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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka 'Out of the Night')

Directed by Steven Spielberg
USA 2005

 

Dockworker Ray Ferrier (Tom Cruise) struggles to build a positive relationship with his two children, Rachel (Dakota Fanning) and Robbie (Justin Chatwin). When his ex-wife, Mary Ann (Miranda Otto), drops them off at Ferrier's house, it seems as though it will be just another tension-filled weekend. However, when electromagnetic pulses of lightning strike the area, the strange event turns out to be the beginning of an alien invasion, and Ferrier must now protect his children as they seek refuge.

***

Divorced bad dad Ray Ferrier (Tom Cruise) has his two kids for the weekend when a freak lightning storm hits his blue-collar New Jersey neighbourhood. Next, an apocalypse: the ground cracks and yawns open, the basso-groan of alien-built tripods begins a terrifying industrial symphony, and crackling beams vaporize the fleeing herds one by one, their suddenly body-less clothes borne into the air like kites. (The mass-panicked humans can pose as much a threat as their predators, as when a deranged zombie mob descends on the Ferriers' car.) Like its characters, 'War' is always on the run: no time to explain the alien infrastructure or the crimson kudzu-like vines choking the landscape; when a burning train screams past, we pause to stare wordlessly at its smoking streak, then it's on to the next catastrophe. September 11 signifiers abound in the thick film of white death-dust veiling Cruise after a narrow escape, and the Red Cross volunteer megaphoning 'We have more blood than we can use' but any social context or family pathos (yes, Ray rises to the occasion, but so did the dread Giuliani) is thin and wobbly. Nevertheless, the film succeeds as pure sensation, an exacting distillation of fear.

Excerpt from Timeout HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: June 30th, 2005 - Tokyo

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Comparison:

Dreamworks - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Dreamworks - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

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Runtime 1:56:20  1:56:04.832
Video 1.85:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 8.13 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1080P / 23.976 fps Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 42,356,473,739 bytes

Feature: 31,638,110,208 bytes

Video Bitrate: 28.10 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Bitrate Blu-ray:

Audio English (DTS), English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (Dolby Digital 2.0), DUB: French (Dolby Digital 5.1) 

DTS-HD Master Audio English 4083 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 4083 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DUBs:

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

Subtitles English, Spanish, French, None English, Spanish, French, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: UMVD / Dreamworks

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 1.85:1

Edition Details:

• Featurette 'Designing the Enemy' (14:07)

DVD Release Date: November 22nd, 2005

Keep Case
Chapters: 24

Release Information:
Studio: Dreamworks

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 1.85:1

1080P / 23.976 fps Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 42,356,473,739 bytes

Feature: 31,638,110,208 bytes

Video Bitrate: 28.10 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Edition Details:

 Designing the Enemy: Tripods and Aliens (14:07)

 Revisiting the Invasion (7:39)
 The H.G. Wells Legacy
 Steven Spielberg and the Original War of the Worlds (8:00)
 Characters: The Family Unit (13:22)
 Previsualization (7:42)
 Production Diaries (4-parts)
 Scoring War of the Worlds (11:57)
 We are Not Alone (3:14)
 Four Galleries
 Theatrical Teaser Trailer HD (1:59)

Blu-ray Release Date: June 1st, 2010
Keep Case
Chapters: 24

 

 

 

Comments:

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

ADDITION: Dreamworks - Region FREE  Blu-ray - September 2017: Firstly, I admit to disliking this immensely when I first watched the DVD years ago. But I revisited when I began to see the film as more part of the apocalypse genre and even a creature-feature than a modern remake of the original (BTW, why isn't that on Blu-ray?). Strangely, I've warmed to the film more as a world-ending flic than a hollow, less inventive, effects-laden, disaster-porn, remake. Okay, my myopia is admitted.

In War of the Worlds we see that our own species seem as big of a threat when confronted with a potential cataclysmic event transpire (the reason being of lesser importance) - from the 'mob rules' attitude of stealing cars at gunpoint to the psychotically vengeful Harlan Ogilvy (Tim Robbins) demanding a personal showdown with said threat. He had to be dealt with. To me, the human interaction, is far more relevant than the alien encounter - which end up a curiosity.

The dual-layered 1080P image looks quite strong - maintaining the saturation-infused style and advancing over SD in a few areas - notably the texture, richer colors and the impressive presentation in-motion. Yes, overproduction in the effects (it is a Spielberg movie) but they seem far more real in the higher resolution - perhaps justifying the budget. There are more layer to the contrast and the visuals may be a bit brighter.

What the HD really benefits from is the audio with the film's extensive sound design. A robust DTS-HD Master 5.1 surround at a whopping 4083 kbps (24-bit) is utilized with powerful results - rich, deep bass with earth-breaking damages to the arching, metallic, sound of the alien machines. Very intense with plenty of head-turning separation.

Where the DVD had the 14-minute featurette 'Designing the Enemy', the Blu-ray is stacked with Revisiting the Invasion, The H.G. Wells Legacy, Steven Spielberg and the Original War of the Worlds, Characters: The Family Unit, Previsualization, four Production Diaries and much more with lots of participation from Cruise and Spielberg.

Some see this as the final film of a Spielberg trilogy of alien encounters from the intellectually civilized Close Encounters, the family fun of ET, to the edgier, darker War of the Worlds. I doubt it was planned that way. Look out for Gene Barry, producer of the original, as the grandfather in this one. Nice touch.

Well, 12-year later - it's a very reasonably priced Blu-ray and a heck of an Apocalypse film - with the invasion, simply a catalyst.

***

The modern trend in DVD transfers is a saturated look with piercing blacks and an overall dark appearance. Film has moved to a very 'thick' look which seems fairly easy to put to digital. This anamorphic and progressive DVD looks very good and sounds even better with pleasing sound separation. Lone featurette as an extra. I expect this DVD appearance is very akin to the theatrical showing.

Gary W. Tooze

 


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