Stealth Blu-ray Review
PictureThe disc presents a theatrically correct widescreen 2.35:1 1080p aspect that has been encoded with mpeg 2 codec. For an early showcase disc Stealth does a pretty good job from detail to colours, it's not quite perfect but it is pretty darn close. The detail level is as good as any of the best discs out there, right from close up skin detail and computer screens to far of distance shots of landscapes. There are only a few 'stand out' images, much to my surprise, the latter distance shots are some, particularly the desert targets selected by E.D.I., rock strata, buildings, scrub, all come across with pin point clarity and are a joy to observe. Internal detail is just as good with maps and charts as well as computer screens and Biel's underwear are crisp and clear.
Colours, too, are bold and strong and are demonstrated lavishly at their best in the computer hanger deck, where greens, blues, and pinks drip from the screen. There is no bleed or wash all remaining solid and defined. The blue of the sky and the green/blue of the sea are also represented wonderfully, being clear and defined with lovely gradation. Brightness and contrast are set to give some beautifully deep blacks, these look their best in the aforementioned computer hanger where the frame depth gives a nice pop to the image. External shots are also well defined though there was a little shadow detail lost on occasion. Oddly though flesh tones did tend to be a little off, a bit towards the brown rather then natural.
The print itself is absolutely pristine, with not a blemish to be seen anywhere and film grain is completely absent. Digitally there were no compression problems, artefacting or shimmering, neither was there any edge enhancement. In all then a near reference picture spoilt only by the slight skin tone colouring and some definition lost at night.
SoundThere are three sound tracks to choose from English PCM 5.1, English and French Dolby Digital 5.1; for this review I concentrate on the PCM. Wow. What a mix. It's no surprise as an action film there is going to be plenty going on to keep the speakers busy and this is certainly no exception. There is nay a time when the surrounds aren't brought in to bolster the mix, right from the off. It is an aggressive track when the action is full on, with flyby's, jet and wind noise, missile shots, bullets, explosions all shooting around the room. However, in the quieter moments there is also plenty of ambiance to keep the speakers busy, the computer hanger has chirps and clicks, voices and steps all with a nice bit of reverb to entice you into the room. There is a full tonal range, held firmly by some wonderfully deep bass. When you're flying along side and behind the Talons the rumble of the jet is just one LF effect that will have your sub singing. Dialogue is natural sounding and fixed to the centre and is never drowned out by the mayhem happening on screen.
The score too gets pumped into the room, even if you don't really like the songs chosen, there is no denying the impact of the thundering bass and all encompassing music. The mix is well layered too, separation is wide and expansive and everything is clear and precise, no muddy mess here. It is balanced well, with the quieter dialogue moments pitched so that there is no need to adjust volume once the flying starts. A very impressive sound track this one, deserving of its reference score.
ExtrasDismal. One extra, an introduction by director Rob Cohen, which is one sentence followed by a montage of film clips, the films premier and prospective holiday destinations, well, beach shots at any rate. At least it's all presented in 1080p HD so could be used as demo material, though the actual film is far superior. The value of this extra is very questionable indeed.
VerdictStealth is rubbish and knows it. But that doesn't make it rubbish. Actually I found it a fun popcorn movie with a bit of adrenalin, plenty of action and best of all no cheese to spoil the flavour. I enjoyed it and when it's presented as well as this it should gain a few more fans.
As a Blu-ray set, a very good picture is bolstered by an outstanding sound track but spoilt by a nonexistent extras package. As show material there is much to enjoy, it is just a shame that Sony didn't go all out and use this disc as demo material by packing it full of extras and making it the best damn disc it could be, since it is unfortunately unlikely to win anyone over on the (already sealed) reputation of the film alone.
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