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Blu-Ray: Déjà Vu

Blu-ray Three Stars

Déjà Vu has arrived on Blu-Ray, and I was fortunate enough to be able to review it.

Having already seen the film in the cinema, I shan't review the actual film again, instead you can head over and read the original review. However here's a quick overview of the story and the film itself.

The film stars Denzel Washington as a cop who is tasked to try and solve the mystery behind the bombing of a New Orleans ferry packed with US servicemen and civilians. He has at his disposal a unique tool, a massive computer system that can view a window four days in the past. Using this, and the FBI team running in headed up by Val Kilmer's character, he must solve the unusual murder of a local woman and the ferry bombing, both of which are related, and stop the bomber played by James Caviezel.

DejaVu_Poster.jpgThe film is directed by Tony Scott, so instantly you know that there's going to be some big explosions, fast paced action, and all in a stylised wrapper. That's exactly what you get, and it's entertaining, however the film has some serious flaws that really hit the film hard at the end.

That said, I know my previous review was pretty hard on the film, yet watching it again and appreciating the complexity of the story I found a little bit more about it to like. Yet when it came to that ending, it hit me just as hard again, and I don't mean in a good way.

Story aside, the Blu-Ray offering is good, although not the best transfer I've seen to date.

Its early days for my new high definition system at home, and on some levels I was impressed, and others disappointed.


Picture


Presented: 1080p 2.40:1
What impressed me most were the sequences where there was a lot going on onscreen. For instance the boarding of the ferry, the build up to the massive explosion, the explosion itself, and the scenes of the banks of computer screens.

What was most impressive was the explosion itself and how rich the colours and detail were within the flame. It is something I've never seen before in such detail until I watched Casino Royale on Blu-Ray a few days before. In moments like this you really see the difference in clarity.

It's not just the fire but the debris falling into the water and the water itself, its these scenes that really show how good the picture looks in high definition.

Another aspect was the level of detail during the scenes where the team are sitting looking at the banks of monitors. Although most of our attention is firmly secured by the main central screen, there are multiple smaller monitors around it. What I found surprising was the detail that I could see in these screens.

What all these extra levels of detail and clarity mean is a much more realistic picture, a point that is apparent most when watching a closer shot of a characters face. Gone are the movie stars polished looks and instead you get the real image of a real person's face.

All these aspects are instantly noticeable in the Blu-Ray version of Déjà Vu, and throughout the film. However there are negatives in this transfer as well.

I found the contrast of the picture quite high, something that could be attributed to the style of the film and of Tony Scott, but it had a negative impact on the picture.

White backgrounds bloomed while dark sections looked particularly dark, this resulted in a lot of the potential richness and vibrancy offered with the high definition format to be lost. Unfortunately this was present for much of the film.

It has to be kept in perspective though, this is a stylistic choice and not a problem with the transfer or the disc as such. Although it does mean that during many scenes the high definition picture doesn't get a chance to shine, there are plenty of lower lit scenes which make up for this with greater richness and detail than you'd have seen before.

Audio

Presented: DD 5.1 English, French and Spanish; DTS 5.1 French, Spanish; PCM 5.1 English Another aspect of the disc I was disappointed with was the audio. For the English speaking the available sound was Dolby Digital 5.1 or uncompressed PCM, unfortunately my Home Cinema Amp cannot cope with uncompressed so I missed out on the best possible audio track.

So I was limited to Dolby Digital 5.1, since the only DTS 5.1 options were French and Spanish, and vice versa the only uncompressed option is in English. I found that choice of audio options slightly limited and perhaps the audio tracks should have been offered in all three languages.

Extras

Presented: Menus, Movie Showcase, Surveillance Window, Deleted Scenes, Additional Scenes

Menus
I'm now adding the menu option to reviews of DVD's because on Blu-Ray there's something special, the fact that you can pull up the menu while you're playing the film. So during playback you can pull up a mini-menu and scroll through the options, and the film keeps playing. At the same time as watching you can change audio options, flick to new scenes, etc. all instead of heading back to the menu first. It all goes together to make a much more seamless experience.

Movie Showcase
This section features a few of the best scenes from the film for both visual and aural reasons. In other words they look great and sound great, and possibly have big explosions in them.

Surveillance Window
This is a nice feature which hides the audio commentary, it's slightly unclear that if you switch this on you will hear a continual audio commentary throughout the film, not just at the key scenes that are featured.

The Surveillance Window option is where key scenes of the film are explained through behind the scenes footage taken on set. Nothing new in that, but not only have the concentrated on the key aspects of the film, rather than just lengthy featurettes, but they have also tied these into the audio commentary playback.

So watching the film again with Tony Scott, Jerry Bruckheimer, and Bill Marsilii, at certain points of the film the screen will pause and bring up a screen similar to that of the computer system used in the film. Then the action flips into the behind the scenes clips that are related to that moment in the film, and once completed it flips back to the film.

There were a few issues while watching though, some of the picture quality of the behind the scenes really does show up in the high definition with the picture sometimes struggling when there's panning across moving objects. However this only happens during a few moments when, it looks like, lower definition cameras are being used.

Once again it's a great way to deliver the behind the scenes in context and seamlessly, and it provides for a very rich viewing experience when combined with the commentaries. It's an excellent feature.

Deleted Scenes
There are a number of deleted scenes which Tony Scott can also take you through with his commentary. What is good about these scenes is they aren't the usual deleted scenes, these make a little bit of sense with the story, and with Scott's commentary you can understand why they weren't included. So often these deleted scenes are just anything that hit the cutting room floor.

Extended Scenes
These are similar to the deleted scenes, except they have been removed from the middle of quite important scenes in the film and have usually been removed to increase pacing or some such thing. Again Scott is available to discuss his choices in these scenes, an aspect I really do enjoy in the extras section.

Overall

Although I find the closing aspects of this film groan-worthy, the rest of the film is clever and carries some strong performances. On Blu-Ray the picture is sharper and more detailed than I've ever seen, and during some key scenes makes the action and some key scenes look even better.

Unfortunately the film suffers from some flaws from the outset, and so overall it isn't a great film, but it still looks superb.

I would have also expected a few more audio options and some more extras. Offering the same audio choices across the languages would have been a standard option I would have thought and although the extras are good, there's just not as many as I would have expected from such a big release.


UK IMDB Film Details
Filmstalker reviews Déjà Vu





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Comments

I was very very lucky to win Déjà Vu Blu Ray from this very site so thought it was only fair that i gave my thoughts on it. Have been a frequent visitor to filmstalker for what seems like ages and have always opted not to put my thoughts about a film as the admin here always seems to sum up a film perfectly.

To be honest reading the above review does sum up a lot of what i think.Anyway back to my thoughts on the film...

Well....i have watched it twice so far and i love the film, and think Denzel washington was by far the best choice in starring in it. It wasn't really what i expected and had some nice suprise elements but also a few predictable ones. I also thought it was a good plot.I do think in parts it could of been livened up with a bit more intense action.

The helmet that see's into the past made me laugh, it's the only bit i couldn't really take seriously. I really think they could of come up with something a bit better than a helmet especially one that seemed to have very limited capabilities. Overall i would give it 8/10 on the fact it well acted, unusual storyline and superb extra's. It loses a bit on the fact it was a bit slow to start with and as i said previously it was a tad predictable in places.Have to also agree that the ending was very disappointing and i did expect much better.

Also the extras are not to be missed especially the Surveillance Window and the deleted scenes.

Hey congrats for winning the DVD Carla! Your fellow filmstalkers would like to see you posting more often that's for sure! :)

Carla, huge thanks for that, it's much appreciated. Even if you do agree with my review it is always good for others to read what other members of the film audience think.

Hey thanks for the replies both!! :) I was very amazed/pleased that i won even more so because it was something i really wanted.

I will gladly start posting my comments on the site, after all i spend enough time reading the reviews here so it's only fair i give a little back :)

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