Hanna - Triple Play Edition Blu-ray Review
Hanna is a beautifully crafted, offbeat foray into the world of revenge thrillers, which adventurously splices elements from a number of different genres to create a thoroughly entertaining, breakneck-paced, and resoundingly unique experience. It may not be perfect, but it deserves kudos for going that extra mile and trying something really quite different. Brought together by a tremendous performance from the young Saoirse Ronan, supported ably by the kick-ass Eric Bana – who both manage to help convince you of the amazing capabilities of the lead character, and further draw you into her plight – the movie utilises numerous exotic locations; plenty of unusual, at times, breathtaking cinematography, and a suitably powerful score from The Chemical Brothers, which bolsters the frenetic action beats whilst also enhancing the other-worldly, twisted fantasy undercurrent that pervades the piece to truly get under your skin. And on a second viewing, it only gets better, any niggling doubts get blown away by the sheer experience of it all. Highly recommended.
On Region Free UK Blu-ray, this Triple-Play release matches the US equivalent on every level – with the same perfect video and audio, and the same comprehensive set of decent extras. It’s a no-brainer, really, this is a great package. If you already like the movie, then you should already have this excellent release on order, and if you’ve never seen it then it’s definitely worth a blind buy. Whether you love the likes of Leon and the Bourne movies; and, actually, even if action-thrillers aren’t normally a mainstay in your collection, this one deserves a place – startlingly different in every way imaginable; it’s a mix of martial arts actioner, suspense thriller, road-movie, coming-of-age-drama, mystery, comedy, chase movie and modern-day fairytale adventure, resulting in a unique blend, the likes of which you won't have ever encountered before.
“Come and find me.”
Hanna comes to Region Free UK Blu-ray complete with the same startlingly good 1080p High Definition rendition that the US are getting, presented in the movie’s original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1 widescreen. It’s an excellent transfer, through and through, with fantastic clarity both in the longer, wider, more panoramic shots, and in the close-ups; fine object detail remaining top notch throughout. There’s no sign of edge enhancement, either, nor any DNR or other digital defects to speak of. The colour scheme is as broad in tone as the movie itself – taking us from the brilliant white Finland wilderness, with snow-dipped rich brown woodland, to the clinical gunship-grey concrete compound; from the golden orange Moroccan desert-scape to the clinical offices of Langley, Virginia – and the whole palette is presented authentically, the colours ringing true throughout. Black levels are strong and deep, allowing for excellent shadowing and solid night sequences, and a fine layer of grain pervades the piece giving it that suitably cinematic sheen. With a little 3D pop to round things off, it’s easily reference quality for me, and one of my first picture-perfect titles of the year.
On the aural front we get an equally impressive DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack that provides a thoroughly engaging and all-encompassing accompaniment for the movie. Dialogue is presented clearly and coherently throughout, never getting swept up in the furore, and retaining control over the frontal array whenever needed. Effects are myriad, ranging from echoing gunshots to thudding body-blows, from screeching car chases to galloping hooves – offering up some extensive surround use, the dynamic array on full tilt, with the rears coming into play as well. Of course, the sound effects are often indiscernible from the score itself – which is what works so well in the movie – and, boy, is the score wonderful on this track. Every time the beats kick in and take over, and even when the thematic background melodies become overbearing, the surrounds and LFE channel come into action to support the six-speaker presentation and create an engulfing all-round experience. Even the quieter moments are never silent, and it all works perfectly, fused together to overwhelm you – and that’s exactly what it does. Awesome.
Hanna comes to Region Free UK Blu-ray with the same DVD and Digital Copy as the US release, and exactly the same set of fairly comprehensive extras, which covers all of the bases and, occasionally, is actually quite refreshingly honest.
Feature Commentary with Director Joe Wright takes us on a sometimes hesitant (lots of ums and uhs), but generally quite informative journey through the behind the scenes of this movie – from his ideas behind some of his shots to the sequence of filming the scenes; pointing out the fairytale elements in the story, explaining how he developed the choreography of the fight scenes on-the-fly, and pointing out how important music was to him – and thus his interest in depicting a character who had never heard music before; further detailing his bond with The Chemical Brothers, and how their work was closely fused with that of the Sound Effects crew so that the two blend into one. The most interesting moments are when he pauses to wonder whether his daring mish-mash of genres paid off: he even says ‘I’ll leave it to you to decide’ which is quite honest and refreshing from a Director – normally they just act like their movie is The Best Movie Ever. However, this is still a dry, somewhat stilted offering, and whilst there is a great deal to be gleaned here, and some honest moments (hell, he even apologises for a mistake!), I’m really not sure how much you’re going to get through before you get frustrated by the pause-stricken delivery. Shame really, because it’s otherwise good stuff, and the guy clearly has an unusual – and intriguing – way of looking at things.
Adapt or Die is a 13 minute Behind the Scenes featurette which looks explicitly at the character of Hanna, the skills that she had, and the martial arts element in particular. We get to hear from the Director with respect to his intentions, as well as both Saoirse (her native Irish tongue reminding you just how good she is at the accent in the movie) and Eric (ditto with the accent) who notes that the young 16 year old did many of the fight scenes herself. There’s plenty of behind the scenes footage of the martial arts choreography – the fights from throughout the movie – and a fair bit of background into the training, the hand-to-hand skills and how it comes across on-screen. An interesting little background featurette, covering a great element of the movie.
Central Intelligence Allegory gives us 9 minutes of background into the Government elements of the movie, explaining how it relates to the fairytale story they were painting; discussing, again quite frankly, how the scientific background was the plot ‘macguffin’, and then relating all of the characters to their Grimms’ fairytale counterparts – looking at Eric Bana first, then Cate Blanchett and Tom Hollander – before looking at the fairytale settings, most obviously the theme park. Across this Featurette we also get plenty of excellent storyboard-to-final-scene comparison shots playing out in the background; they are played quite fast, but it makes for a hell of a lot of information – both from the commentary and the indirectly related storyboard visuals.
Chemical Reaction is a 6 minute Featurette discussing the Director’s collaboration with The Chemical Brothers, introducing (in voice only) Tom and Ed – who talk about how great it was to work so closely with the sound effects crew to create an all-round score/effects experience, where effects are used for the melody in the score (and where you can’t differentiate between sound effects and music). They highlight the whistling twisted lullaby melody, the chase sequence tune, and, obviously, the distinctive cabin raid scoring – some of the best bits – and note how well the band’s contribution actually worked as a film score.
Anatomy of A Scene: The Escape From Camp G looks specifically at one particular scene – taking just 3 minutes to show the camerawork done; the extensive storyboarding which was adapted for the final version; the way in which they got some of the more elaborate shots (including that slightly overly-playful 360 degree shot), and the way they infused the music into this segment.
The Wide World of Hanna is an even shorter 2 minutes in length, and is a very brief and somewhat promotional offering which basically tells us the premise in 132 seconds. There are a few nice behind the scenes shots from the various exotic locations, showing glimpses of all of them, but it’s far too short to be of any real value.
Alternate Ending is just a brief 88-second epilogue which returns us to the log cabin. Nice, and certainly worth checking out, but not as good as the ending used, which brings us full-circle in a more obvious, punchy fashion.
Deleted Scenes total 4 minutes of extra footage, amounting to 3 extra scenes – are more detailed look at how Hanna got on the camper van; an extra scene with the father (Eric Bana) explaining how they found him; and an extended version of the internet cafe sequence. As you can tell from the subject matter, there’s nothing here that was vital to the proceedings, and all of the scenes would have only acted as expositionary fluff which was totally unnecessary. Still, they’re interesting to check out here.
Hanna Promo is an 88-second extended trailer, which rounds off the disc.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £19.99
Our Review Ethos
To comment on what you've read here, click the Discussion tab and post a reply.