Blade: Trinity Blu-ray Review
Blade: Trinity comes to Region B-locked UK Blu-ray complete with a 1080p High Definition video presentation in the movie’s original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1 widescreen. Although the most recent of the trilogy, Blade: Trinity was only made a couple of years after the second movie and, whilst not limited by del Toro’s particular stylisation (which led to a certain amount of noise in that movie’s presentation), Goyer’s heavily processed and frequently effects-layered piece similarly fails to achieve the kind of reference quality presentation that the first movie received.
Detail is generally very good, with some nice fine object detail and welcome skin textures that pick up on some of the smaller nuances. The costumes, layers, and weaponry all have a firm, real edge, with nice textures too. Digital defects don’t tend to come into play until the darker sequences – of which there aren’t many – but, when they do, we get some quite engulfing blacks that tend to swallow up some of the shadow detail. Grain and/or noise are also worryingly non-existent, lending you to believe that there was a fair amount of DNR done, even if isn’t any significant damage done to the detail level.
The colour scheme is much more realistic than in the previous movies, and much less stylised, although the daytime scenes – for some peculiar reason – have been bleached out, with blooming whites that make it feel like something went wrong in the colour timing department, rather than that this was some particular style. Still, interior scenes display better tones – even if the lack of overt stylisation pushes the film towards looking a little cheaper than its brethren. All in all a decent enough video presentation, which stays true to the material – limitations and all – but which certainly doesn’t have the zing to push it into demo quality territory.
Wow, what happened to Blade and his excellent soundtrack? Normally, you could rely upon a Blade movie for having some tremendous music tracks to accompany the stylish scenes. Here, the style is gone, and the song tracks with it. Aside from a reasonably decent, and thematically successful opening titles track (and closing titles track), there’s very little of note in terms of score. Still, the DTS-HD Master Audio 6.1 track is pretty persistently noisy, at least giving your surrounds a good workout, irrespective of the lack of subtlety on either the movie or the track’s part.
Dialogue comes across clearly and coherently throughout, largely emanating from across the frontal array. Effects are expectedly myriad – shotguns, automatic weapons, the UV slicer, the explosive UV bullets, the arrows, the wire-blade – all of them are suitably distinguished and bring the film to life during the action set-pieces. The score does obviously take precedence in some scenes, but it’s normally bits like the unnecessary extended slo-mo shots or the montages, and it’s never all that memorable. Still, as stated, it gives the surrounds further material to play with, allowing for a fairly immersive if far from reference quality outing.
Blade: Trinity hit US DVD with plenty of extras first time around a decade ago, and here we get all of them ported across, to match up to the US Blu-ray release from earlier this year. The only quibble? No access to the Theatrical Cut of Blade: Trinity. Whilst I didn’t need to have the whole movie playable through seamless branching (although why they hell couldn’t they do that?!) they could have at least put the Theatrical Cut Ending on the disc in the extra features just to highlight the fact that there was an ending out there that made sense. Oh, now I get why they didn’t include it. Ah, clever girls.
It’s worth also pointing out that there’s nothing retrospective about this package. I’m not even talking about present retrospective, I’m talking about a look back after the film was released. The behind the scenes offerings here are populated by cast and crew who all seem to think that Blade: Trinity is going to be The Next Big Thing and that sequels and spin-offs will immediately follow. If only they knew...
Conspicuous in his absence, Wesley Snipes is not a participant on either of the Commentaries. He was not prepared to jump on-board this particular self-congratulatory bandwagon. Instead we get writer/director Goyer teaming up with co-stars Ryan Reynolds and Jessica Biel for a lighter offering that is packed with frivolity, random trivia and notes about their fun on the set. The fun they had whilst ruining a franchise. There’s nothing really worth picking up here, even if you trawl through the whole thing, all it’s gonna’ do is frustrate you more that they didn’t realise quite what they were doing when they made Blade funny. The second Commentary has a bunch of crew members chipping in to provide a far more technical offering: the producers Peter Frankfurt and Lynn Harris, director of photography Gabriel Beristain, production designer Chris Gorak and editor Howard Smith. Whilst far more dry – as you would only expect – there a nice amount of technical detail which should please fans and budding filmmakers alike.
Daywalkers, Nightstalkers & Familiars: Inside the World of Blade: Trinity is a whopping assortment of behind the scenes Featurettes that, in total, competes with the two hour runtime of the film itself (although, shamefully, there’s no Play All facility). There’s a stupid amount of detail here; it’s comprehensive as hell, with key element Goyer on board to take us through his production, from the story concept to the casting, the stylistic choices to the costume and set design, the fight choreography to the stunts, the weapons to the effects, the sound design to the score. The relevant crew members all chip in, we get interviews with some of the cast, and plenty of behind the scenes snippets.
Visual Effects Progressions offers up a 6-minute look at three key effects sequences from the film, breaking down the shots into the various stages of effects progression.
Goyer on Goyer is a 5 minute interview with David Goyer and David Goyer. You have to watch this interview. It is must-see viewing, just to understand what went wrong with Blade: Trinity. It’s introduced by David Goyer, the writer, who says he’s going to be talking to the director... David Goyer. All of a sudden – Van Damme / Double Impact-style – we’re faced with two David Goyers, sitting opposite each other in an empty theatre (it was probably playing Blade: Trinity) and asking each other questions about the production. I know it’s meant to be tongue in cheek but, if you hear some of the things he says to himself, you get the impression: EGO, much? It’s an unintentionally hilarious piece, Goyer, the writer, saying to Goyer the director that he thought Blade: Trinity was his best script. Goyer, the director, then criticising the previous two Blade directors for what they felt they had to cut from the script. Goyer, the writer, talking about the casting decisions. Goyer, the director, explaining that he liked casting people against type, and that’s why he used loads of comedians in straight roles. Goyer, the writer, talking about how there are rumours about a Blade 4, about killing the Blade character off, and about a Nightstalkers spin-off movie, and Goyer the director saying one of those is certainly on the cards. Oh, if only the Goyers knew. They screwed this baby up. The both of them. Well worth watching just to see how egotistical David Goyer was (particularly since it was recorded before the movie got trashed), and get an idea of how much damage can be done when nobody’s around to keep him in check.
Alternate Ending is not actually the Theatrical Cut ending but actually a horrifically bad epilogue that has the Nightstalkers punch their way through a casino on the hunt for their new enemy: a werewolf. Awful.
Blooper Reel has 11 minutes of gags and improvisational skits – mainly from Reynolds. Amusing, but, again, just an example of what this movie did not need.
The disc is rounded off by a Theatrical and Teaser Trailer and a bunch of Previews.
Closing out my retrospective look at the Blade Trilogy, after my reviews of first and second movies, we now have to deal with the third. I’d always thought of myself as a Blade: Trinity apologist. After all, it did offer us another Blade movie; it was the only theatrical movie Wesley Snipes did in a decade-long period; and it did have a few nice ideas in it and some sporadically decent action too. Unfortunately, revisiting the trilogy in quick succession has just highlighted the things that went all wrong with this film, and I find myself unable to condone the writer/director’s actions in tearing apart the franchise that he had helped build in the first place. Somebody should have stopped him.
On Region B-locked UK Blu-ray we get very good video and audio and a hefty assortment of extras ported over from the DVD release. I guess it would have been nice to have some material that was not contemporaneous (as the interviews were done before release, back when everybody involved thought this was The Best Blade Ever!), and I’m surprised they don’t offer up access to the more logical Theatrical Cut ending, even if only as a Deleted Scene. Still, fans of the film will be content with this package, and those who love any-and-everything Blade, like me, will have to pick it up even if it’s the one that gets skipped through the most. Disappointing film, decent package.
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