H D - S E N S E I

A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze


Passengers [Blu-ray]


(Rodrigo García, 2008)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Sony Pictures

Video: Sony



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

Runtime: 1:32:38.553

Disc Size: 32,620,013,540 bytes

Feature Size: 22,931,834,880 bytes

Average Bitrate: 33.0 Mbps

Chapters: 16

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: May 12th, 2009



Aspect ratio: 2.4:1

Resolution: 1080p

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



Dolby TrueHD Audio English 1367 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1367 kbps / 16-bit (AC3 Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps)
Dolby TrueHD Audio French 1369 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1369 kbps / 16-bit (AC3 Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps)
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / Dolby Surround



English, English (SDH), French, Spanish, none



Audio Commentary with director Rodrigo Garcia and actor Patrick Wilson
The Manifest and Making Of Passengers (23:14 in HD!)
Analysis of the Plane Crash (16:28 in HD!)
• Three Deleted Scenes (about 8 minutes in SD)
BD-Live capable





Description: While helping a handful of plane crash survivors cope with their grief, young psychologist Claire Summers (2008 Best Actress, Oscar® nominee Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married) begins to uncover conflicting accounts of the accident. At first, Claire believes that trauma is behind her patients' wildly different stories - until the survivors mysteriously begin disappearing one by one. Now Eric (Patrick Wilson, Lakeview Terrace), a surviving passenger she has grown dangerously close to, may hold the key to unlocking the truth about the tragic incident in this shocking psychological thriller.



The Film:

Although it has elements relating to Shyamalan's The Sixth Sense - critics seemed disappointed in the lack of suspense and plot twists of Rodrigo García's Passengers. I had more reminiscences about Peter Weir's magnificent, and still unreleased on DVD, Fearless with Jeff Bridges portraying the unsteady emotions of being one of the few survivors of a major airline crash. The logistics around filming a plane disintegration from the interior perspective of the individuals who are stuck inside remains impressive in both films. So, while some enjoyed Passengers - many critics panned it with fury. Not me - I rather liked it.

This is definitely a unique brand of storytelling - forgoing the long-sought 'climax' for more pure dramatic tension can be a hard sell to those incapable of looking outside the box. It's hard to talk about the film's plot for fear of giving away some of the important details. Suffice to say although the supernatural is involved and undisclosed mysteries heightened - the essential theme of the film is one of a very human and positive nature. The edict "We are all here to help each other..." springs to mind about the universal confusion regarding our ultimate place in the world. As an aside I often felt Anne Hathaway's inherent sexuality was being cloaked in her darker clothes and the cinematography involving her character - but it eventually shines through. Passengers touches on being a love story and could have easily sunk into that frame with two of the best looking male and female pairs working today. This film can reach you if you let it. How we deal with tragedy - in the many forms it can arise - is a topic worthy of discussion at any time in our lives. Also I'd probably watch anything with support performers like Dianne Wiest and David Morse. 

Gary Tooze


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

Passengers appears slightly gritty on dual-layered Blu-ray from Sony. Detail on the 23 Gig of space for the feature film has strong moments but the grain has a courser texture that is frequently visible. It has nothing to do with the rendering - this how the film looked. I prefer this to the glossy appearance of a manipulated transfer. There is no edge-enhancement (despite what other reviewers say) that I can discern - nor DNR. Because of the lackluster critical appraisal of the film - Sony hasn't put much into artificial-izing the image (good!). They may have just slapped in on HD disc. The rougher hone appearance never makes it look blocky as it is fairly even-handedly presented.  Skin tones don't seem overly warm - contrast exhibits healthy, rich black levels. Aside from the few daylight scenes the image is somewhat dark. This Blu-ray has a nice realistic feel and I liked the way it looked - probably a darn sight better than the simultaneously released SD-DVD.
















Audio :

This is kind of a wimpy TrueHD 5.1 track at only 1367 kpbs. There are some significant scenes at the beginning and end that require some pull from the surround and, while it's there, is nothing to write home about. Dialogue and the soundtrack are reasonably crisp but it appears nothing demonstratively special has gone into the audio transfer. There are subtitles in English, French and Spanish and my Momitsu tells me this is region-locked to 'A'.




Extras :

We start the film with Sony's standard Blu-ray advert, a trailer for Rachel Getting Married, another for I've Loved You So Long and one for Seven Pounds. There is a forthcoming audio commentary with director Rodrigo Garcia and actor Patrick Wilson - the latter I tend to like quite a lot. It doesn't go off on too much of a tangent but areas are covered beyond simple production details. The making of, The Manifest and Making Of Passengers, runs about 25 minutes in HD with input from cast and crew. "Analysis of the Plane Crash" is just what the title suggest - it's interesting running about 15-minutes in HD. There are three inconsequential deleted scenes involving the character Claire (Hathaway) running about 8-minutes in SD and this disc is BD-Live capable for those who wish to venture there.



What can I say? This is a reasonably positive film effort that I didn't take too seriously (it's fantasy folks.) I liked it. The Blu-ray in my opinion does it's job without the annoying glitz that often travels around major star releases on digital. I found the audio weaker than I was anticipating but it didn't detract from the presentation. If you are willing to take a chance on Passengers (do it - despite what 'the critics' say) I doubt you'll regret seeing in in high-definition. It's the best way to see it in your home theater! 

Gary Tooze

May 5th, 2009





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 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








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