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Blu-ray Review HTF BLU-RAY REVIEW: Daredevil - Director's Cut

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Michael Osadciw, Sep 21, 2008.

  1. Michael Osadciw

    Michael Osadciw Well-Known Member

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    Blu-ray Disc Review




    [​IMG]

    DAREDEVIL
    DIRECTOR’S CUT


    [​IMG]
    Distributed by: 20th Century Fox
    Film Year: 2003
    Film Length: 133 minutes
    Genre: Action/Thriller

    Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
    Colour/B&W: Colour

    BD Specifications:
    Resolution: 1080/24p
    Video Codec: AVC @ 20MBPS
    Disc Size: BD-50

    Audio:
    English DTS 5.1 HD Master Audio
    English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
    French Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
    Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround

    Subtitles: English, Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin
    Film Rating: R








    Release Date: September 30, 2008.



    Rating:

    Starring: Ben Affleck (Matt Murdock/Daredevil), Jennifer Garner (Elektra Natchios), Colin Farrell (Bullseye), Michael Clarke Duncan (The Kingpin/Wilson Frisk), Jon Favreau (Franklin “Foggy” Nelson), Joe Pantoliano (Ben Urich)

    Written by: Mark Steven Johnson
    Directed by: Mark Steven Johnson



    A Daring New Vision.


    Mediocre reviews put a pitchfork into this box-office release. Most viewers of Daredevil walked away with a feeling of disappointment. The main criticism? Same old, same old: lots of action but lack of story. For director Mark Steven Johnson, there was a dual sense of obligation; one was to make a successful movie with high returns for the studio, the second was to make a very good film that he would be satisfied with. The result: two different cuts of the film – one each to satisfy both interests. The obvious question is “why can’t one film be both successful and satisfying?” I can’t answer that for the creators, but too often we see films that puts fire on the action and water downs the plot, much to the pressure of the studio.

    Daredevil is a film based on the Marvel Comic book hero. Matt Murdoch is a lawyer by day and superhero by night. Blinded as a child by a freak chemical accident, he acquires superhuman senses of sounds, tastes and textures that all other humans cannot perceive. His vision lies in darkness, but he can see shapes in his mind when sounds reflect off their boundaries. While he learns to master these new skills Matt is faced with the tragic murder of his father.

    From then on, Matt swears to avenge his father’s death. As he ages, Matt as Daredevil dons the red suit and eye mask and uses his radar senses to find wrongdoing in the streets at night. He avenges justice by giving the guilty people hell to pay. But during the day, Matt sticks up for the little guy who is innocent. He owns a storefront law office with his best friend Franklin Nelson. Together they are lawyers protecting those who are wrongfully charged with a crime. Each day and night Matt balances the lawyer by day and superhero by night. It’s a typical dual personality that never lets him live a normal life. While much of his personal and daily life was hinted upon in the theatrical cut, it is elaborated much more in the director’s cut. It’s this balance that makes the director’s cut far more appealing to watch.

    After filming took place, the producers pressured the theatrical release of the film as a 100-minute action flick based on the comic-book superhero. It was to be fast-paced and revenge orientated, but little in the way of character development. Daredevil: The Director’s Cut was the way the film was originally cut. According to writer/director Johnson, it was supposed to be the movie released in the theatre. After some meddling with the plots and many scene trims to make a faster paced film, the theatrical cut ended up being a light-hearted action-revenge movie. The director’s cut in comparison – adding an additional 30 minutes of footage – is more downbeat, darker, and of course far better.

    Added to this movie is anything from scene extensions that are merely a few seconds longer to several minutes in length. The subplot of the murdered prostitute and the protection of his client Dante Jackson (played by rapper Coolio) has been reinstated. There are more maddening scenes with Bullseye, some very funny ones with Foggy Nelson, and the threat of the Kingpin is far more apparent with a longer and more brutal climax. The director’s cut has received a Restricted rating over the theatrical PG-13, but there isn’t much more violence that’s been added to the film. The featurette on the disc goes over the additions quite well and will explain it a little further. Johnson has also elected to eliminate several scenes that were in the theatrical cut. The ‘confessional’ scenes and the ‘lovemaking’ scenes were shot after the first cut of the film and didn’t fit with the original vision. This time around they’ve been pulled and replaced by alternate scenes which I prefer in comparison.

    Is Daredevil: Director’s Cut a better movie? Hell yes! If you didn’t like the movie the first time around I really suggest giving this version a try. Sometimes extended cuts don’t always add much to the movie, but in this case it really does.

    Daredevil was released back in July 2003 as a two disc DVD set. It featured the theatrical version of the film with a handful of extras on disc two. In 2004, the Director’s Cut became available but dropped the features on the first DVD set but included two new ones. Four years later, this Blu-ray disc features the Director’s Cut only (clearly it is the preferred version by the director) as well as all features available from the first two DVDs.

    Note the runtime on the Blu-ray package is incorrectly labelled as 124 minutes. The correct runtime is 133 minutes.




    Daredevil looked very good on DVD and it looks even better on Blu-ray high definition. The DVD had a mild amount of edge enhancement applied, something that was clear from the opening credits. I’m happy to report this is absent on the Blu-ray disc with real detail pushing for the HD look.

    The film utilizes varying styles to tell the story. Flashback scenes of Matt Murdoch as a young boy have an appearance of bright clipped whites a sepia tint to give an aged appearance. Colours throughout the rest of the film are neutral in saturation. Some scenes are shot with a style of Japanese animation, which the director is fond of; not just in the action sense, but even with still, cold and lonely visuals. I encourage you to view this movie in a dimly lit environment because of the many scenes take place in dark rooms and at night. Shadow detail is excellent ensuring that you do not miss a move by the action hero. Since contrast is lower in these scenes, be sure to not have ambient light directed to your screen.

    The increased resolution is immediately apparent. Close-ups of Daredevil’s costume show the fine bumpy texture of the material. Distances between objects in the playground where Matt and Elektra playfully fight are far clearer. Film grain shows much better on this Blu-ray disc than the DVD could even attempt to show. This is a good looking disc overall.




    Your ears will take an all-out assault as all channels in your system are heavily used in all scenes. The sound activity in all channels is almost constant throughout. Given the nature of the Daredevil character’s enhanced hearing abilities, the sound design team did an excellent job in bringing Daredevil’s higher state of audible senses to the audience. Sounds whip around the viewer in full range with deep, directional and pounding bass in all main channels. A perfect chapter stop for this experience would be during chapter 8, Giving the Devil his Due”. Channel to channel panning is smooth and not ping-pong-like and it completely involved me with the on-screen action. Lots of air will move in your room with this scenes and it made my room sound like it was ‘breathing’ deep bass.

    The music was also clear and effective and was never drowned out by the action. Dialogue can be a little forward at some moments, but for the most part it is spatially integrated with the environment where the dialogue takes place. What is nice to hear on this soundtrack is how dialogue is treated from space to space: in Kingpin’s office on Chapter 24, there is a slightly reflected sound due to the large glass windows and bare walls and floor. In Chapter 27, when Murdoch talks to Urich in the cab, there is an absorbed muffled sound to the dialogue as it works to be heard over the rain that is tapping on the roof or the car. My only complaint is that this soundtrack can be uncomfortably loud as its sound mix is over exaggerated for theatrical playback and impact.


    TACTILE FUN!!: 3/5

    TRANSDUCER ON/OFF?: ON

    Even though much more bass is included in the four main channels, the LFE is used to give a little extra support for some sounds. Using the tactile transducer makes this movie much more fun to watch! Recommended!




    The features from both previously released DVDs have made it to this Blu-ray disc (with exception to the DVD-ROM features). So for those of you trying to make room on your shelves by replacing the old DVD (or both) with the new Blu-ray disc, you’ll be happy to know you aren’t throwing away anything previous. All features are standard definition and AVC encoded.

    Audio commentary - featuring producer Avi Arad and director/screenwriter Mark Steven Johnson. The discussion is mainly about the new cut of this film with a few notes on production. Identified are the new scenes cut into the film as well as the few that were cut out, and why the decisions were made to cut in the first place.

    Fact and Fiction - simple text pop ups relating to the production of the movie as well as the original story of Daredevil (it even refers to the issue numbers!)

    Behind Hell’s Kitchen: Making Daredevil (58:51, 16:9) – this thorough, chapterless, behind the scenes feature is an in-depth look at production and includes the producers, director, choreographer and designers… There’s a lot of information here, as well as a plethora of video on the making of the film. Very interesting stuff for one of those nights when you just don’t know what to watch. You can watch this as a whole or as an “enhanced feature” – various parts of this feature will be accessible during the film. Its interesting piece of info learned is since 1997 the film has switch the hands of Fox, Disney, Sony, and back to Fox again…

    Jennifer Garner Screen Tests (2:31, 4:3) – the actress and her screen tests as Elektra.

    Featured Villian: Kingpin (2:21, 16:9) – Richard Clarke Duncan talks of his character and laughing about Ben Affleck in his devil suit.

    Daredevil: From the Comic to the Big Screen (24:50, 4:3) – hosted by Jennifer Garner, this HBO First Look tells about the film but doesn’t offer much more than what we haven’t already seen. It’s nice to have as a collector, but the feature is very scripted as Garner cannot pull off a natural feel. I almost felt as if it was geared to teenagers.

    Moving Through Space: A Day with Tom Sullivan (8:28, 16:9) – a featurette showing the day of the sight impaired consultant for the film, Tom Sullivan, who helped with Daredevil. He shows us what it’s like in his life to be blind.

    Giving the Devil his Due (15:30, 16:9) - this featurette shows some scene comparisons of the theatrical cut verses the directors cut with interview commentary by producers Avi Arad and Gary Foster (Foster believing the theatrical cut is the better of the two – I disagree completely – but he has to justify his job, right?) as well as Mark Steven Johnson.

    Multi-Angle Dailies (3:18, 4:3) – six in total, there are two shots to view with the third being both on screen at the same time. You must use the multi-angle function for this one and you can watch each one individually or play all.

    Trailers (SD, 4:3) - you can view the teaser and trailer A and B.

    Music Videos (4:3) - Won't Back Down" by Fuel, "For You" by the Calling, "Bring Me to Life" by Evanescence. They all look like crap and sound like crap. Why can’t music videos ever be of good quality?

    Still Galleries - submenu items are storyboards, costumes, set design, production stills, and props.

    The Comic Book - included are "Men Without Fear: Creating Daredevil" documentary, Shadow World Tour": an in-depth look at "Daredevil's sight", and Modeling Sheets featuring an artist’s rendition of characters with their stats.


    IN THE END...

    Daredevil: The Director’s Cut is a better movie. In fact, I would argue that it is a different movie. What the theatrical release lacked, this DVD Director’s Cut makes up for: there is nothing that beats a good story even if it is an action flick. Screw the under 100 minute timeframe producers want. Have they not noticed the trend that these films are always revisited with director’s cuts or remain unsalvageable because the original vision was never filmed? I’m preaching to the choir… At least the presentation of the disc is top-notch. The video is very good and the audio is a knock-out. I just hope one day that the practise of repurposing theatrical soundtracks will become common. It happened with Elektra: The Director’s Cut, why couldn’t the same have been done with Daredevil? (I’m not 100% sure that it hasn’t, but if it has it is still way to aggressive!) It’s still great home theatre to chew on. Some may say “Why not the theatrical cut too with seamless branching?” My answer is: why bother? This is the better version.

    Michael Osadciw
    September 21, 2008.

    Review System
     
  2. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    There you go Michael, your review is much better in this area of the forum.[​IMG]
     
  3. Michael Osadciw

    Michael Osadciw Well-Known Member

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    lol...I was so eager to post I didn't know I was in the wrong forum. ha ha!
     
  4. Joseph J.D

    Joseph J.D Well-Known Member

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    An excellent review for a far superior version of this film. Definitely one of the better superhero films out there IMHO. I will definitely be picking this one up to replace the DVD that I currently have.
     
  5. Ron-P

    Ron-P Well-Known Member

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    A far superior version of the film. Nice to see this being done right, a must buy for myself.
     
  6. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Well-Known Member
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    I really liked the film, too, especially the Director's Cut. But I was alone among my friends, most of whom found it ho-hum to unenjoyable.

    Thanks for the extensive review, Mike.
     
  7. Jim_K

    Jim_K Well-Known Member

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    I was a bit underwhelmed with the theatrical cut but I never got a chance to see the DC. I wanted to but netflix didn't carry it.

    Fox's higher than average catalog pricing might prevent a "near-sighted buy" from me unless I can find a good deal. Otherwise I'll probably rent this if I can.
     
  8. Bleddyn Williams

    Bleddyn Williams Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the review! A definite buy for me, but I gotta know - that stupid box on the front cover, pushing Jon Favreau - is it a sticker, or actually printed onto the artwork?
     
  9. troy evans

    troy evans Well-Known Member

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    Awe man. You should have said "blind buy" for the ultimate pun.[​IMG]
     
  10. Jim_K

    Jim_K Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]
     
  11. Tim Glover

    Tim Glover Well-Known Member

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    Never saw the DC version....I eagerly await Tuesday.

    Nice review.
     
  12. John Troutman

    John Troutman Active Member

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    The DC is the only copy worth watching. If you disliked the theatrical cut, you owe it to yourself to watch this version. It's a night and day comparison. If you couldn't tell, I LOVE the DD[​IMG]C. [​IMG] I can't wait to watch this puppy in HD.
     
  13. Derek Faber

    Derek Faber Well-Known Member

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    So underrated. So much better than most of the comic book films coming from Marvel lately. Better than any Spiderman, Hulk and Iron Man. IMO, this is their best film to date.
     
  14. JustinCleveland

    JustinCleveland Well-Known Member

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    Better than Spider-Man 3 and Hulk, I'll grant you that. But this film isn't without problems. The street fight in the playground, for instance. It is illogical. Similarly, Murdoch's legal profession is unclear. He at once seems to be a prosecutor and defense attorney. Is this criminal court, or civil? That all said, I really like the film. But I don't know that I can put it above Iron Man, the first two Spider-Man films, or the first two X-Men installments.
     
  15. Peter Raber

    Peter Raber Well-Known Member

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    You guys actually make me want to give the DC a try. I never saw this in the movies, but as DD is one of my favorite comic book characters I blind bought the original when it was released, and man I thought it was BAD! As bad as the Hulk was. So when this was first released as a DC I said no way, but based on the comments I read here I will give the Blu-ray a try.

    I won't buy it unless it goes down to $19.95, but if it doesn't soon then I'll rent it for sure.
     

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