PictureErin Brockovich arrives in the UK on Blu ray after being HD DVD only stateside. It is presented in its theatrically correct ratio in a 1080P transfer.
The film is not one that is ever going to truly impress on HD. The film is eight years old, and features some very conservative outdoor and indoor shots. There are very few night scenes to truly test the transfer quality, but what is here is rendered very well.
Soderburgh is renowned for his rather stylistic approach, and although he reigns himself in rather on this film, he still presents a very interesting palette to the viewer. The outdoor scenes, for example, are shot through with a really interesting orange tint and this is rendered really well by the transfer. The unusual filter used may well mean that the image lacks the 3D “Pop” we are used to expecting but the level of detail in the image is certainly great.
In addition to this, despite the age of the film, the stock the film is mastered from is perfect. There are no blemishes or artefacts to be seen and the image is clean and pristine. Grain does occasionally appear but this seems to be very inconsistent. In some scenes it is quite prevalent but in others it is nonexistent. I suspect this is down to the way Soderburgh shoots the film, rather than any problem with the transfer.
SoundErin Brockovich is presented with a Dolby TrueHD sound mix, but it is a very disappointing track indeed. Admittedly the film is very dialogue driven, but surely that doesn't mean that the rears should be ignored completely? Atmosphere could be added with ambient effects surely?
Sadly not. Everything is front orientated, from the dialogue, to the music - everything is in the front of the sound field. Admittedly the dialogue is always clear and concise, but there is actually very little frontal separation here. Indeed I would go so far as to say this is the worst TrueHD soundtrack I have heard so far. Luckily, this doesn't affect the film too much - but it is disappointing.
ExtrasThe SD, and US HD DVD version of this film were very light on extras, and the version we are receiving is the same. All versions included the excellent 30 minutes of deleted scenes and these are certainly worthy of your time, being of a similar quality to the main feature (they were only cut for reasons of length). We are also presented with a rather thin 4 minute featurette The real Erin Brockovich and a slightly more substantial puff piece on The making of Erin Brockovich
VerdictErin Brockovich is a surprisingly good film. It tells an entertaining story about the triumph of the individual over the corporation, and does so with a selection of solid acting performances and a clever, naturalistic direction. It is a shame, however, that it chooses to play so loosely with the true story it aims to portray.
The picture is solid, if not spectacular, but the sound is a huge let down. Add to this a poor selection of extras and if you are an owner of this on SD you may consider the upgrade very carefully. If you have never seen the film, however, it is certainly one that you may well enjoy sitting down to watch with your partner.
Two things to note here is that the image you see at the top is of the DVD version. The Blu ray box art has yet to be released. I should also mention that the pre release copy I received played perfectly on my US PS3. This bodes well for the region free status of the final release, but this obviously cannot yet be confirmed.
Our Review Ethos
To comment on what you've read here, click the Discussion tab and post a reply.