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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Island [Blu-ray]

 

(Michael Bay, 2005)

 

Warner (Japan) - Region FREE - Blu-ray LEFT vs. Paramount Region 'A' - Blu-ray RIGHT

 

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Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Warner

Video: Warner Home Video (Japan) vs. Paramount/Dreamworks

 

Disc:

Region: Warner is FREE! Paramount is region 'A'-locked (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 2:15:59.860 / 2:16:04.197

Disc Size: 21,068,671,816 bytes / 48,702,179,443 bytes

Feature Size: 20,157,327,360 bytes / 45,432,342,528 bytes

Video Bitrate: 17.42 Mbps / 32.23 Mbps

Chapters: 37 / 44

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: June 11th, 2008 / June 21st, 2011

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: VC-1 encode / MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

Dolby Digital Audio English 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Japanese 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -4dB

 

DTS-HD Master Audio English 4391 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 4391 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio French 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -4dB
Commentary: Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), Japanese, none

 

English (SDH), French, Spanish, none

 

Extras:

• Making of... (14:56)

 

Commentary by director Michael Bay

• Making of... (13:02 in 480i)

• The Future in Action (15:42 - in 480i)

• Pre-Visualization: Forward Thinking (8:09 in 480i)

 

Bitrates:

Warner (Japan) - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP vs. Paramount Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

 

Product Description: From Director Michael Bay (Armageddon, The Rock) comes an action-packed thrill ride that's an "explosive mind-blowing assault on the senses! - Clay Smith (The Insider) Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson lead an all-star cast as residents of an isolated high-tech compound. But when they discover they're actually clones and worth more dead than alive they stage a daring escape. Battling an unfamiliar environment and an armed team of mercenaries in hot pursuit they'll risk their lives and freedom to save those they left behind - and reveal the truth about The Island...

 

The Film:

 

 

When you add up all the best things about The Island, you might just conclude that there's hope yet for Hollywood's most critically reviled hit-maker, Michael Bay. Recruited by Steven Spielberg to direct this lavish and often breathtaking sci-fi action thriller, Bay rises to the occasion with an ambitious production that is, by his standards (and compared to Bay's earlier hits like The Rock and Armageddon), surprisingly intelligent as it explores the repercussions of cloning in a sealed-off society where humans are cultivated for spare parts, surrogate parenthood, and full-body replacements for wealthy clientele. But when two of the clones (Ewan McGregor, Scarlett Johanssen) begin to question their fate and the motives of their keepers, they escape into the real world and The Island becomes just another Michael Bay action extravaganza, albeit an impressively exciting one. With elaborate chase scenes and a high-tech feast of CGI to dazzle the eye, The Island recycles much of the plot from 1979's Clonus while borrowing elements from Logan's Run, Gattaca and Minority Report, and while it's not as smartly conceived as those earlier films, there's no denying that, in many ways, it's Bay's best film to date.

Excerpt from Jeff Shannon's review at Amazon HERE

 

 

 

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

 

Video:  Secondary NOTE: This is not yet available in North America BUT this Japanese disc will play on 'Region A' Blu-ray equipment which includes the Americas (North, Central and South except French Guiana), Korea, Japan, South East Asia (including Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan). The disc is region-free.

 

This has Japanese menus but, like a typical 'Warner' Blu-ray - the film starts up as soon as you put the disc in (no painfully long trailers or Blu-ray adverts). It's fairly simple with only 2 options for both audio and subtitles and the only supplement is in English. I strongly suspect that the transfer will be the same as the eventual U.S. release.

 

 

 

This Blu-ray is single-layered with the feature taking up 19.6 Gig  of the 2 1/4 hour film in 2.35 aspect ratio. It looks pretty darn strong as evidenced by the large resolution screen captures (clickable below.) Detail and colors all definitely outshine the competent SD edition and I noted no intensive flaws to mar a home theater presentation. It can look saturated in some scenes but I have no evidence to suggest this was not an intentional look. Being a Michael Bay film there are some rich, striking images (some fake, many real) and they look duly impressive on 1080P. The Island is probably one film that is worthy of being noted as a strong reason to encourage upgrading to Blu-ray dependant, of course, on how keen you might be on the film - which, dare I say, one of Bay's most intelligent and possibly his best effort to date (mimicking the last line of Shannon's review above) - I agree! 

 

The Paramount/Dreamworks U.S. Blu-ray is superior although it is less apparent in the screen captures. It is dual-layered with almost double the bitrate. This will be more noticeable in how discerning your eye and system are. The Japanese 1080P is encoded with VC-1 (as opposed to the US version's AVC) and has slightly more in the way of minute noise. Contrast varies a little but in most areas the Paramount takes a marginal edge visually being a bit brighter, better skin tones and more depth.    

 

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

 

Screen Captures

 

Warner (Japan) Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP vs. Paramount Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Warner (Japan) Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP vs. Paramount Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Warner (Japan) - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP vs. Paramount Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Warner (Japan) - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP vs. Paramount Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Warner (Japan) - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP vs. Paramount Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Warner (Japan) - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP vs. Paramount Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Warner (Japan) - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP vs. Paramount Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Warner (Japan) - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP vs. Paramount Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Warner (Japan) - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP vs. Paramount Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Warner (Japan) - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP vs. Paramount Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Warner (Japan) - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP vs. Paramount Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Audio: Nothing overly notable with Warner's inclusion of the English surround option which is quite competent when called upon - buoyant and separated although compressed... but still fairly even and consistent in the interim with dialogue audio supported by English or Japanese subtitle options. No complaints at all. There is also a Japanese surround DUB if necessary.

 

Since the Japanese disc wasn't lossless this is an easy decision. But to compound things the Paramount has a powerhouse DTS-HD Master 5.1 at 4391 kbps. The film is not of the rip-roaring action vein but it has some moments with chase scenes and effects. You can really note the difference between the two editions in regards to the robust depth of the U.S. edition. Where the Warner was region free - the Paramount is 'A'-locked.

 

 


Extras:
We don't get the commentary found on the SD but we do get a 15-minute 'Making of..."  with input from many of the cast, Bay and some crew. It covers, on the surface, some of the details and why specific choices were made. It's okay but not any deep analysis or evolution of the story which I would have preferred.

 

The U.S. version really advances upon its Japanese counterpart here. There is a slightly better-than-average commentary by director Michael Bay. It is nice to hear his passion for the film and it's concept. We get a slightly truncated version of the same Making of... found on the Warner, plus two more featurettes; The Future in Action runs about 15-minutes and delves into the sci-fi themes and the Pre-Visualization: Forward Thinking shows storyboarding and futuristic models made for the production.  

 

Extras

 

Warner (Japan) - Region FREE - Blu-ray LEFT vs. Paramount Region 'A' - Blu-ray RIGHT

 

 

BOTTOM LINE: Being a Michael Bay I had some preconceptions about the film, but ended up being very pleasantly surprised. Yes, the chase scene is overdone, but conceptually it remains exceptionally intriguing presenting itself as a cross between Coma and Logan's Run. McGregor is excellent - as is Johanssen who is pristine as futuristic eye-candy. The Blu-ray is better than one might suspect for a single-layered effort and although the extras are light I think many fans would enjoy The Island in high-def in their home theaters. I sure did.

The DreamWorks/Paramount U.S. Blu-ray wins hands down - better technically in both audio and video, more extras and the price is about 1/4 that of its Japanese counterpart. I would like to say that the film is a darn sight better than it may have been given credit for. There are thought-provoking themes, excellent effects and it has a suspenseful, building, pace. I can certainly endorse at the low price - this will fulfill for some worthwhile entertainment in the home theater. Definitely a spin is recommended!   

 

Thinking of buying from YesAsia? CLICK HERE and use THIS UPDATED BEAVER PAGE to source their very best...

 

 

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About the Reviewer: 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 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 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.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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