AVP: Requiem—20th Century Fox (Blu-ray)
I completely avoided this one during its theatrical run due to the bad taste left in my mouth from the first AVP. The first film had a reasonably good premise, but I didn’t care for the execution. Surprisingly this follow up was far more satisfying, though still short of the original Alien and Predator franchises. The film picks up right where the last one left off with the predator/alien half-breed. The ship gets taken over by the new breed and crashes in the woods in Colorado. From there a small town is essentially taken over by the alien. Back on the Predator home world a warrior is sent out to deal with the issue and essentially becomes the primary source of hope for the small town. There are definitely points in this film where the cheese gets a bit much, but I thought the execution was a bit better this time around and fans of the franchise will probably find this a more satisfying addition.
This is a film that not only benefits from a high contrast capable display; it demands it. This is a DARK transfer. Even the daylight scenes are a lot darker than typical film material. Contrast is exceptional most of the time, but some may not appreciate the very stark contrast levels with inky blacks bordered by very punchy colors. It is obvious that it's exaggerated and stylized, but it does create a great sense of depth and dimension. The really dark sequences in the sewers are where the most complaints will probably stem from. These scenes have very little shadow detail making it almost hard to see what is actually going on. Some details are preserved but I am using a very high contrast display. Overall I thought this was a solid looking presentation, I just think some may have gripes about the overall light level through most of it.
The DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack is quite aggressive and the low end provides ample loads of low bass. At times the low end approaches the infrasonic range and my walls complained a bit a few times. The mix has a very aggressive sound design with lots of surround information and plenty of throwbacks to the original sounds associated with these characters. Dialogue is balanced well with the rest of the track and I didn't notice any ADR issues with this film, a problem I've seen with a lot of Fox soundtracks lately. Like most sci-fi thrillers this one is a fun mix that makes the most of the surround sound paradigm.
The biggest feature is probably the inclusion of both an unrated cut of the film plus the theatrical version. I opted for the unrated cut, but I didn't find it particularly gruesome for this genre, so I am not sure what changes were actually made. Fox also includes a second disc with this Blu-ray release that contains a digital copy of the film for playback on a PC or with a portable device such as an iPod. This is becoming increasingly more popular and a few studios have joined in on the idea. On the Blu-ray disc you'll find two feature commentaries and quite a few production features that look at creating the film, the new "Predalien", and some of the visual effects. Also included are photo galleries and a few trailers.
It is always refreshing to go into a film with very low expectations only to find its pretty fun. While I still like the classic films in this franchise I didn't walk away from this one disappointed. The A/V presentation is solid, but I can still see a few getting frustrated with the dark look.