The Fourth Kind Blu-ray Review
PicturePresented on Blu-ray with a 1080p High Definition rendition in the movie's original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1 widescreen, The Fourth Kind utilises archived faked 'real' video footage which looks intentionally rough and flawed, and dramatised movie segments, which are almost perfect in comparison. There the detail is consistently excellent, the picture retains clarity under almost all conditions, with no noticeable softness and only a little sporadic and seemingly intentional grain. Facial representation is flawless, the colour scheme providing authentic skin tones, lush surroundings (even given the bleak Alaskan environment) and particularly flashy interiors (which almost all look like they were done by an interior decorator who has watched too much CSI). Black levels are strong and allow for excellent shadowing and night sequences, and overall this portion of the movie is pretty damn good. As aforementioned, the massive difference in quality between the faked 'real' footage and the 'movie' footage is designed specifically to fool the audience into believing that the former is actually real. So top marks for intentionally poor presentation there.
SoundThe accompanying DTS-HD Master Audio track is just as disjointed, flipping (initially somewhat jarringly) between film soundtrack and faked poor source audio, either that which goes with the corresponding video footage, or just audio interview samples overdubbed onto the movie-style footage we see. The natural film track that has been created for this movie is an extremely potent one: the dialogue coming across clearly and coherently (in as much as it is supposed to be), the common, often freaky effects offering up some directionality across the surround channels and the shock moments rippling through your living room in an attempt to send shivers up your spine. It works quite well as an atmospheric, immersive mix, although - oddly enough - most of the poorly recorded faked 'real' audio recordings are more eerie and disturbing than the movie-soundtrack, mainly because they feel real and, in some cases, sound quite weird, to say the least.
ExtrasAll we get on the extras front is a Trailer, which is a bit disappointing as this appeared to be quite a personal project for those involved (if not Milla, then certainly the Director), so it would have been nice to have some behind the scenes input, either in the form of interview stuff or a full audio commentary. I guess perhaps the decision to make it a bare bones disc was arguably better than if we had a whole heap of 'faked' extras to accompany the fake film - that would have made the joke even less bearable (if that's at all possible).
VerdictApril Fool! Yes, this entire movie is a fake. Filmed in two very different ways, it tries to make you believe that you are watching real documentary footage interspliced with movie scenes by actors. The reality is that they are ALL actors. The interview footage has been faked and the producers have basically gone to elaborate, extreme lengths to try and fool audiences. Do you like the feeling of being fooled? Well, The Fourth Kind failed to captivate me in any way. Even as an elaborate prank, it left me unsatisfied, and when the curtain's pulled back, you feel utterly cheated. If you like your April Fools' jokes all year round, pick this baby up and play it for your friends or family. And don't tell them it's fake. See how many get fooled. For everybody else this really is not worth your time. On UK Blu-ray we get decent video (at least the non-faked-video footage looks quality) and a suitably immersive audio track, although the complete lack of extras lets the side down. Fans will no doubt want to pick this up, but everybody else should be warned what they are walking into. The reality is that this is a pure work of fiction, disguised as a re-enactment. And even as a work of elaborate trickery, it really does not offer up much in the way of entertainment, making you feel doubly annoyed that you wasted your time on it. Utterly disappointing.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £24.99
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