Hanna (Blu-ray) (2011)

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Released 1-Dec-2011

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Audio Commentary-Director Joe Wright
Deleted Scenes
Alternate Ending
Featurette-Making Of-Escape from Camp G
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Adapt or Die
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Central Intelligence Allegory
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Chemical Reaction
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-The Wide World of Hanna
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2011
Running Time 111:00
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Joe Wright
Studio
Distributor

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Saoirse Ronan
Eric Bana
Vicky Krieps
Cate Blanchett
Paris Arrowsmith
John MacMillan
Tim Beckmann
Paul Birchard
Christian Malcolm
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI ? Music Tom Rowlands
Ed Simons


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
French dts 5.1 (640Kb/s)
Spanish dts 5.1 (640Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.40:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
French
Spanish
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

     It came as a surprise to many that British director Joe Wright would produce an action thriller in the nature of 2011's Hanna. After all, Wright was seen by many as the vanguard of intelligent literary adaptations. His Pride and Prejudice may have provided a little mud around the boots of Austen’s heroines but it was still a respectful adaptation. His more recent take on literature in McEwan’s Atonement was also a thoughtful, mannered adaptation. Even his more modern film The Soloist was a restrained story, adapted from a memoir of a talented musician living on the streets due to mental illness. So what is Joe Wright doing directing a film with gunplay, fisticuffs and pounding electronic score?

     In fact, he hasn't straight to far from the literary park. Hanna was one of those screenplays which found its way onto the list of hottest unproduced properties in Hollywood. In the director’s commentary to the film Joe Wright talks in depth about the story going on behind the story. That is, Hanna for all its intrigue and action thrills is essentially a fairy tale complete with the woodsman and the wicked witch. It is a fairy tale based on the Grimms’ model, dark and a little scary.

     When we first meet Hanna (Saoirse Ronan) she is in a world of white - in snow covered Finland hunting a deer. Little of her back story emerges. She is living in this remote location in a log cottage with her heavily bearded, ever so serious father Erik (Eric Bana). Exactly how she came to be there and what role Bana plays in her life is slowly teased out during the course of the movie. She is relentlessly trained by her father in all the fighting arts and survival skills and is taught to memorise certain locations. When Hanna hits a button in the cottage, sending out a signal across the frozen waste, it doesn't take long for hell to break loose. For reasons shrouded in mystery Hanna is desperately sought by CIA operative Marissa (Cate Blanchett). Marissa is a real piece of work - cleaning her bright white teeth until her gums bleed, dressed to perfection but with a dark core that goes to the bottom of her soul. Marissa and Erik have a history and the story of Hanna is tied up deeply within it.

     So begins a thrilling chase movie with the interesting difference in that the lethal weapon is a pale teenage girl. Hanna must complete her objective, the journey of discovering exactly who she is, and all the while evade the clutches of Marissa and her equally frightening assassin associate (a creepy, Tom Hollander).

     The fairy tale associations become clearer as the film progresses, ending in a showdown at an amusement park, complete with a fairy tale house. Both Blanchett and Bana play their roles as the evil witch and the kindly woodsman in the spirit of the piece which is to say with a good deal of scenery chewing and playing around with their accents. Unlike the Bourne movies Hanna is not meant to be taken as a realistic representation of life on the run from the CIA.

     Ronan is a fine young actress who also seems to be developing a line of characters bearing different accents. From the English schoolgirl of Atonement through the Polish refugee in The Long Way Back through the American of The Lovely Bones and now to this, a German accent, one wonders when she will get to show off her wonderful Irish brogue in a role. Hanna is certainly a very different type of action movie. With a teenager in the lead its core audience is unlikely to be the Jason Statham crowd and yet this is no Stormbreaker, the violence is very real. It does represent another interesting step in the career of Joe Wright.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Hanna was shot on a combination of Super 35 film and high-definition digital. It was projected in the cinema at a 2.40:1 aspect ratio. That ratio has been preserved for this Blu-ray release.

     Hanna has received an excellent transfer from Universal. The film was shot by German cinematographer Alwin Kuchler, responsible for Code 46 and Sunshine. The film is beautiful to look at and in high-definition those qualities have been intensified. There is an abundance of colour and the wide colour palette is expressed clearly. The image quality is extremely sharp. The level of detail in the faces and clothing is impressive

     There are subtitles in English for the Hearing-Impaired, Spanish and French.

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

Audio

     Hanna features a number of soundtracks. For the English speaker the prime track is in English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack. There are also Spanish and French DTS Surround 5.1 tracks and a DTS and Dolby Digital 2.0 track for the commentary.

     The audio quality of this Blu-ray is on a par with the visual quality. The dialogue is clear and easy to understand. Being an action film there is a constant and impressive spread of surround sound. The sub woofer is regularly engaged both for the sound effects and music.

     Much has been made, not surprisingly, of the score for the film. It was written and performed by The Chemical Brothers and represents their first foray into scoring a feature film. Hopefully it will not be the last. The score provides some memorable themes, including one whistled by the bad guy assassin, as well as some thumping beats to accompany the action.

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

Extras

     There are a number of extras included with this Blu-ray. It must be said though that they are a little lightweight. The case for the Blu-ray divides them into two sections-bonus features and Blu-ray exclusives.

The "bonus features" are as follows:

Alternate Ending (1.28)

     Not a great variation on the actual ending, this sees Hanna wandering around her former home.

Deleted Scenes (3.48)

     These three scenes are fairly brief and tend to just explain how Hanna managed to get places.

Anatomy of a Scene: the Escape from Camp G (3.09)

     Director Joe Wright takes us through this scene by way of a commentary. Interspersed with the commentary is some added behind the scenes moments and information showing how it was put together at various times at various locations.

Feature Commentary with the Joe Wright

     Joe Wright is an intelligent and thoughtful director. Sometimes that does not make for the most riveting commentaries. It takes a little patience to persevere with this commentary in order to pick up all the interesting information and stories about the production process. Wright tends to speak conversationally, with lots of "ums and ahs" and much of the commentary has an improvised feel as though he was remembering the details are fresh. Still it is worth listening to in order to pick up some of the interesting information.

Blu-ray exclusives

Adapt or Die(13:15)

     This featurette looks at the training that went into turning willowy, gentle Saoirse Ronan into a fighting machine. There is no doubt she worked her little Irish heart out in training with martial artists.

Central Intelligence Allegory (8.54)

     This short featurette looks at the fairy tale construct of the film.

Chemical Reaction (6.05)

     A look into the processes behind The Chemical Brothers creating the score for the film. Interestingly, the brothers are not seen but phone in their comments.

The Wide World of Hanna (2.12)

     This looks at the various locations-from freezing snow to desert heat used for the film.

R4 vs R1

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

    The extras are basically identical to those on the Region A edition. A review I read talked about a very brief EPK promo that doesn't appear on this edition but it isn't missed.

Summary

     Hanna is a curious film. The combination of action, violence and a teenage protagonist tend to drop it in between camps. Still, it is well constructed and acted and will keep you entertained.

     The image and sound quality are superb, intensifying the experience.

     The extras are pretty numerous though nothing is really exceptional.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Trevor Darge (read my bio)
Monday, March 12, 2012
Review Equipment
DVDCambridge 650BD (All Regions), using HDMI output
DisplaySony 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 DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationPioneer SC-LX 81 7.1
SpeakersAaron ATS-5 7.1

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