The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox - 2002
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 124 Minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Audio Format(s): DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, English/French/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
Subtitles: English, Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin
Starring: Ben Affleck, Jennifer Garner, Colin Farrell, Michael Clarke Duncan, Jon Favreau, Joe Pantoliano, David Keith
Written & Directed by: Mark Steven Johnson
Music by: Graeme Revell
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: September 30, 2008
"He is the man without fear"
For Daredevil, justice is blind, and for the guilty, there’s hell to pay! Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner ignite dangerous sparks and nonstop thrills in this action-adventure about the newest breed of superhero. By day, blind attorney Matt Murdock (Affleck) toils for justice in Hell’s Kitchen. By night, he’s Daredevil, The Man Without Fear - a powerful, masked vigilante stalking the dark streets with an uncanny “radar sense” that allows him to “see” with superhuman capabilities. But when the love of his life, fiery Elektra Natchios (Garner), is targeted by New York City’s ruthless Kingpin of crime (Michael Clarke Duncan) and his deadly assassin Bullseye (Colin Farrell), Daredevil may be about to meet his match.
Being a Marvel Comics fan I have my share of Daredevil comic books but I would say that I was a true fan. I had friends who were diehard devotees and knew everything about him. I am ashamed to admit that I can’t recall whether my first time seeing Daredevil was in the theater or at home on video. I do know that I owned the original release followed by the Director’s Cut on DVD. There are many who thought that Ben Affleck was wrong for the part and prior to seeing it I was among them. He did a credible job and in my opinion his performance certainly didn’t hurt the film. Writer/Director Mark Steven Johnson was passionate about the character and the story which I think came through in the outcome. He chose his supporting cast well which included some very familiar faces. Joe Pantoliano (Joeys Pants !), Leland Orser, Erick Avari, and David Keith are some of the most recognizable character actors in Hollywood. Affleck and Garner complimented one another well as they each bring roughly the same level of talent to the table. Farrell was a great choice to play the maniacal Bullseye. The Kingpin was depicted in the comics as a larger than life individual who rarely got involved in hand to hand combat. He was certainly capable of it and displayed impressive physical prowess when he did. Michael Clarke Duncan is physically imposing but lacked the larger than life feel of the character in my opinion. It was obvious that attempts were made to stay as true to all the characters as possible. The Daredevil costume didn’t work for me. First it was the wrong shade of red and second it was made of leather. I can’t say with absolute certainty that DD’s costume wasn’t made of leather but it didn’t look like it. I do think that they did a great job on the head piece (cowl/mask) though. According to the segment devoted to the costume in the bonus features they went to great lengths to arrive at the incarnation utilized in the film. Reading the comics it was always clear that Matt Murdock was a rather tormented soul. I think that the Director’s Cut better exemplifies this than the original theatrical release. The relationship between Elektra and Matt was a little mushy in the film but I think it turned out alright. The action sequences and special effects were decent. Although it doesn’t have the polish of some of the more recent films based upon comic book heroes I think that it would be fair to say that I like Daredevil.
The rating is for violence and 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)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Daredevil comes to Blu-ray Disc featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 25 mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 4.2 mbps.
Having seen Daredevil several times on DVD I feel comfortable saying that I am familiar with how it presents on video. It uses several visual styles during the film that are based upon how the director wanted the sequence to look/feel. Style “One” relies heavily on dark and rather murky backdrops that utilizes dark grays, blacks, and de-saturated colors. Style “Two” features colors that are vivid, not overly vibrant, and has higher contrast. This video’s look obviously didn’t differ in that regard. Viewing this presentation I thought that Style Two’s colors were naturally rich with a reserved palette that ensured that reds rose to the surface. Lighter shades of green, blue, and beige are used in both backgrounds and clothing and as such looked neatly pale and essentially like they should. The scene in the coffee shop had a wonderfully nuanced mapping of the colors used in the film. Take a close look at Jennifer Garner’s eyes during this scene. They are noticeably a light green. Style One offered blacks that were a little inconsistent as they were crushing during some sequences and well delineated during others. Shadow detail was above average and probably as good as it is going to look in Daredevil. The use of miniatures and CGI is probably the reason for the lower lighting and inconsistent behavior during some of those sequences. Gradations were visible within the various dark tones in the buildings/backgrounds which helped give those sequences good visual depth. The battle between Elektra and Daredevil on the rooftop shows this off well. By the way, check out her eye color in that scene and you won’t see the light green mentioned earlier. They appear more dark blue as the entire scene is almost devoid of bright color elements. This is intentional though and effectively sets the tone of the sequence. Mid to high level detail was discernible and left close ups looking well articulated and finely resolved. Longer distant shots looked less dimensional and lacked the crispness and visual acuity of the best high definition Blu-ray transfers. Grain is preserved well and other than appearing a little heavier in one or two scenes looked fine. A few backgrounds looked a little noisy but I couldn’t say for certain what the cause was. This was very minor and unless you look for it you might miss it altogether. Complexions were on the pale side with rosy highlights and subtle distinguishing characteristics.
The high resolution DTS-HD Master Audio surround mix was excellent. This mix generated a busy sound field filled with discrete/directional sound effects that bombarded the senses. Solid dynamic quality and crystal clarity helped bring the tumultuous and aggressive nature of the soundtrack to life. The variable depth of the soundstage generated during chapter 4 after young Matt wakes up in the hospital was impressive. The multitude of surround activity in this scene astutely challenges your sense of depth perception as they orbit the listening position. Each sound is easily discernible as they rotate within the sound field to create an encircling pattern around Matt and the sweet spot. Chapter 8 delivered some of the film’s deepest low frequencies and aggressive surround activity. It begins as Daredevil prepares to seek Justice after Quesada is acquitted.
The onslaught begins when Daredevil is spotted in the rafters above the bar by one of Quesada’s minions. It ends with Quesada’s demise in the subway. What happens in between is an extended fight sequence that features visceral and room filling surround sound that is demo worthy. Bass is deep and room penetrating as each strike resonates with tactile purpose. Sound effects are well placed and come across with transparent precision. Dialogue is full bodied, well intonated and aurally descriptive throughout the course of the film.
Comparing this presentation to the DVD I found that it clearly surpassed it in every way. The video presentation was by far the widest margin. The Blu-ray exhibited much better detail (obviously) which translated into crisp two and three dimensional images with finely resolved textures and minutia. Colors had more pop and blacks more depth. The 768kbps DTS 5.1 channel mix on the DVD was actually quite good but... The high resolution DTS-HD Master Audio bested it with punchier dynamics, richer low end, smoother treble and high level detail that was unmistakable.
- Enhanced video mode - Takes you behind the scenes as you watch the film
- Audio commentary with Writer/Director Mark Steven Johnson and Producer Avi Arad
- Fact and fiction feature - Enhanced mode that provides notes on the story, characters, and Marvel Universe as the film plays
- Beyond Hell’s Kitchen: The making of Daredevil
- Jennifer Garner screen test
- Featured villain: The Kingpin
- Daredevil: HBO First Look - Hosted by Jennifer Garner
- Moving through space: A day with Tom Sullivan - The sight impaired consultant on Daredevil
- Giving the Devil his due - a discussion of the editing process for Daredevil
- Multi-angle dailies for Daredevil
- Music videos
- Still galleries
- The Comic Book
I am thrilled that Fox has released Daredevil on high definition Blu-ray Disc. The fact that they decided to release the Director’s cut only made the experience more enjoyable. While I realize that there are many who didn’t care for this film I am not among them. I like this movie and am pleased to see it looking and sounding better than it ever has on home video. The package is completed by the addition of all of the bonus content from each of the previous DVD releases. This is an easy recommendation for Daredevil fans.
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JVC DLA-RS1x 1080p High Definition Front Projector
Carada Precision Brilliant White 96" Screen
Oppo 970HD universal disc DVD Player (480i HDMI)
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Panasonic DMP-BD30 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
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Marantz DV7001 Universal Disc Player
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APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
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Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package