PictureLegion comes to Blu-ray presented with a 1080p High Definition rendition in the movie's original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.4:1 widescreen. Detail is generally very good, the film's $26 Million budget rarely having a negative effect on the proceedings, visually, and the image quality remaining strong and largely devoid of edge enhancement, digital defecting or grain. Softness does not really come into play either, the close-ups and longer shots all retaining their integrity well. The colour scheme is suitable for the setting which, for the most part is: dusty desert day, dusty desert night; so you're looking at lost of sun-dried tones, oranges, yellows and browns. The opening rainy sequence set in LA is a nice counterpoint to this, but rarely does the scheme change up again. Even the warm golden glow of Heaven looks much like the Mojave desert - only without the dust. Blacks are reasonably strong, which helps during the more eventful night-set segments, and overall this is a very good video presentation. We're not talking Blockbuster standard, or even close to being benchmark, but still, it's ideal for the material.
SoundOn the aural front we get a very nice DTS-HD Master Audio Offering. Considering the film itself, and its relatively small budget, it is quite a wonder that they put so much effort into this track - but they have. The dialogue is presented clearly and coherently, largely dominating the fronts and centre channels as appropriate. The score is pretty generic, but seeps through the proceedings, becoming louder as is necessary depending on the on-screen action, and it gets nice coverage from across the array. The effects are the centrepiece, however (as is clearly the case with the production as a whole), the surrounds really getting a clinical workout as the strange creatures scuttle around your very living room. It's really quite unnerving, and very effective. Bass is prevalent throughout, but in a low-level broody kind of way with only a few explosions making you sit up and notice that you're seat is shaking. Overall it's quite a good mix, not spectacular, but still pretty special for this kind of release.
First up we get Bringing Angels to Earth, a comprehensive Picture-in-Picture track that offers up Video Commentary and In-Movie Behind the Scenes footage. All of the main cast and crew chip in, discussing their involvement in the project, the tight time restrictions, what they brought to the roles, and talking about the characters, the story and the effects. There is some overlap with the following Featurettes, but that was only to be expected. Whilst it is a bit self-congratulatory - with not a single honest comment about what went wrong with the production - fans of the film will be happy to check this out.
Creating the Apocalypse - Behind the Physical Effects takes 24 minutes to look at the stunts and physical effects sequences in the movie: namely, the ice-cream man and his strange body; the fake baby (who looks unintentionally creepy - think Quato from Total Recall); and the crazy old lady who swears a lot. The Special Effects crew do the majority of the commentary, but we do get a few snippets from the relevant cast members, talking about their experiences on the movie. There's also plenty of behind the scenes footage and even some storyboard comparisons and pre-vis effects shots. A remarkably comprehensive offering.
Humanity's Last Line of Defence - The Cast and Characters takes 12 minutes to look specifically at the motley crew who get holed-up in the diner to stave off an apocalypse. With a few recycled behind the scenes segments, the best thing about this offering is definitely the fact that all the key players contribute: Dennis Quaid, Tyrese Gibson, Paul Bettany, Willa Holland, Lucas Black and Adrianne Palicki, Charles S. Dutton and Kate Walsh are all present and accounted for, bouncing comments back and forth with the Director/Writer. Again, it's a shame that they all seem to see the movie through rose-tinted windows, but fans will be happy to hear from them all.
From Pixels to Picture - A Look at the Visual Effects takes 11 minutes to look more closely at the computer work done to bring the effects sequences to life. The main effects crew participate and we get coverage of many of the same scenes that were discussed on the physical effects Featurette, only from a CG standpoint. This is quite a nice companion-piece, with some interesting split-screen analysis, but you feel like perhaps the two could have been integrated into one big effects chunk.
Designing Paradise Falls spends 17 minutes looking at the locations, shooting in New Mexico, finding a suitable spot, using computers to visualise it, and building the exterior diner set. The crew discuss shooting the exterior sequences (and a couple of inside shots) on location, as opposed to a soundstage, which was where most of the interiors were done. It's a nice offering, again with some interesting visual comparisons between the 3D imagining of the diner set and the actual construction itself.
Designed For Action: Blueprint of a Scene takes 10 minutes to look at one main action sequence, how it was put together, choreographed, rehearsed, emboldened and polished up for the final product. The main players once again participate, and the Featuette again goes into depth on every single angle of shooting this technically elaborate scene.
Finally we get a bunch of Trailers: the lacklustre heist actioner Armoured, the acclaimed, satirical low budget sci-fi hit District 9, the enjoyable Zombieland, the silly but epic disaster movie 2012, and the pointless Boondock Saints sequel.
VerdictLegion set quite a challenge for itself, attempting to pitch audiences a premise about angels with machine guns, a God who's got the hump with mankind, and the hope for humanity residing in the pregnant tummy of a waitress in the middle of the Mojave desert. I'm not sure it stood much of a chance of ever being great, and with a novice Director whose only experience is doing effects for movies all we get is a couple of reasonable effects sequences in an utter bore of a production. A bunch of familiar actors cannot save the movie, and, much like Neil Marshall's Doomsday, this one is doomed to (hopefully) disappear quietly from people's memories.
On Region Free UK Blu-ray we get very good presentation indeed, both video and audio being remarkably good for this kind of budget, and a decent selection of extras to make fans happy. Unfortunately none of it will turn a bad movie good, and this remains a film that should - at best - be rented. But be careful, even setting your expectations low, you will likely still be disappointed.
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