The Day After Tomorrow is correctly presented at 2.35:1 using the MPEG-4/AVC codec and obviously transferred at 1080p. This release is head and shoulders above any standard disc that I have seen, in saying that though it's still not going to be on that reference shelf to demo when mates come over.
The colours are particularly strong and vivid bursting off the screen and all are contained within their respective borders. Facial tones are spot on and the steely blue grey hues of a frozen New York come across particularly well. There are a number of bright scenes which exhibit no blooming, the trek towards New York, the fly over Antarctica at the start for examples.
Shadows are more than acceptable in a number of scenes with plenty of detail on offer in the background. Detail is apparent in the shopping mall scene, the underwater devastation on the flooded streets of New York, the darkly lit interiors of the library and especially the flooding scenes where every car can be seen from high being washed away in the tidal wave.
So what's wrong that doesn't allow this to perch on that top shelf? It's soft, softer than I would have expected from a film only a few years old. Because of this that all important wow factor is sadly missing, yes it's a good print but doesn't quite leap off the screen at you. The print itself is clean, blemish free, whilst some minor grain is apparent. The transfer itself though is excellent with no artefacts on show anywhere bar some minor but not intrusive enhancement.
Any disaster movie should have a good soundtrack to pull the viewer into the frame, to contribute to the feeling that they 'are there'. This DTS-HD Master Audio offering is no different and is probably the best aspect of this disc set. It's loud, it's detailed and it's completely immersive.
The solemn score by Harald Kloser and Thomas Wanker (how unfortunate) drifts to the user from a wide frontal array in waves. It's always there in the background adding some depth to the scenes on screen. But it's the weather effects that not only take centre stage but all of your speakers. The LFE is in constant use throughout the destruction scenes with low rumbles coming during the tidal waves in New York, the tornadoes over Hollywood, the helicopters downing over Scotland. These low moments will thump your chest hard.
The surrounds are in almost constant use. From the wind, the debris flying past either shoulder, the hail in Tokyo, the cars tumbling down the streets of New York. They pull the viewing into the movie and create a superb immersive experience. Even during all of this destruction and constant noise the dialogue is firmly rooted front and centre and is never lost in the mix. What does suffer a fraction is the earlier mentioned score; at times it has to take a back seat due to the sheer volume of other activities. This and only this brought the final score on this down one point for me.
So another Fox release so immediately we expect little from the extras set. The earlier released US set had a few but even then they were lacking from the even earlier standard DVD set. The UK release follows much the same path, not even adding up to the US release in content.
- Commentary with Director Roland Emmerich and Producer Mark Gordon.
A light hearted enough commentary between this pair. The special effects are mentioned extensively, and rightly so after all this is really what the film rests on. It's a little choppy sometimes never really flowing, as a good commentary should.
- Global Warming Trivia Track.
Snippets of information pop up throughout the feature giving information like... estimate of temperature rises over the next hundred years, hybrid vehicles, rainfall and flooding stats. One interesting piece of information I found was that this discussion was first muted by George Calendar way back in 1938.
- Deleted Scenes. - 0:19:02
11 scenes in total, either completely new scenes or extensions of ones already in the film. Thankfully there is a Play All function. The thing which caught my eye with these were the number of additional stockbroker scenes which were cut. Certainly there's no need for them in the main feature but remember the three stockbrokers who pay two hundred bucks to get on a doomed bus, well there are at least three scenes shown here which pad out their back story. There's also one darker scene with the Vice President ultimately thinking that war on Mexico is the best way to handle this crisis.
- Cold Zone Game.
Another BD-Java based game. I've never really any time for these things finding them almost impossible to manipulate but this one is slightly different. It's a quiz which pops up now and again and you have to give the answer from multiple choice; it's actually workable. Equally whereas with other games you have to wade trough the entire movie to complete them, with this once you answer a question you can skip to the next. Well thought out.
- Trailers. - 0:05:56
Two trailers for The Day After Tomorrow and one for Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer.
It's again unfortunate that the better extras have not been ported from the SD release over to the new premium BluRay variety, it's a travesty in so far that even the earlier US release gets a something extra in the form of another commentary. There's no need for this chopping and changing between regions.
If you don't really have anything to do on a Saturday night and your stock has run a little low then by all means go down to your local rental shop and pop this one over the counter. It's not a must buy but it's a good upgrade from a visual and audio point of view that it's worth at least one watch.
The extras are hit and miss and if you're not an extra fan then these will never get the laser treatment from your own BluRay player.
Climate change is in vogue, rightly so, and as such Emmerich has just jumped on that bandwagon, making him and a few other people a few bucks in the process. Dismiss the science, dismiss the so called relationships between the characters; sit back turn it up enjoy the visuals and that rocking soundtrack.
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