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HTF Blu-Ray Review: Eagle Eye



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#1 of 5 Neil Middlemiss

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Posted January 10 2009 - 08:03 AM

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Eagle Eye




Studio: Dreamworks Pictures
Year: 2008
US Rating: PG-13 For Intense Sequences of Actions and Violence, and for Language
Film Length: 117 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1080p High Definition 2.35:1
Audio: English Dolby TrueHD 5.1, Spanish and French 5.1 (Dolby Digital)
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Portuguese and Spanish





US Release Date: December 27, 2008
Review Date: January 10, 2009

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"They changed every traffic light to get us here. The woman, she called me on a stranger's cell phone who happened to be sitting next to me - never met the guy in my life. And then they broke me out of maximum security custody in a way I'm not even going to describe to you because it sounds crazy, and then they lift us off the face of the earth and drop us into this s@*#pile. She could probably derail a train, she could probably turn a train into a talking duck"


Shia Lebeouf chose the perfect film to grow up in the movies. While he has been exceptionally good as the good humored, frantic and likeable miscreant-cum-normal teen in films like Transformers and Disturbia, he was at risk of becoming nothing more than the sum of those parts. But with the decidedly older looking, scruffy looking under achiever Jerry Shaw in Eagle Eye, a man for whom life presents challenges equal to those he poses for himself (including trying to live in the shadow of his accomplished twin brother). But now, he has grown up on the big screen, proving that he can become a figure that carries the weight of living on his own and making (or not) his way in the world, far from the radar and rules of parents.

Eagle Eye is a thriller in the vein of Enemy of the State, but with a technology upgrade and a more thoughtful and reality stretching storyline. Shia Lebeouf stars as a young man working as a copy shop clerk, at odds with his estranged parents who, after being informed that his military-man twin brother had died, has his life turned upside down and inside out by unknown forces on the other end of the phone with the power to control just about everything with a circuit. Like a puppet on a string, he is framed as a terrorist, arrested but soon helped to escape before being lured into a mysterious plot across the US by that unknown force. He is paired with Rachel Holloman, played by Michelle Monaghan, who is also having her strings pulled, and set off on a series of dangerous tasks becoming the nation’s most sought after fugitives. They take their direction from that mysterious voice on the other end of the phone while eluding the police and the tenacious, experienced investigative skills of Agent Thomas Morgan, played by Billy Bob Thornton and his partner, Agent Toby Grant (Ethan Embry).

Fantastic chases, unbelievable circumstances and an intriguing mystery as to who is doing this to Jerry and Rachel (and why) persist through the first and second acts (which I won’t give any details about), setting up what is eventually a not all that surprising third act finale that works and genuinely entertains.

Eagle Eye is a capable and entertaining romp of a thriller; logic defying at times and ripe with sequences whose sole purpose is to evoke a visceral feel and a cool factor, but they prove to be perfect ingredients to add excitement and intensity to the high-concept-wannabe-plot. Strong and deliberate direction by D.J. Caruso, who directed Shia in last year’s highly entertaining Disturbia give this above average thriller a grander look and feel than the relatively modest budget might suggest. Caruso makes the most of every penny, employing a sleek, rich and dark production design, less flashy lighting and wise use of the limited visual effects to enhance the physical effects on hand.

Shia Lebouf appears to have a healthy career ahead of him. In addition to being immensely likeable onscreen, he has picked some superb roles of late; roles that compliment his natural characteristics and are now evolving his appeal. His performance in Eagle Eye is tight and intense but not so serious that the he’s giving more drama than a film like this requires. Michelle Monaghan does well as the single mother balancing frantic fear for her child and the unwanted adventure she is cast into. Billy Bob Thornton is welcome in this role, leaving behind the tired and well worn dark comic character, choosing drama with humorous characteristics which suit him well. The rest of cast does well also, including Michael Chiklis as Defense Secretary Callister and the talented Rosario Dawson (who shines in the recent Seven Pounds).

The advertising campaign was effective for this thriller, capitalizing not only on the popularity of Shia but the intriguing nature of the film’s plot, conjuring curiosity with a healthy dose of explosions in the trailers to draw in crowds. And drawn in they were. Now on Blu-Ray, this Spielberg produced thriller is well worth your time.





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Eagle Eye is presented in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1 in 1080p High Definition. A crisp, sleek looking transfer that faithfully protects the deep blacks, familiar blue and silver hues of science-fiction-like films and a strong use of orange hues, shown with clarity and a sharp, high quality look. The film like look in the image found in the theatrical showing isn’t washed away through over processing and interference, preserving a natural look. This is an excellent transfer with little issue, fleeting if you see them at all. The look is very natural, flesh tones are reasonably good, but again, the greatest strength of this transfer is a faithful reproduction of the theatrical experience.



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The English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD is impressive. Unlike Director Caruso’s last film, Disturbia, Eagle Eye relies on a cacophony of ambient sounds. When it isn’t the hum of electricity or the bustle of active city life, there are plenty of rumbles, zips and electronically infused sounds that surround you. This helps create an effective sound field throughout the speakers that exists for almost every moment of the film’s 117 minute running time. The bass is deep, the subwoofer given a healthy workout and a few moments to seriously shake your home. Dialogue is excellent in the center channel, directional effects effective. All in all, this is a very good audio track that augments a thoroughly enjoyable film.



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Deleted Scenes (HD) – (4:38) – Three deleted scenes and an alternate ending. Not much added and therefore, not much missed.

Asymmetrical Warfare: The Making of Eagle Eye (HD) – (25:32) – A fairly good making of featurette with some good on location footage and conversations about how the film is far less science fiction than it was a mere ten years ago. Hearing from Director Caruso and star Shia is particularly interesting, but the location footage and explanations of how scenes and physical effects were accomplished is the best element.

Eagle Eye on Location: Washington, D.C. (HD) – (5:58) – A look at the production in the nations capitol, with its unique look and unique opportunities, filming at iconic settings.

Is My Cell Phone Spying on Me? (HD) – (9:14) – A quick look at the state of how easily and comfortably citizens of society can be tracked and traced by the devices and technology we surround ourselves with. Surveillance of all kinds is prolific and we seem oblivious to them. Not as in-depth as this topic deserves, but a good start.

Shall We Play A Game (HD) – (9:22) – Eagle Eye director D.J. Caruso talks with his mentor, John Badham who directed the 80’s favorite War Games, about the influence of Badham on Caruso and War Games on Eagle Eye. A good conversation and perhaps the best of the special features.

Gag Reel (HD) – (7:00) – A few good gags and screw ups that runs a little long.

Road Trip: On Location with the Cast and Crew (HD) – (3:05) – This featurette is essentially extra pieces from the main ‘making of’ that uses similar footage but lightly touches on the nature of how the story required going to many locations and a large number of real and created sets.

Photo Gallery

Theatrical Trailer (HD) – (2:35)



Final Thoughts

Some of the action sequences are actually quite fierce (with a car chase that results in far more than your average number smashed cars), a nice compliment to the thrilling storyline and the tense plot. You will need to suspend your disbelief more than your typical thriller but the reward is most definitely worth it. Eagle Eye is good escapist fun, thrilling, action packed and thoroughly enjoyable.


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Neil Middlemiss
Kernersville, NC
"Equipped with his five senses, man explores the universe around him and calls the adventure Science" – Edwin Hubble
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#2 of 5 Todd smith

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Posted January 10 2009 - 08:23 AM

Thanks for the reviewPosted Image

I just watched Eagle Eye, Babylon AD and Bangkok Dangerous over the last few days in that order and each movie got better sound wise. EE I would go 4 out of 5, Babylon 4.5 out of 5 and Bangkok Dangerous 5 out 5. I thought EE was a solid all around track, but nothing all that special compared to the best BR audio tracks I have listened to, but there was certainly nothing to complain about eitherPosted Image.

#3 of 5 T r o y

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Posted February 15 2009 - 12:35 AM

Just watched this one last night with the family. This was my very first BR title watching after I purchasing my new Sony BDP-S550 BR player.

I thought I'd calibrated the levels in each speaker but during some of the more intense action scenes, My front mains wanted to distort a little or make a buzzing noise. I think I might need to turn down the level to the mains some.
I know these newer advanced soundtracks are more dynamic and louder but does anyone have any idea what I could do to help set the mains to a level that might minimize the distortion. I don't have my volume set to reference, my wife would kill me!
thanks for any input ,
TroyH
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#4 of 5 Ron-P

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Posted February 15 2009 - 04:01 AM

Troy, you should invest in a calibration disc. Also, your question is best suited for the "Speaker and Subwoofer" forum....Speakers and Subwoofers - Home Theater Forum

I bought EE after seeing it in the theater, I really enjoyed it. Great overall disc.
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#5 of 5 T r o y

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Posted February 15 2009 - 11:06 PM

I did a few things yesterday that definately helped in the audio dept. on my system. First I reduced the level going to the mains from the S550 speaker menu by 3-4 db., then I removed the spikes that my KLF-20's were standing on, and then what really made a huge difference to the overall low end of things, Since my dsp-a1 isn't doing the processing to my subwoofer, I switched the x-over from "out" to "in" . Now the sub is doing all of the processing and I have it set at around 70-80 db. on the sub.
After doing those few tweaks, I replayed the two big car chase scenes in the movie and man.........!!!!!!!!!!!! Talk about a night and day difference!! I've actually never heard my sub be that low and clean since I've had it guys! And the mains never seemed like they were straining on any of these scenes either. So wow ! I am awesomely impressed with BR True HD audio. Yesterday we watched "Space Chimps BR" in DTS MD and wow what a wallop this track provided too!

I can't wait to play my next BR title!
TroyH
Outlaw 750 5 CH AMP
Yamaha DSP-A1
Sony BDP-S550
Monster Power
Mitsibishi HC-1500Klipsch KLF20Klipsch KLFC7Klipsch KSP-S6Velodyne F-1800XR