V for Vendetta
The film starts late on November 4th, with Evey (Natalie Portman) breaking curfew to visit a male co-worker. Victimized by the authorities and fearing for her life, V comes to the rescue. This is the beginning of a strange relationship in which Evey discovers there is more to V than meets the eye. She also discovers an inner strength that she never knew was there.
Hugo Weaving is masterful in his portrayal of the anti-hero, and Portman excels as well. The role required her to shave her head on camera, which she willingly did to transform her character. Normally, I’m not into bald women, but Portman looks as sexy as ever without her locks.
Using the identical VC-1 encode as the previously released HD DVD, V for Vendetta still looks very impressive. The presentation has a lot going for it, with excellent black levels and a rich color palette—red and orange are particularly vibrant. Contrast in outdoor scenes is a bit hot for stylistic reasons, but the underground world of V looks much more natural. Fine detail is excellent, although some shots have a softer appearance that is consistent with the HD DVD and DVD.
The Dolby TrueHD 5.1-channel soundtrack is impressive in its own right. The film boasts a very active soundstage with excellent dynamic range, and the dialog is clear and concise, which was a problem with the DVD release. Discrete effects are conveyed with precise clarity, from the clicking of V's footsteps to the swoosh of his cape.
This is the first Bonus View (Profile 1.1) disc from Warner, and it provides the same In-Movie Experience found on the HD DVD. It offers commentary by director James McTeigue as well as Portman, Weaving, and some of the production team.
Also included are four standard-definition featurettes, a music montage, a Saturday Night Live sketch featuring Natalie Portman (highly recommended), and the theatrical trailer.
I enjoyed this film the first time I watched it on DVD and my subsequent viewings on HD DVD, and now the Blu-ray release has given me even more appreciation of the production. The presentation is solid and well worth a double-dip if you own one of the previous home-video releases. Highly recommended.
Release Date: May 20, 2008
Film: 9 out of 10
Picture: 8 out of 10
Sound: 8 out of 10
JVC DLA-RS1 projector
Stewart FireHawk screen (76.5" wide, 16:9)
Onkyo PR-SC885 pre/pro
Anthem PVA-7 Amplifier
Belkin PF60 power conditioner
M&K S-150s (L, C, R)
M&K SS-150s (LS, RS, SBL, SBR)
SVS PC-Ultra subwoofer
Monoprice HDMI cables (source to pre/pro)
Best Deal analog-audio cables
PureLink HDC Fiber Optic HDMI Cable System (15 meters) from pre/pro to projector