28 Days Later Blu Ray Review 08/06/10
Distributor : 20th Century Fox UK – Region A, B.
Ask anyone to name a Blu ray release with a bad transfer and somewhere in the list will be 28 Days Later. I wanted to find out if the criticism was justified.
The movie was mostly filmed using digital video, which obviously is not going to compete with a 35mm print as far as the transfer quality is concerned. However there have been reports of people stating that this release looks no better than the DVD. All I can say to that, is that they must have been watching a different Blu ray to the one I was re-viewing as this one certainly looked a great deal better than the DVD release. OK, so the 1080p 16x9 wide-screen transfer is not going to be able to handle the “Pepsi Challenge” up against let's say “The Dark Knight” or a similar release, however considering the way the film was shot, this actually is the best it can ever really look. The colours in the print are much more defined than in the DVD and the picture seems a great deal sharper. It is also worth noting that towards the final act of the movie, the filming switched to regular 35mm and this footage simply blows away the DVD release.
Audio is presented in 5.1 DTS HD which again is a world away from the DVD. The dialogue and sound effects are crisp, clear and free from distortion and sounds hugely effective during the films more tense moments.
As for extras, we get a full package here. Beginning with an excellent audio commentary from both the screenwriter and the director of the movie, they really discuss every aspect on the making of the film and sound so relaxed and enthusiastic talking about their creation. This really is one of the all time great commentary tracks, which I just did not want to end. Following that up, there are deleted scenes, alternate endings, making of documentaries, still galleries and another story board alternate take on the films final act which is also narrated again by both the screenwriter and the director. Admittedly these extras were present on the DVD release however there is one extra segment to an alternate ending which is new material for this Blu ray.
All things considered, I do feel that the criticism charged towards this release is on the whole unfair. People may well have had unrealistic expectations to begin with from a movie mostly shot on Mini DV. The DVD transfer itself, was never that good to begin with and I seem to remember similar complaints when that was first released, so it seems nothing much has changed since.
The main question here is, does this Blu release out perform the DVD? In all honestly it does, hands down. The final act of the film looks fantastic in HD and the audio throughout the whole movie is also an incredible upgrade on the DVD. For those reasons alone, this disc to me was worth the upgrade and once you have the Blu ray release, it probably is fair to assume that this will be the best that the film will ever look.
Don't be put off by the naysayers, this film is already a British horror classic which deserves to be enjoyed in it's best ever release.
28 Days Later on Blu ray – highly recommended, just as long as you know what you are actually buying.