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Blu-ray Review: Edge of Darkness

Posted on Saturday, June 26th, 2010 8:33 PM by Scott Jentsch

Front Cover ArtworkEdge of Darkness
Blu-ray
Warner Home Video
117 Minutes

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

This movie is also available from Amazon on DVD and Video on Demand.

Available 5/11/2010

Rated R

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

DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1

Other:  

Movie: BD-25 (x1) BD-MV
DVD/Digital Copy: DVD

Disc Contents

  • Upfront Ads (HD 3:57) - skippable, but disallows going straight to the top menu
    • Blu-ray Promo
    • Digital Copy Promo
    • Sex and the City in theaters (2ch)
  • Movie
  • Extras (2ch VC-1 HD)
    • Focus Points (30:52)
    • Deleted and Alternate Scenes (5:23)
  • BD-Live

About the Movie

The bullet that killed his daughter was meant for Boston cop Thomas Craven. That's what police brass and Craven himself think, but that's not what the investigation finds. Clue after clue and witness after witness, the search leads him into a shadowy realm where money and political intrigue intersect. If Craven wasn't a target before, he -- and anyone linked to his inquiry -- now is.

Mel Gibson stars in his first screen lead in eight years, making Craven's grief palpable and his quest for payback stone-cold and relentless. Martin Campbell (Casino Royale) directs from a screenplay co-written by The Departed's William Monahan. Gibson is back, taking us to the edge--and into the sinister darkness.

How Does it Look?

Still from the movie (not an actual screenshot)

I didn't notice any artifacts that sometimes come from BD-25 discs, where the compression knob can often be turned a little too far in the pursuit of saving space. This is a challenging movie in that regard, since many scenes take place at night, in the rain, indoors, etc. If the transfer was done poorly, you would see artifacts in the form of blockiness, lack of shadow detail, and washing out the bright spots of darker scenes. Fortunately, none of that appears here, and we're all treated to every crag in Mel Gibson's face.

How Does it Sound?

I had a huge problem understanding the dialog in this movie! Gibson and Ray Winstone exchange mumbled dialog in several scenes as though they were trying to out-mumble each other. Aside from the mumbling, action scenes deliver the punch they require, especially during the pivotal opening shooting scene. If you turn up the volume too far, you're going to wake the neighbors!

Extras

I like to see the theatrical trailer included with movies, so I was disappointed that none are included here. Being able to watch the trailer helps one to appreciate how the movie was marketed during its theatrical release, and it's unfortunate when such a simple and obvious extra is not included.

There are almost 31 minutes of what are called "Focus Points," which feature various elements of the movie, such as a short feature called "Mel is Back" about Gibson's return in front of the camera, "Boston as a Character" highlighting the importance of the setting to the movie, and so forth. There are eight focus points that can be watched one at a time or all together via a "Play All" function.

There are also deleted and alternate scenes for your viewing pleasure. Some of the scenes flesh out the story a little and make you wonder if they shouldn't have been included, but that's always a delicate balance that makes editors worthy of their pay.

BD-Live

The BD-Live section contains nothing of interest relating to this movie. The only video clip is a repeat of the "Mel is Back" focus point that already appears on the disc. Another wasted opportunity by Warner Bros. to make use of a feature that would reward those who buy the disc (as opposed to rent it) and stretch the boundaries of what can be done as far as movie-related extras. At the very least, put in a trailer for the movie!

Digital Copy

There is a second disc which contains the DVD version of the movie as well as a Digital Copy. The inclusion of a DVD version of a movie in the Blu-ray package is something that we encourage more studios to do with their releases. It provides an additional level of value to the buying consumer by giving them the ability to play the movie in other rooms/vehicles where a Blu-ray player does not yet reside. I did not view the DVD, so I cannot judge its video or audio quality. It contained no extras, just the movie and the ability to select a language.

Fans of the movie might enjoy the digital copy, as it would allow you to download the movie and enjoy it many times on your portable device. By inserting the disc into a Windows PC or Mac, you can obtain a digital copy of the movie for playback on your PSP, PC, Mac, or iPod. I didn't explore this option, so I can't comment on the picture or sound quality. The documentation says that the Digital Copy must be redeemed by 5/9/2011.

Other Aspects

Bookmarking is not supported. Even though this was a BDMV disc, the Oppo BD-83 that we have in for review could not auto-resume the movie like we have observed with other BDMV titles. Every time we inserted the disc, we were forced to watch the upfront ads (and skip through them, one-by-one), but we were surprised to see that this is the first Warner Bros. release that offered the ability to resume the movie at the last point of playback, or to start from the beginning.

Resuming playback is one of the biggest usability problems with the Blu-ray format that studios need to recognize and support, so it's good to see more studios making this possible, either through the format they use (BDMV) or through programming (BD-J). I like the resume feature that was included in this disc, but I'd rather the upfront ads be avoided when the software sees that resuming playback is possible.

Conclusion

I found myself liking this movie more than I expected to. This is Mel Gibson's movie to carry or drop and carry it he does. While I found his accent a little odd and the mumbling contest between him and Winstone made it difficult to enjoy their verbal sparring, the action is good, the story is good, and it was well worth watching.

Is it worth purchasing or renting? Considering that the amount of extras are a little thin, and the BD-Live section has nothing of value when it comes to this movie, it's difficult to recommend a purchase. Are you going to watch the movie more than once? Are you going to want to share it with someone else at some point in time, or keep some scenes available on your iPhone? If so, then go ahead and make the purchase. But otherwise, the lack of substantial extras makes this a rental rather than a purchase.

One final thought: We're several years into the Blu-ray release market, and we're still having to put up with up-front Blu-ray promotional video clips. These have always been odd, considering if you've purchased the Blu-ray copy of the movie, aren't you aware of the fact that Blu-ray is better than DVD? Let's end these senseless promos, OK?

I'd really like to see the upfront ads be removed altogether, but that's probably wishing for too much customer friendliness...

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


Check Prices on Amazon.com

A copy of this title was provided at no cost by the movie studio/distributor for the purpose of this review. No expectation of the results of this review were set as a condition of receiving the item.



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