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Blu-ray Review: Nights in Rodanthe

Posted on Monday, March 2nd, 2009 3:44 PM by Scott Jentsch

Front Cover ArtworkNights in Rodanthe
Blu-ray
Warner Home Video
97 Minutes

List Price: $35.99 (Check Price at Amazon.com)

This movie is also available on DVD

Available 2/10/2009

Rated PG-13

Click here for additional movie details, including the full plot summary, cast listing, trailers and videos, photos, reviews of the movie, and links to the official movie web site and more.

  TheatricalThis Disc
Video Format:
35mm
1080p VC-1
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 2.40:1
Audio:

Dolby Digital
DTS Digital
SDDS

 Dolby Digital
Dolby Digital 5.1

Other:  

Movie: BD-25 (x1) BD-J
Digital Copy: Data DVD (x1)

Disc 1 Contents

  • Promo for Nights in Rodanthe Soundtrack (0:34, SD)
  • Movie
  • Special Features
    • The Nature of Love (21 mins, HD)
    • In Rodanthe: An Intimate Look at Nights in Rodanthe with Singer/Songwriter Emmylou Harris (12 mins, HD)
    • Keeping in Touch with Nicholas Sparks (7 mins, HD)
    • Deleted/Alternate Scenes (7 mins, HD)
    • Music Video: Love Remains the Same (4 mins, HD)
  • BD-Live Extras
    • Trailer for Blu-ray/DVD release of Nights in Rodanthe

Disc 2 Contents

  • Digital Copy

About the Movie

Diane Lane plays a housewife and mother who is dealing with the death of her father, the infidelity of her husband, and the effects the latter event is having on her kids. Richard Gere is a doctor who loses a patient during a routine surgery, and ends up losing his son, his wife, and his house in the aftermath.

Both people bring their baggage with them as she travels to help a friend manage a seaside inn for the weekend, and he come to the inn to meet the husband of the patient he lost. Both bring their collective emotional baggage with them as they weather a hurricane as the inn's only tenants. What develops is a love affair that neither of them expected but both of them needed.

How Does it Look?

Still from the movie (not an actual screenshot)

The picture quality was acceptable, but not stellar. It's hard to know if the look was intentional, but there is a graininess to the image that just looks out of place. Is this a result of a low bitrate dictated by the use of a single-layer 25GB disc or a conscious decision on the part of the filmmakers? I didn't notice any edge enhancement artifacts or other issues, so I'm going to assume it's part of the intentional "look" of the movie.

Possibly due to the resolution offered by the Blu-ray format, there are certain scenes which look like they were done against a blue/green screen, with the background added later. Diane Lane looks like she should be in front of a weather map in one scene on the porch. Not having seen this movie in theaters, I can't say whether it was there in the theatrical presentation, but I'll bet it was. Probably an example of issues that only come up when seen on a high definition medium that are normally masked on theatrical film and DVD presentations.

How Does it Sound?

The audio was unremarkable, but problem-free. I never had a problem understanding dialogue, but I would like to see studios use the highest quality sound format possible and Warner Bros. failed to do that here. High definition means high definition picture and sound, and we only got half the package here. That's a disservice to the people that shell out $36 for this title, expecting both.

Extras

I like to see the theatrical trailer included with movies, so I was disappointed to see that it was not included on this disc.

A data DVD in this package contains a digital copy of the movie in both Windows Media and iTunes formats, presumably for downloading to your PC, iPod/iPhone, and Zune portable devices. I didn't install the movie to see if it worked, as I have no desire to watch movies on a tiny iPod screen, or even my PC.

The Nature of Love is a 21 minute commercial for the movie that seems more at home as an extended promo for the movie that would appear on Lifetime Television than an extra on a home video release you've already purchased. The other featurettes, including an interview with singer/songwriter Emmylou Harris and with writer Nicholas Sparks, were OK, but nothing special. This can be underlined by Harris' answer to the opening question in her interview: Director George C. Wolfe: "What drew you to this movie?" Emmylou Harris: "They offered the job to me" Yeah, I'm excited, too.

The additional/deleted scenes contain mandatory commentary from the director about why they didn't make it into the final cut. Nothing special here, either.

So, maybe the good stuff wasn't done in time for the disc's release or they couldn't fit it onto the single-layer disc without compromising the picture or sound quality. That's one of the great things about BD-Live, in that the studio can offer dynamic content that expands the enjoyment of the movie, and rewards those who buy the disc, right? In this case, not really.

The BD-Live functionality on this disc requires that you log in with your Warner Bros. BD-Live login, or create one if you don't have one already. This is mandatory before you can see any online content, even the stuff that's not personalized to you (thereby requiring an account so they can deliver a personalized experience). What you get for your trouble is a window-boxed trailer for the Blu-ray/DVD release of the movie. That's it. Nothing else. The disc was released on February 10th, and here it is March 2nd, and there are no items listed under "Media Center" in the "Extras" section. In the "Trailers" section is a selection of trailers for home video and theatrical releases.

There is nothing in the BD-Live section of this title that warrants the time it takes to log in using your remote control to enter your username and password, much less create a new account. Overall, a very poor showing of the technology. If they haven't done anything to improve it two weeks after the disc's release, I don't see any reason to believe that anything more will be done in the future (most studios forget about adding more content later, choosing to leave the initial content to stagnate).

Other Aspects

While this disc is BD-J formatted, our PlayStation 3 was able to support auto-resuming the movie. Bookmarking is not supported.

Conclusion

Unless you really enjoyed this movie in the theater, I think this qualifies as a rental instead of a purchase. I really liked The Notebook, and Message in a Bottle was pretty good, but this movie didn't do anything for me.

For those of you who liked the movie, however, there are a few extras to expand your enjoyment, and this is probably the best edition you're going to see for a good long time (not much of a chance of a double-dip for some time, I think). The BD-Live features are non-existent, so the lack of compelling extra content and even the lack of a high definition sound track makes this a rental unless you really liked the movie and plan on watching it often.

Recommended Reading

Don't just take our word for it, check out these resources for more reviews of the movie and of the disc.

RentBuy


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