V For Vendetta Blu-ray Review
PictureThe disc presents a theatrically correct widescreen 2.4:1 1080p transfer using the VC-1 codec. An extremely pleasing picture with plenty of colour depth and detail to boot. Taking the latter first there is some pin sharp imagery on show, the lines of V's mask, the glint of his knives, the weave of his cloak, moving into middle distance, the edges of walls, brick outlines, road surface detail, the various knick-knacks and paperwork the infest Finch's desk all the way out to establishing shots of London, the crisp outline of buildings against the skyline, the individual members of the rioters walking over the bridge; this is top stuff.
Colours are generally speaking toned down, it is a dark movie, however the reds of the flags shine out like a beacon against the backgrounds without any hint of shimmer or bleed. The oranges and yellows of V's baptism in fire and the same of his lair are warm and inviting exuding that same crisp boldness and solidity. Flesh tones are a touch on the warm side of natural but sat will within the confines of the film.
Brightness is set to give some extremely deep blacks, take a look, again, at V's lair the depth of frame is terrific, with Evey's prison cell being absolute pitch, both still exhibiting enough shadow detail to give plenty of depth. Contrast is set well giving some clean whites, when the film calls for them, with no hint of boosting or detail loss.
The original print is pristine with no damage or gain visible; digitally there are no compression problems with the slightest whiff of edge enhancement. In all this is a terrific picture with plenty going for it just missing the reference mark by a whisker due to the lack of the pop that is seen in the top level discs.
SoundA whole host of sound tracks to choose from; English, French, Castillian Spanish, German and Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 surround and English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 surround; reviewed here is the latter. In a word, impressive. Right from the off, that's the pre credit production titles, you are already sitting in a surround environment, one that continues throughout the duration of the film as an immersive and emotional centre. Surround effects come thick and fast from the swish of V's spinning blades to the swirl of his cape, from the empty street echoes to the rioting crowds, from the roar of fire to the sprinkling of debris, there is always something to keep the surround speakers working.
Dario Marianelli's score as well as the various classical numbers, especially the explosive 1812 Overture, make perfect use of the surround, really filling the room. Tonally there is a full range with plenty of bass to level everything off. The LF effects also come thick and fast, look again at the 1812 Overture with its accompanying explosions; thick deep rumbles to shake the foundations.
Dialogue is natural sounding and well audible above the general mayhem, or otherwise, that fill the speakers, V's muffled voice and the Chancellors screams coming through with equal vigour.
The track is absolutely clean and precise with pin point accuracy, contrasting with the standard Dolby Digital which sounds somewhat 'thick' and 'round', even though it maintains a decent enough spread, the TrueHD track is the one to show off your system.
- In Movie Experience - Director's Notebook
James McTeigue, Natalie Portman and Hugo Weaving head up other cast and crew team members during this picture in picture commentary on the various making of aspects, character interpretations and themes of the film.
- Designing the Near Future - 0.17.16
A typical design making of featurette with insights from the likes of James McTeigue and Owen Patterson. Discussions on where to shoot and various models are brought in but don't expect anything too in depth.
- Remember, Remember: Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot - 0.10.17
A very short but nonetheless interesting talk about the goings on in 1605 leading up to, and the eventual discovery of, that nefarious plot.
- Freedom Forever: Making V for Vendetta - 0.15.57
Another cheap and easy making of feature, does look at the various script incarnations and includes a look at the adaptation from comic to screen, but it's all to brief, no real depth and relies on some repeated material.
- England Prevails: V for Vendetta and the New Wave in Comics - 0.14.40
An all too brief examination of the resurgence of interest in comic books in the eighties and the grittier more realistic tone that they took. Rightly slanted to the British creators and how they were taken over by their American counterparts. Extremely interesting viewing, just way too short.
- Natalie Portman SNL Rap - 0.02.34
A pointless extra, is a mock interview for Saturday Night Live in which Portman responds to questions by launching into her latest rap video.
- Cat Powers Montage - 0.02.02
Selection of film scenes set to I Found A Reason by Cat Powers.
The fact that all these extras are a direct port from the HD DVD should not bother fans of the film, there is some very worthy extras here, the PiP commentary with its wealth of information being of particular value. The featurettes are a little light when compared to the PiP but do have 'one watch' value, whist the closer examination of the comics has definite repeat merit. Even though nothing new has been added to this package it is well stacked and well balanced.
VerdictV for Vendetta was one of many eighties comics responsible for ushering in a new wave of gritty realism. The Wachowski brothers have taken everything that is good about the comic and, dare I say, improved upon it to produce one of the best comic book to film adaptations to date. It is a multi-layered endeavour, each watching brings something new and each individual can see something different, a triumph considering the theme of no individualism prevalent through the run time. A top story with top performances and top effects; if only more films produced held such high esteem for themselves.
As a Blu-ray package Warner have put together a terrific set, excellent picture with reference sound all backed up by a well packed extras package. Highly recommended.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £24.99
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- In Movie Experience - Director's Notebook