'Edge of Darkness' comes to UK Region free Blu-ray with a very good looking 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 transfer framed in the 2.40:1 aspect ratio (not 1.78 as indicated on the box). The skin tones are of the Hollywood tan variety and Phil Meheux's cinematography is very pleasing to the eye. Coming from such a recent source, the image is clean and blemish free - as you'd expect. Contrast is fine throughout and we are treated to some nice deep blacks. Grain is never really a problem, being faintly noticeable in some scenes but never intrusive. It looks like it was shot on film, folks.
It would be wrong to say it had a '3D pop' to it, as it tends to look a bit flat but I can't say I found that distracting. There's plenty of fine detail on show here, as witnessed by the age lines on Mel's face in his close ups. It's a good, sharp High definition image.
The audio on 'Edge of Darkness' comes in a couple of flavours - DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 and Dolby True HD 5.1. On first viewing, it looked to me as if the sound was about 3-4 frames out of sync on the DTS HD MA track. I then tried to compare it later with the Dolby TrueHD track by skipping from chapter to chapter and flipping between the two sound formats on my Panasonic BD35. Strangely, I was unable to replicate the fault by this method, yet watching the movie from the beginning revealed the lip sync issue. Very peculiar. Hopefully Icon will remedy this issue.
I listened mainly to the DTS HD MA 5.1 track and found that dialogue was somewhat low level and lost in the surround mix. I cured this by winding up the centre speaker but it still seemed less distinct than on other films. It was probably so noticeable as we have to rely on speech to explain the plot.
The surround speakers are used to good effect to immerse us in some of the environments thanks to ambient sound, while in action sequences some sound steering added to their dimensionality. There wasn't so much use of LFE as to upset the neighbours, just enough to add the necessary menace to scenes.
Rather a confusing mix, this one, as the problems outlined above really should have come to light in the QA process of the disc production.
We're spared a director's commentary and we don't get a good, chunky 'Making of' featurette with this one, folks. Instead we get 'bite sized chunks' that reflect the attention span of the modern day viewing public - or a ferret.
- Deleted Scenes (HD, total 8 mins)
Straight from the cutting room floor we have 4 deleted scenes that flesh out such things as Craven's character as perceived by his bosses, Jedburgh's dislike for middle management, more background on the girl who dares to oppose her bosses and a somewhat over the top scene with Mel distracted by grief.
There are nice moments in the scenes but their inclusion would have slowed down the pace of the film and they don't contribute much to the story.
- Revisiting the 'Edge of Darkness' Mini-Series (HD, 3 mins)
Director Martin Campbell, the cast and even the odd producer give us their memories of the BBC TV series upon which the movie is based and highlight some changes made for a modern audience.
- Mel's Back (HD, 4 mins)
A short piece that celebrates Mel's return to acting after a break of about 6 years. His co-stars and director explain what makes him stand out from the crowd.
- Director Profile: Martin Campbell (HD, 3 mins)
Just as it says on the tin, a very brief look at the work of Martin Campbell that really tells us very little. Something more 'in depth' is needed here.
- Thomas Craven's War of Attrition (HD, 5 mins)
Probably the longest featurette in the pack, we hear about Mel's character's way of getting to the truth in fairly direct ways.
- Making a Ghost Character Real (HD, 4 mins)
The director and cast discuss the technique used to make Craven's daughter appear as a ghost character without undermining the credibility of the whole movie.
- Scoring the Edge of Darkness (HD, 3 mins)
We hear from composer Howard Shore of the challenges he faced in writing the score and conducting for the big screen.
- Boston as a Character (HD, 3 mins)
Martin Campbell and others explain how Boston was incorporated, not only as a location but also as one of the characters in the tale.
- Edge of Your Seat (HD, 3 mins)
We hear of the effort that went in to making the movie exciting for the audience from the mouths of the director and cast.
- First Look Footage (SD, 10 mins)
This is a fast paced, glossy, promo piece made up of clips from the above featurettes.
If you've watched the featurettes, you'll feel you're wasting your time watching repeats.
Mel Gibson returns to acting in the tense thriller 'Edge of Darkness' based upon the BBC TV series from the mid eighties. The Blu-ray sports a very good looking 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 transfer framed in the widescreen 2.40:1 aspect ratio with healthy contrast and deep blacks complemented by Hollywood tan skin tones.
The audio comes in DTS HD MA 5.1 and Dolby True HD 5.1 surround mixes which despite being immersive in their use of surrounds suffer from slightly muffled dialogue and a lip sync problem.
Extras include 9 very short featurettes and there's no director's commentary.
Mel Gibson, Ray Winstone and Danny Huston turn in credible performances in this tense, corporate cover up thriller as Mel's character seeks vengeance for the murder of his daughter. Director Martin Campbell keeps it moving with a few shocks along the way. Good Saturday night viewing.
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