Film Length: 128 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 High Definition 1080p
Disc Type: BD-50 Dual Layer
Audio: Uncompressed 5.1 PCM (48kHz, 24-Bit), English, Spanish & French 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish & French
Release Date: February 20, 2007
When Christopher Nolan made his incredible debut into American cinemas with Momento, fans were treated to the first rumblings of a creative genius who had something to say in both his visual and narrative style. Since that time, I’ve always eagerly awaited each of his films and have yet to be disappointed. After delivering, in 2005, arguably the best of the Batman films, Nolan has decided to offer us The Prestige - - a somewhat unlikely followup film about rivalry amongst magicians.
The Prestige is a very complex tale centering on conflict, jealousy (both personal and professional) and vengeance between two magicians. This story is told in a most unconventional way as it skips around from viewpoints and doubles back on itself, completely skewing the timeline. Most impressively, this complex narrative never loses the viewers attention or confuses exactly what is happening. I was, quite frankly, blown away by The Prestige. It is my favorite movie of 2006 and one I was very excited to see in High Definition. The plotline involving Nikola Tesla (David Bowie) is nothing short of a masterstroke. Christopher Nolan delivers another compelling story that is impeccably directed. I’m intentionally going to not talk about plot in this review as most of the movie is dependant on the viewer’s ability to not have plot details spoiled ahead of time. So, I’ll just leave it at that. It’s also worth noting that this film has incredible replay potential on Blu-Ray. You will definitely want to watch this one again once you’ve been able to see where the various twists and turns have taken you.
Let’s just cut to the chase, shall we? The Prestige has the finest High Definition picture I have yet seen in the home theater environment. For all intents and purposes, this transfer is flawless. Shadow detail was amazing (this is a very dark film) and black levels were rock solid throughout. Colors were outstanding and the 3-D effect offered by the finest HD presentations was dazzling from beginning to end. Take for example, the scene where Angier (Hugh Jackman) meets Tesla’s assistant in a foggy field filled with illuminated arc-lamps. This scene alone presents several different potential problems for the transfer. Artifacts in the dark shadow details surrounding the fog and halos around the arc-lamps against their dark backdrop are just a few problems that could occur. Of course, this AVC encoded transfer handles all of these issues flawlessly. The image delivered the spectacular payoff that the scene required without any distractions from the transfer. It is worth noting that the cinematographer for The Prestige, Wally Pfister, is nominated for an Academy Award this year. Judge for yourself, but I think he just might deserve to win. This is a beautifully photographed film that has been given an outstanding Blu-Ray treatment and is representative of true reference material. The Prestige is absolutely highly recommended!
Once again, uncompressed PCM audio is present on this Blu-Ray release from Touchstone. As I’ve said countless times before, PCM absolutely has to be experienced to be believed. The Prestige is not a very flashy movie from a sound standpoint, but it has a few impressive moments that really jump to life. Most of the movie is fairly atmospheric with a very open soundstage and nice use of ambient and rear fill elements. However, whenever a Tesla coil is on screen, you’d better hold onto something… those lightening effects will literally send you flying off the couch. To say that these effects are loud, violent and jarring is a bit of an understatement. During these sequences, my subwoofer literally moved about 3 inches left of its original position. So, be careful: It is very easy to crank the volume up during the heavy dialogue sequences and find yourself partially deafened by these loud instances.
Here’s what’s included:
-“The Director’s Notebook: The Cinematic Sleight of Hand of Christopher Nolan”
-“Conjuring the Past”
-“The Visual Maze”
-“Metaphors of Deception”
-“Tesla: The Man Who Invented the Twentieth Century”
-“The Art of the Prestige”
Continuing the trend of adding more and more special features to their Blu-Ray releases, Disney /Touchstone have delivered quite a set here. “The Director’s Notebook” is the larger documentary that features all of the above listed features with exception to “The Art of the Prestige”. Each of these segments focuses on a particular area of the production with special emphasis on Christopher Nolan’s contributions, techniques and opinions on how each element should be presented. It really is an exceptional set that gives you quite a bit of insight into Mr. Nolan’s filming and creative processes. The Tesla feature goes into a great deal of depth regarding Mr. Tesla’s inventions and contributions to modern day living and society. If you found the character interesting, I highly recommend this feature as a good starting point towards learning more about the real man behind the character. He’s every bit as interesting in reality as he is in the film.
The Final Analysis:
The Prestige is easily another home run from Disney. I found the film to be absolutely riveting and the technical presentation is true reference quality. I not only recommend The Prestige wholeheartedly, but I can safely say it would be an excellent candidate as a blind-buy. I can almost guarantee you’ll love the film.
Equipment used for this review:
Panasonic DMP-BD10 Blu-Ray Player
Panasonic PT-AE1000 Front Projector
Carada 93” diagonal 16x9 Criterion Series/Brilliant White Screen – www.carada.com
Rotel RSX-1056 Surround Receiver
Rotel RB-1080 Amplifier
M&K MX-125 Subwoofer