PictureImage quality is very good. Nicely detailed and, for the most part, sharp, clean and clear. With so much of the movie being set at night I wasn't surprised to see a small amount of video noise at times, but for the most part the deep contrast levels are quite beautifully rendered on screen.
There is a definite green push to the colour palette, but for me this helped in portraying the dingier side of life in Los Angeles, and I never felt this was anything but deliberate. I noticed a small amount of edge enhancement, but this never became overly intrusive, and all in all Collateral has been given a top-notch DVD transfer. The only real downside to having such a clear image is that it becomes apparent that Tom Cruise's hair looks decidedly unnatural! However, even I can live with that!
SoundFrom the very first scene I suspected that I was going to be in for something of an audio treat - and I wasn't disappointed. Bass is deep and powerful, and even taking into account the extended periods of dialogue only material, Collateral simply has the tightest, most realistic sound I've ever had the pleasure to experience. Even simple vocals are handled in a way that quickly separates this movie from a run of the mill affair - take the jazz club scene as an example; the live music that's played is rich and full sounding, but it takes a special soundtrack to make me pause the movie just so that I can hear Barry Shabaka Henley's voice - he plays Daniel, the jazz club owner - replayed over and over. As with most things excellent, it's the little things that really stand out and Henley's voice has that special resonant quality that remains absolutely crystal clear.
Another Mann speciality is gunshot sounds. Heat is renowned for its street shootout, and although that particular scene left me feeling a little less than enthusiastic, the gunshots here in Collateral are ferociously impactful.
I listened to most of the movie utilizing the Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kbps) track, switching over at what I deemed to be relevant points of the movie to the DTS (768 Kbps) version. Comparisons were made a little more difficult than usual due to the Dolby track being louder than its counterpart, but I would have no qualms at leaving the audio setting on the Dolby default, which is refined and supremely confident. It's certainly not in your face, but it's still a very satisfying experience.
ExtrasDisc one comes with the movie and an audio commentary by director/producer Michael Mann, and he's almost as fastidious in his description of the movie-making process as he is in directing his films.
The bulk of Special Features, as they're called here, have been passed over to disc two. First up is City Of Night: The Making Of Collateral, forty minute mini-tribute to the skills and dedication of Michael Mann, as well as the main actors starring in Collateral. Want to know how long Tom Cruise trained for the stunts in the movie, or how the director works during the long shoot? The answers can be found here... and very informative and entertaining it is too.
Special Delivery is a somewhat shorter feature. Actually, it comes in at just over one minute! Quite why it's been included in this way is beyond me!
The Deleted Scene that has been included here merely gives us a clear idea as to why the scene was cut from the movie proper. After a promising start these Special Features are beginning to feel a little lacklustre...
Shooting On Location: Annie's Office is another very short feature - two minutes and twenty nine seconds to be precise - dedicated purely to engender a feel for the beginning of the chase scenes that follow. Again, why this has been included on its own is a mystery.
Tom Cruise And Jamie Foxx Rehearse comes in a tad longer, just over four minutes this time, and sees Cruise and Foxx strutting their stuff rehearsing a few key scenes. Interesting to a point, but ultimately a little dull.
And so we come to the final feature - Visual FX: MTA Train. At two minutes and twenty-three seconds, including the final credits, we've got yet another mini-feature, this time focussing on the final train chase scene.
Rounding off the Special Features disc are a few Trailers; a rundown ofCast achievements; a rundown of Filmmakers achievements and some Production Notes. I suspect that all these features could have been included on a single disc, but I'm glad they weren't - would that have affected image or sound quality in the movie transfer? I guess we'll never know, but as things stand image and audio are top notch here so I'm happy that this is a two-disc release, despite the rather meagre amount of slightly mundane supplemental features on the second disc.
VerdictFor me the best way I can pigeon hole this movie is by describing it as a deeply flawed masterpiece of cinematic style. Cruise and co. are in top form, and picture and audio quality is top notch. Quite why the dedication and undoubted skill of director/producer Michael Mann should culminate in an at best average movie is a mystery. Best to try before you buy, I think.
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