Disturbia Blu-ray Review
PictureCorrectly framed at 1.85.1 to fill the screen and encoded using the AVC MPEG 4 codec, the picture quality on the Blu-ray version is a bit of a mixed bag.
Outdoor scenes are bright and stable with huge amounts of detail. The picture has been given a pale yellow hue which makes the skin tones glow somewhat. Colours are bright and solid and but sometimes overcooked.
It's in dark scenes where the picture falls down slightly. The contrast levels have been lowered and the black levels appear to have been raised. This may have worked in the cinema but in the home and on all but the best and most expensive of viewing displays, this is going to crush blacks dramatically - which is what happens here. Resulting in a loss of detail in most indoor and night scenes, this picture tweaking puts a dampener on things somewhat seeing as though the majority of the movie is set indoors.
Colours lose all of their - well - colour really. Scenes become monochrome and it's sometimes a little hard to tell what's going on.
On the plus side, as you would expect from such a recent film, the print is in pristine condition and there's no hint of grain anywhere. Edge enhancement is also noticeable by it's absence.
All in all then, maybe a little less tinkering would have actually helped in this case. A pity really as it dose detract a bit from an enjoyable movie.
SoundSadly lacking a lossless soundtrack, Disturbia does offer up two extended tracks in the shape of a Dolby Digital Surround EX track alongside a DTS ES matrix track. Both are flagged as such and triggered the surround back speakers on my set up into action without any help from me.
I settled back with the Dolby version (solely because it works better with THX post processing in my opinion...). But didn't stay settled for long!
The soundtrack can best be described as un-nerving. The director and sound mixer get together and use every trick in the book to get you to leave your seat. Bass rattles your teeth and the surround channels are used extensively. Sounds come from behind both shoulders and the separation is absolute. Dialogue is also clear and precise.
The musical score, by Geoff Zanelli, sometimes takes over the stage but only adds to the excitement when it does. There are huge dynamics on show here, and, though not really demo material, the soundtrack really does add to the tension of the film.
I did, however, have one thing to nit-pick. The soundtrack seemed to lean to the right hand side of the front soundstage for some strange reason. This was on both the Dolby and DTS versions using the digital coaxial output of my Samsung BD-P1000 Blu-ray player. I have never noticed it before and I played other films afterwards to see if there is a fault with my system and there wasn't. It's definitely disc related. It wasn't so much in the effects side of things but more in the musical score. Hopefully I've got a dodgy disc and nobody else will notice this but I feel it had to be reported...
A perfectly acceptable soundtrack to accompany any thriller really, only let down by what could be a slight technical problem...
ExtrasReleased at the same time as the SD and HD DVD versions, this Blu-ray disc contains no HD exclusive extra material - BUT - the majority of it is in 1080P MPEG 2 high Definition. Well done again, DreamWorks!
First up, we have a scene specific commentary with director D.J Caruso and cast members Shia LaBeouf and Sarah Roemer. Though, to be honest, the director doesn't really get a look in as the two starlets jostle for mic time.
Next up is a second commentary of sorts, in the shape of a trivia pop up quiz. This features some one line notes on the production and cast bios. It also gives away various bits and pieces that I'm not going to go into here. It's well worth a watch, but watch it after as you'll pick up on things you didn't notice the first time.
Then comes a 14 minute Making of documentary. This is different from other documentary's of late because it actually features behind the scenes footage. Most of the documentary's I've watched lately that claim to be making of pieces turn out to be nothing more than extended trailers. It also features some good interviews with the cast and crew, who seem to all love each other and had a blast making the movie...not that different then.
A montage of four deleted scenes that last a total of 6 minutes bring nothing to the table because they are standalone. How hard would it have been to record a further 6 minutes of commentary for these,,,?
The extra's are rounded up by a set of about 50 publicity stills in a photo gallery, a theatrical trailer and a music video of Don't Make Me Wait by This World's Fair - which proves the target audience for this particular movie.
All in all, a fairly comprehensive set of extra features. They are made all the more pleasant by the fact they are in High definition.
VerdictThe tag line for this film is every killer lives next door to someone. I think that sets up the experience nicely. Disturbia is a very enjoyable movie for teenagers young and old. It has it's fair share of shocks and jumps and makes no secret of the fact that it is based heavily on Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window The movie poster, which you will see going up here in the UK shortly, confirms that with it's uncanny likeness to that of Hitchcock's classic.
The package is let down slightly by some unnecessary technical tinkering with the black and white levels. This could well have been re-adjusted for the home release, bearing in mind that not everybody has the room to accommodate the very expensive viewing devices that will take advantage of this.
Sound quality is well above average but my disc may well have a slight technical problem as well. Hopefully it is only my disc and it will not affect your enjoyment to much...
A comprehensive set of extra's show off how the film was put together and the genuine enthusiasm that the cast and crew had when making it.
I can highly recommend Disturbia to a very wide audience. As a rule, when reviewing movies for AVPlay, I always try and watch it with at least one member of the target audience. In this case, my 13 year old daughter gave it two thumbs up, followed by a somewhat creakier and slower two thumbs from the old man.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £24.79
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