S E A R C H D V D B e a v e r
(Jonathan Mostow, 2009)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Video: Touchstone Home Entertainment
Region: 'A' (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 29,380,858,385 bytes
Feature Size: 21,910,935,552 bytes
Video Bitrate: 25.72 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case inside cardboard slipcase
Release date: January 26th, 2010
Aspect ratio: 2.35:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 3705 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3705 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
English (SDH), French, Spanish, none
• Feature Audio Commentary By Director Jonathan Mostow
Description: How do you save humanity when the only thing that's real is you? From the director of TERMINATOR 3 comes a jaw-dropping psychological thriller starring the ultimate action hero, Bruce Willis. In the not-so-distant future, where people experience life through perfect surrogates controlled from the safety of their own homes, murder is a thing of the past. But when a college student linked to the creator of these replicants is killed, one FBI agent must re-enter reality and risk his life to unravel the mystery. In the battle of technology versus humanity, who can you trust? Experience every electrifying moment of this mind-blowing movie. Based on the acclaimed graphic novel and exploding with unforgettable action, SURROGATES is nonstop entertainment from start to finish!
Surrogates was not pre-screened for critics. Most of the time, I understand when a studio takes this route - it's a way to avoid undue negative publicity before the release of a movie that is recognized behind-the-scenes as being a turd. Once in a while, however, a non-screened movie turns out to be a pleasant surprise, and this is one of those instances. Surrogates is better and more thought-provoking than about 2/3 of the fare currently showing in multiplexes, yet it has been given a "no confidence" vote by Disney. Why? Who knows? Maybe the decision was made to cut this loose and spend as little on marketing as was viable without offending star Bruce Willis. Perhaps an assessment was made that there weren't enough action scenes (although there are plenty) to energize the target teen audience. Or, most disturbingly, maybe it was thought that the premise was too cerebral for the throngs of movie-goers who clog multiplex corridors on Friday and Saturday nights. Whatever the reason, Surrogates was shielded from the eyes of critics before its opening, and that's a shame. Because, whatever its flaws, it is a good movie.Excerpt from James Berardinelli at ReelViews.com located HERE
There is a pretty dominant aqua-marine hue over much of this entire film. I'm not complaining - it appears to be a period representation of a kind of sanitized future (which is essentially present-day). The Blu-ray reports this fairly well but either the style or the limited feature size (less than 22 Gig on the dual-layered disc) still shows some awkward noise. There certainly is an intended 'look' of plasticization (DNR-ish) with surrogate characters appearing ultra-smooth (no blemishes, scars etc.) - so, it's hard to know where the line is drawn between the visual effort and the modest transfer or tinkering. For the most part it looks quite good. Colors seem brighter and truer than SD could relate. There is grain there - and it's not unacceptably blocky. Like the premise behind 'Surrogates' there is a darkness inherent - and contrast exhibits healthy, rich black levels. Detail shines infrequently and effects and costumes seem a bit slap-dash. By modern standards this is fairly tame visually and I suspect looked superior theatrically. This Blu-ray may not be demo material but it's consistent nature will produce an enjoyable presentation with fewer 'ahhhs' than you may have anticipated.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
No complaints with the audio - theDTS-HD Master 5.1 at 3705 kbps. There are plenty of effect noises with active confrontations and chase scenes - all quite immersive spreading around the room. Richard Marvin's score plays well under all the action being crisp with punchy bass when called upon. There are optional subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked Blu-ray disc.
I can't imagine that it is especially easily to bring an existing graphic novel to the screen under the yoke of a studio system. In the commentary Mostow describes some of the challenges of production and where dollars were allocated. He comments on the narrative direction utilizing some of the detective/noir intent of the graphic novel and the frequent wide-angle directly to extreme close-ups - and giving the film a '60's look'. He seems to be 'selling' a bit but overall it was acceptable and those keen on the film will probably enjoy it. Aside from the 4-minute I Will Not Bow Music Video by Breaking Benjamin the featurette supplements are all 'Exclusive To Blu-ray'. We get 15-minutes on the concept - A More Perfect You: The Science Of Surrogates with brief input from many including experts in the field. There is a surface over view of Breaking The Frame: A Graphic Novel Comes To Life and we get 4 Deleted Scenes lasting just over 6-minutes. There are expectant trailers and previews.
June 14th, 2010
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. So be
it, but film will always be my first love and I list my
favorites on the old YMdb site now accessible
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze