THE FOURTH KIND
Length: 1 hr 38 mins
Genre: Horror/Mock Documentary
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
BD Resolution: 1080p
BD Video Codec: VC-1 (@ an average 25 mbps)
English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (@ an average 3.0 mbps)
French DTS 5.1
Spanish DTS 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Film Rating: PG-13 (Violent, Disturbing Images, Some Terror, Thematic Elements and Brief Sexuality)
Release Date: March 16, 2010
Starring: Milla Jovovich, Will Patton and Elias Koteas
Written and Directed by: Olatunde Osunsanmi
Film Rating: ½ /5
Before I get into the full review of this Blu-ray, I feel I must issue a warning re SPOILERS. If you would like to watch this movie and not have anything spoiled in it, I recommend that you skip ahead to the video and audio sections and then watch the film for yourself. You can tell from my rating what I think about the film’s inherent qualities, and you’ll be able to make up your own mind without any of my ramblings getting in the way. And here we go:
The Fourth Kind is an almost inexplicably bad movie, apparently taking its cue from such films as Close Encounters of the Third Kind and The Blair Witch Project, if such a hybrid could ever be imagined. The premise is pretty flimsy – the whole thing hinges on the notion that disappearances in Nome, Alaska can be explained by alien abduction. Given the small amount of room this premise allows for depth, writer-director Olatunde Osunsanmi (previously a co-writer of Smokin’ Aces 2: Assassins’ Ball) has chosen to cloak the whole enterprise within a pseudo-documentary. On both the packaging and in Milla Jovovich’s introduction in the film itself, we are told that we are seeing re-creations of actual events. Except that the truth has already come out that none of this is true. The “real people” we see in the “archival video footage” turn out to be actors playing the same roles as the higher profile performers we see in the filmed footage. In retrospect, the hoax becomes obvious – all you have to do to see through it is ask yourself why a filmmaker would need to film glossy reeanactments of material he already has on videotape, when he could make a documentary instead. And once the hoax becomes clear, the whole movie crumbles under its weight. There are some creepy moments here and there, to be sure, mostly fed by the high powered picture and sound on the Blu-ray, but the movie here is strictly subpar.
The Fourth Kind has been released on Blu-ray and standard definition DVD. The Blu-ray release has the same basic extra as the standard definition DVD, that being about 23 minutes of deleted footage, but also provides high definition transfers in picture and sound.
VIDEO QUALITY 3 ½ /5
The Fourth Kind is presented in a 1080p VC-1 2.35:1 transfer that looks great for the filmed re-enactments, and emphasizes the harshness of the archival video. The colors throughout are fairly rich – on a technical level, this is a fine looking movie. I should note that I am watching the film on a 40” Sony XBR2 HDTV. If anyone is watching the film on a larger monitor and is having issues, please post them on this thread.
AUDIO QUALITY 3 ½/5
The Fourth Kind is presented in an English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix in English, along with standard DTS 5.1 mixes in French and Spanish. The sound mix here is actually very effective, with plenty of surround effects and a solid sense of menace coming from the subwoofer. I would venture to say that the sound is the best part of the movie and this Blu-ray.
SPECIAL FEATURES 1/5
The Blu-Ray presentation of The Fourth Kind comes with the usual BD-Live connectivity and My Scenes functionality, as well as pocket BLU, social BLU and D-Box functionality. As far as the film itself goes, however, the only extra is a collection of deleted scenes in non-anamorphic standard definition.
Deleted Scenes – (23:12, 480p, Non-Anamorphic) WARNING: SPOILERS HERE AS WELL: The deleted material here starts off with a complete and unedited take of the “archival video footage”. And right off, it gives away that the event is being staged – since we can hear Osunsanmi yelling “Action!” and then shouting dialogue to the actors on camera.
BD-Live - The more general BD-Live screen is accessible via the menu, which makes various online materials available, including tickers, trailers and special events. At the same time, the Blu-ray also allows for social BLU networking and pocket BLU iPhone connectivity.
My Scenes - The usual bookmarking feature is included here.
D-Box - The sensation functionality is present here for those viewers who have this technology in their homes. Given the activity of the subwoofer on this film, I would guess that this function gives the film a bit more in the way of forcefulness.
The usual promotional ticker is present on the main menu, but can be toggled off at your discretion. The film and the deleted scenes are subtitled in English, Spanish and French.
IN THE END...
The Fourth Kind is a movie that I cannot honestly recommend in good conscience. The Blu-ray is quite well-made in terms of the picture and sound, but there just isn’t enough of a movie for me to recommend this for purchase, or even rental. Fans of movies like The Blair Witch Project may find this to be good, creepy fun, but I’m hard-pressed to think of who else will go along for the ride.
March 26, 2010.