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A view from the Blu (-ray) on DVDBeaver by Leonard Norwitz


A Little Background     Openers     


    Modus Operandi     The Scorecard:     

Emotive Connection      Audio     Operations    Extras     The Movie     Equipment




(The Director's Cut) [Blu-ray]


(Mark Steven Johnson, 2003)






Review by Leonard Norwitz



Theatrical: Regency Enterprises & 20th Century Fox

Blu-ray: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment



Region: All

Runtime: 133 min

Chapters: 44

Size: 50 GB

Case: Standard Amaray Blu-ray case

Release date: September 30, 2008



Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p

Video codec: AVC @ 20 MBPS



English DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio; English, Spanish & French DD 5.1



English, Spanish, Cantonese & Mandarin



• Feature Commentary by Writer/Director Mark Steven Johnson & Producer Avi Arad

• Enhanced Viewing Mode: Behind the Scenes PIP

• Documentary: Beyond Hell's Kitchen: Making Daredevil (58:51)

• Documentary: Men Without Fear: Creating Daredevil (59:15)

• HBO First Look TV Special (24:50)

• Featurette: Giving the Devil His Due (15:26)

• Featurette: Shadow World Tour (ca. 6:00)

• Featurette: Moving Through Space: A Day With Tom Sullivan (8:28)

• Featurette: Featured Villain: Kingpin (2:21)

• Jennifer Garner Screen Tests (2:31)

• 5 Photo Galleries

• 3 Music Videos: Fuel: Won't Back Down / The Calling: For You / Evanescence: Bring Me to Life (11:58)



The Film: 5
The desire to realize Marvel's Daredevil onto film was something of a cause and a dream for writer/director Mark Steven Johnson, but after various studios signed on and subsequently signed off, Johnson was to get his wish. Daredevil is one of Marvel's darker heroes. Like Batman, Daredevil is an avenging vigilante; and like other vigilantes, his moral position is anything but clear. Perhaps that's why he works at night. By day, Daredevil is Matt Murdock, lawyer for the unlucky. By night he rights the wrongs of the ironically not-so-blind justice system. In this, he is considerably dirtier than Harry Callahan. Oh yes, the other reason he works at night: Matt was blinded by an industrial accident as a boy – an event which also left him with heightened senses as well as a unique radar that allows him to navigate through the citiscape far more easily than your average bear – or villain for that matter.

In the movie, which is both a compilation and condensation of several story lines, we meet the city's head of crime, Kingpin (Michael Clarke Duncan, who brings his characteristic gravitas to the proceedings), the incredibly accurate and equally sadistic Bullseye (Colin Farrell – need we say more), Matt's lawyer partner, Foggy Nelson (scene-stealing Jon Favreau), and the lithe and sexy Elektra Natchios (the lithe, sexy and beautiful – especially in the rain – Jennifer Garner, and who apparently liked Ben Affleck's performance better than the critics).




Image: 8/9
The first number indicates a relative level of excellence compared to other Blu-ray video discs on a ten-point scale. The second number places this image along the full range of DVD and Blu-ray discs.

Few video discs have the range of normal to drastically altered in post-production as this one – which is not to say that digital artifacts are front and center, merely that one's judgment about the image must be tempered with its intention. That said, natural colors and flesh tones are faithfully rendered when called for, in other places noise and blue scrims and other veils are added. A good deal of film is very dark and solidly saturated, all the time maintaining a crisp sharpness.














Audio & Music: 8/7
Trying not to confuse loud with dynamic, it's difficult to settle on the optimum playback level for the DTS HD 5.1-MA mix. Be assured that the action sequences are very loud indeed, so in order to enjoy them properly, you'll need to make sure that the neighbors are away – otherwise the dialogue won't be loud enough to make out. The real test of the material is the final fight in the organ loft between Daredevil and Bullseye. Each time Daredevil bangs into one of those giant pipes, the audio should sing as well as bong. The effect may not be entirely convincing, but it certainly is compelling, which I suspect is all that's intended.




Operations: 7
Fox gets us right to the movies on this disc, whose navigation take a little getting used to. But there's nothing here to particularly admire or complain about.


Extras: 9
As you can see at a glance from the list and timings of the bonus features for this blu-ray of Daredevil, it is chock full of every manner of relevant bits, at least one of which – the Documentary: Men Without Fear: Creating Daredevil – is essential viewing regardless of your feelings about the movie, if you want to know something about the graphic art of comic books. This piece, in which Stan Lee and several other artists who worked on the Daredevil series over the years discuss their craft, and the corresponding Shadow World Tour, where we see how various pages of the comic book are realized in the movie itself, are among the best and most interesting of the extra features, which are much the same as for the 2003 2-disc DVD. Except for their being all in varying degrees of 480i, this is all one could ask for.



Bottom line: 7
I still can't get my mind wrapped around the decision to cast Ben Affleck in the title role. He simply lacks the requisite internal energy for the part. He's a fairly vacuous actor with a marked inability to make line readings come alive in a character - especially from a stylized script such as this - so the contrast between him and the rest of the cast is not subtle.

Leonard Norwitz
September 20th, 2008









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