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Doomsday Book Blu-ray Review



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#1 of 1 Cameron Yee

Cameron Yee

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Posted December 18 2012 - 04:00 PM

Three short films exploring human behavior in the midst of existential crises make up the Korean language film anthology “Doomsday Book.” Its debut on Blu-ray features a fine looking and sounding high definition presentation, but its bonus material is limited to just a handful of previews and trailers.


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Doomsday Book

Release Date: December 11, 2012
Studio: Well Go USA
Packaging/Materials: Blu-ray keepcase with slipcover
Year: 2012
Rating: NR
Running Time: 1:53:20
MSRP: $29.98


  THE FEATURE SPECIAL FEATURES
Video AVC: 1080p high definition 2.40:1 High definition
Audio DTS-HD Master Audio: Korean 5.1 / Dolby Digital: Korean 2.0 Dolby Digital: Korean 2.0
Subtitles English English

The Feature: 2.5/5

A deadly influenza virus, a robot who’s attained enlightenment, and a meteor that may destroy life as we know it make up the three short films in the Korean language film anthology “Doomsday Book.” Though each piece is significantly different from the other in plot, the unifying theme concerns how humans react during – at times literal – existential crises.


On paper, the concept is compelling, but unfortunately the three films’ methodical pacing does little to stimulate either thought or post-screening conversation. The only thing that provides some relief from the dullness is the dark and acerbic humor found in “A Brave New World” and “Happy Birthday” (the first and third entries), both directed by Im Pil-seong. The middle entry, “The Heavenly Creature,” directed by Kim Jee-woon, has some nice production design, particularly with the robotic technology, but the philosophically heavy and copious amounts of dialogue make it the weakest of the trio. While "Doomsday Book" likely has some appeal for a certain segment of the population, for the general viewer it's best passed up for more accessible fare.


Video Quality: 4.5/5

Framed at 2.40:1 and presented in 1080p with the AVC codec, the picture features deep blacks, richly saturated color, and excellent detail in both wides and close-ups. Contrast can show a bit of compression in the lower ranges, but that’s usually related to the more stylized color grading in the opening and closing films. Of the three, the middle entry has the most “accurate” look about it; as it’s the most visually pleasing of the three in terms of the production design, the quality transfer tends to showcase it the best.


Audio Quality: 4/5

Dialogue in the Korean 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is consistently clear and detailed. Surround activity is fairly restrained in the dialogue-heavy second film, but the first and third have a bit more in the way of panning and environmental effects. LFE shows up once or twice in the first piece, but makes a much more aggressive appearance for the third – appropriate given the meteoric doomsday its characters are facing.


Special Features: 1/5

Pre-Menu Trailers

  • Tai Chi Zero (1:09, HD)
  • Nightfall (:56, HD)
  • Bedevilled (1:36, HD)
Trailer (:57, HD)


Recap

The Film: 2.5/5

Video Quality: 4.5/5

Audio Quality: 4/5

Special Features: 1/5

Overall Score (not an average): 3/5


Though its appeal is limited, the philosophical Korean film anthology “Doomsday Book” sports a great looking Blu-ray transfer and complementary lossless audio track. The special features are disappointing in terms of learning what inspired the project or how some segments were shot, but those interested in just the feature should be pleased by the technical presentation.




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