28 Days Later... (2002)

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Released 22-Mar-2004

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary-Danny Boyle (Director) & Alex Garland (Writer)
Deleted Scenes-7, With Optional Commentary
Alternate Ending-With Optional Commentary
Featurette-Making Of-Pure Rage
Gallery-Production Stills, With Commentary
Gallery-Polaroid, With Commentary
Teaser Trailer
Theatrical Trailer
Storyboards-Animated
Music Video-Jacknife Lee
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 108:29 (Case: 112)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (89:39) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Danny Boyle
Studio
Distributor

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Brendan Gleeson
Cillian Murphy
Naomie Harris
Megan Burns
Case ?
RPI ? Music John Murphy


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
Italian
English Audio Commentary
Italian Audio Commentary
Italian Titling
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement Yes
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    In this most recent and slightly derivative collaboration between director Danny Boyle and writer Alex Garland, a highly contagious viral disease has gripped the human population, converting those infected into mindless, angry killing machines. Only a small number of uninfected survivors remain in what is now a deserted London, hiding during periods of darkness and only surfacing in the daylight. In a quiet, empty hospital one formerly comatose patient springs to life twenty-eight days after the virus was introduced. Poor Jim (Cillian Murphy) was a bicycle courier who experienced an accident and has undergone surgery to his head - unconscious for over a month and oblivious to what has been happening around him. After wandering the desolate city alone and bewildered, he meets fellow survivor Selena (Naomie Harris), a cold and emotionally detached woman who matter-of-factly fills him in on what has tragically transpired in the last month or so.

    Jim is understandably interested in ascertaining the fate of his family and sets out to return home, a move that is both dangerous and sadly disappointing. With little left to live for, it seems he and Selena are stuck with one another until the pair come across Frank (Brendan Gleeson) and Hannah (Megan Burns), a loving father and daughter who have been surviving alone in their high-rise apartment. Armed with a simple hand-held radio Frank has intercepted a transmission detailing the location of an army barracks, offering safety and promising the answer to infection. Selena questions the validity of the message, but in reality there is little else for them to do except wait to die - so the four set off in search of the source of the transmission, hoping to find some kind of community or cure to help them survive these bleak times.

    Beneath the wonderful gore and nail-biting action of the film is a rewarding sub-text for the thinking viewer. Boyle and Garland are questioning the reliability of human nature, and man's dependence upon society and authority. Is the rage that consumes victims contained within the virus itself, or is it merely releasing man's innermost instincts - releasing him from the inhibitions or restrictions of reason imposed upon us by religion and society? Jim and Selena soon find out for themselves that uninfected, coherent men can be just as dangerous as the mindless killing machines they are running from - so who can ultimately be trusted? Are we really that far removed from those that have lost control of their inner demons?

    Boyle's apocalyptic and haunting vision of a deserted Britain is both epic and inspiring. From the images of empty highways and deserted streets to the scenes of intense action and violence this is an experience to behold. A few laughs and moments of respite are thrown in here and there, but the tension stays true, and the film succeeds in maintaining a thrilling and mysterious thread throughout.

    28 Days Later... is filled with scene after scene of recognisable references to classic horror and zombie films, most notably Charlton Heston's Omega Man and the classics by B-movie legend George Romero. Advertising and product placement is also unashamedly rampant throughout, so be warned. Whether you call it classic or label it a rip-off this remains a fun, well-made film that does the genre justice and is certainly well worth checking out if you like a good thriller.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video transfer of this release is presented in the film's original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1, with 16x9 enhancement. Apart from the final scene, this film was shot and edited digitally, but its transfer to DVD appears to have been sourced via a film print rather than from the original digital source. Within the extra material the director acknowledges the comparative loss of detail with a digital medium but insists that this is the effect he intended.

    This is a particularly soft transfer all round with just enough detail to make foreground objects seem natural, unfortunately at the expense of background clarity. Of course this effect is most noticeable during scenes shot on location with vast scenery, but I don't feel that the film itself suffers too much as a result. Blacks appeared solid and consistent throughout the transfer, as did the level of shadow detail. There was no noticeable low level noise during the transfer.

    The film has undergone some degree of digital grading so it is not surprising that colours appear consistent and particularly rich in places, with not a hint of bleeding. Skin tones were similarly true and didn't present any real issues. I did notice a few minor examples of edge enhancement , but these were not overly distracting.

    There were no compression artefacts to speak of. Apart from some very minor grain this transfer looks great. A couple of very small specs of dust creep up here and there, such as at 42:09, but this is the extent of the film artefacts that have been introduced. Due to the softness inherent in this transfer there are absolutely no aliasing issues to worry about, which is certainly an up-side.

    An English subtitle stream is available for the hearing impaired, as well as an Italian subtitle stream. I viewed the majority of the film with English subtitles activated and found them to be relatively easy to read, and generally true to the spoken word.

    This disc is dual layered (RSDL formatted), with the layer transition placed towards the end of the feature at 83:39. The pause is located between scenes and noticeably interrupts atmospheric sound and movement on screen. I'm a little surprised that none of the many still, silent moments in the film were used for this purpose.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There are three audio options available with the feature, two of which are Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtracks in English and Italian respectively. A feature commentary by director Danny Boyle with writer Alex Garland is also included. I listened to the English audio and director's commentary in their entirety.

    Vocal delivery and enunciation is spot-on at all times and is always easy to understand. The film's ADR work is always believable and I didn't experience any issues concerning audio sync during the English soundtrack.

    The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix buzzes with activity fairly consistently, only rarely falling into silence to build tension. Atmospheric sounds such as wind, rain and thunder envelop the listener from the rears creating a convincing and realistic soundscape. Rear channel activity also extends to foley effects and action, such as the perfectly cut explosion at 16:40 and a loud swooshing weapon from behind at 14:58. The frontal soundstage is similarly intense and presents many examples of left-to-right panning and dedicated channel usage, particularly for vocal placement. Altogether I found this soundtrack to be highly immersive and suited to the style of this film.

    The soundtrack score is a blend of many different elements, including specifically composed orchestrations by John Murphy and contributions from familiar pop and rock artists. The most memorable pieces of music for me personally come from Brian Eno and instrumental artists Godspeed You Black Emperor. The film's music is used very effectively to build tension and add a certain eerie quality at times and although there are many styles at play they all work together harmoniously.

    The LFE channel is used to good effect, adding some dedicated bottom end to explosions and gunfire without overly dominating the experience.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    This is a good selection of extras for a single disc edition, offering many insights into the production and development of this great film.

Menu

    The main menu features a countdown introduction, accentuated with a dramatic heartbeat. This leads into a nicely animated main menu that once loaded, flashes the viewer intermittently with disturbing images and sounds from the film. The menu system also boasts some great page transitions and audio snippets from the film. All of the menu pages are 16x9 enhanced and include Dolby Digital 2.0 audio where applicable.

Feature Commentary - Danny Boyle (Director) & Alex Garland (Writer)

    This is a generally enjoyable and interesting commentary by the two gents, covering many aspects of the filmmaking process but focusing more specifically on scripting and editing tasks. The pair interact with each other well and divulge a lot of insightful information relating to their working relationship and their scene-by-scene intentions. I found it most interesting to hear about the effort that was required to make the many shots of London and the M1 freeway void of people. There is also some brief discussion of the film's commercialism being more of a tribute to Romero rather than posing as rampant product placement, which I personally find hard to believe.

    It is also interesting to hear of the allowances that were made for ADR work while shooting the film, using shadows and alternate angles to give more freedom in post production. This commentary track is available with both English and Italian subtitles.

Deleted Scenes (7)

    Seven brief scenes are presented here, some of which were cut for very obvious reasons. Each scene is available with the same subtitle streams as the feature and an optional commentary by Danny Boyle and Alex Garland. All are presented in an aspect of 1.33:1, with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio.

Alternate Endings (2)

Featurette - Pure Rage: The Making Of 28 Days Later (24:21)

    This tabloid-style twaddle tries to draw parallels between Boyle's film and the possibility of our very own pandemic in reality. There are contributions here from assorted academics, cast and crewmembers - encouraging paranoia and touting far fetched ideas about the possibility of such an infection obliterating mankind. The actual making of the film isn't touched upon until the second half, offering some glimpses of the production, cast physical training, make-up and special effects - including the lengths that were required to achieve the look of a deserted Britain. This featurette is presented in an aspect of 1.33:1, with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio and optional English subtitles.

Still Galleries (2) with commentary by Danny Boyle (Director)

Teaser Trailer (1:29)

    This teaser offers a great taster of the film's premise and touches on the plot a little, with some grabs of imagery and a few lines of dialogue. The teaser is presented in an aspect of 1.85:1 without 16x9 enhancement and includes Dolby Digital 2.0 audio.

Theatrical Trailer (1:58)

    As above, this trailer is a little longer and gives away a bit more about the story, including some more dialogue from the main characters. This trailer is presented in an aspect of 1.85:1, without 16x9 enhancement and includes Dolby Digital 2.0 audio.

Animated Storyboard (1:30)

    Originally available for download from the official website, this is a short and effective promotional piece. The audio and video quality here is poor, but it's interesting all the same.

Jacknife Lee Music Video (6:20)

    This is merely a long collection of pieces of footage from the film placed in chronological order, set to bizarre dance music. This isn't my cup of tea, though I guess if you're into repetitive dance music, mind altering substances and 28 Days Later... then it might be a mildly interesting combination.

Censorship

    There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Our Region 4 release is identical to the Region 2 UK disc, even down to the layer transition. The Region 1 disc is similarly identical in content. Apart from language and subtitle options there is little separating these regions, so unless you find a particularly good online bargain I don't see any reason to import this title.

Summary

    28 Days Later... is both an enjoyable, action packed thriller and a thought provoking study of man's weaknesses. The direction is top class and the cast put in an admirable combined performance. While it may not have the tongue in cheek humour of recent hits such as Cabin Fever, this film makes up for it with jaw-dropping gore and realism.

    The video transfer is lacking a little in the sharpness department, but this is the intention of the director.

    The audio transfer is highly immersive and well thought out.

    For a single disc edition, the extra material represents good value.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Rob Giles (readen de bio, bork, bork, bork.)
Monday, March 08, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-525, using Component output
DisplayPanasonic TX76PW10A 76cm Widescreen 100Hz. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVR-2802 Dolby EX/DTS ES Discrete
SpeakersOrpheus Aurora lll Mains (bi-wired), Rears, Centre Rear. Orpheus Centaurus .5 Front Centre. Mirage 10 inch sub.

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Comments (Add)
Alternate ending in US cinemas -
Re: Alternate ending in US cinemas - Simon -
Other cut scene? -
Re: Alternate ending in US cinemas -