Olympus Has Fallen (Blu-ray) (2013)
Trailer-The Place Beyond The Pines; Mud; The Call
Featurette-Creating The Action: VFX and Design
Featurette-Ground Combat: Fighting The Terrorists
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-The Epic Ensemble
Featurette-Making Of-Under Surveillance: The Making of 'Olympus Has Fallen'
Featurette-Deconstructing the Black Hawk Sequence
Main Menu Audio & Animation
|Year Of Production||2013|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Ads Then Menu|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Antoine Fuqua|
Roadshow Home Entertainment
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||
English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 (3254Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.40:1|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
We are never stronger than when we are tested.
Olympus Has Fallen is a film in two parts. The first half is a taut, chair-clenching thriller that really sucks you into the action. The second half is a Die Hard in the White House shoot-em-up, where increasingly implausible plot movements detract from what could have been a great movie. Our heroes are the unlikely President Benjamin Asher (Aaron Eckhart) and secret service hard-nut Mike Banning (Gerard Butler), pitted against one of the nastiest villains we've seen for a while, Kang (Rick Yune).
Beginning some time before the real fun starts we see a presidential convoy driving into a raging storm. An accident on a bridge ultimately leads to the death of the president's wife (Ashley Judd) which is witnessed by the first couple's young son Connor (Finley Jacobsen). The President's close friend and personal guard Banning is subsequently removed from the President's personal detail – not because of the accident, but because of the bad memories his presence would bring.
18 months later a diplomatic meeting at the White House with the Prime Minister of South Korea is interrupted by a C-130 military plane flying into restricted airspace. When the intruder plane starts opening fire on all and sundry the diplomatic parties are rushed to a bunker under the White House. The C-130 is eventually brought down but a full scale attack on the White House by heavily armed and well trained terrorists soon overpowers the local guards. Kang, who is part of the Korean diplomatic mission in the bunker, reveals his true intentions by killing the South Korean Prime Minister and taking the bunker occupants hostage. Kang's group then proceeds to take over the White House electronic systems and ruthlessly deals with any opposition.
With the President and Vice-President captured and under direct threat of assassination, the mantle of power falls to Speaker of the House Trumbull (Morgan Freeman) who is in a different location. Trumbull is handed an ultimatum by Kang - either he compromises the American nuclear arsenal and effectively hands over South Korea to the terrorists, or the President and his entire entourage will be killed. To me it's a no-brainer decision – but anyway, the acting leader of the free world seems to lean towards handing over the keys to the nukes (which is a worrying thought). General Clegg (Robert Forster) thinks that rolling over to the terrorists might be a bad idea, but he is overruled by Trumbull. One would hope that the real American Government would have a more considered contingency plans for just such a situation.
Kang's ultimate plan is revealed later to be more than just overrunning South Korea, but also involves the destruction of the entire American land mass. Fortunately, however, Banning was not caught up in the initial fire-fight, and so begins his mission to free the President, rescue the President's son, stop American obliteration, and kill any Korean he can find. Unknown to him, however, is that he has another opponent – turncoat Secret Service agent Forbes (Dylan McDermott). Will Banning be able to deal with Forbes, rescue the American delegation, stop the countdown to doomsday, and deal justice to Kang? Well you can probably guess the answer to that?
Director Antoine Fuqua pulls out all stops in making this a no-holds-barred, bloody fisted, roller coaster ride that rarely lets up and doesn't hold back on the violence. This really is Die Hard without the humour and with a capital "R" rating. Plot holes there are a-plenty, however Butler, Eckhart and Freeman add the gravitas required, and Yune plays the evil master-mind with brutal effectiveness. It really is all good fun, however the clichés start to swell about half way through and I started looking for all the patriotic references. Even President Lincoln's marble head gets into the action! Diplomatically the terrorists are not described as "officially North Korean" as such, but more of a hard-line rogue element. I suspect however that the North Korean "Outstanding Leader" might not be impressed, (but then again maybe he might)?
Olympus Has Fallen is real popcorn fodder which is a good diversion for action lovers, but just falls short of being great. I expect that the themes and images used might prove harrowing however for many in an American audience.
The Australian DVD disc has been reviewed on this site here.
This Blu-ray is presented in 2.40:1 which is slightly wider than the cinematic aspect of 2.35:1. Codec is MPEG-4 AVC at 1080p. Filmed on 35mm stock results in quite a bit of grain, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. The image is nice and natural without that over-sharp look that some digital imagery produces. Black levels are bit washed out which makes the dark scenes look overly light. Daytime external scenes are very bright and clear, especially during the C-130 battle. The CGI was good enough without being cutting edge, and you only notice the CGI digital artefacts if you look for them. Colours and skin tones were natural and close up detail was fine despite the analog filming. Overall I though the video quality was pretty good, whilst not quite up to the standard of modern big-budget Blu-ray releases.
You know you are in for a treat when a reflex smile creases your face before you realise it. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track included is an absolute cracker with surround activity a-plenty and a thunderous LFE track that will leave the neighbourhood dogs cowering. We have fighter planes roaring past, helicopters circling, bullets zinging, and when something substantial falls down (and that happens a lot) the windows start shaking. One scene in particular will have the sub-woofer driven air pressure messing with your head. If I had a slight criticism it would be that the centre channel dialogue was sometimes overwhelmed. It wasn't bad – but it could have been better. Synchronisation with the video was fine and there were no audio errors at all. The movie score by Trevor Morris was effective and appropriate. Without doubt this is a demo class audio track.
In addition there is also a Dolby Digital 2.0 track and English descriptive audio track, both at 192 Kb/s. The descriptive track is read with an Australian accent which is pleasing.
|Surround Channel Use|
Animated menu with audio.
Occurring on start-up before the main menu are The Place Beyond The Pines (2:29) - HD Video. Dolby Digital 2.0 at 192 Kb/s, Mud (2:25) - HD Video. Dolby Digital 2.0 at 192 Kb/s, The Call (2:25) - HD Video. Dolby Digital 2.0 at 192 Kb/s.
HD Video. Dolby Digital 2.0 at 192 Kb/s. A detailed look at the CGI effects and design.
HD Video. Dolby Digital 2.0 at 192 Kb/s. A short look at staging the physical stunts and fight sequences.
HD Video. Dolby Digital 2.0 at 192 Kb/s. Background to casting of the movie.
HD Video. Dolby Digital 2.0 at 192 Kb/s. An in-depth look at the making of the movie featuring Director Antoine Fuqua with cast and crew.
HD Video. Dolby Digital 2.0 at 192 Kb/s. A background to this scene which was redone several times before being finalised.
HD Video. Dolby Digital 2.0 at 192 Kb/s. The usual, mostly unfunny stuff-ups on set.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
Olympus Has Fallen is available on Blu-ray in Region A. Apart from language options the discs appear identical. There are also Blu-ray, DVD and digital copy combos available.
Olympus Has Fallen is a gung-ho flag waving extravaganza that could have been excellent. Despite the clichéd ride home it is still a great way to spend a couple of hours. Presented with reasonable video and A-grade audio you just leave the brain cells behind and enjoy the experience.
The video quality is good.
The audio quality is excellent.
The extras are reasonable.
|DVD||Cambridge Audio 751bd, using HDMI output|
|Display||Panasonic TH-58PZ850A. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).|
|Amplification||denon AVR-4311 pre-out to Elektra Theatron 7 channel amp|
|Speakers||B&W LCR600 centre and 603s3 mains, Niles in ceiling surrounds, SVS PC-Ultra Sub, Definitive Technology Supercube II Sub|