Unbreakable (2000)

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Released 6-Nov-2001

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Main Menu Audio & Animation
Menu Audio
Multiple Angles-Train Station Sequence
Featurette-Behind The Scenes
Deleted Scenes-7 to choose from
Featurette-Comic Books And Super Heroes
Featurette-Night's First Fight Sequence
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2000
Running Time 102:03
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (63:14)
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By M. Night Shyamalan
Studio
Distributor

Walt Disney Studios Home Ent.
Starring Bruce Willis
Samuel L. Jackson
Case Soft Brackley-Transp-Dual
RPI $36.95 Music James Newton Howard


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/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 English
English for the Hearing Impaired
French
Italian
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Unbreakable is a tension-filled movie about one man's struggle to find out why he is different to everyone else. David Dunn (Bruce Willis) is involved in a horrific train crash and emerges as the sole survivor, without even the tiniest scratch on him. It is not really a surprise to David because things like this have happened to him before, it's just that he won't admit it.

    Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson) takes an interest in David's miraculous escape from the crash and believes he has the answers that David has been seeking for so long. David decides he should meet with Elijah, and his son Joseph (Spencer Treat Clark) tags along as well. It is this meeting that really gets David thinking as to why he escapes harm when others around him die. Elijah is convinced that David possesses a body that is the exact opposite match to his - Elijah suffers from a disease which makes it easy for his bones to shatter. I won't tell you the full topic of the conversation because it sets the tone of the movie, but it is a subject close to every child's heart and it makes for some interesting scenes between Joseph and his father as the movie progresses.

    There is some unusual but very effective camera work throughout this movie. Quite often, the focus and main dialogue is in the background of the shot, and in the foreground there will be some subtle action to help progress the story by using actions rather than words. The first scene was shot on the train and the camera was positioned between the seats, looking back at the actors much like a child would do to have a sticky beak at the people in the seat behind. This made me feel like I was sitting in the seat rather than a wide shot that has a more removed feel to it.

    The last movie I saw with Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson starring together was Die Hard: With a Vengeance which was full of action and contained many fast-paced scenes. Fans of either actor should not expect the same from this movie, but instead something with a much slower pace that really asks more questions than it answers and leaves you to come to your own conclusions. In fact, it was pleasant to see these two stars expanding their acting abilities by taking on such roles.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video transfer of this movie is superb, but would not be classed as being of reference quality.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer is extremely clear and sharp. Shadow detail was excellent most of the time, but some scenes were quite dark and detail was hard to define. Upon closer inspection, I feel that this was more the director's intent rather than a quality problem during the transfer. An example can be seen at 71:30. There is no low level noise.

    The colours were deliberately muted and drab, and the clothing and scenes contained no rich colours either. There were no irregularities with the colour rendition of this transfer - just don't expect any splashes of bright, primary colours, since there aren't any.

    There were no MPEG artefacts seen. Aliasing is very rare and the only section where it was mildly noticeable was at 75:09. Film artefacts were common but were very small and they are not at all distracting, I had to look very closely to find them.

    The subtitles are true to the spoken word and were in a font size that was quite comfortable to read.

    This disc is an RSDL disc with the layer change occuring at 63:14. It is perfectly placed and barely noticable.

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

Audio

    This disc's audio transfer was magnificent and was a pleasure to listen to.

    There are three audio tracks on this DVD. The default is an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. There are also French and Italian 5.1 options, but I listened only to the English track in its entirety.

    The dialogue was clear at all times and there were instances where secondary dialogue from actors in the background was muffled. This was in my opinion intentional to give some flow to the scene where the secondary actors were still talking but the focus and key to the scene was in the clear voices of the actors in the foreground.

    Audio sync was not a problem at all with this transfer, and was completely spot on.

    The musical score by (James Newton Howard) was well-mixed and a fitting choice for this style of movie. At times it had a mystical tone and then switches to quite an eerie sound when required for the scene. I found it a pleasure to listen to and it definitely added positively to the movie experience. The volume levels did not drown out the dialogue at any point during the movie.

    The surround channels were tastefully used and well-balanced throughout the movie for ambience, music and special effects. Directional effects and precise sound placement within the soundfield were the norm rather than the exception, putting you right in the midst of the action at all times, not just during the action sequences. At 4:50 when a train passes by, you need to lift your legs up because it sounds as if it is screaming through your lounge room. Examples of well-defined crowd scenes that envelop you with sound can be found from 51:12 to 52:51. This disc would also have to have the most realistic rainfall I have ever heard on disc. At 70:30, you would swear that it is raining outside. This was a definite bonus in setting this particular scene. Having said that, 84:50 would have to be the surround sound pick of this disc, where the surrounds are in perfect harmony with each other and the subwoofer.

    The subwoofer was active for the sounds and scenes that required it and placed an excellent bottom end on these sequences. At 73:19, it was a little heavy but this was probably warranted to suit the scene.

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

Extras

    Such a good collection of extras have been bundled together for this release that they needed two discs to accommodate them.

Menu

    When you first load this disc you are prompted in all three languages to pick your preferred audio track and then you are taken to the main menu to select further options.

    The menu design is themed around the movie. The main menu features an animated clip from the movie and Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded audio.

    All menu options on both discs once selected caused the audio to skip or stutter for a few seconds before your choice is displayed. This did not happen when I tested it on a DVD-ROM so it may be caused by an incompatibility between the commands used by the menu and my particular player.

(Addendum November 13, 2001: After changing my DVD player back to 16x9 mode the shuddering stopped and no longer causes any problems with the menu options from either disc.)

Train Station Sequence (4:04)

    This extra lets you move through this particular scene with various sound mixes. There is a bonus multi-angle camera feature for this scene where you follow David Dunn through the Train Station. The three audio options to choose from are;

    The video is of excellent quality, being presented at an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, 16x9 enhanced.

Behind The Scenes (13:44)

    There is quite a lot of background information about the movie shown here. It was interesting to note that Night asked Bruce Willis if he would be interested in doing this movie while they were still filming The Sixth Sense. It was presented in an aspect ratio of 1:85.1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

Deleted Scenes

    There are a choice of seven (7) different deleted scenes to play. The menu gives you the option of playing them one-by-one or selecting a "Play All" feature.

Comic Book and Super Heroes (18:33)

    Quite an interesting discussion between the cast and experts in the field of comics and superheroes. There is even a good chat with the master of comics and storytelling, Will Eisner. This is of excellent quality, being presented at an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, 16x9 enhanced and with Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded sound.

Night's First Fight Sequence (2:20)

    I am glad this extra was included. This is an except from the first movie shot by M. Night Shyamalan that contained a fight scene. He and a few mates put together this movie when they were kids and the shocking acting is quite funny to watch. Night even comments that he wanted to include this "because once you have seen it, Unbreakable will be that much better to watch". This is of good quality, being presented at an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, 16x9 enhanced and with Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded sound.

Theatrical Trailer (2:10)

    This is of average quality, which seems to be common for Theatrical Trailers. It is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 but is not 16x9 enhanced, and comes with Dolby Digital 5.1 sound. There was one rather large film artefact at 1:40 which lasted for a few seconds.

R4 vs R1

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

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;

    It is disturbing to note that the DTS soundtrack has been left off the R4 version.

    However, apparently the Region 1 disc suffers from slight edge enhancement, aliasing and pixelization in quite a few scenes. With that in mind, I would suggest that the R4 release may well be the way to go regardless.

Summary

    For me, Unbreakable was a good, enjoyable movie but would probably not suit everyone's tastes. Movie likes and dislikes are such a personal thing so I would certainly recommend you at least watch it once.

    The video and audio quality were excellent. The well-defined sound field really added to the effects and mood of the movie. The music was well-suited to the movie and gave extra depth to the scenes.

    The extras are satisfactory, but we did miss out on a few compared to the R1 release.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Peter Mellor (read my bio)
Tuesday, November 13, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer XV-DV55, using S-Video output
DisplayLoewe 72cm. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer XV-DV55
SpeakersPioneer S-DV55ST-K Satellite wall mouted 5-Speaker System; Pioneer S-DV55SW-K Powered Subwoofer

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