Tuesday, February 23, 2010

2012: 2-Disc Special Edition Blu-ray Review

Disc 1 Size: 38.8 GB
Disc 2 Size: 16.9 GB
Film Size: 35.2 GB
Film Rating: PG-13
Region: ABC
The Video
2012 comes to Blu-ray with a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video presentation. The video presentation appears to be of the highest quality, but does not make for a very impressive visual experience. The film looks quite muted overall, colors never feel particularly rich or vibrant. Black levels while solid perhaps could have been a bit inkier at times.

The film’s special effects are breathtaking and are certainly enhanced by this high-def transfer and look truly beautiful in motion. The special effects are not particularly sharp, but about as impressive as one could expect and so much is happening on screen to focus on just one thing.

There are a few scenes in which I was underwhelmed by the black levels and looked very flat. Of course there are not many scenes this way, but they are definitely worth mentioning. Luckily the transfer appears to be of free of any real technical issues and appears to present the intent accurately.

Regardless of the scene, this release will never be one that could be confused with a DVD. Everything is much improved from DVD and fans of the film should go with the Blu-ray release without question. The video presentation may not be among the best, but it all appears to be true to the source and is mostly impressive. 8.5/10.

The Audio
Both English and French 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio tracks are included for this release. I of course went with the original English language and was certainly impressed by the results. The film itself is filled with disaster scenes from beginning to end so I figured the audio mix would be something to talk about, and it definitely is.

The mix is extremely aggressive (in a good way) and everything is presented in a very crisp and clear manner. The mix features great direction and the mix pays attention to your entire surround sound setup. This is a very loud track, but dialogue is never overpowered by the aggressive effects.

The mix of course is lucky to have such an active film which allows it to truly impress. There are moments in which bass could have been a bit stronger, but that is a small complaint for a very impressive audio track that could certainly qualify as demo material. 9.5/10.

The Extras

Disc 1:

Connect to real-time information on the cast, music, trivia and more while watching the movie. You must have a BD-Live connected Blu-ray player to use MovieIQ.

Picture-In-Picture: Roland’s Vision
A Picture-in-Picture track is included for this release and is quite enjoyable. I did not watch the entire thing, but from what I saw it is fairly active and features behind-the-scenes footage and interviews that relate to the scene in one way or another.

Audio Commentary
With Writer/Director Roland Emmerich and Co-Writer Harald Kloser.

Alternate Ending (3:39) (HD)
An alternate ending is included, which reveals the survival of one additional character.

Previews (HD)

BD-Live Portal
Download the latest trailers for upcoming Sony Pictures theatrical and Blu-ray releases.

Disc 2:

Interactive Mayan Calendar
This is an interactive feature which includes ‘Mysteries of the Mayan Calendar’ (also included as a standalone feature), ‘Mayan Personality Profile’, ‘Mayan Horoscope’ and ‘Legend.'

Mysteries of the Mayan Calendar (3:53) (HD)
A short featurette which explains the Mayan Calendar and features high-def footage from the Chichen Itza ruins, a place which I had the opportunity to visit several years ago.

Deleted Scenes (4:56) (HD)
Five deleted scenes are included and are presented in high-definition.

Designing the End of the World (26:04) (HD)
Go behind-the-scenes and see how many of the epic disaster scenes in the film were done. This is a very neat featurette that any fan of the film will enjoy.

Roland Emmerich: The Master of the Modern Epic (9:31) (HD)
Cast and crew talk about working with Roland Emmerich, a man known for his share of disaster films.

Science behind the Destruction (13:19) (HD)
This is a pretty self-explanatory feature, which is all about the disasters in the film and the science behind them.

The End of the World: The Actor’s Perspective (7:34) (HD)
This is a feature all about the cast of the film, featuring behind-the-scenes footage and interviews.

Adam Lambert – “Time for Miracles” Music Video (4:19) (HD)
The full video for Adam Lambert’s “Time for Miracles” is included in high-definition.

Making the Music Video “Time for Miracles” (2:43) (HD)
Go behind-the-scenes and see how the music video for Adam Lambert’s “Time for Miracles” was made. Fans of the singer will love this featurette.

Countdown to the Future (22:03) (HD)
This talks about the Mayan Calendar and possibilities of the world actually ending in the year 2012.

Digital Copy
Compatible with the Sony PSP.

Previews (HD)

Disc 3:

Digital Copy
Compatible with iTunes and Windows Media.

The 2-disc special edition really is a 3-disc edition, including an additional disc which features an iTunes and Windows Media compatible Digital Copy. The features on this 2-disc set are quite impressive and Sony made sure to include a pleasing amount of Blu-ray exclusive features to add to the overall value.

The behind-the-scenes footage on a film like this is even more appreciated and something that is very cool to see. Best of all the features are all presented in high-definition, something I am sure we can all appreciate. 8/10.

The Movie
Director Roland Emmerich is known for disaster films so it was only fitting that he take on the year 2012 and turn it into a two and a half hour disaster movie. The 2012 speculation has been growing strong since the year 2000 came and went and we needed another year to worry about. 2012 is of course very interesting as it is based on the Mayan calendar which shows that December 21st, 2012 is the end of a cycle and the beginning of a new one.

2012 focuses on several people and their friends and family. The main focus of the film is on a man named Jackson Curtis (played by John Cusack), father of two who shares custody with his ex-wife and a plastic surgeon in which she is in a relationship with.

The film also stars Chiwetel Ejiofor who plays Dr. Adrian Helmsley who also plays a big part in the film. He is a truly respectable and admirable character in the movie and adds a bit more depth to the film as a whole.

The movie is of course about the year 2012 and the disaster that comes with it. The governments of our world are well aware of the disaster and we see that they have planned for this disaster, but only plan to save a certain amount of humans along with animals in order to rebuild and restart when the disasters begin.

Jackson Curtis and his family are not among those who are set to board the ship once the world disaster begins, but they will not give up without a fight. We follow the entire family as they encounter many of the disasters and cheat death a few times too many.

Dr. Adrian Helmsley on the other hand is secure and is set to board one of the ships. It is not easy for him to hear that the government does not plan to tell the people of the disaster until it is too late for them to try to save themselves somehow.

So did I like this film? Well I can say upon second viewing that I definitely enjoyed it much more this time around. The movie is far from realistic, but the special effects definitely make many things believable and are truly impressive at times.

The movie is extremely fun and you will be dazzled by the footage on-screen at a constant rate. The film is a wild and fun ride from beginning to end and despite its longer runtime, this film is far from boring.

Certain moments are a bit cheesy and you do have to dispense reality for a lot of the movie, but I think that is what is admirable about it. The movie does not take itself too seriously and just makes for an action filled popcorn flick, something I am sure many can appreciate form time to time.

If you disliked previous films such as Day After Tomorrow (which I personally did not like at all) I definitely recommend you give 2012 a chance still. Not everyone will love 2012 or maybe not even like it, but I do think this is a very fun and very thrilling action film that is less preachy than previous disaster movies.

This is the type of movie where you can throw away all sense of reality and still believe everything happening on screen, the special effects on this release are some of the most impressive I have ever seen and they definitely help create a very enjoyable experience on top of a very enjoyable storyline. The film is far from perfect, but I definitely enjoyed it for what it was. 7/10.

The Blu-news Summary
The 2-disc special edition Blu-ray release of 2012 is a fantastic release. The video and audio presentations are very good and there are plenty of bonus features to be seen. 2012 on Blu-ray is a ‘Must Own’ for fans of the film and ‘Worth a Look’ to all others.

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