Premonition Blu-ray Review
PicturePresented with a 2.40:1 image and encoded via AVC MPEG-4, Premonition looks just fine ... although in a relatively understated way. The film is constructed with an autumnal look that favours browns, greens and the natural-looking world. Colours are good, although hardly splashed around the image with any attempt to be vibrant or wild. With an element of de-saturation to keep things moody and downplayed, they favour the more sombre aspects of the spectrum. Skin tones are good, again, but contained within an image that eschews with the glossier Hollywood look. Amber Valleta, for instance, has a much more realistic appearance than she would normally receive and Bullock, especially, looks especially tired and un-airbrushed.
Blacks are very good, thick and stable and keep the image robust with natural shadow definition. The interiors always benefit from this and there are no instances of detail being swamped or crushed. Contrast remains steady once you have gotten past the flashback-opening sequence that is deliberately blown-out and heightened to achieve a halcyon-days, nostalgic reminiscence-type effect. Detail is deceptive. The film seems quite un-flashy for the majority of its running time, but there are plenty of elements that reveal the image to be quite nicely detailed. The furnishings of Linda's home, the views down the highway, the interiors of Jim's office - nothing is flamboyant or attention-drawing, but the detail is still there. Sadly, though, with a film so shunning of the spectacular, there is little that I can recall to mention specifically.
The film is allowed some three-dimensionality even if this type of effect is not really emblazoned on the style. Again, the highway scenes exhibit this, with Linda running down the road and shots of either she or Jim talking on their mobile phones. Sudden car-appearances are quite well done and there is some effective interior depth of field to keep the image alive, such as when Linda goes to the church.
There was no intrusive edge enhancement or smearing, no grain or noise to speak of and no artefacts to mar the transfer, although fast motion did seem to lose some very slight definition during one or two frames. Overall, Premonition has a very good and reliable, if unremarkable, picture.
SoundIt seems a little churlish to mark a film down for its PCM Uncompressed 5.1 track not exactly delivering the goods, but the simple truth is that there isn't much that is expected of the sound design in the first place. The track, at 48kHz/16-bit/4.6 mbps, doesn't do anything wrong, you understand. The dialogue is clear, there is warmth to the mid-range and the front feels opened up and wide, but nothing of any distinction occurs to bring the film to life. The sub is only called into play during a couple of scenes but this is not a film that would warrant such oomph anyway. The disappointment lies in the lack of atmosphere conveyed by the mix. The rears are hardly ever called upon and there is precious little sense of viewer-immersion.
But the handling of some effects is still satisfactory, even if there are only really a handful to speak of. The shattering glass when Linda's daughter takes a bloody plunge through the door, for instance, sounds nice and clear. The rainstorm comes over with neat placement and realism, even if it is not quite as dramatic as some other examples we have heard. And the sudden screeching appearance of a car is handled well with regards to power and directionality.
So, as I say, Premonition's PCM track doesn't make any mistakes - it just doesn't deliver quite the presence that you may have expected with a supernatural thriller. But it is definitely a step up from the DD 5.1 track that is also included on the disc, which is noticeably thinner and less interesting.
ExtrasThere is a commentary track with director and star but, to be honest, if you can stick with it, then you are incredibly more patient and easily pleased than me. It is nice of Sandra Bullock to contribute to such a thing but to then have only such a sporadic input that reveals nothing of what it took to play the part and no hint that things will brighten up with regards to insight or anecdote later on. Yapo fares no better, I'm afraid and the chat, in the end, comes to resemble the mood of the film - pensive, withdrawn and laborious.
Glimpses Of The Future is your typical fluffy EPK, folks, and nothing to get worked up about. Running for about fifteen minutes, this thrown-together making-of offers thoughts from all the main players, including Bullock, McMahon,Yapo and Kelly, but it is short, snappy and far-too user and studio-friendly to provide any real insight into the production.
Yapo next presents us with a “condensed” montage of the film called Making Order Out Of Chaos. Lasting for around twelve minutes, this feature re-constitutes the film in a chronological order to show just how the events surrounding Linda's estranged life fit in. Hmmm ... nice try to give us something a little different in the specials department, but it also smacks of a filmmaker who doesn't trust his own material enough for people to understand it. Remember that little insert card in Burton's wasted Planet Of The Apes remake that “explained” how apes could be ruling the Earth before Mark Wahlberg's glum astronaut got back home? Same kind of deal ... but a lot more extensive, obviously, and helped along with the director's own explanations.
Then we get the real meat of the extras. Taking the form of a two-part documentary, Real Premonitions is a 44 mins exploration of the true-life phenomena (love that word!) of precognition. Featuring interviews with people have actually had - or allegedly had - premonitions of, and foretold of, well-known disasters. Thankfully, this piece neither makes light of such stories, nor glorifies them, presenting them and their subjects with balanced rationale. Possibly a feature you may watch again.
The collection of five Deleted Scenes amount to nothing more than scene extensions and a pretty mood-swinging alternate ending. All of these were wisely excised from the final version. An optional commentary from the director accompanies these.
Besides trailers for other BD releases, things are rounded off with a four-minute gag reel. Now, given the tone of the film, I was quite surprised to see the cast and crew having such a lark on set. There isn't much to laugh out loud about, but there are two nice pranks played with prosthetic effects that raised a smirk from me. Check out Bullock's impromptu reaction to saving her husband's severed head from the flaming wreck - at last some spontaneity.
VerdictAlthough quite drab to look at and a little miserable in tone, Premonition still has an intriguing enough premise to keep you watching until the end. Bullock is playing someone whose world is tearing itself apart and, as such, she is hardly going to guarantee you a laugh-a-minute. That said, an hour and a half in the company of such a down-in-the-dumps character is wearying and, ultimately, the film is all rather unsatisfying both as a supernatural yarn and as a family drama.
Transfer-wise, the PCM track is unremarkable in every way - it does what it needs to do, but the film hasn't really got any acoustic fun and games in mind - and the picture is fine but stuck with presenting an image that was never intended to leap from the screen. Bullock's commentary is largely redundant, but there are a couple of nice interesting features on the disc to add a little value to the release. Overall, this is a TV movie in tone, look and style. There's a lot worse material on offer out there, for sure, but you can still do much better than this. A rental at best .... unless you are a die-hard Bullock-fan, that is. Or worse yet - a McMahon-devotee. Yee-Gods!
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £24.15
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