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Deja Vu UK to US Comparison Review Blu-ray Review

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by Chris McEneany Jul 8, 2007

  • Movies review


    Deja Vu UK to US Comparison Review Blu-ray Review
    SRP: £24.99


    With an excellent 2.40:1 VC-1 encoded picture, folks, that is only let down by occasionally slow processing in the shadows, Déjà Vu offers some startlingly intense visuals to show off your 1080p panels. The opening ferry boat explosion has justifiably been adorning many BD promotional trailers and it does look utterly amazing, with tremendous depth, aggressive colours and a wildly detailed rendering of the scorching chaos that ensues. But the film, as a whole, has a pretty spectacular transfer. With a pristine source, the image is sharp and clean. There is some grain to be seen in some of the darker interior scenes, but this is purely intentional and does not detract. Edges are extremely clear and smartly delineated and depth of field is full and convincing. Black levels are deep and strong but, as I mentioned, there is some filtering taking place within them during some of the interiors featuring subdued lighting. And there is Scott's aesthetic of diluting the shadows whenever Claire is onscreen, making you think that the black level has lost integrity.

    Detail is exemplary. A typical shot reveals a smartly rendered background (check out the distant river waves over Carlin's shoulder as he and Claire discuss tactics just before the finale), a well designed mid-ground (featuring banks of crystal clear monitors and readouts in the command centre, etc) and fabulously authentic crags, lines and wrinkles on peoples' faces and intricate detail on clothing and material (Denzil's pore-perfect visage throughout in the case of the former, and amazingly realistic wool and patterning on the blanket thrown over Claire at the end, in the latter). But the crowded ferry, the dilapidated boatyard hideaway and the frantic car-packed time-shift pursuit are equally resplendent to look at and just as richly embroidered with finite visual information.

    Colours, as I have stated, are superb ... but don't just stop at the big explosion - oh, and by the way, there's a few of them - they enhance every scene, from sitting in the command hub remote-viewing the past, to the dazzling white uniforms of the Navy boys boarding the ferry against crisp blue skies. Deep primaries are vivid and striking and even all the strange adornments and fixtures on the steel hide of the Hummer are marvellously picked with multiple shades. Naturally, Scott has tinkered about with the contrast, heightening some scenes and crushing others, but his post-production tomfoolery does not upset the captivating radiance of this transfer.

    There is some grain to be seen but this is, again, intentional and purely stylistic. Digitally, there are no causes for concern with the transfer free from annoying edge enhancement, smearing or noise. Comparing the US and UK discs to one another, I discerned no noticeable differences in image quality - both are of a very high standard.
    Deja Vu UK to US Comparison Review Picture


    Both the UK and US discs possess DD 5.1 and PCM Uncompressed 5.1 tracks, and both sound great, but the PCM stretches out the soundfield a fair bit further and adds a lot more clarity and strength to the mix. They are both scintillating presentations of wrap-around viewer immersion, but the PCM locates and steers effects with greater precision and the overall result can be quite spectacular, even during the quieter sections.

    The “boom-boom, shake the room” stuff is, naturally, deep and aggressive. The explosions have great power and spread across the soundscape with truly rumbling depth. Gunshots are loud and clear, rapid fire barking around the speakers during the showdown on the ferryboat at the end. Even the shots witnessed via the surveillance gear have resonance. Impacts during the chase sequence are well designed and integrated into the mix, with directionality successful in all cases. Glass shattering is crystal clear and there is some effective submerged audio for the underwater struggle in the car. Dialogue is served well by a track that follows the onscreen speakers around the environment and there are one or two instances of nicely directed voices emanating from over your shoulder at unexpected moments. The score from Gregson-Williams has warmth and presence and issues from the speakers with vigour during the action sequences and emotion during the quieter stretches.

    Considering that the UK disc has to find space for DTS-HD Master Audio tracks in French and Spanish as well, there is no discernable drop in quality from its PCM mix. So, once again, there is nothing in it, folks. Both areas deliver the goods with merit.
    Deja Vu UK to US Comparison Review Sound


    Both UK and US discs carry the same extras.

    First up is Blu-ray's poor relation to HD's Picture-in-Picture style running feature entitled Surveillance Window, which takes you behind the scenes of the movie via either seamlessly-branched segments which present us with nine little featurettes, or audio commentary from Tony Scott, Jerry Bruckheimer and Bill Marsilii. The featurettes can also be accessed separately and cover the effects, the characters, the filming in New Orleans, the technology and the stunts. The commentators (recorded separately) go in-depth on the concepts of the science behind it all and the hardware they have utilised in reality and in the world of the film. Fans will no doubt find much of worth throughout this, and it is quite interesting to be honest ... but when the finished film is so lacklustre and daft, there is an undeniable disappointment at hearing how the whole thing came to be.

    The selection of Deleted Scenes number five and really don't add anything that would improve the film had they been retained. Entitled Church Choir, Turtle Story, Carlin Studies Claire, Beth and Abbey See Claire, Beth and Abbey Live, the emphasis is on more depth to the characters but, given that we can't possibly care that much about such crassly drawn people, there is little incentive to wade through these offerings.

    Then we get a trio of Extended Scenes, but these add even less to the story and require no explanation as to why they didn't make the final cut, although Scott does supply a commentary for all of these chopped moments.

    Lastly, there is a Movie Showcase option to take you straight to the most exciting hi-definition moments that the studio seems to think you couldn't find without them.
    Deja Vu UK to US Comparison Review Extras


    Super-slick and glossy it may be, but Scott's Déjà vu lives up to its name by trading on all-too-familiar set-ups and a narrative that hits the big red button called Cliché much too often. Personally, I found the film too long, too elaborate and largely unexciting, with an ending that smacks too sickly of studio satisfaction for me to stomach. Its sci-fi angle is squandered with risible implausibility and the thriller aspect is too run-of-the-mill to have any impact. Washington tries too hard to have us on his side and Caviezel's enigmatic charisma is left out to dry, leaving us with a story that singularly fails to ignite.

    The transfer is excellent but the extras are mainly disposable. Thus, this is one for fans of Denzel Washington and those who crave AV bliss from their escapism ... and if this applies to you, you can add an extra point to the overall score. I still think that it is a bit of a waste of time and talent, folks. With regards to which version to go - providing you have the option of playing both A and B regions, that is - it doesn't matter because they are the same, except for the fatter box of the UK edition!

    The Rundown



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