'2012' thunders on to Region free UK Blu-ray with a truly excellent 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 transfer. The image is pin sharp with an amazing amount of detail on show. Characters have their skin pores investigated in close ups, while in wide shots, even the smallest of objects are clearly made out. Skin tones come in the Hollywood tan look and in general colours are strong throughout. Contrast is nice and healthy while we are also presented with deep, inky blacks. Most of the movie was originated on film, but I wasn't aware of any noticeable film grain. Some scenes were produced digitally and some viewers have commented that they jarred next to the film scenes. I can't honestly say that it offended my eyes at all. The difference in quality is that of slight softness but in general the CGI blends faultlessly with the live action footage and I wasn't aware of any real 'suss jobs' that could kick an audience out of the movie. Bear in mind that not so long ago we'd have been looking at really ropey back projection shots that looked as flat as a pancake. What we have here is very good indeed.
Many scenes had a near 3D like quality such as when the small plane outruns the cracking runway. I have no doubt that this movie will be used to demo projectors and displays throughout the land. The word is 'wow!'
The audio on '2012' comes in a stonking good DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround mix that will have any pictures on your walls repositioning themselves. The term 'surround' has been taken very literally here and no opportunity has been missed to involve the audience sonically in the action. Deep rumbles will give your subwoofer a thorough workout, while your entire listening room will be filled with the sound of explosions, cracking ground and the rushing of a giant tidal wave. The mix conveys the feeling of the threat involved and might cause you to duck more than a few times as objects hurtle past your ears. Amidst all the mayhem, dialogue remains crisp and clear throughout. As with the picture, I am confident that the nation's high street demo rooms will thunder to the '2012' soundtrack for some time to come.
The version of '2012' submitted for review was the UK single disc release which boasts a wheelbarrow load of bonus material.
- Audio Commentary
Writer/Director Roland Emmerich is joined by Co-Writer Harald Kloser for rather a long chat. They manage to give us some interesting insights into the production of the movie including scripting & directorial decisions made on location. They feed us some detail about the science behind the events included in the movie and they seem to have got on well as there are no real disagreements recorded here. You'd have to be a case hardened commentary fan to last this one out, but there are some gems to be gleaned.
- Deleted scenes (HD, 5 mins)
As with deleted scenes from most movies, you can see why they were cut as they add nothing new to the story and would simply have added to the already considerable running time.
- Alternate ending (HD, 4 mins)
This ending simply shows the survivors of the cruise ship. It would have been a mistake to just focus on one group and I was glad that it was dropped.
- Designing the End of the World (HD, 26 mins)
This fairly chunky featurette gives us a look at the CGI work involved with interviews with the visual effects designers as well as behind the scenes clips. We've seen quite a lot of this before but it does manage to be technically interesting.
- The End of The World: The Actor's Perspective (HD, 8 mins)
Just like the label says, we're given some interviews with the cast who tell us what it was like to work on such a physically demanding movie.
- Science Behind the Destruction (HD, 13 mins)
This piece of credibility gaining PR puff tries to make links between science fact and the Mayan Calendar. It merely scratches the surface of the topic but certainly provides food for thought.
- Roland Emmerich: The Master of the Modern Epic (HD, 10 mins)
This is 10 minutes of people saying what a great guy Roland is - to the point of sycophancy. I'm sure he is, but I spent most of the duration looking for a sick bucket.
- Roland's Vision: Picture in Picture Commentary
Probably slightly better than the audio commentary as this has matching visuals including storyboards, behind the scenes footage and interviews with the cast and crew. Like the movie, it didn't consistently hold my attention but this was most likely due to the brevity of the nuggets of information.
- Interactive Mayan Calendar
Enter a date to reveal your horoscope and personality profile! Delve even further into the secrets by watching Mysteries of the Mayan Calendar.
- Movie IQ
Sony's own on line information system provides you with real time data on the cast, music, trivia and much more while watching the movie. I suppose it's handy if your attention starts to drift.
That end of time disaster epic '2012' engulfs the UK Blu-ray market with an excellent Region free 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 transfer framed in the much needed widescreen 2.40:1 aspect ratio. The image quality is impressive throughout with strong colours, great contrast and inky blacks helping deliver stunning levels of detail in this CGI driven movie.
The audio is also amazing with a DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround track that will have you diving for cover as objects hurtle past you and immersive rumbles shake your listening room apart. Thankfully, dialogue is clearly intelligible throughout too in this earth moving mix.
A fine range of extras includes several mini featurettes to fill us in with product detail as well as a commentary from director Roland Emmerich and co-writer Harald Kloser.
As a movie, it focuses almost entirely on the stunning CGI effects rather than the human element as the Earth crumbles and crashes, but if big screen spectacle is your bag then this one is for you. The visual effects work is the real star.
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