Friday, May 21, 2010

Extraordinary Measures Blu-ray Review

Disc Size: 30.3 GB
Film Size: 23.8 GB
Film Rating: PG
Region: ABCThe Video
Extraordinary Measures comes to Blu-ray with a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video presentation. The film is distributed by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment and was produced by CBS Films. The movie isn’t a stunner in high-definition, but there is definitely plenty of upgrade to be found.

There is a glow and light layer of grain that is present throughout the movie, very much like a soap opera on day-time television in high-def. I can’t say that I love the look; it actually makes the film look like it was lower budget produced for basic cable special.

The film looks quite similar to The Box on Blu-ray. There is a glow and grain to it, but behind it all there can be an impressive level of detail and clarity. The film’s colors are on the warmer side, but never really stand out. Black levels however stay strong throughout.

Extraordinary Measures may not make for a visual treat, but it certainly is a respectable transfer. The upgrade from DVD believe it or not is also quite impressive; I wasn’t sure how big of a difference there would be as the Blu-ray felt a bit limited at times. I am pleased to say that the upgrade brought from the Blu-ray release is worth the investment. 7.5/10.

The Audio
An English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is the only audio option included. Optional subtitles include English and English SDH.

To be honest I wasn’t expecting much out of this lossless mix, the film just isn’t one which I thought would lend itself well to an impressive surround mix. While the mix is far from reference, it is certainly better than I anticipated as far as surround-use goes.

Dialogue is key point to the film and is presented front and center, crisp and clear. The film’s effects while front heavy at times are given time in the surround speakers. The mix also does a pretty good job at creating environment to each scene, whether it is a quiet indoor scene or open outdoor scene. The mix won’t amaze, but it was definitely better than I expected for a non-action filled drama. 8/10.

The Extras

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.

Deleted Scenes (9:22) (HD)
Nine deleted scenes are included and are presented in high-definition.

Meet John Crowley (4:35) (HD)
Meet the real John Crowley (played by Brendan Fraser in the film) and his wife as they share their story.

Extraordinary Measures: The Power to Overcome (10:43) (HD)
The cast talks about the inspiring story of the Crowley family as well as working on the film. There is a nice amount of behind-the-scenes footage thrown in as well, which I enjoy.

Previews (HD)
High-def trailers for available and upcoming Sony Pictures Home Entertainment releases.

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

The extras on this release are nice, but definitely lacking. It would have been nice to get a bit more behind-the-scenes footage and perhaps an audio commentary from the Director or cast. This is also a release that probably should have been packaged as a combo pack release rather than a standalone Blu-ray release. 4.5/10.

The Movie
Extraordinary Measures is based on the true story of John and Aileen Crowley (Who can be seen in the bonus features). They are like most parents, who would do anything for children. Their children are not like most children however, two of which have been affected by Pompe’s disease.

The film stars Brendan Fraser as John Crowley, Keri Russell as Aileen Crowley and Harrison Ford as Dr. Robert Stonehill. John’s kids are past the typical life expectancy of a child diagnosed with Pompe’s disease which makes him more and more desperate to find a cure/medicine for his children.

He finally refers to Dr. Robert Stonehill who has a development theory for a Pompe’s disease treatment, however he lacks the funding. John quickly promises to come up with an immense amount of funds to help fund the developments and the film really takes off then.

The movie is definitely a touching one and something that I am sure would be difficult for anyone to go through. The movie pulls at your heart-strings for the sick children, hoping they live long enough to receive treatment.

While the story is cute and touching, I can’t help but feel a bit underwhelmed by the film as a whole. The film is the first produced from CBS Films and perhaps that is why we at times get a made-for-television feel for the film. I also was not a fan of the blackout scene transitions in the film, almost as if they were made so any scene could be cut just in time for commercials.

The movie is one that I would definitely recommend worth watching, but replay value may definitely vary from viewer to viewer. The movie could have been better, but I do think the actors involved did the best that they could with the material. I liked the movie, but I definitely think it could have been better executed. 7/10.

The Blu-news Summary
Extraordinary Measures is a good but flawed film. The Blu-ray release features a pleasing video presentation and good audio mix. Extras on this release are good but more should have been included. Overall the release is ‘Worth A Look.'

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