Elektra: Director’s Cut (Blu-ray)
Directed by Rob Bowman
Studio: Twentieth Century-Fox
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 1080p AVC codec
Running Time: 100 minutes
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 English; Dolby Digital 5.1 French, Spanish
Subtitles: SDH, Spanish
MSRP: $ 29.99
Release Date: May 4, 2010
Review Date: May 5, 2010
Rob Bowman’s Elektra certainly carries a different vibe from the usual comic book adaptation. There’s a morose instability about the heroine and her ability to cope with the many fantastic elements she must combat that lends the film a sort of gracelessness, an uncertain air of volatility which makes the viewing experience a trying one. As solid as some of the elements are and as obvious as it is that the director is attempting to trod new ground in telling the story of this graphic novel heroine, the final product seems somewhat chaotic and, inevitably, not much fun to watch. There’s lots of hard work and talent on display, but it’s all to an uninspiring end.
Hired assassin Elektra (Jennifer Garner) is tasked with eliminating Mark Miller (Goran Visnjic) and his daughter Abby (Kirsten Prout). Even though she opts not to find out their backstory or the real reason for their elimination, she finds that she can’t go through with the mission. That doesn’t stop the evil organization The Hand and its leader Roshi (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa) from sending another ninja team to do the deed, but Elektra manages to dispatch that team whereupon The Hand sends its most lethal assassin Kirigi (Will Yun Lee) and his gang of fantastic killers to wipe out Elektra and the father and daughter duo.
The production is blessed with a genuine action star from television (Jennifer Garner who was starring in the spy yarn Alias when this movie was filmed), and director Rob Bowman’s years of experience with The X-Files qualifies him to handle the supernatural elements of the story as well as any. The script by Zak Penn, Stuart Zicherman, and Raven Metzner, however, uncomfortably mixes Elektra’s past mythology with hallucinations, real world events, and near-death mysticism so much so that the film’s momentum is splintered constantly and never manages to get a great head of stream rolling for any of its action sequences. There certainly are some intriguing scenes: a forest encounter with her enemies finds Elektra calling on all of her fighting and tumbling expertise to combat these mighty adversaries, and her climactic showdown with Kirigi amid wafting slipcovers that obscure his visage (and our vision) is visually stimulating even if the actual fighting is underwhelming. Clever ideas with Kirigi’s cohorts who can summon tattoos off the skin into real creatures or kill by touch are impressive (though Bowman uses his female annihilator’s girl-on-girl killer kiss to cheap effect), but those creative villains aren’t used to maximum effect. The movie inevitably seems a missed opportunity.
Jennifer Garner manages a rather skillful transition through the movie from cold hearted killer to maternal protector, and she looks great in everything she does whether it be action-motivated or merely posing in that alluring superhero costume. Kirsten Prout displays tons of adolescent spirit and moxie as the object of the villain’s attacks. The men in the film, however, don’t register as firmly. Terence Stamp as Elektra’s one-time mentor Stick has charisma to spare, but his role keeps him away from the action for long periods of time. Goran Visnjic convinces as the loving father but he, too, is less involved with the film’s primary set pieces. Will Yun Lee is a much less imposing villain than Colin Farrell was in Elektra’s last screen appearance Daredevil.
The film’s 2.35:1 Panavision theatrical aspect ratio is delivered in a 1080p transfer using the AVC codec. The film is very, very dark, and watching it in a completely darkened room will aid immeasurably in allowing the transfer’s deep blacks to really plumb the depths and show off the great shadow detail. Colors are kept firmly under control so that nothing really pops, but that isn’t a negative (they even drain color from the opening Fox logo before the credit sequence). Sharpness is also excellent. The film has been divided into 28 chapters.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sound mix certainly has impressive sequences though the film’s less than large budget prevents the sound from being fully immersive throughout the entire film. What’s presented, though, is well thought out with good use of the LFE channel at appropriate moments and well recorded dialogue.
The audio commentary is by director Rob Bowman and film editor Kevin Stitt. By the time the commentary was recorded, it was clear that the film was not going to be a great commercial success, but Bowman steadfastly stands behind his work heaping praise on all of the creative personnel and defending his choices in an attempt to make a different kind of comic action flick. Both men add plenty of anecdotes about different attempts at various sequences making for an interesting view of the film’s production.
All of the featurettes are presented in 480i.
“Relentless: The Making of Elektra Part I: Production” is a very lengthy dip into the filmmaking process with cameras detailing the shooting of several key sequences in the movie (as well as some which were inevitably cut). Director Bowman watches some of this video footage and makes comments about his own directorial work and the work of his actors and stunt people. It runs for 87 ¼ minutes.
“Relentless: The Making of Elektra Part II: Post Production” continues with the work on the film getting it ready for presentation showing work in the editing room, different attempts at a title sequence, sound effects and special effects work done in post as well as music scoring. This runs 53 ¼ minutes.
“Showdown at the Well: Multi Angle Dailies” shows a 2 ½-minute sequence from four different angles which the viewer can view from different perspectives using the angle button on the remote.
There are three deleted scenes which can be viewed separately or in one 5 ½-minute grouping. The user may turn on or off commentary by the director.
There are six alternate/extended scenes, again with optional director commentary which can be viewed individually or in one 13 ¾-minute clump.
“Elektra Incarnations” is a series of interview with five writers, pencillers, or inkers responsible for twenty years of the character in various graphic novels beginning in 1980. The interviews filled with illustrations of Elektra’s various transformations over the years run 52 ¾ minutes.
“Elektra in Greek Mythology” finds an expert in Greek mythology discussing three different versions of the Elektra myth in Greek plays written in the 400-500 B.C. era. This discussion runs for 15 ½ minutes.
The film’s teaser trailer runs 1 ¾ minutes while the theatrical trailer runs 2 ½ minutes.
3/5 (not an average)
Not a successful action film but a noble try at something unique to the cinematic comic book genre, Elektra: Director’s Cut gets a fine high definition release which fans of the film should really enjoy. Bonuses ported over from the previous DVD release will also add to its value.