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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Four Lions [Blu-ray]

 

(Christopher Morris, 2010)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Film4 / Wild Bunch

Video: Magnolia

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:41:28.248

Disc Size: 23,851,539,267 bytes

Feature Size: 18,456,195,072 bytes

Video Bitrate: 17.99 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: March 8th, 2011

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 2621 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2621 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), Spanish, none

 

Extras:

• Bradford Interview (3:50 in 1080P)

• 5 Behind the Scenes vignettes (12:36 in total - in 480i)

Background Material (21:28 in 480i)

• 7 Deleted Scenes (19:16 - in 1080P)

Storyboards (:49 in 1080P)

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: A whip-smart, slapstick comedy, Chris Morris’ Four Lions takes aim at Jihadi suicide bombers and illuminates the war on terror through satire and farce. Follow five inept aspiring terrorists on their quest to strike a blow, and how they demonstrate that terrorism may be about ideology, but it can also be about idiots.

***

In a British city, four men have a secret plan. Omar is disillusioned about the treatment of Muslims around the world... and is determined to become a soldier. This is the most exciting idea Waj has ever heard. Opposed to Omar and everyone else on earth is the white islamic convert Barry. He’d realize he joined the cell to channel his nihilism -- if he had half the self knowledge of a duck. Faisal is the odd man out. He can make a bomb -- but he can’t blow himself up just now coz his sick dad has "started eating newspaper." Instead he’s training crows to fly bombs through windows. This is what Omar has to deal with. They must strike a decisive blow on their own turf but can any of them strike a match without punching himself in the face?

 

 

The Film:

...“Four Lions,” a shockingly hilarious, stiletto-sharp satire directed by Chris Morris and written by a squad of British wits. It concerns a squad of British nitwits eager to wage jihad and unsure of just how to go about doing it. That there are five of them in a movie called “Four Lions” is testament either to their aggregate brain power or to their mathematical skills, though it is also true that one of the group is subtracted by an incident of premature martyrdom involving a sheep.

Excerpt from A. O. Scott at the NY Times located HERE

The four wannabe terrorists are largely sympathetic — and delightfully stupid, apart from their leader, Omar (Riz Ahmed). Religion, it seems, it simply an excuse for heroics, fun with fertiliser and trips to a training camp in Pakistan. The lads’ repartee is hilarious and revealing, and their antics are cartoonlike in the extreme, particularly the tiny suicide bomb attached to an unfortunate crow. There’s nothing gory or at all realistic.

Excerpt from Kate Muir at the Sunday Times located HERE

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

This came out last year in the UK on a region 'B'-locked Blu-ray but I didn't get a chance to see it - although it has been on my 'Wish List' for many months.  The transfer is modest but supports the film well enough to enjoy the humor. Things seem a bit muted but it wouldn't surprise me to believe that this is similar to the way the film - and it's limited production - was seen theatrically. Obviously, this is less about pristine visuals as, I have stated in the past, it wouldn't improve the joke situations - which are quite funny - for the most part. There are plenty of hand-held camera modulations which don't lend themselves to the sharpest image. So, this certainly wouldn't be a 'demo' disc but it gives you a solid night in the home theater - as, what I would determine to be, a very pleasant distraction. This is good enough that I'd like to see more - and I hope it transpires. As for the video - it is fine - with no major flaws.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

There isn't much notable about the track - it seems to do its job with a DTS-HD Master 5.1 at 2621 kbps. This is a comedy without much in the way of visually humor - it is generally dialogue-driven gags - which are, indeed, funny at times. There is a less demonstrative explosion and some other effects used but generally it supports the film well - with some scattering - as a component of production. There are some different languages used and these are represented by various subtitle fonts although English is an option for the entire film - useful for those not accustomed to the accents. My Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.

 

Extras :

I believe that mostly of these extras are duplicated on the UK Blu-ray - it includes a 4-minute off-the-cuff interview at the Bradford International Film Festival 2010, 12-minutes of Behind the Scenes vignettes, the best, perhaps is the 'Background Material' (Lost Boys segment runs 8-minutes) lasting about 21-minutes in total and focusing on the inspiration for much of the film's creation. There are about 2-minutes of seven deleted scenes that offer more humor - perhaps not as biting and less than a minute of, some of, the film's 'Storyboards'.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
If you are in the correct frame of mind to watch Four Lions - you will, undoubtedly, get a big kick out of it. If you are leaning to the 'politically correct' 1/2 filled glass - you may find there are things not worthy of laughter. I think most will be able to relax their perceptions enough to enjoy the modest Blu-ray presentation. If the world's turmoil is getting you down - this would be a good distraction - perhaps as worthy on SD-DVD (for $7 less, HERE) as the hi-def transfer won't make or break the black-comedy amusements. Give it a chance. 

Gary Tooze

March 1st, 2011

 

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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