H D - S E N S E I

A view on Hi-def DVDs by Gary W. Tooze

 

Introduction: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 7500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction. So be it, but film will always be my first love and I list my favorites on the old YMdb site now accessible HERE.  

Gary's Home Theatre:

Samsung HPR4272 42" Plasma HDTV
Toshiba HD-A2 HD-DVD player (firmware upgraded)

Sony BDP-S300 1080p Blu-ray Disc Player (firmware upgraded)
Sony DVP NS5ODH SD-DVD player (region-free and HDMI)

Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

Gary W. Tooze

 

HD-DVD STORE         HIGH DEFINITION DVD STORE

 

ALL OUR NEW FORMAT DVD REVIEWS

 

 

Day Watch 'Unrated' (Dnevnoy dozor aka Дневной дозор) [Blu-ray]

 

(Timur Bekmambetov, 2006)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Studio:

Twentieth Century Fox
 

Discs:

Region: Free

Feature Runtime: 2:25:48

Chapters: 20

Feature film disc size: 40.2 Gig (dual-layered)

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: September 9th, 2008

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p

Video codec: MPEG4-AVC

 

Audio: Russian: DTS HD Master Lossless 5.1
DUBs: English: DTS 5.1
Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1
French: Dolby Digital 5.1

Subtitles:
Feature: English SDH, English, Spanish, French, Chinese (simplified and traditional), Korean, none
 

Supplements:

• Commentary with Director Timur Bekmambetov

Making of (26:08)

• Russian and English trailer + TV Spot
BD-Live Features:
Enhanced for D-Box Motion Control Systems

 

Product Description: This sequel to the Russian film NIGHT WATCH centers on an epic battle between forces of good and evil. An uneasy truce has kept the armies at bay for centuries, but that peace is about to end, and it will pit vampires, psychics, and witches against one another. Both factions, the Day Watch and the Night Watch, have beings of extraordinary power called "Great Others," and if these two people meet, a supernatural war will begin. Anton Gorodetsky (Konstantin Khabensky) finds himself torn between his son, the dark side's Great Other, and the woman he loves, the champion for the Light Others. DAY WATCH (DNEVNOI DOZOR) explodes in the mind-bending space between THE MATRIX and UNDERWORLD....

 

 

 

The Film:

The Russian domestic blockbuster Nochnoi Dozor (Night Watch) was an adaptation of the first half of the Sergei Lukyanenko novel of the same name (actually a set of interlinked novellas). This follow-up has to finish the plotlines of the first volume and adapt the two remaining entries in the series (Day Watch, Twilight Watch). It’s an epic stretch, even with a ‘previously…’ montage to recap the story so far. But director Timur Bekmambetov confidently assembles the complicated plot, with its myriad bizarre characters (there’s a sub-plot about a vampire chef and his mixed-up son, not to mention the possibility that the heroine of the first film will evolve into a ‘Great Light Other’), and rushes towards a satisfyingly apocalyptic finish in which Moscow (perhaps the world) faces destruction as metaphysical war breaks out and the fate of all reality depends on a particularly bizarre MacGuffin.

 

It’s a rich film, as good at staging amazing car stunts in the snowy Moscow streets (and up the side of buildings) as making wry humour of a sex-switch body-swap plot strand. When the CGI cuts in for the devastation, it gets a bit Highlanderish - you’d think all these arch-sorcerers would come up with more imaginative spells beyond simply zapping each other. The major achievement is that it establishes its own tradition - very specifically Russian in cultural reference and post-Soviet noir look, but with the energy and pace of Hollywood.

Excerpt from Empire Magazine located HERE

 

Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Like it's predecessor, Night Watch, Day Watch is filled with some striking visuals - and it doesn't seem to drop a molecule in mimicking the visual splendor produced by the first film in 1080P. Some differences that I noted were that Day Watch shows more healthy film grain in spots. Colors and detail continue to exhibit great strength without digital enhancement. Detail, driven by the 40.2 Gig of space on a dual-layered Blu-ray, produces some mesmerizing results. Noise exists but it is quite minor and only really visibly intrusive in a few spots. This appears to be the theatrical cut of the film, unlike Night Watch which was the 'international version'. There is no English narration (unless that DUB is chosen) and no credit/title cards in both English and Cyrillic. I think this transfer produced and even more film-like image than the previous effort on Blu-ray. It really is quite spectacular and I love the touch of grain.

 

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio & Music:  
The original Russian, in a DTS HD Master Lossless 5.1 track, is quite pristine. It's buoyant and dynamic without a flaw that I could detect. Sound effects envelop the room... and it can get noisy. Like Night Watch, there is an interesting original music score by Yuri Poteyenko. Included are some decent sounding DUBs available in English (DTS), French and Spanish (5.1) plus subtitles in a host of options (English SDH, English, Spanish, French, Chinese - simplified and traditional - or Korean).

 

 

Extras:
Not as stacked as the first offering,
Night Watch, but there is still some viable supplements starting with a commentary from the director Timur Bekmambetov (English - Russian accent). It runs with the English DUB. I kind of warmed to him a bit more in this one although he still can sound a bit loopy at times, he seems much more 'stayed' this time around. There are plenty of gaps as he doesn't always know what is expected of him in the commentary. Still, the attempt is appreciated and not totally without merit. The "Making of..." featurette (with optional subs) has a lot to impart - in as rapid a succession as the film itself. It runs 26 minutes with many of the cast and crew giving input and there are some behind the scenes production shots backing them up. Pretty good piece actually. There are a bunch of Russian Trailers and Television Spots, and an International Theatrical Trailer - but nothing in HD.

 

 

Bottom line:
Day Watch still maintains the same high marks for uniqueness - but the herky-jerky surrealism can be a bit tiring to watch. The film has bountiful energy and seems to even quicken the pace from
Night Watch. Although this style and content are not my personal favorite, I admit to being interested enough and to following along (as best I could) with the flow and direction. The imagery just pours out of this film with surprising freshness. I can say this - if you enjoyed Night Watch - this is much more of the same (and this is no slight). It can put many Hollywood blockbusters (or similar genre intent) to shame and this Blu-ray transfer could almost be demonstration quality for some as the spectacles are presented with a fair level of the 'Wow' factor that many enthusiasts seek.

Gary Tooze

September 8th, 2008

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





 

Hit Counter

 

DONATIONS Keep DVDBeaver alive:

Mail cheques, money orders, cash to:    or CLICK PayPal logo to donate!

Gary Tooze

Thank You!