Saturday, December 4, 2010

Salt Blu-ray Review

Release Date: Dec. 21st, 2010.
Film Rating: PG-13/Unrated
Disc Size: 44.9 GB
Region: ABC
The Video
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment brings ‘Salt’ to Blu-ray with a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video presentation that includes three versions of the film via seamless branching. I did see the film while in theaters, but to be honest I don’t remember the look of the film to compare to the Blu-ray presentation.

The Blu-ray release features an impressive video presentation, although not everyone will love the look of the film. The film can be sharp and filled with detail, but there are also softer scenes throughout as well as scenes which are affected visually (and intentionally) to create a foggier look.

There is a nice layer of film grain throughout which shouldn’t bug anyone. Colors are quite strong; they are especially pleasing during better lit scenes. Black levels while not the inkiest remain solid throughout, with no noticeable crushing to be found.

Overall I was more than pleased by the video quality provided. The presentation didn’t always dazzle, but the source itself affected many scenes visually and that is okay. There are no technical issues to be found, and the small issues I had were with the source material.

The film is so fast-paced it is hard to be even slightly disappointed however, the film is visual experience and the Blu-ray release does appear to be true the source in every way. ‘Salt’ looks great on Blu-ray and is a clear improvement from standard-definition in every aspect. 8.5/10.

The Audio
An English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and French 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track are the lossless options included. Also included is an English Stereo, English Audio Descriptive Service and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital audio track. Optional subtitles include English, English SDH, French and Spanish.

‘Salt’ is filled with non-stop high quality action sequences, so I definitely expected the high-def audio mix to impress. As expected, the mix is top notch with immersive surround use and fantastic clarity in every aspect.

Dialogue is front and center, always crisp and clear like a new release should be. The film’s action sequences make the biggest use of the surround speakers, making use of the entire 5.1 setup without a flaw and with fantastic direction.

The film’s music also manages to make impressive and clear surround use from beginning to end. The film is exciting and the DTS-HD Master Audio mix only makes the experience even better. Everything sounds great and I could not be more pleased. 10/10.

The Extras

Spy Cam: Picture-in-Picture
Theatrical version only.

Filmmakers’ Commentary
With Director Phillip Noyce.

The Ultimate Female Action Hero (8:05) (HD)
This feature is all about Angelina Jolie and the preparation it took for her to take-on the role.

The Real Agents (12:33) (HD)
This feature includes interviews with former agents who share their stories of working as an agent and how they came to their positions.

Spy Disguise: The Looks of Evelyn Salt (5:27) (HD)
The cast and crew talk about the physical changes that Evelyn Salt goes through during the film.

The Modern Master of the Political Thriller: Phillip Noyce (9:16) (HD)
The fantastic Phillip Noyce talks about the story, what it takes to make a successful political thriller and bringing his magic touch to ‘Salt.’

False Identity: Creating a New Reality (7:15) (HD)
Go behind-the-scenes with the special effects team on creating a realistic visual experience, they definitely succeeded.

Salt: Declassified (29:47) (HD)
The cast and crew discuss the film in this making of featurette. Plenty of behind-the-scenes footage is included and fans will definitely enjoy it.

“The Treatment” Radio Interview (27:13) (Audio)
With Phillip Noyce.

Previews (HD)
High-def trailers are included for ‘The Tourist,’ ‘The Green Hornet,’ ‘Takers,’ ‘Easy A,’ ‘Red Hill,’ ‘Eat Pray Love,’ ‘The Other Guys,’ and ‘Ticking Clock.’

Bookmarks
Save your favorite scenes and return to them later via the bookmarks feature.

Get More on BD-Live (Internet Connection Required)
Download the latest trailers from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

The features included on this release are great; I mean we do get three versions of the film with some notable differences. All of the features are included in high-definition which I appreciate and I loved the behind-the-scenes footage included. A Digital Copy would have been nice for this release, but unfortunately that didn’t happen. Overall there is plenty to see and fans will be more than pleased. 8/10.

The Movie
In ‘Salt,’ Angelina Jolie stars as CIA Operative Evelyn Salt. This is a woman who starts her day preparing for her wedding anniversary and ends up on the run of her life when a Russian defector accuses her of being a secret agent with intent to assassinate the President of the United States.

The role is perfect for Angelina Jolie, although I do think she could pull off any role. The woman is an amazing actress, who can work with any film genre and any story and make it shine. Being incredibly sexy is just another plus when it comes to her performances.

‘Salt’ is a well-written film, but I do think Angelina gives the film even more appeal than it would had it starred another actor or actress. I believe Tom Cruise was originally considered for the role before Angelina Jolie, I’m glad it didn’t work out, to say the least.

‘Salt’ constantly gets compared to both the Bond and Bourne films, and with good reason. The film is incredibly enjoyable and has some top notch action sequences throughout. Angelina was offered the role of a Bond girl years ago, but she didn’t want to be a Bond girl, she wanted to be Bond.

Angelina proves that she can play any role and kickass at whatever she does. Like many of her other films, she likes to do a lot of her own stunts and she puts herself in many situations other actors wouldn’t ever dare. I think it says a lot about her dedication to making a film as effective as possible and I definitely respect that about her.I loved ‘Salt’ from beginning to end and it was a fun ride revisiting the film on Blu-ray. The Blu-ray release includes the theatrical version, the unrated Director’s cut, and another unrated extended cut. The theatrical cut and Director’s cut are very similar, with a few scene differences throughout the film.

The new unrated extended version of the film features the biggest difference, with a different film ending that goes a bit further in storyline than the theatrical and Director’s cut. Having seen the film before in theaters, I watched both the Director’s cut and Extended Cut on Blu-ray and I love all three versions of the film, but I really liked the revengeful ending in the new extended cut.

‘Salt’ is a non-stop action film which became one of my favorite films of the year. No, the action sequences are not realistic, but Angelina Jolie brings us into a world where it is possible and where the action never stops.

The film may not be the smartest film, but it also should not be associated as a popcorn flick or dumb Hollywood blockbuster. For me, ‘Salt’ was one of the best times I had watching a film all year and I think others will agree. I may be going a bit far with my final score, but I don’t care, I loved it from beginning to end, dispense reality and enjoy. 9.5/10.

The Blu-news Summary
‘Salt’ is one of the best films from 2010, particularly from the action genre. The Blu-ray release is great, featuring a pleasing video presentation and impressive audio mix. The extras are all very enjoyable, but I do wish more was included to make this really feel deluxe. Overall the Blu-ray release is ‘A Must Own’ for fans of the film and ‘Highly Recommended’ to everyone else.

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