Source Code (Blu-ray) (2011)
Audio Commentary-Director, Writer, Star
|Year Of Production||2011|
|Running Time||95:00 (Case: 93)|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Duncan Jones|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.85:1|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
|Subtitles||English for the Hearing Impaired||Smoking||No|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
†††† British director Duncan Jones established himself as an emerging talent with the science fiction thriller Moon. He blew it away, in a good sense, literally and metaphorically, with his recent follow-up Source Code. Not only was this, like its predecessor, a sleek intelligent film, but it scored big-time at the box office, taking over $100 million globally.
†††† Army helicopter pilot Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) wakes up on a train travelling to Chicago. Nothing unusual, except that Stevensí last remembers himself flying in Afghanistan and, more strangely, when he looks into the mirror he sees not himself but the face of school teacher Sean Fentress. The girl sitting opposite him, Christina Warren (Michelle Monaghan), seems to know him but he doesn't recognise her. Before he can work out what is going on the train explodes and Stevens is cast into fiery nothingness. When he wakes up again he is in a dark pod with a TV screen as his only companion. On the screen Air Force Captain Colleen Goodwin (Vera Farmiga) explains to the dazed Stevens that he is in the "Source Code", an experimental device created by Dr. Rutledge (Jeffrey Wright), that allows him to be placed into a trace memory, like an alternate universe. It turns out that the train explosion was the work of a terrorist and the bomber is set to strike again. Stevens is charged with the duty of working out who placed the bomb to avoid the later and potentially greater catastrophe. Trouble is he has only 8 minutes of memory to work in.
†††† Like a high tech Groundhog Day Stevens has to make each entry into the Source Code count, to try to find out more information about the bomber. As each memory is retraced Stevens grows closer to Christina and more committed to saving the good people of Chicago. Interesting question, though, can he save his fellow travellers on the train or are they forever dead, existing only in a short memory?
†††† Source Code was developed from a spec script from writer Ben Ripley. Truth be told, the science fiction artifice is susceptible to nit-picking. Although the writer referenced Groundhog Day the film is tonally closer to 12 Monkeys. However, the film moves so fast and the actors sell the story so well that we hardly have time to consider the holes in the scientific premise. It is thrilling throughout and well acted to boot. Genre fans will love the mind-bending premise and action junkies might just find enough tension, bangs and fisticuffs to keep them interested. A superior film that cements Jones as a superior talent.
†††† Source Code comes to Blu-ray in a 1.85:1 transfer consistent with its cinematic presentation.
†††† The film was shot on a combination of 35mm film and the Red One Digital Camera. In the commentary track Duncan Jones explained that he wanted the film look for the exteriors and the convenience of digital for the interior shots. However, he admits that once the digital intermediate and processing stage got underway he had difficulty telling them apart. There is a slight grain in the film sequences but otherwise the whole film has a processed, treated look.
†††† The colours are strong and the flesh tones accurate. The image quality is crisp.
†††† There are subtitles in English for the Hearing Impaired which give a good account of on-screen action.
†††† Source Code contains an English 5.1 DTS HD Master Audio track.
†††† The film is alive with surround sound and bass action and the track is agile and nuanced. From the opening credit sequence with the aggressive and dramatic score by Chris Bacon to the whispered dialogue the soundtrack captures it all. The dialogue is clear and easy to understand throughout.
†††† There are no technical defects with the sound presentation. Enjoy!
|Surround Channel Use|
†††† There are a couple of extras on this Blu-ray.
†††† This is an informative, amiable track from director Jones, writer Ripley and actor Gyllenhaal. The blend is pretty good. Ripley is able to illustrate the ideas in his script and Jones elaborates on the processes used to bring it to the screen. Gyllenhaal describes the collaborative approach with the director and the challenges in making the film interesting given the locale limitations. The really difficult task was to make each Source Code feel different from the last, notwithstanding that everything bar Colter is the same. Pity the "portly gent" who had to pretend to sleep for most of the four week shoot! An enjoyable commentary from beginning to end.
†††† This is two features in one. A Picture-in-picture feature and a trivia track.
†††† The Picture-in-Picture feature included on this Blu-ray represents what is good and bad about this technological advancement. At random points, videos will spring up in the lower right corner, each a few minutes long. There are cast insights and explanations from the crew as well as animations explaining memory and even a professor of theoretical physics chimes in to explain the scientific basis of the movie. The featurettes are interesting in themselves but there is, in my view, often no real reason for the snippets to be included in the feature and not by way of separate extras. I am obliged to watch them as a reviewer but I wonder how many people actually sit through the whole film again just to see these extras?
†††† In the Trivia Track little factoids pop up in the right hand top of the screen illustrating everything from science fiction film references to the heaviest freight train journey in the World!
†††† This Blu-ray differs from the releases available overseas in two key ways. Firstly, the film is squeezed onto a single layered Blu-ray rather than a dual layer. I didn't notice any compression defects but it is always a risk when reducing the size of the file to fit it on to a single Blu-ray. Secondly, the Access Source Code feature is available as a separate featurette rather than solely a Picture-in-Picture feature.
†††† For these reasons the Region A or Region B UK Blu-ray may be a better buy, providing it is reasonably priced.
†††† Source Code was considered by many to be the best genre film of the last 12 months and one of the better films of the year so far. It is not only thought provoking - what is time, what is memory, what is it to be human? - but it is also rip-roaring entertainment.
†††† The Blu--ray of the film looks as good, better even, than it did in the cinema. The extras are a little compromised in their format i.e. picture-in-picture, but the commentary track is a good listen.
|DVD||Cambridge 650BD (All Regions), using HDMI output|
|Display||Sony VPL-VW80 Projector on 110" Screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials. 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 Ultimate DVD Platinum.|
|Amplification||Pioneer SC-LX 81 7.1|
|Speakers||Aaron ATS-5 7.1|