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Darkest Hour, The (3D/2D) (2011) Print E-mail
Tuesday, 17 April 2012
Image“The Darkest Hour” is a clear example of a film that could have been better than it turned out to be.  In short, it had potential that was squandered.

The film turns out to be nothing more than an alien invasion film that never really leads anywhere substantial.  Two business school friends show up in Moscow to make a pitch.  When things turn ugly, they hit a local nightclub, where apparently they were notified by some app that two American girls were stuck there.

It doesn’t take long for the alien invasion to start.  We never get to see what happens to rest of  the world, but given what happens to Moscow we can safely assume that there are probably no more than a 1,000 human beings on the planet after just a few days of alien attacks.

The aliens are quite cool.  The aliens themselves are difficult describe because when never really see them in detail.  They are surrounded by a microwave invisible forcefield.  They only way to see where they are, is to watch electrical components, which become active when the aliens float by.

As you can probably guess, the film is nothing more than a group of Americans trying to make their way through Moscow in a hope to find a way home.  Of course, the ridiculous part is that there is no more home anywhere.  Also predictably, the group of travelers get picked off one by one by the aliens until only the two prominent characters are left alive to survive.

There is certainly no substance in this film.  Anything that would be of substance is dismissed or quickly pushed aside.  The acting is so-so given the caliber of the script.  Likewise for the directing. “The Darkest Hour” comes to Blu-ray as a 3D/2D hybrid disc.  So, you might expect that nothing is going to look spectacular on this disc given all the info squeezed onto it.  Luckily, somehow the transfer is decent.  It isn’t going to blow you away, but the 3D offers some convincing depth.  Establishing shots, those of the cities and buildings look the best, providing the most depth.  Close-up shots range from terrible to quite good.  Still, the depth of the closer shots is limited.  The darkness of the film doesn’t help the cause.  Still, even with the dark nature of the scenes, details are usually nicely rendered.  Finer details are not as prevalent, which generally seems to be the case with 3D.  The 3D extension from the screen is virtually non-existent.  On a couple occasions some dust or light extends from the screen, but it never is truly convincing.  Colors remain strong and stable, but fleshtones have turned a bit sticky in the 3D version.  I am unable to make comparisons to the 2D version on the same disc as all components here are 3D-capable and the 2D version only loads when connected to non-3D displays and hardware.  This is a big blunder on the release.  Just because you have 3D doesn’t mean you will always want to watch the film in 3D.  I digress.  Overall, the video quality of the 3D transfer is stable with only some minor artifacting.

The audio track is likely the most impressive aspect of the Blu-ray release.  The DTS-HD MA 5.1 track delivers are clear and precise presentation.  The surround channels are filled with directional effects and ambience lending it to a nice immersive aural experience.  The LFE channel is nicely balanced, though could have been a touch more prominent in certain sequences.  The details of the sound effects is rendered here without a hitch. The dialogue is weighty and prioritized in the center channel.  The sense of depth and space goes beyond what the 3D video is capable of.  Usually it is the other way around.  Dynamics are expansive as is the frequency range.  This audio track will provide your theater with some candy.

The Blu-ray comes with four special features.  There is an audio commentary with the director.  There is a short film entitled, “Survivors.”  There are five deleted scenes.  Lastly, there is a visual effects piece.

To date, there are more impressive 3D renderings out there, as well as better films n 3D.  While the audio quality is exceptional, I would be hard pressed to give this more than a rent.  I can’t comment on the 2D aspect, but given the film I don’t think watching in 2D-only would even make it as a rent.

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