Film Year: 2007
Film Length: 1 hour 44 minutes
Genre: Teen Comedy/Thriller
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
BD Resolution: 1080p
BD Video Codec: MPEG-4 AVC @ over 20MBPS
English Dolby Digital 5.1 EX
English DTS-ES 6.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 EX
French Dolby Digital 5.1 EX
Subtitles: English, English SDH+, French, Spanish, Portuguese
Film Rating: PG-13
Release Date: August 7, 2007
Film Rating: /
Starring: Shia LaBeouf, David Morse, Sarah Roemer and Carrie-Anne Moss
Screenplay by: Christopher Landon and Carl Ellsworth
Directed by: D.J. Caruso
disturbia is a modern retelling of the Hitchcock classic Rear Window, this time from the perspective of a teenager living under house arrest. It is also an attempt to meld the genre of the Hitchock thriller with a more lighthearted teen comedy/romance. So the lead character, played by Shia LaBeouf, alternates from joking around with his friends (including a budding romance with his new neighbour, played by Sarah Roemer), spying on the neighbourhood, and becoming increasingly paranoid about the shifty guy who lives next door (played well by David Morse). The movie works okay as a hybrid thriller, and it’s thankfully free of excessive gore. However, the tonal shifts, which begin with the lead character’s grief over a family death, don’t mesh particularly well, and the film requires several leaps beyond the regular suspension of disbelief before lurching into a climax right out of The Shining. There are a few shocks and a few laughs along the way, and the film is certainly entertaining. It’s not a bad movie, but it probably won’t stay with you after you see it. Given the cast and style of the film, it’s clearly intended for a younger audience, who will likely have a good time with it.
disturbia is being released day-and-date in all 3 DVD formats. All 3 formats will carry the same special features. The Blu-Ray release features a 1080p transfer and all of the special features in HD.
VIDEO QUALITY: 4.5/5
disturbia is presented in a solid 1080p MPEG-4 AVC transfer that delivers loads of color and detail. The image is sharp, but without any edge enhancement I could see. Flesh tones and facial detail are solid, down to every line, mark and bump on each face. The transfer also shows off an impressive range of lighting styles (from an exterior fishing scene to a gloomy basement) and a range of video styles that can be seen in the various digital images and video feeds incorporated into the film. This is another of Dreamworks’ continuing series of fine 1080p transfers. To my mind, they are really setting the standard.
AUDIO QUALITY: 4/5
disturbia is presented in a 640kbps Dolby Digital 5.1 EX mix in English, French and Spanish, and a 1.5 mbps DTS-ES mix in English. Both the Dolby Digital and DTS mixes are strong, with a lot of directional effects in the rear speakers, and the predictable amount of subwoofer usage for shock effect. (Any time the characters are surprised by the shifty neighbor or anything else, you can expect the usual bass whoosh to cattle prod you out of your seat...) Given the limitations of the film’s setting, there is a surprising amount of variety in the sound landscape. Once again, this is another fine Dreamworks HD soundtrack.
SPECIAL FEATURES: 2/5
The Blu-Ray presentation of disturbia includes all of the special features to be found on the standard DVD edition, with almost all presented in 1080p, albeit in a MPEG-2 transfer and in a 192 kbps 2.0 mix.
Commentary with Director D.J. Caruso and actors Shia LaBeouf and Sarah Roemer – D.J. Caruso talks through the movie with his two lead actors in a scene-specific commentary that doesn’t delve very deep. Most of the comments are either compliments toward the actors onscreen, brief descriptions of when or where the scene was shot, or jokes throughout about adding Roemer into other scenes in her bikini. At one point, very early on, Caruso answers a cell phone call in the middle of the commentary. I must acknowledge having a real problem with that – in the same way that David Morse’s character comments on it a little later in the movie. Unless it’s urgent, can’t that kind of thing wait?
Serial Pursuit Triva Pop-Up Quiz – This is a subtitle feature that allows you to display pop-up trivia throughout the film. Much of the film-specific material regarding the locations or actors repeats what you’ll hear on the commentary, so watching the film with both options activated is a little like sitting in an echo chamber.
Deleted Scenes (4:08 total) (1080p MPEG2 192 kbps 2.0) - Four deleted scenes are presented, consisting of additional moments from existing scenes. Each of these interactions is a bit more serious than what wound up in the film. By deleting them, D.J. Caruso was clearly trying to favor the more comedic elements, and not get too dramatic.
Outtakes and Bloopers (1:26 total) (1080p MPEG2 192 kbps 2.0) – This is a series of quick outtakes from various scenes. There’s nothing really earth-shattering here, but I must admit to having some fun watching Shia LaBeouf and Matt Craven demonstrate how NOT to fish in repeated takes.
The Making of Disturbia (14:51) (1080i MPEG2 192 kbps 2.0) – This is a brief 1080i featurette that includes all the usual ingredients of the standard EPK package – film clips, video footage from the set, and mutually complimentary interviews with the cast, director and writers. There is some interesting material here and there – Sarah Roemer shares her reluctance to be in a shot where wood splinters might fly into her face and eyes, and Carrie-Ann Moss discusses her new perspective as a working parent. In fairness, I must give one warning here: DO NOT WATCH THIS FEATURETTE UNTIL AFTER YOU SEE THE FILM OR YOU WILL BE SPOILED!
Music Video: “Dont Make Me Wait” – This World Fair (4:05) (1080p MPEG2 192 kbps 2.0) – This World Fair’s video for their featured song is included here in 1080p and 2.0 sound. It’s your standard movie music video, with shots of the band intercut with clips from the film and staged clips designed to meld them together. If you like the band, you’ll probably like the video.
Photo Gallery – This is a series of promotional stills and behind the scenes photos from the film. You can go back and forth through the photos using the remote arrows.
Theatrical Trailer (2.31) (1080p MPEG2 640 kbps 5.1) – The theatrical trailer is presented here in 1080p video and 5.1 sound. It’s a pretty good trailer, in that it gives you the basics of the film, without spoiling too much.
IN THE END...
disturbia is a curious blend of Hitchockian thriller and modern teen-angst comedy. It doesn’t quite succeed in melding these elements, but it entertains in its own way. Younger audiences, Shia LaBeouf fans in particular, will likely have a great time with it. As an HD disc, it sports a great transfer and a great sound mix. There’s some good features included, although I must again state my misgivings about the commentary track. If you’re unsure about the title, I recommend renting it first.
August 5, 2007.