The Review at a Glance: ( max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: AMC - 2010
MPAA Rating: NR
Feature running time: 292 minutes
Genre: Drama, Horror, Thriller, TV
Disc Format: BD-50 (2 Disc set)
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.78 : 1
Audio Format(s): English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Andrew Lincoln, Sarah Wayne Callies, Jon Bernthal, Laurie Holden, Emma Bell, Jeffrey DeMunn, Steven Yeun, Chandler Riggs, Lennie James
Directed by: Frank Darabont, Ernest R. Dickerson, Guy Ferland, Gwyneth Horder-Payton, Michelle Maxwell MacLaren, Johan Renck
Music by: Bear McCreary
Written by: Charlie Adlard, Frank Darabont, Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: March 8, 2011
"In a world ruled by the dead, we are forced to finally start living."
After waking from a coma in an abandoned hospital, police officer Rick Grimes finds the world he knew gone - ravaged by a zombie epidemic of apocalyptic proportions. Nearby, on the outskirts of Atlanta, a small encampment struggles to survive as 'the dead' stalk them at every turn. Can Rick and the others hold onto their humanity as they fight to live in this terrifying new world? And, amidst dire conditions and personal rivalries, will they ultimately survive one another?
My Take:Zombies are the new Vampire. Wait...is it vice-versa? Either way, both genres are all the rage these days, but thankfully some filmmakers have dared to break the mold, and some have been very successful. I was lucky enough to write up "Let Me In", which it and its Swedish made counterpart "Let The Right One In", were convention defying vampire films. I feel the same about 'The Walking Dead', I really enjoyed how it was about the people and the effects an almost Armageddon situation has on their inter-personal relationships, and what they will do to each other, good or bad, to survive. I hope Season 2, which I am eagerly awaiting, will keep addressing the drama of the situation over the horror of The Walking Dead that surround the remaining humans.
Don't get me wrong, 'The Walking Dead' has plenty of horror, blood and guts, courtesy of the amazing effects of Greg Nicotero (The Green Mile, Vanilla Sky, Sin City). The Zombies are the Romero Zombies, slow walking, one shot to the head dead, human eating machines. That is combined with a 28 Days Later-esque plot device of a global epidemic/virus that creates these Walking Dead. Using these familiar devices works quite well here, and somehow feels fresh.
We witness this situation through the eyes of police officer Rick Grimes. As he learns what is happening, we do as well. We feel his confusion, loss and sadness, feeling for him as awakens from a coma to see what has happened to the world...and his family. One of the series best moments is when he puts his police uniform back on, in a desperate attempt to gain any semblance of normalcy in this insane new reality he now lives. This gives him a purpose and a goal to carry on....and to find, protect and cherish any humanity that is still left on the planet.
Writer/Director Frank Darabont (Shawshank Redemption, The Mist) and Producer Gale Anne Hurd (Aliens, The Terminator) did an amazing job converting (yet another) a comic-book to the screen. The very well regarded comic series was created by Robert Kirkman, who served as a writer on the show, and commended Darabont's understanding of the human element of the material, being very happy that it was less about the horror and more about the people. This was the key ingredient to the shows success, and what drew me into the story, separating it from the typical Zombie film. Yes if they bite you, you will turn into one, and usually I look forward the terrible characters getting bit or eaten alive ...here I wanted them to survive and I actually cared.
Not Rated - mature thematic issues, graphic 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:
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Anchor Bay delivers a faithful transfer of AMC's 'The Walking Dead'. You better love film grain as this was shot on 16mm film stock, and the grain is pretty heavy here...you can almost sink your teeth into it. Grain can be a double edged sword, sometimes it can get overbearing but sometimes it is beautiful, adding to the look and feel of a film. Here it added to the gritty despair and depression of the situation. It was not the most detailed or crisp HD broadcast I have seen, but was passable. This translates directly to its Blu-ray release, showing that Anchor Bay was true to the source. Colors seem spot on from what I have on MY DVR, with flesh-tones taking on a natural but slightly pale tone. Black levels sure do shine as do the shadow details. There really is nothing to fault here, as it looks as it should and was filmed to look. The audio track was a step above, with a rich and dynamic sound-scape, having no issues with dialogue and a very nice surround presentation. Most impressive was the palpable concussion of gunshots and other dynamic sound effects and LFE dug room shaking deep, adding another level to this superb lossless DTS-HD MA 5.1 Surround Sound track.
- (HD) The Making of "The Walking Dead"
- (HD) Inside "The Walking Dead"
- (HD) Behind the Scenes Zombie Make-Up Tips
- (HD) Convention Panel with Producers
- (HD) "The Walking Dead" Promo, Extra Footage
- (HD) Featurettes: Zombie School,Bicycle Girl, On Set with Robert Kirkman, Hanging with Steven Yeun, Inside Dale's RV, On Set with Andrew Lincoln
- (HD) Previews: Breaking Bad, Dead Space: Aftermath, I Spit on Your Grave 2010, Frozen
I really enjoyed 'The Walking Dead: Season 1', and am eagerly awaiting season 2s arrival this fall. It built a great set of characters that I care about, it's storyline feels and has the makings of something epic, and its production values are top notch. Anchor Bay's release looks and sounds great, with a set of enjoyable special features. I highly recommended this set. PS Even my wife loved the show...
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Marantz SR5005 Receiver
Sony PS3 Slim Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Artison Portrait Fronts and Artison LRS Surround Speakers
Martin Logan Dynamo 500 Subwoofer