or Connect
AVS › AVS Forum › Blu-ray & HD DVD › Official AVS Blu-ray Disc Reviews › Zero Dark Thirty (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Zero Dark Thirty (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review

post #1 of 180
Thread Starter 
700
The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109943&d=1210373647

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )
100





Studio and Year: Sony Pictures - 2012
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 157 minutes
Genre: Drama

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, English Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke, Mark Strong, Kyle Chandler, Jennifer Ehle, Joel Edgerton
Directed by: Kathryn Bigelow
Music by: Alexandre Desplat
Written by: Mark Boal
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: March 19, 2013







"For ten years one woman never stopped searching for the most wanted man in history"


Film Synopsis:

For a decade, an elite team of intelligence and military operatives, working in secret across the globe, devoted themselves to a single goal: to find and eliminate Osama bin Laden. ZERO DARK THIRTY reunites the Oscar-winning team of director-producer Kathryn Bigelow and writer-producer Mark Boal (2009, Best Picture, THE HURT LOCKER) for the story of history's greatest manhunt for the world's most dangerous man.


My Take:

I think it is safe to say that we all felt the impact of the terrible events of 9/11. The hunt for those responsible especially the person identified as the shot caller was of the utmost and became the focus of our intelligence agencies. Actually finding Osama Bin Laden seemed like something to wish for that would probably never come to fruition, until May 2011. Hearing the news that he had not only been found but killed by our military provided a means of closure that aided in the healing process of a nation still trying to recover from one of the most devastating events in our history.

Zero Dark Thirty spans the period just after 9/11 through to May 2011 and depicts the covert efforts of the CIA, specifically one woman, whose perseverance and grit was directly responsible for catching one of the most sought after fugitives in the world. I saw Zero Dark Thirty in the theater and remember coming away liking it for its seemingly candid perspective, engaging narrative and riveting performance by Jessica Chastain. I felt its only drawback was what felt like a slightly bloated runtime due to several blow by blow sequences that perhaps didn’t require such minutia.

Sitting down to watch it again for this review I wondered if that feeling would be the same. This time the experience was every bit as involving but the film’s two and a half hours seemed to fly by as I found myself submerged in the nuance, the narrative building blocks and the film’s overall visceral edge. Kathryn Bigelow knows how to pray upon our senses as an audience and derives the most from the cinematic process in terms of thematic context. Zero Dark Thirty is evocative, powerful, intelligent and unapologetic in its dramatization of the events leading up to Osama Bin Laden’s discovery/death.

I liked this film the first time I saw it but loved it the second time. Much of this is owed to Bigelow’s staunch direction and writer Mark Boal’s wonderfully crafted screenplay but the defining element that solidifies this film is the incredible performance of Jessica Chastain in the role of “Maya”. Those who frequently read my reviews have heard me sing her praises, yes she is a personal favorite, but you don’t have to hold her in high regard to appreciate her contribution here. That of course isn’t to minimize the variety of supporting performances that credibly underscore the proceedings.

Despite knowing how it will turn out Zero Dark Thirty is a gripping thriller that serves as an expose that is less about the killing of Osama Bin Laden but more about the looping process, the steadfastness of someone destined to see it through and finally, proof that sometimes one person can make a difference despite seemingly insurmountable odds. Don’t expect to stand up and cheer at the end but be prepared for a reeling and memorable film experience that has made it to my list of favorites.


Parental Guide:

The rating is for strong violence including brutal disturbing images 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.**


Audio: 100

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


  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699



Video: 100

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


  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699


Zero Dark Thirty comes to Blu-ray Disc from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 26 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.5 Mbps.

Shot digitally this film looks superb on Blu-ray Disc and features glossy high definition video quality that exhibits high level detail, razor sharpness and exquisite definition that brings out lifelike textures captured by the camera’s lens. Dimensional perspective has a near infinite appeal that can be visually stimulating. Close ups are noticeably refined and revealing of the subtlest details within facial features and objects within the frame. Mid level camera pans are equally enriching and offer excellent depth and dimension. Colors are appreciably delineated with natural rendering and punchy primaries that stand out among the remaining spectrum of secondary hues. Fleshtones are rendered with vivid tonality and discerning complexional depiction. Contrast is boldly applied without overstatement as it enlivens colors and drives brightly lit scenes without whitewashing detail. Blacks are gradational and deep which emboldens sequences containing a mix of light and dark elements. Detail in uneven light and darkened environments reveal visible shapes and structure that enhances depth perception. This is a pristine and reference quality presentation that looks terrific on my big screen.

Having seen Zero Dark Thirty in the theater I had high hopes for its soundtrack in the home environment and I wasn’t disappointed. This lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio soundtrack is demonstration quality and is going to please those who like to play their systems loud. This recording has wide dynamic range and boasts superlative clarity and high level detail that is truly impressive. Dialogue is definitive and appreciably lucid through the center channel as it reaches far into the room. It’s located just slightly in front of the left/right speakers within the acoustic space it occupies within the soundstage. Front channel separation and imaging is excellent. This draws out both large and small sound elements and allows their directional correlation based upon the onscreen events to be readily definable.

Alexandre Desplat’s music score, coupled along with well integrated discrete and atmospheric surround sound effects, plays an intricate role in this sometimes active surround mix. The detection of subtle background sounds, off camera cues and spatial dimension within the room’s acoustic environment is excellent. The atmospheric sounds of a crowded square, a confined torture chamber or open desert expanse sound engagingly real. Low frequency effects are applied authoritatively and underscore the bombastic and aggressive aspects of the presentation with aplomb. Its palpable presence is never in question as it fills the room with refined bass quality that is appreciably superior. The assault on the compound beginning with the stealth helicopters take off from base through to their ascent at completion is a terrific example.

This isn’t the type of film that might normally be associated with a perfect technical rating for audio however that doesn’t change that fact that it executes every rating element with precision. I simply couldn’t find fault with it and found it deserving of 100.


Bonus Features:

  • (HD) No small feat – 3 minute featurette

  • (HD) The compound – 9 minute featurette

  • (HD) Geared up – 7 minute featurette

  • (HD) Targeting Jessica Chastain – 5 minutes

  • Bonus DVD

  • Ultraviolet Digital Copy
700



Final Thoughts:

Zero Dark Thirty is a gripping and evocative thriller that serves as an expose that is less about the killing of Osama Bin Laden but more about the looping process, the steadfastness of someone destined to see it through and finally, proof that sometimes one person can make a difference despite seemingly insurmountable odds. Quality filmmaking from end to end it is an indelible cinematic experience that has become a personal favorite. Zero Dark Thirty comes to Blu-ray from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment featuring faithful and reference quality audio/video that I found deserving of the rare 100/100 technical rating. The rather light supplemental package is the only disappointing aspect of an other superb Blu-ray offering. Needless to say this one comes highly recommended.





attachment.php?attachmentid=109949&d=1210373731






Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews





Reference Review System:


JVC DLA-RS55 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6 Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Onkyo PR-SC5508 THX Ultra 2 Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-103 Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package

post #2 of 180
I'm looking forward to seeing this one.
post #3 of 180
How would you compare the helicopter take off to ****in Irene from Black Hawk Down?
post #4 of 180
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by edlittle View Post

How would you compare the helicopter take off to ****in Irene from Black Hawk Down?

Greetings,

It has been a while since I have watched BHD on Blu-ray. I am not sure which sequence you are referring to but give me a chapter/time marker and I will check.


Regards,
post #5 of 180
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph Potts View Post

Greetings,

It has been a while since I have watched BHD on Blu-ray. I am not sure which sequence you are referring to but give me a chapter/time marker and I will check.


Regards,

He is talking about the Irene scene when the task force is about to take off in BHD.
post #6 of 180
Wow, surprised by the audio score! Saw it in the theater already and not sure it is something I will watch more than once. May just end up renting it down the road.
post #7 of 180
Quote:
Originally Posted by edlittle View Post

How would you compare the helicopter take off to ****in Irene from Black Hawk Down?

would you know the chapter or time of this scene everyone talks about?
post #8 of 180
I remember when I first heard that they were making this flick and all I thought was what a waste! Looked like a total money grab. Also I thought there's no way they could really make an entertaining movie out of this. I mean the whole thing just seems like there's not alot of opportunity for an actual good story. And what could they possibly know or be able to share since alot of it really is top secret and known by only a select few?

So as time went on though and I found out who was directing it and starring in it, I got a tiny bit interested. And then when it hit theaters and the reviews started coming in I couldn't help but be shocked at all the great reviews it was getting. And now fast forward to all the oscar nominations. And now to read Ralph's review on it and to give it a 5 star review! In addition to a perfect 100?!?!?!? Have you ever done that for a film before Ralph? 5 stars and a perfect 100?!?!

Needless to say I'm in total shock now!!!!!

Looking forward to seeing this next week finally.
post #9 of 180
The acting is good except for when they attack the compound, then it's just unrealistic. It's very informative but it needed to be half hour shorter. I found myself looking at my watch waiting for it to be over. 157 minutes is pretty long and this movies only has about 15-20 minutes of action. I saw it in a private screening and there were only about 30 of us in the entire theater and no one that I talked to was all that impressed either. A solid movie but a thriller? IMO not even close.
post #10 of 180
Quote:
Originally Posted by N8DOGG View Post

The acting is good except for when they attack the compound, then it's just unrealistic. It's very informative but it needed to be half hour shorter. I found myself looking at my watch waiting for it to be over. 157 minutes is pretty long and this movies only has about 15-20 minutes of action. I saw it in a private screening and there were only about 30 of us in the entire theater and no one that I talked to was all that impressed either. A solid movie but a thriller? IMO not even close.

Unrealistic? Pleas elaborate?
post #11 of 180
Quote:
Originally Posted by financethis View Post

would you know the chapter or time of this scene everyone talks about?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph Potts View Post

Greetings,

It has been a while since I have watched BHD on Blu-ray. I am not sure which sequence you are referring to but give me a chapter/time marker and I will check.


Regards,

The time stamp that I have is at about 34:50. Not sure of the chapter, but I believe I've seen the waterfalls and it goes down to 5 Hz.
post #12 of 180
I was very impressed with the LFE in The Hurt Locker so I have high hopes for this one as well.
post #13 of 180
Quote:
Originally Posted by pokekevin View Post

Unrealistic? Pleas elaborate?

A full heli crashes not more than 30 feet from the house, no one wakes up, everyone is surprised when they breach the house. The heli's hover very close to the house, roping out the guys, no one hears that either. Everyone in the house is caught by surprise. Have you ever heard a blackhawk in real life? They are FREAKING LOUD!! Expecially one crashing in your yard, even if you were in a bunker (which they are not) it's impossible everyone doesn't hear a aircraft crash in your own yard. One of the guys I went to the movie with is in the military and even he just had to laugh. It's was still a very interesting movie but that ruined it for me.
post #14 of 180
Well I'm a battalion ipc and imho I think the raid scene was done very well. Just my ho lol!
post #15 of 180
Quote:
Originally Posted by N8DOGG View Post

A full heli crashes not more than 30 feet from the house, no one wakes up, everyone is surprised when they breach the house. The heli's hover very close to the house, roping out the guys, no one hears that either. Everyone in the house is caught by surprise. Have you ever heard a blackhawk in real life? They are FREAKING LOUD!! Expecially one crashing in your yard, even if you were in a bunker (which they are not) it's impossible everyone doesn't hear a aircraft crash in your own yard. One of the guys I went to the movie with is in the military and even he just had to laugh. It's was still a very interesting movie but that ruined it for me.

I am not sure, but this is not true with these Blackhawks.
Edited by Brian-HD - 3/11/13 at 7:05pm
post #16 of 180
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian-HD View Post

I am not sure this true with these Blackhawks.

No no they would hear it but it didn't seem they were "surprised" in a way. It's not like them to just open the windows and go hot lol. Well that's from my experience...
post #17 of 180
Quote:
Originally Posted by pokekevin View Post

No no they would hear it but it didn't seem they were "surprised" in a way. It's not like them to just open the windows and go hot lol. Well that's from my experience...

"The Black Hawks appear to have been never-before-publicly-seen "stealth" versions of the helicopter that fly more quietly while being harder to detect on radar than conventional models;[70][71] due to the weight of the extra stealth equipment on the Black Hawks, cargo was "calculated to the ounce, with the weather factored in."[63]
post #18 of 180
A B-2 and B-1B Lancer are stealth yet I can hear them fly over the base back when I was in Virginia...
post #19 of 180
Wow what a score!! Im very excited to rent this one to check the A/V quality out alone. Nice review man.
post #20 of 180
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian-HD View Post

"The Black Hawks appear to have been never-before-publicly-seen "stealth" versions of the helicopter that fly more quietly while being harder to detect on radar than conventional models;[70][71] due to the weight of the extra stealth equipment on the Black Hawks, cargo was "calculated to the ounce, with the weather factored in."[63]

Sure fly stealthy until it crashes in your front yard......Stealthy or not, a heli's hovering in your front yadr like they do on the movie, will be heard. If you can hear a car driving by you house, I'm pretty sure you'd be able to hear a chopper hovering 100 feet above your house, let alone it crashing in your front yard. What I'm saying is that unlike what was depicted in the movie, I'd imagine it didn't go down exactly like that. It was just funny to see after all that, there are still people snoozing and all. Geez, I hear the furnace turn on and I'll wake up... lol
Keep in mine these are my problems with the movie as I don't know exactly what happened of course.
post #21 of 180
Quote:
Originally Posted by N8DOGG View Post

The acting is good except for when they attack the compound, then it's just unrealistic. It's very informative but it needed to be half hour shorter. I found myself looking at my watch waiting for it to be over. 157 minutes is pretty long and this movies only has about 15-20 minutes of action. I saw it in a private screening and there were only about 30 of us in the entire theater and no one that I talked to was all that impressed either. A solid movie but a thriller? IMO not even close.

Please, please PLEASE, read the book "No Easy Day" by Mark Owen. The raid in the movie and the raid in the book follow each other VERY closely. Also it's explained why they were not alarmed. This version of the raid blows away "Seal Team Six" which was so unrealistic it wasn't funny. I totally agree with Ralph, the 157 mins flew by. And if the Blu Ray's sound can match that of the movie then I will be alarming many a neighbor!

Jeff
post #22 of 180
Thanks for the review Ralph looking forward in receiving my copy soon.
post #23 of 180
I'm surprised the video quality rates a 100 on this movie. While I though much of the movie up 'til the raid looked perfectly fine, I thought the very dark scenes of the helicopters (which also suffered from some pretty video-gamish cgi) in flight had some encoding/banding issues. Notably as the copters are making their final approach through the mountains before landing and after they leave the compound and are again flying up through the pass, it looked pretty mediocre.

Otherwise, the disc looks and especially sounds excellent. The surround mix during the raid puts the viewer right in the middle of what's happening. Along with The Hobbit, one of the best sounding Blu-rays I've heard in the last half year or so.
post #24 of 180
Ralph's score for the Blu-Ray is earned by all the technical excellence on display in the 1080P realization on the disk. The raid was perfect. It was not an action scene, but a touch and go account of people who did not know what they would find. It was spellbinding and the acting was perfect. Much as I liked Jennifer Lawrence, I thought Jessica Chastain gave the performance of the year in a role she had to hold herself in check with a few exceptions in key scenes. I don't know if she, or anyone else, will get a part that good again. It's worth all the praise it got. It's made so well it seemed more like 90 minutes long. Enough said. Buy it. You're not going to see films like this everyday.
post #25 of 180
This was the best movie I've seen in a long time (and I thought The Hurt Locker sucked). I would call it a thriller without reservation. However, given the length and subject matter I wasn't sure I would watch it again. However, given the rating I see here I'm reconsidering.
Edited by repete66211 - 3/12/13 at 10:20am
post #26 of 180
Wow. First Skyfall now Zero Dark Thirty. Audio and video perfection.
post #27 of 180
Quote:
Originally Posted by properbostonian View Post

Wow. First Skyfall now Zero Dark Thirty. Audio and video perfection.

Perhaps, with 4K on the horizon, the studios are learning how to make the best picture possible. It's similar to the gaming world, where the final year of a systems life cycle sees stunning use of the technical prowess of a given system.
post #28 of 180
I saw this when it first came out and wasn't very impressed with it. I thought it was boring and calculated at times. Although it was pretty late and I was a little tired. I will probably revisit this to see if I like it better this time. I definitely like The Hurt Locker more than this.
post #29 of 180
Quote:
Originally Posted by yadfgp View Post

I remember when I first heard that they were making this flick and all I thought was what a waste! Looked like a total money grab. Also I thought there's no way they could really make an entertaining movie out of this. I mean the whole thing just seems like there's not alot of opportunity for an actual good story. And what could they possibly know or be able to share since alot of it really is top secret and known by only a select few?

So as time went on though and I found out who was directing it and starring in it, I got a tiny bit interested. And then when it hit theaters and the reviews started coming in I couldn't help but be shocked at all the great reviews it was getting. And now fast forward to all the oscar nominations. And now to read Ralph's review on it and to give it a 5 star review! In addition to a perfect 100?!?!?!? Have you ever done that for a film before Ralph? 5 stars and a perfect 100?!?!

Needless to say I'm in total shock now!!!!!

Looking forward to seeing this next week finally.

It was not really a cash grab. From what I understand the movie was about he search for Binladen but right before they were going to start shooting the US caught him so they had to change the movie to them searching and killing him.
post #30 of 180
That's good to know davelanger thanks.

It did seem like they were just trying to capitalize on the whole bin laden getting caught. But seeing as how the movie came out fairly quickly after bin laden got killed, what you're saying makes sense.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
AVS › AVS Forum › Blu-ray & HD DVD › Official AVS Blu-ray Disc Reviews › Zero Dark Thirty (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review