Elektra (Director's Cut) (2005) 
Blu-ray Action-Adventure
Written by Noah Fleming   
Friday, 07 May 2010

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After the moderate success of "Daredevil" in 2003, Fox decided to create a spin-off, "Elektra" in 2005.  Unfortunately, the film failed to gain any type of success.  It was one of the biggest letdowns in a long line of comic book superhero film adaptations.

Despite the film being panned by critics, it still has a quality that makes it watchable.  The film is entertaining if you are not looking for sophisticated plot lines.  This is typical blockbuster spin-off that really only has the presence of Jennifer Garner going for it.

In the "Daredevil" spin-off, Garner reprises her role as Elektra, motherless, and now fatherless, daughter that was killed, but not really, at the end of "Daredevil."  That is the only element that is needed from "Daredevil," otherwise "Elektra" is a standalone movie.  In "Elektra" The Hand is an evil association that longs to find and capture the chosen one for this generation.  The movie doesn't make it clear, but Elektra was supposedly a chosen one of a previous generation.

After being rescue and revived by Stick (Terence Stamp) she is trained in martial arts and the art of time warping.  However, her vengeful behavior gets her kicked out of Stick's camp.  She turns to the life of an assassin.  Her legend grows and it finally leads her to an assignment that she is not ready for.

Secluded on an island, Elektra is assigned to assassinate Abby and her father.  There isn't much mystery here.  It doesn't take much stretch of the imagination to figure out who Abby really is.  And for the power that Elektra holds it should not have been surprising to her when she finds out.  That is one annoying thing about this film.  The characters never learn.  They are doomed to repeat the same mistakes and make unwise decisions that are there simply to move the story in the direction that the filmmakers want.

There is not as much action in this film as one might expect after viewing the trailer.  It is too far between sequences without having Garner in her red suit.  Aside from the film's predictability, the movie does retain the audience.  I cannot quite explain why, but the 100 minutes fly by compared to many other films.

This is the unrated director's cut of the film.  However, I could not tell the difference between the theatrical and director's cut.  There is only a three-minute different between the two.  Sadly, unlike the director's cut of "Daredevil," the director's cut here does not add anything useful to the story.  There are still too many plot holes and instances in which is clear that information is missing.  The deleted scenes don't fix much of that either.

The original standard DVD was not very impressive in terms of video quality.  I am sad to report that the video quality of this Blu-ray is not much more than pinch better than the standard DVD.  The biggest issue with the original production and the encode is that the lack of shadow delineation.  Even in bright, daylight sequences darkness overwhelms the screen.  There were far too many instances of floating head syndrome.  Pay attention to the sequence in which Garner stands on the porch with a glass of wine.  The other main issue with the video is the lack of sharpness.  Backgrounds and foregrounds are consistently jagged and fuzzy.  Superb detailed and textured close-ups are too few and far between.  Colors are strong, particularly Garner's red costume.  Contrast is oversaturated.  Whites are soft, blurred and blown.  Edge enhancement is present but not as noticeable as in the past.  Major crushing does occur in the blacks.  In the end, it is difficult to see much difference between the Blu-ray and the upscaled DVD.  In fact, the latter may actually be better.

The audio is presented in DTS-HD MA 5.1.  It is a decent enough track, but certainly lacks the power and presence of most superhero action films.  Dialogue is generally balanced nicely amongst the music and sound effects.  The LFE channel is solid, adding some nice bottom end to some of the action sequences.  The dynamic range is quite good, causing you to jump on a few occasions.  However, the dynamic range does become an issue since the overall RMS power of the track seems to have been mixed too low.  The surround channels are not as aggressive as most action films.  However, panning and directionality is quite impressive.  The audio track provides a greater increase in quality compared to the original DVD than the video quality difference.

The Blu-ray contains the special features from the previous Director's Cut DVD edition.  The only feature I could not locate was Jennifer Garner's Comic-Con presentation from the original DVD release.  The audio commentary with director Rob Bowman and editor Kevin Stitt is rather dull and does not offer any insights as to what might have gone wrong in the making of the film.  In fact, the director seems content on blaming the audience for the failure of the film.  There is a two-part making-of documentary that runs about two hours.  While it is of great length, it doesn't exactly offer a lot of content.  There are a handful of deleted, extended and alternate scenes that really only serve to confuse further rather than clarify.  The other features retained are the multi-angle dailies, mythology featurettes and trailers.

"Elektra" is certainly not the best adaptation but it is not without its entertainment.  The most disappointing aspect of this release is the lack of a video quality upgrade.  For superhero fans this might be worth getting.  Otherwise I recommend a rent.  Owners of the director's cut DVD already might want to rent this first to see if the video quality is worth it to you.
Studio 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
MPAA Rating Unrated
Starring Jennifer Garner, Goran Visnjic, Kirsten Prout, Terence Stamp, Will Yun Lee, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Natassia Malthe, Colin Cunningham
Director Rob Bowman
Film Release Year 2005
Release Year 2010
Resolution(s) 1080p (main feature) • 480i (supplements)
Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
Running Time 1 hr. 40 mins.
Sound Formats English DTS-HD Master 5.1 • French Dolby Digital 5.1 • Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles English SDH • Spanish
Special Features Director and Editor Audio Commentary; Deleted Scenes with optional commentary; Alternate/Extended Scenes with optional commentary; "Relentless" Parts 1 and 2 Making-of featurette; Multi-Angle Dailies; "Elektra: Incarnations" Mythology Documentary; "Elektra in Greek Mythology"; Trailers
Forum Link http://www.avrev.com/forum
Reviewer Noah Fleming

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