The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Paramount - 1990
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 107 Minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Audio Format(s): English Dolby TrueHD 5.1, French/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese
Starring: Tom Cruise, Robert Duvall, Randy Quiad, Michael Rooker, Nicole Kidman, John C. Reilly, Cary Elwes
Directed by: Tony Scott
Music by: Hans Zimmer
Written by: Robert Towne
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: December 30, 2008
"You can’t stop the thunder"
Tom Cruise plays race driver Cole Trickle, whose talent and ambition are surpassed only by his burning need to win. Discovered by businessman Tim Daland (Randy Quaid), Cole is teamed with legendary crew chief and car-builder Harry Hogge (Academy Award. winner Robert Duvall) to race for the Winston Cup at the Daytona 500. A fiery crash nearly ends Cole's career and he must turn to a beautiful doctor (Nicole Kidman) to regain his nerve and the true courage needed to race, to win and to live.
Some may find this hard to believe but I had never seen Days of thunder prior to this viewing. It’s one of those movies I just never got around to. Anyway, now that I have seen it I have to say that I thought it was pretty good. I don’t go out of my way to see every Tom Cruse film but predominantly I find his movies to my liking. Robert Duvall lends good credibility to the cast but actors like Randy Quaid, Nicole Kidman, John C. Reilly, and Michael Rooker need no introduction and are of course solid in their respective places in this film. Overall it felt just a little dated but that didn’t keep me from thoroughly enjoying the racing segments. I am not a Nascar fan but I would imagine those who are would probably enjoy this film at least at some level. The story followed the pattern of many other films but that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable. I really liked the performances by Robert Duvall and Michael Rooker in this one. The pacing and establishment of the characters was notable as well. The foundation of the relationships between Rowdy and Cole, and Cole and Harry are essential to the story which is one of the reasons it works in my opinion. In the end it isn’t great cinema but then again it really doesn’t need to be. It just needs to be fun, a little believable, and exciting which I think it is.
The rating is for thematic material 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:
Days of thunder roars on to Blu-ray from Paramount featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 34 mbps and lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 channel audio that has an average bitrate of 3.7 mbps.
This being my experience with this film I had no frame of reference for what it might look like. I found colors to be punchy, vivid and warm which highlighted the variable and well saturated tones used during the racing segments making them eye catching. Complexions were naturally depicted with visible texture and defining tonality. Blacks weren’t inky but had appreciable depth which was noticeable during scenes containing mixed content. Detail in dark backgrounds and low lighting was distinguishable enough to provide a good sense of depth. Detail was adequate so that images had discernible structure and definitive resolution that brought out perceivable nuance in the objects and people onscreen. The problem is that this wasn’t always the case. There were many shots that looked soft, less resolute and lacking in depth. This was more the case with long range visuals but occasionally affected close ups and mid level camera shots as well. Grain was intact but in uneven layers that, depending on the camera’s perspective, drew attention to it. Like the Truman Show on Blu-ray, I could easily see dirt, speckles and debris on the print that was distracting at times. I suspect that even with these rather minor issues that this film has never looked this good on home video.
Even though this is an older soundtrack I am positive that it benefited from this lossless Dolby TrueHD encoding. Dynamics were excellent which gave the demanding racing scenes strong presence and potent impact. Clarity and detail were just as good which lent subtle articulation to dialogue and determining description to the recorded elements present in the soundtrack. The front and rear speakers combined to create a seamless blend as the roar of the powerful engines illuminated the soundfield. Imaging in the front and rear of the room was estimable. This allowed panning sequences and directional cues to perfectly match the events as they transpired onscreen. Low frequency effects were used sparingly but in accordance with the demands of the source material. While it never reached deep low bass frequencies I never felt as though the mix was lacking bass energy or momentum. I thought it sounded great.
- (HD) Theatrical trailer
Days of thunder is a film that its fans have been looking forward to seeing and hearing in high definition. This was my first experience with it and seeing it on Blu-ray Disc only made it all the better. While not perfect I think that this will represent a definitive improvement over the non-anamorphic 1999 DVD release. Unfortunately like that version this one only includes the theatrical trailer bonus feature. If you are a fan of this film I recommend that you pick this one up.
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