Troy DVD Review
PictureOne would expect the video transfer to be a strength on this release, and I'm glad to say that even if the movie is a little on the soggy side, the picture certainly isn't. Framed at 2.40:1, this anamorphic transfer contains a feast of different palettes and hues. What's immediately striking is the level of detail here, which is up there with some of the better DVD transfers around. From the sweeping deserts, to the CGI grandeur of Troy and Sparta and the vast fleet of warships, right down to the armour that our protagonist's wear...everything is presented cleanly and crisply, with plenty of fine detail to see if your display can cope with it.
Black levels are strong and deep, colours rich and vibrant, and even the scenes of high contrast (especially noticeable in the opening scenes) are handled well, with no blooming whatsoever.
The print itself is clean and free from any dirt or scratches, and compression artefacts are nowhere to be seen save in one or two of the night-time scenes where the dark backgrounds betray just a little noise (and only if you're really looking for it). The large swathes of colour in particular - bold blue skies and the bleached deserts - hold up well to scrutiny, and this is rounded off by a pleasing lack of edge enhancement.
SoundPresented here in 448kbps Dolby Digital, the soundtrack is a multi-layered affair which demonstrates well the strengths of 5.1 without ever going over the top, or ever really wowing. It's a solid presentation, with strong mid-range and high-frequency presence, and a light dollop of bass extension that only once drives through the floor and seeks to find the limit of your subwoofer.
The front soundstage is wide and convincing, and full of detail - see some of the scenes onboard the boats, where the channels are filled with the waves slapping against the hulls, with creaking wood and the sounds of talking and general hustle and bustle aboard the ships, see also the multi-layered sounds of the city of Troy; there's always more to hear if you really listen.
Surrounds support the front soundstage adequately, adding ambience and a serious sense of scale when the screen is filled with the marching and fighting armies of Troy and the Greeks; it's nothing as powerful as something like [I]The Lord of The Rings[/I], but it is effective in conveying the vastness of the clashes about to unfold.
I've mentioned that the bass extension only once descends low, and indeed the one surprising element here is that there's not more bass presence. Certainly there is a danger - and a tendancy - for sound engineers to overcook their soundtracks, but here I couldn't help but wish for a little more bass. There are good moments of course - the scene where the fireballs roll down the beach is probably the only standout moment, but despite this it's worth noting that there's a good mid-bass presence in many scenes; during the opening for example, the drums that pervade the front soundstage are crisp and weighty, and add real depth to the sound.
Overall this can be considered a competent sound mix, it'll bring any system to life nicely, and though not up there with the best of them, it's not really anything to complain about.
ExtrasOn the second disc of this set we have a small selection of short documentaries. First up is the most enjoyable one - In The Thick Of Battle runs for approx 20 minutes, and shows in detail the preparation and execution of the many battle scenes. Entertaining and informative, we get to see just how bad the extras were when first training with spears and shields (the bulk of the soldiers being Bulgarian and Mexican), and the level of preparation and detail that went into the many fights we see onscreen.
Next up is From Ruins To Reality - which is a shorter documentary which tells us of the production design, including sets, concept drawings and the usual pre-production information. A more interested feature is Troy: An Effects Odyssey, which again is a short documentary which offers some interesting insights into the special effects in the movie (though let's be honest, there's little here that we haven't seen before in other DVD extras of a similar nature). Wrapping up the package is a passable Gallery of The Gods, interactive animated guide to the Greek Gods of legend, and a theatrical trailer in Dolby 2.0 which promised so much when I saw it at the cinema.
Overall a rather lightweight package, but in these days of promotional pieces of little worth, this isn't a bad package.
VerdictGood video, good audio, reasonable extras. But oh dear, the film is such a wasted opportunity. Whilst never really terrible, it's not exactly great either...
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £15.99