Source Code - Special Edition Blu-ray Review
Source Code comes to Region A-locked US Blu-ray with an excellent video transfer that’s easily demo quality and just shy of being a perfect 10, presented in the movie’s original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.78:1 widescreen. Detail is superb throughout, with no softness whatsoever, and no signs of any DNR, edge enhancement or other irritating digital tinkering. Fine object detail remains strong, and a fine layer of grain gives the movie a suitably cinematic feel. The colour scheme is broad and well represented, with rich skin tones that are just about spot on, some fantastically real explosion colours and tangible, steely metals both for the cold, clinical experiment side of things, and the train itself. Black levels are also strong, and work particularly well when exploring the aircraft cockpit that Colter appears to be in, allowing for superb shadowing and rounding off a brilliant video presentation that it almost impossible to falter.
On the aural front we get a noisy but occasionally unfocussed DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track, which presents the Hitchcockian score at the forefront (you’ll wonder whether you’re watching some kind of North by NorthWest homage just as the elaborate credits whirl by), the repeat sessions with the train exploding second, and everything else next in line. Which is not to say that the dialogue is ever an issue – it isn’t, coming across clearly and coherently throughout, and taking charge of the frontal array wherever necessary. And even the smaller atmospheric moments that are really quite refined, more than you might expect, with a fair bit of directionality, and subtlety to them. But at the end of the day, the movie is clearly all about that bustling score and flashy, hi-tech visuals strapped on to a mostly clever narrative which is punctuated by some really big bangs (rocking your LFE) – and whilst there’s no way you can fail to enjoy that kind of aural rollercoaster, it doesn’t quite have enough going for it to rank amongst your demo quality selection, and instead sits in the very good action-movie soundtrack pile.
Source Code comes with surprisingly few extras – two in fact – but thankfully they are really the ones that count, and this one almost hits the mark with the near-equivalent of a Maximum Movie Mode offering, which really is the universal extra that pretty-much covers all of the bases.
Director Duncan Jones, Writer Ben Ripley and Star Jake Gyllenhaal all contribute to this solid, full-length audio commentary, which looks at everything from the inception of the project, through to the science of it all; discussing the original ideas and how they morphed into the final result, the character development and the acting talent, and the shooting experience and on-set stories. It’s not the greatest commentary track, and I would have preferred more honest different opinions on whether they thought the end result was as perfect as Moon, but fans will likely lap this up.
Access: Source Codetakes you behind the scenes with a Picture-in-Picture offering in the vein of (but not as good as) Maximum Movie Mode that allows you to watch the movie whilst taking in revealing behind the scenes footage and Visual Effects breakdowns; hearing from cast and crew members in video interview snippets; and absorbing titbits of trivia.
Unquestionably enthralling, Duncan “Moon” Jones’s sophomore directorial effort is another good bit of classic sci-fi; a solid thriller which pays tribute to a number of other memorable efforts in the last couple of decades and yet still manages to feel fresh and unique. The trouble is that, despite being clearly a thinking man’s sci-fi thriller, anybody who puts too much thought into this one will undoubtedly end up confused or even bewildered by the left-field ending. I’m sure many will be more forgiving, but, for others, it will ruin the entire movie. And for me, it was all that was keeping this movie from being as good as Moon.
On Region A-locked US Blu-ray we get excellent video and audio, as well as only a couple of extras – thankfully ones that cover all the bases. Fans will therefore clearly want to pick this release up, and newcomers should consider this almost worth a blind buy – you’ll likely find yourself utterly gripped by the first 80 minutes; it’s only the last few which will make or break the experience.
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