The disc presents a theatrically correct widescreen 1.85:1 1080p transfer and is Region Free. Detail is generally very good, with decent edges throughout, facial and skin detail are well seen, as are clothing weaves and Clem’s hair. There is clear texture to the background, take a look at Clem’s potato sculptures, or the various files in the Lacuna offices. Colours depend very much on the cinematography; bold, strong and lush when needed, muted and thin during periods of emptiness, but always solid and never showing any signs of wash or bleed. With a heightened sense of blue after the procedure you really get a feel of how cold it is.
Contrast and brightness are set to give incredibly strong blacks, as black as video black, that is absolutely impenetrable, representing the loss of memory, there simply is nothing there – it’s probably the blackest black I’ve seen in a long time, there is no ‘gloss’ as there is in some of the high profile, big budget releases, whose blacks are deep; here blacks are an utter abyss. Fantastic stuff.
There is also a nice organic feel to the grain structure, particularly during the ‘cold’ scenes, which not only reminds us that this is film, but also adds to the feel of the piece. Digitally there are no compression problems, or atefacting, there is no banding or posterization, but there was the faintest whiff of edge enhancement. In all a terrific picture.
Only two tracks to choose from, English DTS-HD MA 5.1 and French DTS 5.1, I opted for the English. In what could have so easily have been a dialogue driven film, we actually get an amazing surround experience, especially the dream sequences that utilise all the speakers to really envelope you into the film. There is very good range with some terrific bass and plenty of LF effects particularly during the collapse of the final memory. Dialogue is always clear, precise and natural sounding and given plenty of directionality, again the dream sequences epitomise this with speech coming from all around the room. The score too is given some wonderful separation opening up the sound stage further still. The contrast between the ‘real world’ and the ‘dream world’ is perhaps not as pronounced as Gondry would have you believe in his commentary, excepting in a more frontal approach. In all, though, this is a lovely sound track, perhaps not one to definitively show off you system, but one to highlight the nuances of how good sound can be used to highlight the on screen action.
- Audio Commentary
With Charlie Kaufman and Michel Gondry, and is a highly entertaining and informative discussion with both men obviously firm friends and working colleagues, equally as quick to praise as to remonstrate each other. There is hardly a pause for breath and the information comes thick and fast, one of the better commentaries out there.
- A Look Inside Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind – 11.32, SD
A short featurette that plays more like a promotional ad than anything else; plenty of film clips pad the time which is unfortunate as the interviews themselves are quite informative discussing characters, themes and the evolution of the film.
- A Conversation with Jim Carrey and Director Michel Gondry – 15.35, SD
This is a much juicer affair, utilising a combination of the actor and the director sharing stories, behind-the-scenes footage, rehearsal footage and outtakes, reveals a makeup of Joel’s character and Carey’s interpretation of it; but more than that this feature delves into the many improvised scenes and the forced perspective segments of the kitchen scene. Entertaining, informative and light hearted, a terrific feature this one.
- A Conversation with Kate Winslet and Michel Gondry – 14.24, SD
Following which, is a far more serious affair to the above feature eschewing as it does all the behind the scenes stuff and concentrates on the conversation. It is a deep and well drawn out discussion with both parties taking the time to examine themes and character motivations, each taking the lead for a time and both asking pertinent questions. Equally as absorbing as the above feature, but for very different reasons.
- Inside the Mind of Michel Gondry – 19.46, SD
A feature that has interviews with the cast and crew as they discuss working with, and the methods employed by, Michel Gondry. Also has Gondry discussing how he made particular shots by using practical effects rather than CGI. Another highly entertaining feature.
- Anatomy of a Scene: Saratoga Avenue – 17.18, SD
The final featurette discusses the scene in question from filming to editing to final product incorporating cast and crew interviews. Oddly also takes a left turn and delves into a rather extensive section about the scoring the film; it’s interesting if you’re into musical stuff, but I don’t understand why it wasn’t a separate section.
- Deleted and Extended Scenes – 24.44, SD
There are two sections of deleted scenes, the first batch being of rather poorer quality than the second. There are some interesting sub plots that were cut out, and may have added to the run of the film, however there is no reason given for their excise or any hint as to where they would have fitted into the finished film, plays as a montage, but each scene chaptered meaning you can skip to the next.
- Polyphonic Spree Light & Day Music Video
What is says really.
- Lacuna Infomrcial
A spoof TV commercial for the memory erasure procedure used in the film.
- BDLive and Pocket Blu
Just ads on the internet including one for the pocket Blu, which enables you to control the content with your smart phone, apparently, I don’t have one so was unable to test it.
A thoroughly engaging and absorbing amount of extra material that, if you like the film, is well worth the time investing in. Have to say, though, that the menu is unbelievably slow to navigate through.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind almost defies genre, with so many different elements competing against each other the result is a wash of emotion like no other; it is tender, meaningful, funny, scary and compelling; one might say like love itself. Containing outstanding performances from all involved combined with an exciting and engaging filming technique Eternal Sunshine becomes essential viewing.
As a Region free Blu-ray disc, Universal has provided a full presentation with quite outstanding picture and sound, and all backed up by a superlative extras package, this disc, then, is clearly a winner.
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