Thunderstruck (2004)

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Released 10-Nov-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Menu Animation & Audio
Audio Commentary-Darren Ashton (Director) And Jodi Matterson (Producer)
Theatrical Trailer
Featurette-Making Of
Deleted Scenes-11, With Commentary
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2004
Running Time 96:13
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Darren Ashton

Warner Home Video
Starring Damon Gameau
Stephen Curry
Ryan Johnson
Callan Mulvey
Sam Worthington
Case ?
RPI $24.95 Music David Thrussell

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, Make sure you watch to the very end of the credits

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    In 1991, five teenage friends, Sonny (Damon Gameau), Sam (Callan Mulvey), Ben (Stephen Curry), Ronnie (Sam Worthington) and Lloyd (Ryan Johnson), leave a concert by legendary rock band AC/DC. The guys are totally overwhelmed by what they have just experienced. They discuss the pros and cons of the band's former front man, the late Bon Scott against the current AC/DC lead singer, Brian Johnson. The friends have already formed a band together, with Lloyd being their manager. They call themselves "The Jack", and have dreams of one day playing alongside their idols.

    A near death experience with an exploding taxi convinces the guys that the spirit of Bon Scott is watching over them. They make a pact in writing that whoever is the first to die will be buried next to Bon, a mission that would need to be fulfilled by the surviving others.

    Twelve years pass. The guys have all had haircuts, and have gone separate ways. Sonny is unemployed, Ronnie is a record producer, with his marriage to Molly (Rachel Gordon) on the rocks, Lloyd is a drug runner, Ben is climbing the management ladder at a local supermarket, and Sam is a bouncer (we only discover this from the deleted scenes).

    When Sonny gets the news that Ronnie has been killed by a freak lightning strike, he decides to round up the other guys in order to honour their pact. Of course, people can change quite a lot in twelve years and convincing the others that this mission is still important and needs to be carried out takes some effort.

    Finally, Sonny "borrows" his father's pride and joy, a Tarago van, for the long trip from Sydney to Bon's grave site in Fremantle. He and the others conspire to steal Ronnie's ashes from the egotistical Molly. Once this is achieved, the long and often hilarious journey across the Nullarbor begins. Of course, the trip isn't plain sailing - they must overcome many obstacles and encounter a variety of strange characters before reaching their destination.

    So much is crammed into the story that I was amazed upon reflection that the film only runs for a little over an hour and a half. The screenplay by Shaun Angus Hall (who also plays the role of Simmo) and the film's director, Darren Ashton, doesn't always hit the mark for laughs, but when it does, it's often hilarious, although, as is the case with many comedies, the film does go a little off the rails at times. One example of this is a scene at an airport toilet. I found an element of this scene - showing the contents of a toilet bowl - brought the film down. This element should have been included in the deleted scenes, and not left in the final cut.

    Thunderstruck highlights some wonderful cameo roles from people well known in Australia, but not necessarily for their acting ability. Also, the rather large cast of leading and supporting actors are superb. Roy Billing, Saskia Burmeister, Judi Farr, Jason Gann and George Kapiniaris all play pivotal supporting roles.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality


   The video transfer is excellent overall.

   The film is presented on DVD in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, the film's original aspect ratio. It is also 16x9 enhanced.

   The transfer was very clear and sharp throughout. Blacks were crisp and clean, with no signs of low level noise. Shadows held excellent detail in all darker scenes.

   Colours are rendered particularly well. They are very natural, with no evidence of oversaturation.

  The transfer is free of MPEG artefacts. Film-to-video artefacts are negligible. There is some very minor aliasing in timber wall panels at (56:37 ). Considering the film contains quite a few scenes featuring news reports on television, moiré effects are controlled especially well. I found no real evidence of edge enhancement. Being a fairly recent film, film artefacts in Thunderstruck weren't an issue.

   Unfortunately, there are no subtitles at all on this DVD.

   This disc is a single sided, dual layer disc, with the layer change occurring at 65:51. This is certainly one of the better layer changes I've seen in recent times, and wasn't easy to find.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


     The audio transfer for Thunderstruck is impressive.

    There are two audio tracks on this DVD, the default being English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s). The other available track is English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s) surround encoded. I listened to both these tracks, which were excellent.

    Dialogue quality was crystal clear throughout, and was easily understood. There were also no apparent problems with audio sync.

    The original music score is credited to David Thrussell and Francois Tetaz. As you would expect, it's basically a rock soundtrack. There are also some quieter moments in the score, all of which complement the particular scenes very well. Apart from this original music, there is music from a variety of other artists used in the film. Also as expected, there are a couple of AC/DC songs incorporated into the soundtrack as well.

    The surrounds are used to superb effect during the opening concert scene. Music and crowd noise totally surrounds the viewer, putting you right in the action. The surrounds in general are used to only highlight the scenes when needed, and are never overdone. Both music and subtle ambient sounds, such as background street noise were all very well directed through the surround channels.

    Like the surrounds, the subwoofer was used only when required, and was not overdone. It was used perfectly in the opening concert scene (1:05), adding a real thump to the bass. It was used well to define and highlight the bass in much of the music, as well as when required in other scenes. A taxi exploding at 7:12 is a fine example of this.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


   There are a good selection of extras on this disc.

   The menu design is excellent, and is themed around the film. The main and sub-menus are all animated, as well as 16x9 enhanced. They also feature Dolby Digital 2.0 audio (224Kb/s).

Theatrical Trailer : Thunderstruck (1:49)

   The trailer for the film, presented in 2.35:1, and Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s).

Audio Commentary - Darren Ashton (Director) and Jodi Matterson (Producer)

   An outstanding commentary from Darren and Jodi, with hardly any pauses. They are pleasant to listen to and offer interesting and relevant information right throughout the film. They also offer an usual twist to their commentary, by talking to cast members over the phone. I haven't heard this before, but it was a welcome touch. If you're a fan of Thunderstruck, you must take the time to listen to this track. Presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s).

Featurette:  Making Thunderstruck (12:56)

   A very short featurette, which features interviews with actors and crew about various aspects of the filming. Presented in various aspect ratios, with Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s) audio.

   The audio encoding here is rather bizarre, as all voices come through the rear speakers. This makes the dialogue a little difficult to hear properly at times. I found that forcing the voices through the front speakers by turning off pro-logic made listening much more comfortable.

   Making Thunderstruck contains brief discussions about all the main processes in the making of Thunderstruck, but is all too short to give comprehensive information. The audio commentary offers much more "behind the scenes" information on the film in general term. Still, this featurette is worth a look.

Deleted Scenes - with optional audio commentary from Darren Ashton (Director) and Martin Conner (Editor).

   Eleven deleted scenes in total, all presented in a letterboxed format, with Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s) audio. All are very good quality. It is worth watching these after seeing the film, and then re-watching them with audio commentary enabled, to get an explanation as to why each scene was removed.

   Post Concert Fantasy ( :17)    Sam the Bouncer ( :50)    Devistationed (1:25)    The Juicer / Private Sam (1:58)    Robbo & Simmo introduced ( :55)    Ben's Flashback ( :32)    Do You Smell Petrol? ( :22)    Fight Re-enactment (1:12)    Fire Re-enactment (1:12)    Molly at the Wedding (1:18)    What Happened to... (2:24)

R4 vs R1

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

   This reviewed version is PAL, Region 2 and 4. This appears to be the only version available on DVD at this time.


   Many fans of the legendary AC/DC would no doubt have seen Thunderstruck at the cinema, and many would already own this DVD. However, this film is not exclusively for AC/DC fans, and may appeal to people who haven't even heard of the band. (Do such people exist?) 

   Thunderstruck is a film worth seeing, even though it does have some faults. It also contains some genuinely hilarious moments, and great cameo roles. The performances in general are all excellent. I would class Thunderstruck as one of the better Australian comedies in recent years.

   The video and audio quality are both excellent.

   The included extras are worthy and relevant.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Steve Crawford (Tip toe through my bio)
Thursday, February 03, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDJVC XV-N412, using Component output
DisplayHitachi 106cm Plasma Display 42PD5000MA (1024x1024). This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080i.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationPanasonic SA-HE70 80W Dolby Digital and DTS
SpeakersFronts: Jensen SPX7 Rears: Jensen SPX4 Centre: Jensen SPX13 Subwoofer: Jensen SPX17

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