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Source Code (2011) Print E-mail
Thursday, 21 July 2011
ImageAlright, Hollywood, say it with me, “originality.”  Now, was that so hard?  “Source Code” is Hollywood’s latest product combining every major sci-fi film premise in the past decade.  Sure, there is some entertainment value here.  But where are the stories that leave an audience stunned or thinking.

“Source Code” combines the premises of “Back To The Future,” “Déjà vu,” “Unstoppable” and several other well-known films of the recent past.  I don’t mind that so much, but the filmmakers didn’t take this film anywhere new.  It just throws all the films into one.

The film takes place somewhere in the present or near future, though this is speculation as no time period is set.  Jake Gyllenhaal is a captain in the Air Force and finds himself in the middle of a time experiment project.  He is being sent into the past to find out who blew up a Chicago-bound train.  Sound familiar already?  Thought so.

Gyllenhaal has eight minutes each time he goes into the past to figure out what happened.  You can probably already tell that the eight-minute rehashes get more and more tiresome each time.  Gyllenhaal’s character is confused and the story is really more of his journey to discovery.  The film juxtaposes itself between great pacing and excruciatingly slow pacing.

Michelle Monaghan is a train passenger that doesn’t really serve any purposes to the film other than a distraction, both for the audience and the primary character.  It feels almost as if the filmmakers created the entire film and then realized that the lead character needs a companion aboard the train each time he is sent back.

The film is devised in such a way that keeps the lead character and the audience in the dark as to what is behind the curtain.  However, since the audience has seen this plot retold a great number of times, it probably won’t take many of you long to guess what is happening. All in all, the story is decent but full of holes and undeveloped motivations.  However, the emotional journey is kept at the forefront and that is what makes the film succeed when we let go of its action-film premise.  The general audience will likely find entertainment value in the film.

Summit Entertainment offers another fine video transfer with this release.  The image quality is technically great, but lacks the overall striking quality that makes the best Blu-ray video releases standout as the best.  Colors are general reserved, tailored toward the sterile environments of the train of the command center capsule.  Fleshtones are good for the most part, but do have a tendency to fluctuate.  The details are the strongest aspect of the transfer.  Details and textures lend to excellent object definition and facial characteristics.  The black levels are accurate, only falling into the abyss in a couple of sequences.  Technical issues such as artifacting and banding are nowhere to be found.  However, like the film, the qualities are there, but it just fails to ultimately grab your attention.

Like the video quality, the audio quality is technically competent, but fails to distinguish itself.  The surrounds are used effectively.  Train ambience and explosions are all nicely placed in the rear soundfield.  Coherency between the front and rear soundfield is seamless.  The dialogue is clear and crisp.  The dynamic range is a bit on the weak side.  Drama could have been increased with more dynamic mixing.  The LFE channel is not as strong as it could have been.  The explosions pack punch, but the LFE channel doesn’t deliver that crisp bottom end.  This audio track will deliver on home theater systems, but attention to details is missing from the production.

This Blu-ray comes with two special features.  The first bonus material is an audio commentary with the director, writer and actor Gyllenhaal.  The audio commentary is informative from both the pre-production and production side of things.  The other bonus material is “Acess: Source Code.”  This special feature is a picture-in-picture track that provides interviews and behind the scenes footage.  A trivia track is also embedded.

“Source Code” starts off a bit uncertain, but develops into a decent picture.  The audio and video qualities are superb technically, but lack an attention grabbing quality.  I recommend at least renting the title.

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