Splice (Blu-ray) (2009)

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Released 15-Dec-2010

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Science Fiction Main Menu Audio & Animation
Interviews-Crew
Featurette-Making Of-2
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2009
Running Time 103:47 (Case: 99)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Vincenzo Natali
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Adrien Brody
Sarah Polley
Delphine Chanéac
Brandon McGibbon
Simona Maicanescu
David Hewlett
Abigail Chu
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI $39.95 Music Cyrille Aufort


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Linear PCM 48/24 2.0
English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

     Science fiction tends to produce some of the more interesting and inventive films made these days and Splice is certainly keeping this tradition alive. Of course, interesting and inventive does not always translate to great film and this is also true in the case of Splice. It is definitely worthy of your time, especially if you have an interest in the subject matter but it has some issues which stop it from being a great or even very good film. The film struggled at the box office taking less than $30 million globally but it is better than that would suggest. Many films not as good as this one have taken more at the box office. The Expendables is a good recent example which took nearly $300 million globally.

     Splice was co-written and directed by US director, Vincenzo Natali, probably best known for the well made and definitely disturbing Cube. It was made in Canada. It tells the story of a couple (both professionally and personally) of genetic scientists, Clive (Adrien Brody) and Elsa (Sarah Polley) who are working on splicing together DNA of various animals in an attempt to create a new organism which they hope will help develop cures for animal diseases. When they succeed in this endeavour the company paying the bills wants to stop experimenting and productise the results. Of course, Clive and Elsa want to go further and start splicing human and animal DNA together which results in the creation of Dren (Delphine Cheneac), a fast growing and potentially dangerous creature. Clive and Elsa decide to keep it alive and protect it, with disastrous consequences.

     This is a very interesting film, based on a very topical question: should humans experiment with genetic manipulation or leave DNA as nature intends? In addition to this theme the films also touches on lots of other interesting themes such as dysfunctional parenthood and its consequences on children, the human drive to reproduce, the way humans respond the something that is different to them and more. The director acknowledges his debt to the Frankenstein stories in developing this film. The production is also quite stylish for a small film with impressive special effects, makeup, music and great opening credits. The acting is also quite strong, with Delphine Cheneac doing a great job as Dren and Polley and Brody both finding the human side of their complex characters. David Hewlett from the Stargate shows also appears as the scientists’ boss, William Barlow.

     On the negative side, the plot lacks logic at times and character’s actions are hard to understand. The Elsa character is especially had to understand and the back story about her mother is not well explained. The film is more of a science fiction thriller than horror for most of the running time although a couple of scenes are more horror in style. It has been advertised and promoted as a horror film but I think many horror fans would be disappointed. Also, the plot gets quite silly towards the end and feels like it was set up for a sequel. Regardless, this film is certainly worth a look for fans of interesting and inventive science fiction.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     The video quality is very good but not up to the best of Blu-ray. The feature is presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio which is the original aspect ratio. It is 1080p native widescreen encoded in the AVC codec.

     The picture was quite clear and sharp throughout but not quite as sharp as other Blu-rays. The shadow detail was quite good. The colour was very good with no colour artefacts. The colour scheme is quite dark and dull which suits the nature of the film. There were no noticeable artefacts.

     There are subtitles in English for the Hearing Impaired which are very close to the spoken word and easy to read.

     There is no noticeable layer change during the program.

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

Audio

     The audio quality is very good.

     This DVD contains two audio options, an English DTS HD-MA 5.1 soundtrack and an English LPCM 2.0 stereo soundtrack. The DTS is a much fuller soundtrack than the stereo which although well defined is restricted to the front speakers. Dialogue was clear and easy to hear at all times. The score by Cyrille Aufort is tense and well suited to the material. The surround speakers were used regularly for many ambient sounds, such as crowd noise, music and voices and then spring to life during the action scenes as well. The subwoofer is also well used supporting action scenes, music and tension sounds.

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

Extras

Menu

     The menu included music and motion although the text was unnecessarily small.

Interview - Director Vincenzo Natali (24:58)

     An extensive EPK style interview with the director where he discusses his inspiration, the evolution of the idea, his work with a geneticist, challenges during development, other crew and producers involved, casting & creature design. Interesting stuff.

Featurette - A Director's Playground (32:10)

     One of two making of type featurettes on the disc which although both quite long don't really repeat much information. This one covers development, shotting a key scene in the film, motion capture work, the girl who plays the younger Dren and other topics. It includes interview snippets with various crew and cast. Better than average for this type of thing.

Featurette - Behind the Scenes (33:15)

     Another making of featuring interviews with the director, producer and exec producer Guillermo Del Toro, the co-writer and Cheneac, Polley and Brody. Sections include casting, VFX and Make-up and working with the director. Very worthwhile.

Trailer (1:56)

    Focuses on the chasing and gore.

R4 vs R1

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

    The Region A Blu-ray only includes one featurette A Director's Playground which means that Region B with the other two quality extras is definitely the best available currently. Well done Madman.

Summary

    An interesting, intriguing but flawed Science Fiction thriller.

    The video quality is very good. The audio quality is very good. The extras are of good quality and reasonably plentiful.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Review Equipment
DVDSONY BDP-S760 Blu-ray, using HDMI output
DisplayLG Scarlet 42LG61YD 106cm Full HD LCD. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt into BD player. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer

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