The Darkest Hour 3D (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 22 Old 04-04-2012, 09:49 AM - Thread Starter
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attachment.php?attachmentid=242638&d=1333557542
The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109940&d=1210373637

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109943&d=1210373637

Audio/3D Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

82






Studio and Year: Summit Entertainment - 2011
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 89 minutes
Genre: Sci-fi/Horror/Thriller

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC/MVC
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Emile Hirsch, Olivia Thirlby, Max Minghella, Rachael Taylor, Joel Kinnaman
Directed by: Chris Gorak
Music by: Tyler Bates
Written by: Jon Spaihts
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: April 10, 2012







"Courage survives"



Film Synopsis:

A Sci-fi thriller featuring mind-blowing special effects from the minds of visionary filmmaker Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted) and director Chris Gorak (Art Director Fight Club, Minority Report),The Darkest Hour is the story of five young people who find themselves stranded in Moscow, fighting to survive in the wake of a devastating alien attack.



My Take:

Arriving amidst a mysterious lightening storm, young Internet entrepreneurs Sean (Emile Hirsch) and Ben (Max Minghella) land in Moscow Russia to pursue their business dreams in the international economic center, full of new money and potential. Travelers Natalie (Olivia Thirlby) and Anne (Rachael Taylor), stranded in Moscow by an unscheduled stop over en route to Nepal, make the best of it by seeking adventure in one of the nightlife capitals of the world. After their business meeting doesn't go as planned Sean and Ben head to a glitzy nightclub where they meet Natalie and Anne. The two pairs of best friends get acquainted and hit it but the fun doesn't last as the club is quickly transformed to a scene of terror when faceless, invisible aliens seemingly made up only of electrical energy invade the city killing everyone in their path. Relying solely on instinct the two couples along with, Skylar, the Swedish businessman Sean and Ben met with earlier evade the marauding invaders by hiding. They emerge later to find the once pulsating city is now without power and is all but deserted, yet occupied by a force they don't understand. They learn that their only hope of escape is located on the far end of the city. Throughout their journey across a foreign city, the dwindling band encounter various Russian survivors who help them start to unravel the mysteries of the invaders, their goals, weaknesses, and most importantly, how to fight back.

The Darkest Hour is exactly what it looks like, a dime store alien invasion flick. There isn't much to the story or the characters (including the aliens) and the action/suspense is sorely lacking. The killings aren't tough to see coming, just picture a charging lioness and limping zebra. I couldn't help but be reminded of Skyline. As bad as Skyline is it has a slightly deeper storyline and better special effects which puts it in the weak but tolerable department. There was little here that engaged me, including the repetitive special effects and diminutive action/suspense. I honestly didn't expect much but hoped for a mildly entertaining popcorn movie. The cast, especially Olivia Thirlby (been a fan since Juno), gave it potential however The Darkest Hour is flat, boring and a waste of 89 minutes. This offering from Summit Entertainment contains both the 2D and 3D versions of the film and bonus content on a single BD-50 Blu-ray Disc.



Parental Guide:

The rating is for sci-fi action violence and some language.





AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

Audio: 86



  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692


3D Presentation: 78


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Depth (Onscreen): attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Dimension (Beyond the screen): attachment.php?attachmentid=109943&d=1210373692

  • Realism: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

The Darkest Hour 3D comes to Blu-ray Disc from Summit Entertainment featuring 1080p MVC encoded video and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of XXX Mbps.

This film was shot natively in 3D and positively translates to high definition on Blu-ray. The film was largely shot against green screens and the reproduction of the digital effects and wide angle background elements is quite good. Depth is appreciable as evidenced by separation of objects and/or people layered in the foreground/background which creates a discerning sense of virtual space. Dimensionality and apparent resolution is rarely questionable in close ups and brightly lit exterior sequences but it varies some in the limited lighting that comprises over half of the film. There is a distinct lack of 3D effects that transcend the boundaries of the screen which makes for a somewhat less involving experience especially for a film of this type. I didn't notice any overt instances of crosstalk or other video related anomalies. The end result is a satisfying but unremarkable 3D video presentation.

The lossless DTS-HD MA soundtrack doesn't consistently engage the entire surround platform however it has moments where it energizes the room and reproduces the source elements with aplomb. Dialogue has definitive presence with refined vocal character and excellent room penetration. Dynamic range is very good which lends subtle distinction to low level sounds and gravity to broader ones. For a sci-fi action/horror thriller I expected a busier soundtrack but it gets the job done. There are several sequences that engage the entire system to briefly produce entertaining and room filling sound that is measurable. This soundtrack isn't demonstration worthy but it readily delivers a satisfying listening experience.



2D Video Quality:



Video: 86


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

The Darkest Hour comes to Blu-ray from Summit Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of XXX Mbps

This high definition presentation doesn't consistently lend itself to razor sharp clarity and three dimensional depth but in most regards looks quite good. It features an intentionally stylized visual design that utilizes a limited color scheme that works aesthetically well for the films subject matter. The color range is limited to shades of steely blue, gray and black with splashes of crimson and muted sepia tones. Fleshtones hold up well against the de-saturated chroma and don't appear unnatural. Uneven light and shading are prevalent. Contrast isn't overdriven as whites appear punchy and grays are gradational. Black levels are slightly elevated but respectable. Shadow detail is very good which adds an appreciable level of dimension to low level scenes. The use of CGI and green screens softens some elements during wide angle pans but I never found it to be overtly distracting. I didn't detect any obvious signs of video related anomalies or artifacts and thought that this presentation looked solid.



Bonus Features:


  • Audio commentary with director Chris Gorak

  • (HD) Survivors - An all-new 8 minute short film following the rebel resistance around the globe. The fight continues as freedom fighters in Tokyo, Malibu and Afghanistan work together to develop new technology and strike a major blow to the alien invaders.

  • (HD) The Darkest Hour: Visualizing am invasion - 12 minute production featurette

  • (HD) 5 deleted/extended scenes with optional director commentary


Final Thoughts:

The Darkest Hour is a boring, flat and disappointing sci-fi action/horror flick that tries and fails to make a splash in the space invader popcorn genre. It comes to Blu-ray Disc from Summit Entertainment in 3D and 2D releases. I found the 3D viewing experience to be perfectly acceptable but lacking in the kind of involving dimensionality/effects that often make films like this fun to watch in 3D. The 2D version offers excellent high definition video quality that positively represents the film's stylized visuals. The DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack is an engaging one that makes for a rewarding surround sound experience. The supplemental package is par for the course and includes a short film feature, audio commentary and a handful of deleted scenes. Unless you're already a fan this one is a pass.









attachment.php?attachmentid=109949&d=1210373731






Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews





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post #2 of 22 Old 04-04-2012, 12:14 PM
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This looked horrible right from the trailers, so a rent should be out of the question. Weird haven't seen Emile Hirsch in any movies of lately and then he pops up in this train wreck.

Thanks Super Ralph taking the hits so we don't have to!

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post #3 of 22 Old 04-04-2012, 01:43 PM
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Why are films shot in Native 3D not getting high marks?

Blu-ray : 340
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post #4 of 22 Old 04-04-2012, 02:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lgans316 View Post

Why are films shot in Native 3D not getting high marks?

Because, it's not the size of the tool that's important, it's how you use it
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post #5 of 22 Old 04-04-2012, 02:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lgans316 View Post

Why are films shot in Native 3D not getting high marks?

Greetings,

Because natively shot or not this one really doesn't make the most of the type of three dimensional elements that would make for a more engaging viewing experience. Natural depth is the most noticeable aspect however with a film like this you would hope for more.


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post #6 of 22 Old 04-04-2012, 02:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph Potts View Post

Greetings,

Because natively shot or not this one really doesn't make the most of the type of three dimensional elements that would make for a more engaging viewing experience. Natural depth is the most noticeable aspect however with a film like this you would hope for more.


Regards,

What was deeper, the natural depth or the plot?

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post #7 of 22 Old 04-04-2012, 11:43 PM
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Sorry to hear it's a stinker, but I'll give it a watch..or try..as I'm a Olivia fan too.
Thanks for the heads up!.
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post #8 of 22 Old 04-05-2012, 01:18 AM
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I was teetering between blind buying and renting. I will rent now. Thanks, Ralph.

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post #9 of 22 Old 04-05-2012, 02:08 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Vaughn View Post

What was deeper, the natural depth or the plot?

Greetings,

Most definitely the natural depth Dave..

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post #10 of 22 Old 04-05-2012, 06:22 AM
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I was going to blind buy this but thanks to your review Ralph Ill reconsider.

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post #11 of 22 Old 04-05-2012, 06:27 AM
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It's really that bad? Huh, I guess I will pass completely on this mess.
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I saw the trailer and it looked somewhat interesting--enough so to put it in my Netflix Queue--but now I think I will move it down a bit more--probably WAY down.

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post #13 of 22 Old 04-05-2012, 09:05 PM
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I was hoping to hear good things about both the 3D quality as well as the movie. Looks like the 3D is mediocre and the movie a dud. Hopefully the IMAX Born To Be Wild will yield better results. I am hoping that will be reviewed. I am eager to watch another 3D movie, but it is difficult finding new content these days. I worry for the future of 3D.
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Saw it and thought uummmm kay... lol!

Concept is nothing new but the ending left me with a "where's the rest of the movie?" reaction. Seriously. Is there suppose to be a part deaux or what?
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I saw it and I can sometimes be picky with 3d and though it was no Avatar or computer animation 3d, it wasn't bad. I'm glad I saw it in 3d.
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post #16 of 22 Old 04-19-2012, 08:44 AM
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I was disappointed (not only the writing and some acting), but the visuals looked hookey as heck....quality of the SyFy self produced movies. One scene that stood out was end of the film (one of the main characters-no spoilers), standing during the daylight scene...the background of the city looked really fake..it was obivous from the outline of the character that the person was standing in front of a green screen. I've never seen something like this so pronounced in a big budget studio film.

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post #17 of 22 Old 04-21-2012, 12:38 AM
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I remember when an almost identical review was given to Skyline, so I waited awhile until the price came down and then said what the heck and bought it, it still stank.
Some movies on a very rare occasion totally stink to me, I thought the teaser showed a promising film, well here is a new trend, went and saw Lockout with my son last weekend, we thought from the trailer this was going to be the mega movie of the year, it was a cheap action flic that had some good CGI but nothing new.

These movie companies are dressing up the trailers way much more than we used to see, its all like a carnival now and the trailers are designed to draw marks in.

So Skyline stunk, bought it, regretted wasting my money.

Saw Lockout, felt like a gyp.

Will pas on this movie nearly completely, even if its in the $5 bin.

And I will be more suspicious of teaser trailers from now on.
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post #18 of 22 Old 04-21-2012, 09:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr D View Post

I remember when an almost identical review was given to Skyline, so I waited awhile until the price came down and then said what the heck and bought it, it still stank.
Some movies on a very rare occasion totally stink to me, I thought the teaser showed a promising film, well here is a new trend, went and saw Lockout with my son last weekend, we thought from the trailer this was going to be the mega movie of the year, it was a cheap action flic that had some good CGI but nothing new.
So Skyline stunk, bought it, regretted wasting my money.
Saw Lockout, felt like a gyp.

Yeah, I don't like wasting my money either -- even more than a matter of money maybe is that I don't need any crummy movies in my collection, or for that matter, any movies I will not watch again -- so I too now read the reviews and try and assess whether they will fit in either of those categories.

Read about SKYLINE, but one thing kept standing out: LFE content was said to be impressive. Now that by itself, if true, guarantees a repeat viewing of at least certain segments -- perhaps scores of times, AND totally justifies the money spent, in and of itself. Trouble is, you cannot rely upon what you read.

Read recently that THE EXPENDABLES was an all-time champ with great bass, so bought that one because at $10 it was cheap enough to consider, even though I thought I almost certainly knew exactly what that movie would deliver in every other regard, and it therefore was of exceedingly minute interest to me. Bought it, and was right about that part (knowing what it would offer and that being virtually worthless to me).

Unfortunately the LFE aspect did not impress me in the least either, therefore was an utter waste of money and time, and now don't want it in my collection. SKYLINE DID have impressive LFE content, therefore justified my consumer dollars on that basis alone, but here is another delightful difference: I thought it was an outstanding flick in the context of the alien invader/popcorn/effects/sonic delight category -- everything you want for the money, plus the requisite LFE. Pushes it straight to total delight. Wish they had made twenty more like it that year.

So here we have DARKEST HOUR (also have LOCKOUT in my sights too, btw...) -- is the LFE sufficient that I almost don't care that much about plot/acting/effects? -- or will it take better execution of those things to justify buying it? I was delighted with SKYLINE, a little less so with BATTLE LA, but still delighted, didn't find the last TRANSFORMERS or AVATAR (for examples) very impressive in LFE, but everything else those films offered made up for that, plus they had enough LFE to be somewhat passable in that regard....

So, I guess I keep returning here to read impressions of DARKEST HOUR and maybe make the leap, and am either delighted or disappointed. Really only the one way to know for sure I suppose...
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post #19 of 22 Old 05-15-2012, 08:02 PM
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Skyline was a masterpiece compared to this.
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post #20 of 22 Old 05-17-2012, 11:34 AM
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^^^Well, I was suitably impressed with SKYLINE -- did all it needed to for me. Your warning here on DARKEST HOUR does not come in time to spare my purchase however -- arrived Tuesday. Looking forward to watching this one in the wee hours of Saturday morning. Will report back my findings.
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OK--I am apparently way off base from "normal" people with some of these movies as I really enjoyed this movie. And to make my impressions even further off base, I watched Chronicle the night before and enjoyed The Darkest Hour (2D) more. I suppose some of it has to do with expectations--and I had no expectations for this movie so for me, it was well worth the watch. I had expected more from Chronicle--and this one I rented via iTunes whereas Darkest Hour was from Netflix. So at the end of the day, I would have felt much better paying to watch Darkest Hour vs Chronicle. Go figure.

Bob

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post #22 of 22 Old 05-19-2012, 11:29 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spiritfox View Post

OK--I am apparently way off base from "normal" people with some of these movies as I really enjoyed this movie. And to make my impressions even further off base, I watched Chronicle the night before and enjoyed The Darkest Hour (2D) more. I suppose some of it has to do with expectations--and I had no expectations for this movie so for me, it was well worth the watch. I had expected more from Chronicle--and this one I rented via iTunes whereas Darkest Hour was from Netflix. So at the end of the day, I would have felt much better paying to watch Darkest Hour vs Chronicle. Go figure.

Greetings,

No worries spiritfox. Different strokes as they say..

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