V For Vendetta—Warner Bros. (Blu-ray)
V for Vendetta was different than I expected. Its tones on fear and controlling population through it touch the nerve of a lot going on in our own country, though probably not quite to the extent of what is portrayed here. It is a theme that has been in more and more media lately including an excellent book I just read from Michael Crichton.
The film is idea heavy and not really much of an action movie like the previews conveyed, but it is still quite enjoyable and moving. The performances of Portman and Rea are quite good, and Weaving's voice is nearly as memorable here as it was in the Matrix films. For those looking for a solid political thriller, this is a rare gem.
The Blu-ray transfer is identical to the HD DVD that was released quite some time ago. If I had to make a complaint, it would be the inconsistency of black. There were times when it almost seemed like something was reflecting on the lens in certain areas, making a distracting box on some objects. It reminded me of early special effects work and the distracting boxes that were around ships in the first Star Wars movie. I only saw it a few times though. Detail is great, but not consistently inspiring. The presentation definitely looks like film though with a subtle amount of grain and depth. Overall, I was quite pleased with the presentation, but it isn't quite what I would use to show off the format.
Warner has included a lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track for this release, and it is quite good. Atmosphere is the main draw, with voice work providing a convincing sense of depth and realism. Surrounds aren't used to their full capability, but offer some nice touches in some of the action scenes. The bottom end is there when it needs to be and offers plenty of dynamics in some of the more explosive moments. Again, this didn't seem to be any different than the previous released HD DVD.
This is the first Warner release on Blu-ray that I've reviewed which feature true "picture-in-picture" features utilizing the Profile 1.1 capabilities of Blu-ray. This is the same in-movie experience that was on the HD DVD complete with interviews, commentary, and production features that overlay throughout the film. You also get all the production features from the original DVD release and the trailer.
I know a lot of Blu-ray fans have been anxious to get this one on the format and Warner has done a solid job. While not an improvement over the HD DVD in the A/V department, at least they didn't skimp out on any features leaving Blu-ray fans in the cold.