Daybreakers Blu-ray Review
PictureDaybreakers comes to Blu-ray with a solid but not quite exceptional 1080p High Definition video rendition in the movie's original theatrical aspect ratio of widescreen 2.4:1. Detail is generally very good, edge enhancement never apparent, and grain is almost non-existent; although a couple of scenes do offer a noticeable lapse into softness. The colour scheme is of that Dark City-style drained, bleak dystopian future: neon-lit, with prevalent green and blue hues set-off against a shadow-laded background. It looks perfect for the material, and also comes complete with some nice, richer touches in the more lavish vampiric domains. Skin tones are rendered well, the pale blood-less bloodsuckers nicely off-set against the human alternative (in much the same way as the clinical vampire realm is counterpointed with the sun-drenched human desert settings). Black levels are solid, allowing for some decent shadowing - an integral part of such a night-dominated affair - and overall this is a worthy video presentation.
SoundThe lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track offers us just about the best audio representation that you could possibly hope for with this movie. Dialogue is consistently clear and coherent, largely emanating from across the frontal array. The effects are extremely well-observed: from the passing of subway trains to the high-pitch hum of power generators, from the explosive disintegration of the vampires to the ripping sound of people being torn apart. The guttural, low-end rumble of the only petrol engine in the movie plays well against a City of electric cars, and the dynamics across the array are pretty great. The score is not all that memorable, but gets decent enough representation from across the channels, and overall this is a superior aural rendition, that brings out the absolute best in the production.
ExtrasIn terms of extras, Daybreakers comes with a plethora of good material. The Audio Commentary by the Directorial brothers (as well as the make-up coordinator) is a nice, honest offering, as they discuss what they managed to achieve with the limited budget they were given, the visual effects on offer and their experiences within the horror genre.
The Making Of Daybreakers is one of the longest and most comprehensive Documentaries that I have come across recently, clocking in at a ludicrous 2+ hours. Split into chronological elements of the project, we get Early Development, Pre-Production, Production and Post-Production (each split into about five individual sub-sections), which all speak for themselves, and each segment offers up an overwhelming amount of behind the scenes footage, interview chunks and effects comparison shots in their effort to provide a start-to-finish chart of the entire production. Far be it from me to complain about having a Documentary that is too comprehensive, but this offering can be a little daunting due to its sheer length, and would probably best be swallowed in smaller, more easily digestible doses.
We also get a Picture-in-Picture offering in the form of a Storyboard and Animatics Comparison Track, which showcases the visual effects images rendered within a small window that pops up whilst watching the movie. Unfortunately it is only available at key moments in the movie, but it is still a nice extra.
Then there's The Big Picture, which is a 14 minute short film by the twin Directors. It was their first ever production, and it's a nice little old-school sci-fi mystery tale with a decent pay-off. For those of you looking for Deleted Scenes, this is a nice, and perhaps more interesting alternative, even if it is absolutely nothing to do with the Daybreakers story.
Finally we get a Poster Art Gallery and a Theatrical Trailer to round off the packed extras section.
VerdictDaybreakers offers up a brilliant vision of an alternate future where vampires rule and the small percentage of surviving humans represent nothing more than their ever-dwindling fossil fuel. It's one of the best high concept premises that I have come across recently, and whilst the fairly inexperienced Australian Directorial twins don't develop the initial idea into a fully satisfying, highly polished end product, the novelty factor lasts just long enough to make this an entertaining new entry into the genre.
Released on Region B-locked UK Blu-ray, the movie comes presented with decent video and excellent audio as well as just about all the extras you could have hoped for (and more), making this a must-buy package for fans, and a worthy rental for those who like the genre, and particularly for those who are bored with the impotent vampiric Twilight forays. Not quite a totally missed opportunity, this is also far from the quality film that the amazing premise promises, and resides somewhere between predictable but pleasurable sci-fi fantasy and entertaining mediocrity.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £24.99
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