Picture'Valkyrie' arrives on Region A locked Blu-ray with a superb 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 transfer that's nicely framed at 1.85:1.
The skin tones avoid a Hollywood tanned look, instead going for a more realistic visual appeal. Blacks are pretty solid and contrast levels are consistently excellent. The use of fairly drab surroundings makes the scarlet of the Nazi flag leap out from the screen.The image is very sharp throughout with no hint of oversharpening. The detail in close-ups is fantastic as the pores on Tom Cruise face come in for some scrutiny. There is some grain visible and, while not intrusive, this would appear to tie in with the gritty look of the movie. To have attempted to make this movie look glossy by the use of make-up and lighting would have been totally wrong. Thus, the transfer is faithful to the director's perceived representation and so enhances the believability and period look of the picture. This is what I would call a handsome movie.
The audio comes in a DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround flavour and, boy, is it dynamic!
This is a dialogue led piece, so the speech is locked firmly to the centre channel with a clinical crispness that commands your attention. Too great use of surround effects would have been distracting so they are used sporadically to maximize their impact. The surrounds come into play during the South Africa sequence as trucks go by and when the explosion goes off that could have killed Stauffenberg all 6 speakers kick in. The subwoofer gets a good test, as in the scene where Stauffenberg and his family take shelter at home from an air raid. The bombs go off with such a realistic thump that it makes you leap out of your skin. A very intelligently mixed track with no effects just for effects sake - and the movie's all the better for it.
On Disc 2 we have a Digital copy of the movie for those who'd rather watch it on their PCs, but on Disc 1 we have the following fine list of bonus material.
- Audio Commentaries:
We have a choice of two commentaries on this disc. The first features Tom Cruise, Bryan Singer, and writer Christopher McQuarrie while the second features McQuarrie and co-writer Nathan Alexander. Between the two we get a fairly comprehensive overview of the movie with each contributor chipping in with his own views.
- The Journey to Valkyrie (HD, 16 mins)
Here we have an interesting featurette which covers the amount of effort Singer and his crew went to in order to make the film as authentic as possible.
- The Road to Resistance: A Visual Guide (HD, 9 mins)
A fascinating documentary presented by Stauffenberg's grandson who takes us on a tour of places in Berlin that were of great importance to his grandfather. This helps make the link to reality for those who thought it was just another movie.
- The African Front Sequence (HD, 7 mins)
This short explains how the film makers planned the early scene including the choice of more realistic explosions rather than the typical Hollywood kaboom approach.
- Taking to the Air (HD, 7 mins)
Here we discover the benefits of using genuine war-planes rather than taking the more usual CGI route. Good to know for those of us who are tiring of the false look of CGI.
- 92nd Street Y Reel Pieces (SD, 38 mins)
This is a fairly chunky question and answer session filmed live at New York's 92nd Street Y Theatre with the Director, Bryan Singer, and star of the film, Tom Cruise who give us an insight into what drew them to this story.
- The Valkyrie Legacy (HD, 1Hr 54mins)
This is a documentary of truly epic proportions and it's almost as long as the main feature. It is jam packed full of interviews, photographs, and film footage covering the rise and fall of Nazi Germany. Despite its length it genuinely holds your interest and provides a lot of background that historians will love.
'Valkyrie' explodes on to Blu-ray with an intriguing story line about the July 20th assassination attempt on the life of Adolf Hitler. The first rate cast, headed up by Tom Cruise turn in very credible performances and the movie holds your interest during its full running time. We're presented with a particularly good looking 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 transfer, framed correctly at 1.85:1. The image is consistently sharp with realistic colour as befits the World War 2 period and subject matter.
The DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless surround track is clean and crisp to help focus on the dialogue while the explosive effects make you jump out of your seat.
An interesting set of extras, including a 2 hour documentary provide a great package for historians and movie buffs alike.
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- Audio Commentaries: