The disc presents a theatrically correct widescreen 2.35:1 1080p transfer that has been AVC MPEG-4 encoded. It is a particularly lush and vibrant picture with plenty of depth that just falls short from greatness due to some softening and lack of overall three dimensionality.
Detail level is excellent from the mess of paperwork on Wesley's desk to the individual shards of glass as he leaps through windows, from the strands of the loom to beads of sweat and drops of blood during Wesley's beating; all are stark and definite. There are few distant establishing shots but where they are used there are clean and sharp distinctions enabling clear detailing. The train sequence would best exemplify this.
Colours are bright and vibrant without hint or bleed, wash or posterization. Reds are strong and bold, look at Fox's car against the background; it shines, look too at the gushes of blood which are satisfyingly deep. Greens tend to come from the lighting, save the train sequence, but are equally as vivid and lush. Blues, again from the lighting, sweep across the screen being deep and clear, and when in daylight are bright and clean. Flesh tones can look a little warm in places, but that is a result of the stylised colouring and is perfectly intentional.
Brightness is set to give some astonishing blacks, deep and foreboding giving some terrific depth to frame. The car chase sequence shows some lovely blacks with decent shadow detailing too. Contrast it set to give bright, clean whites that help to bring out the picture, it is a little 'hot' in places but is intentional and fits very nicely with the overall colouring.
Digitally there are no compression problems, neither is there any edge enhancement; the original print is pristine with a thin sheen of grain to complete that filmic look; there is no apparent digital tomfoolery to my eye either.
Unfortunately it's not all great, there are a few scenes where the image softens a little, plus there is an over all lack of that elusive three dimensional pop that is associated with the reference pictures. In all though, this is a terrific picture.
The disc comes with three sound tracks to choose from, French and Spanish DTS 5.1 Surround and English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround; I concentrate on the latter. Typically for an action film this is a very aggressive sound mix with plenty happening pretty much all the time; take when Fox first encounters Wesley; the frantic action, shooting and subsequent car chase are all excellently realised with the sound coming from all directions; there is directionality to the dialogue, to the gun shots, to the engine and tyre noise all mounted in a furious score. The mix is not muddled but very precise, discreet effects assault you for every direction, you really feel that you are part of the action as bullets zip past you and ambient noise whizzes past accompanying the frantic camera movements. Similar can be said for the train shootout; there is so much going on but it is never muddy and you sit right in the centre of it all.
There is decent enough bass, some nice rumbles add to the low end, but I never felt it was as deep or as resonant as some of the best discs out there. It does help to fill out the score nicely though and dialogue sounds very natural, oh and the heart beats do sound like they are coming from your own chest! On the whole this is a hugely impressive track missing reference by the finest slither of a whisker.
- Alternate Opening - 0.02.38
An interesting scene that looks great and would probably have worked had it been included somewhere within the film itself; as an opening it is clearly wrong as it gives away far too much information far too early.
- Extended Scene - 0.01.58
Very short extension set when Wesley is told to shoot the dead bodies, no idea why it was cut, maybe pacing or just that it was deemed unnecessary, it certainly doesn't add anything new to the film. Only extra on the disc that is not HD.
- Cast and Characters - 0.19.59
As the title suggests this is a series of interviews with the main cast as they discuss their respective roles and how they approached them. It does however go into far more depth and includes much behind the scenes filming and other production material with little padding of actual filmed material. An entertaining watch if not totally revolutionary.
- Stunts on the L Train - 0.02.30
Extremely short feature on the filming of this scene in which it is explained how they made a moving bridge rather than a moving train to achieve the effects shown.
- Special Effects: The Art of the Impossible - 0.08.27
Slightly more in depth look at some of the practical effects used within the film (why the above feature wasn't included in this sequence is a mystery) such as building a rig that tilts and spins for the train crash or a rig that spins a car over another car enabling a two shot of the actors 'driving'.
- Groundbreaking Visual Effects: From Imagination to Execution - 0.08:06
Showcases the Russian CGI effects house that added all the digitised effects that proliferate through the film.
- The Origins of Wanted - Bringing the Graphic Novel to Life - 0.08.06
Interviews with Mark Millar as he discussed his comic book and the ideas behind it. Goes on to discuss how the film so closely mirrors his vision.
- Through the Eyes of Visionary Director Timur Bekmambetov - 0.09.05
Cast and crew discuss Bekmambetov visual style and how his different upbringing brings a fresh feel along with many unique ideas and exuberance. Not too fawning, all seem genuinely impressed by his ability, and rightly so.
- Wanted: Motion Comics - 0.13:55
A selection of panels from the original comic book lazily animated and voiced by James McAvoy. Nice to see how good the original artwork looks and how close the scenes parallel their filmic counterparts. Forms part of the U control also.
- The Making of Wanted: The Game - 0.10:01
Takes a look at the film inspired game; contains interviews with the designers, tells how it was developed and how being on set allowed them to construct a very similar look. Ok, it's not much more than an extended ad but at least it's different.
No less than four U-control features; the first is Picture in Picture commentary and accompanies most of the chapters; shows behind the scenes shooting and interviews, is informative and constructed around the chapter it is involved with. Next up is Scene Explorer and allows you to see pre-visualisation aspects of the film from storyboard to animatics. Following on is Assassin Profiles a page dedicated to the various assassins we encounter during the film, looking at them, their weapons etc. Finally there is another look at the Motion Comics as detailed above; here they are shown against their scene counterparts.
- BD Live
Contains the usual My Chat, My Scenes, My Commentary sections and has some exclusive material: Guns, guns, guns, is a short featurette on the amount of weaponry used during the film contains the usual mix of interviews and behind the scenes filming; there is also a music video to Elman's The Little Things made up of clips from the film; finally there is an extended ad for the third Mummy film due out this month.
- Digital Copy
A second disc contains a digital copy of the film for use in your PC's
- Easter Egg
Extras menu> The Making of Wanted: The Game>press down until you highlight a Fraternity icon>press enter to gain access to a secret code enabling super weapons in the video game based on the film.
In all a pretty varied and informative bunch of extras and none of the usual entertainment channel back slapping nonsense. The U-control feature works very well and as a one stop behind the scenes look this would be the way to go. And for once there is something worth logging onto BD Live for!
As Bekmambetov's first American film, he could not have chosen a better project than Wanted. The sheer wildness of it all based in a very human drive meld perfectly with his filming style and story telling skill. Once you've bought into the impossible ideas it is easy to sit back and enjoy the ride, for this is pure unsullied entertainment from beginning to end as well as a visual feast.
As a Blu-ray disc Universal have provided an excellent package with top notch picture and sound and backed up by a very worthwhile extras package, a Christmas disc if ever I saw one.
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