The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox - 2008
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 90 Minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Audio Format(s): DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, English/Spanish/French Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
Subtitles: English, Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Zooey Deschanel, John Leguizamo, Betty Buckley
Written &Directed by: M. Night Shyamalan
Music by: James Newton Howard
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: October 7, 2008
"What is happening…?"
In this heart-pounding apocalyptic thriller from M. Night Shyamalan, the writer-director of The Sixth Sense and Signs, an unstoppable event threatens the world's population by attacking the most basic human instinct of all - survival. Academy Award® Nominee Mark Wahlberg (2006 Best Supporting Actor, The Departed) stars as Elliot Moore, an ordinary man trying to save his family from a terrifying, invisible killer. As Elliot discovers the incredible possibility of what is happening, it is clear that no one - and nowhere - is safe.
If pressed I think that I would have to consider myself a fan of M. Night Shyamalan films in general. That is not to say that I have liked all of his movies. When I saw the trailer for The Happening I thought that it looked pretty interesting. I couldn’t really tell where the film was going but there was just enough to peak my curiosity. I didn’t get a chance to check it out while it was still in theaters this summer so I looked forward to seeing it in blu. I don’t know, I sat through this film and when all was said and done I just felt like it was meaningless. The premise wasn’t bad but its execution was weak and the characters under developed. The cast seemed robotic which led to performances that lacked emotional depth. I like Mark Wahlberg and while he may not be a strong actor he certainly could have pulled this off had he been given something to work with. John Leguizamo was wasted in his role in this film, period. Zooey Deschanel can be charming onscreen but her character here left her feeling whiney, stiff and plain. Veteran actress Betty Buckley had about 6 minutes of total screen time and stole the show.
The rating is for violent and disturbing images.
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:
The Happening comes to Blu-ray from Fox featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 30 mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 channel Master Audio that has an average bitrate of 4.6 mbps.
Video quality was quite good and delivered images that were highly detailed and artifact free. Detail was excellent as both people and objects were rendered with crystal clear definition that at times was meticulously resolved. Long distant camera pans were smooth and three dimensional in perspective with well articulated minutia. Blacks were stable and deep with excellent dynamic range. Contrast was well balanced and consistent so that colors and whites didn’t appear overdriven. The color palette does not make use of bold or striking colors. Colors like red, yellow, orange and their variants are scant. It appeared as though some filtering may have been applied to tame/subdue color saturation. That is more an observation than a complaint but it made the film appear less visually vibrant. Flesh tones were lacking in tonal variety and were either pasty white or honey toned. The end result was that everyone had complexions that appeared rather generic. The video had a sharp pristine quality that when coupled with high definition’s higher resolution looked great.
The lossless DTS-HD Master Audio wasn’t as encompassing as I anticipated but it made up for it with sparkling clarity and detail. Dialogue was impressive in its tonal distinction and transparent blend with the front three channels. Imaging and sound effects reproduction were first rate as the sound field in the front of the room bristled with sonic detail. The surrounds were primarily utilized for spatial atmospheric presence however discernible discrete audio cues were effectively mixed in where appropriate. Low frequency effects came in the form of bass tones that were associated with James Newton Howard’s music score and support of sound effects that required low bass resonance or tactile impact. Dynamic range was excellent which provided good solidity and weight to the audio in general. I felt that the mix highlighted the strengths of the source material and sounded great.
- PiP Bonus view trivia track
- (HD) Train shooting featurette
- (HD) The hard cut featurette
- (HD) Forces unseen featurette
- (HD) “I hear whispering” featurette
- (HD) Gag reel
- (HD) 4 deleted scenes with optional introduction by M. Night Shyamalan
- (HD) The Happening: Visions of The Happening – Making of documentary
- (HD) A day for Night featurette
- D-Box Motion Code
- Digital Copy Disc – a standard definition version of the film that can be downloaded from a PC or MAC to a compatible portable playback device
The Happening is unfortunately not one of M. Night Shyamalan’s better film offerings. I found its premise to be good but its execution was a bit nonsensical. For those who liked the film I am happy to report that its Blu-ray disc presentation is quite good and Shyamalan fans should enjoy the great set of bonus features. I would recommend this as a rental only.
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