence in Multi-Angles
• Night's First Fight Sequence
Locking Blu-ray case
Release Date: April 1st, 2008
The Score Card
The Movie : 7
Security guard, David Dunn (Bruce Willis), is returning home from New York to Philadelphia when his train is derailed at high speed. All are killed except himself who escapes injury quite literally unscathed. When he meets his anxious and semi-estranged wife (Robin Penn Wright) and boy (Spencer Treat Clark) he walks through throngs of people in a daze of survivor's guilt and what-the-hell-just-happened. And who wouldn't? Later, he finds a note on his car windshield asking him how many days he had ever been sick. A sensible question, under the circumstances. Eventually he makes his way to Limited Edition, a graphic comic book and art gallery managed by Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson). Elijah suffers from a genetic condition quite the opposite of Dunne's where his bones are subject to breaking as easily as a cracker – thus the name given by teasing schoolmates, "Mr. Glass." Gradually, with Elijah's prodding, Dunn becomes aware of something that he had gone to some pains to forget: his invulnerability to certain assaults on his body that would have vanquished the ordinary mortal.
But Elijah seems to have an obsession about Dunn that goes beyond mere curiosity. He suggests not so much a bell-shaped curve with himself at one end and someone such as Dunne at the other. Elijah sees these polarities in grandiose comic book terms, as opposites of monumental proportions. There is something menacing about his insistence, something preternatural about his knowledge and intelligence. Is he the author and illustrator of the comics he displays and sells; is he the ultimate curator of the genre; or what?
Image : 9 (8~9/9)
The score of 9 indicates a relative level of excellence compared to other Blu-ray DVDs. The score in parentheses represents: first, a value on a ten-point scale for the image in absolute terms; and, second, how that image compares to what I believe is the current best we can expect in the theatre.
Some of the close-up details are of near-demo quality. Since so much of the movie takes place in the shadows, we might expect intrusive amounts of noise or a tendency to brighten the better to see what's going on. Happily, neither is the case. If anything, the dark areas tend to go to near black without much subtlety, which is OK since the nature of the movie does not cry out for more information. Bit rates are generally in the mid-thirties.
By the way, did you happen to notice the lighting blooper in the scene where David and his wife return home from their date (just before then of chapter 19)? I felt it leapt off the screen from an otherwise perfectly lit movie.
SD (2-disc) TOP vs. Blu-ray BOTTOM
Audio & Music : 7/7
There is a blistering crack of breaking glass as the main menu makes its way into existence. It's very effective as a scare tactic, but it is also a little anticlimactic since there are no analogous snaps in the movie – this despite Elijah's cracking good fall down the stairs to the Underground. I only point this out so that you not sit there waiting for something that doesn't quite happen. The atmospherics are nicely rendered. I especially liked the rain outside the house of the victims' house at the film's climax. Like the great majority of the action, the audio mix is understated. Willis tends to mumble; Jackson tends to shout; while Penn is so self-effacing as to be inaudible. Finding the right note will test your system
Operations : 7
Touchstone Blu-ray DVDs are distributed by Buena Vista whose front-loaded promos and previews (not so many this time) can be chapter-skipped before the loading of the feature film begins. On the other hand, I found the menu operations to be most sensible, informing of us about the length of the various segments. I also liked the fact that the features themselves, except for the Deleted Scenes had no chapters so it was relatively easy to return to the film. Note the small font yellow subtitles.
Extras : 7
While none of the bonus features are in HD, they are presented in variable-to-high quality anamorphic SD, including the inserts of scenes from the feature film. Behind the Scenes is a 14-minute documentary guided by Willis that covers the basics of production design. The 19-minuteComic Books & Superheroes, kicked off by Samuel L. Jackson, looks at how the graphic art ideas became realized in the movie. There are also 28 minutes worth of Deleted Scenes with comments by the director. These are the same features that were included in the 2004 2-disc SD (Reviewed HERE).
I admit to a certain personal disdain for Night's lack of humility. In the extras we find him admonishing his production team to find unique sounds and "singular" music cues – as if never before heard. It's right, I thought, that he doesn't have a lazy approach to film making, for it would have been easier to use an off-the-shelf approach. But to hear him talk, it's as if he's discovered the concept. No, that's not it exactly. It's as if he owns the rights to it. Of course, my response to the way the man talks about himself says nothing about the finished product. I'm happy I never met Beethoven or Wagner, for I hear they were both sonsabitches. The point I'm making is that in case you haven't gotten into the habit, I caution you to watch bonus features AFTER you watch the movie.
March 22nd, 2008