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The 6th Day Blu-ray Review

by Chris McEneany
Movies & TV Review

The 6th Day Blu-ray Review
SRP: £17.99

Picture

Well, The 6th Day's 1080p MPEG-4 transfer is pretty impressive, folks. The 2.40:1 film looks glowing and the source print is very clean and only partially blemished by grain, which flits around during darker scenes.

Colour and detail are good, though this actually proves to be a detriment to the film at large. For one thing those copious laser-beams look even more fake and unconvincing in 1080p, coming across as something akin to the old school fx of Dino De Laurentiis' Flash Gordon or TV's Space 1999 - they are of that same neat and thin kind. Plus the CG, which is absolutely atrocious anyway, sticks out like cartoon animation, especially those helicopter bits. I know the film is old now, as far as visual effects go, but when the much earlier Jurassic Park can effortlessly best this even on SD, The 6th Day can appear gloriously juvenile. But, on the plus side, the image is very clear and crisp and features skin-tones and close-up detail that can often be pixel-perfect. Colour saturation is spot-on. The primaries are bold and strong. Flesh is warm-looking and the sets have a terrific richness of palette that remains locked-in and never strays from its appropriate boundaries. Blacks are also good, though definitely not the strongest around. Contrast can be excellent - the early scenes amid the snowy mountains providing a clear example of such - but this is not entirely consistent, which I will come to later on.

Three-dimensionality is in evidence with certain shots but, to be honest, they are few and far between and whilst the overall image is certainly a lot sharper and more finite than the SD version, it singularly fails to pop from the screen and deliver that “wow” factor. Close-ups are the most striking though, and Arnie's crags and wrinkles are revealed in all their post-steroidal glory.

On the downside, I did notice a degree of edge enhancement on some of the snow-capped ridges, or around the outlines of characters silhouetted against the stark whiteness. Also, some background interiors tend to soften and lose a bit of distinction, such as the Re-Pet place or most of the corridors and rooms in Drucker's empire. The last third or so of the film, which takes places primarily in and around this hi-tech building seems to drop clarity and depth quite noticeably, with details in the offices softening and the contrast rising, washing out some backgrounds and rendering the action a little hazy. But, overall, this is still a fine-looking transfer that is sure to delight fans and please almost anybody who sees it. There are some great moments of hi-def imagery on display, but the transfer doesn't maintain such levels throughout.

The 6th Day gets an 8 out of 10.
The 6th Day

Sound

The TrueHD track has moments of boom-boom-shake-the-room antics but, on the whole, I was more impressed with the detail emanating from the rears than the bombast that you would ordinarily expect from a sci-fi actioner. Still, if a little under-whelmed by the audio gymnastics performed by The 6th Day, I definitely found this edition to sound better than the old DD 5.1 mix. Whilst dialogue is always very clear amid the boisterous score and the zip-blasting lasers, the soundfield, itself, seems to remain safe rather than all-out aggressive. Having heard both the downmixed version and the full TrueHD audio (albeit on different machines) I can't really say that I heard much difference between them. Bass is good, with deep, reverberating oomph for the frequent crashes, impacts and explosions, but there isn't that complexity to the sub-level that more recent fare such as I Am Legend or I, Robot offer. Things crunch and smash without any subtlety captured within them. The shattering of glass, for example, or the rush of water may sound great and have some steerage, too, but you will have heard more detailed examples of sound design.

Hang on a moment ... I sound like I'm disappointed with this mix - and the fact is that I'm not at all. The 6th Day has a lively surround track and no mistake. There are frequent pannings left and right, and front and back, and lots of steerage around the speakers that sounds quite natural and enjoyable. It's just that nothing particularly stands out - other than the helicopters skedaddling about the soundscape, and the gunfire which features nice, crispy blasts. But the transfer still keeps the film fully immersive with ambience and directionality throughout. Right from the start, the fun with the Whisper helicopters should delight, with great overhead whooshes and activity that flies past or around you. The car chase offers up a few metallic wallops as well, though once again, don't expect too wild a sonic ride.

Trevor Rabin's actually quite poor score comes over well, with several sequences supplying it with ample opportunity to shine, and the disc performs with a decent mid-range that keeps the proceedings warm and richly integrated. Yet the whole thing is outdone by so many other releases of late that The 6th Day can only get away with a decent 8 out of 10.
The 6th Day

Extras

After early word suggesting that this release would have some BD-Live gubbins supplied, alas, I can find no trace of them of this check disc. In fact, the extras here are exactly the same as those that adorned the R2 SD edition (apparently the R1 was shorn of most of them), except for the isolated music score with commentary from composer Trevor Rabin and a few pages of cast and production notes. Well, I can't find it on the disc, at any rate. You see, there is another problem with this BD, in that the menus are staggeringly awkward to navigate. Don't get me wrong - they are simple pop-ups, with the features all labelled quite clearly and correctly, but they are so damn slow to operate that frustration has you hitting the buttons on the remote before the first command has been actioned, leading the disc to skip about to things that you had no intention of accessing.

Of course, this may just be down to either the player (although I have tested this on both the PS3 and on a Samsung), or the check disc, itself, and the retail copy may actually perform just fine.

Starting with The Future Is Coming (around fifteen minutes), which is designed as pure promotional fare and probably reveals too much plot for its own good whilst only skirting fleetingly around the actual making of the film, the bulk of the extras are to be found within the nine brief featurettes that go into comprising On The Sixth Day. Within this umbrella “behind the scenes” look, there is actually a fair bit of ground covered, although the scant running time of each snippet (roughly five minutes) ultimately makes the whole thing seem a tad piece-meal and token. Much of the topics delved-into here have actually been alluded to in broad brush-strokes in The Future Is Coming but there is more natural-sounding background information presented with this series.

We get a pleasingly look at the stunts and the action - particularly the car chases - in the likes of The Art Of The Chase, Over The Cliff, Free-falling and Detonation, although I would have preferred to have seen more on the actual swan-dive stunt than on Arnie's character simply hanging on or the car going over. The use of the Canadian locations is covered quite well - with the rain and the heights involved taking understandable precedence in the minds of the 2nd Unit. Another Way To Fly looks at the whisper helicopters that can transform into jets and how the production team brought them into the action. Understandably, their interaction within the film, like the other visual fx, is now rather dated and obvious. The guys behind Aliens and Tremors amongst other things - Tom Woodruffe and Alec Gillis- discuss how they designed and created the various animatronic head and dummy bodies for the hideous Sim Pal Cindy, but not why it looks so damn ugly in Finding Sim Pal Cindy.

There is also a featurette dedicated to how Hank's virtual girlfriend was brought to the screen via a delectable actress performing against a greenscreen - again this all now seems very dated as the intervening years have provided us with incredibly more complex visual creations and more comprehensive “making ofs” to explain them. In The Tank looks at the set creation of the clone lab and the perils of filming your superstar underwater, and the complicated concept of having Arnie acting against himself, alongside other visual effects, is covered in the featurette Enhancing The Look.

Throughout all of these of featurettes, there is on-set footage as well as talking head interviews with cast and crew. Some of this is inordinately back-slapping and promotional, but occasionally caught on the hoof - Arnie calling his film The Six Days, for example.

We then get a couple of film development pieces that look at Storyboard Comparisons, which takes three finished sequences from the film and places them side by side with their storyboards, and Animatics which reveals the then-cutting edge computer graphics for such scenes as the Whisper Jets hurtling through the valleys and the mountains and the rooftop and skyscraper-climbing finale. Nice, but hardly revelatory anymore.

There are a couple of neat gimmicky adverts for the pet cloning service seen in the movie, with Re-Pet Infomercial and Re-Pet TV commercial, that round things out in a light-hearted manner.

Whilst this stuff is undoubtedly informative and certainly shows some degree of background production trivia, the film loses out due to the vintage nature of such examinations. Whereas, say, David Cronenberg's The Fly or even Tremors - much older films and far less technologically advanced - benefit from having archive footage coupled with contemporary, retrospective analysis from those involved, The 6th Day fails to engage simply because the intervening years have not been kind to either the effects nor the story behind their creation. As it stands, the production loses perspective purely because we are looking at a snapshot from years ago.

So, if you have the R2 edition, there's nothing new here.
The 6th Day
Hokum. Pure and simple.

Daft science, daft characters, daft story. You can only imagine what the master of mistaken identity and convoluted character-switcheroos - Alfred Hitchcock - would have done with such material had he been alive and making movies in this day and age. But it would have been better than this old tosh, that's for sure. Arnie is good value, even if it often seems painful to watch the once-great action hero of the big screen toning everything down, violence-wise, or indulging in woefully stunt-doubled antics. Completists will still need this, though, but even they, in their heart of hearts know this to be the puff-pastry, disposable dross of a major action icon facing the inevitable downslide of his filmic career.

The disc is actually quite well-furnished with decent, down-to-earth featurettes (albeit with rather cack-handed actor EPK blah-blah) that do provide some nitty-gritty on the concepts, stunts and FX. Its overall AV quality is more than decent, too, making this release a worthwhile step-up from the SD if you are so inclined.

Otherwise, The 6th Day is like an action movie with the action removed.

Scores

Movie

.
.
.
.
6

Picture Quality

.
.
8

Sound Quality

.
.
8

Extras

.
.
.
7

Overall

.
.
.
.
6
6
AVForumsSCORE
OUT OF
10

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