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Contagion (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo + UltraViolet Digital Copy)

Contagion (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo + UltraViolet Digital Copy)
Studio: Warner Home Video
List Price: $35.99
Street Price: $19.99
Amazon.com: $11.35
Release Date: Jan 3, 2012
Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
Running Time: 106 minutes

3.5 Stars (out of 5)

Synopsis

Soon after her return from a business trip to Hong Kong, Beth Emhoff dies from what is a flu or some other type of infection. Her young son dies later the same day. Her husband Mitch however seems immune. Thus begins the spread of a deadly infection. For doctors and administrators at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, several days pass before anyone realizes the extent or gravity of this new infection. They must first identify the type of virus in question and then find a means of combating it, a process that will likely take several months. As the contagion spreads to millions of people worldwide, societal order begins to break down as people panic.

Starring:

Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Winslet, Marion Cotillard, Jude Law, Laurence Fishburne, Bryan Cranston, Jennifer Ehle, Sanaa Lathan

Director:

Steven Soderbergh

Blu-ray Release Date:

January 3, 2012

Subtitles:

English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Korean, Mandarin (Simplified)

Rating

Overall rating weighted as follows:

Audio 40%, Video 40%, Special Features 20%, Movie - its just our opinion so take it with a grain of salt

Audio 3.6 Stars (out of 5)

Dolby and DTS Demo Discs used as basis for comparison

● Subwoofer - 2.5 Stars

● Dialog - 5.0 Stars

● Surround Effects - 3.0 Stars

● Dynamic Range - 4.0 Stars

English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, French: Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1, Portuguese: Dolby Digital 5.1

For the most part Contagion has the sound of a drama. The dialog is clean and clear, but everything else is lacking. Every so often the surround speakers help fill in the soundstage with chattering crowds and even crickets, but they are hardly used anywhere else. The subwoofer only seems to be active when the musical score is heard. However the music is interesting, some scenes feature drum like heartbeats that help ratchet up the tension.

Video 4.1 Stars (out of 5)

Spears & Munsil Benchmark Blu-ray Edition used as basis for comparison

● Color Accuracy - 3.5 Stars

● Shadow detail - 4.0 Stars

● Clarity - 4.0 Stars

● Skin tones - 4.0 Stars

● Compression - 4.5 Stars

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC, Resolution: 1080p, Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1, Original Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

After watching this film for more than 15 minuets, I realized the color palette had changed three times. I could be warm one scene, have a gold tint to everything, and cold in the next. It doesn't seem to have anything to do with the storytelling either, it just seams as if Soderbergh didn't want to go with any particular visual style. Clarity also was not consistent in the film. Most of the time is was clean enough to see tiny freckles, sharp pinstripes, and loose hairs. However, in other scenes things were a little fuzzy and out of focus. Dark colors were generally good however, in some instances details were lost to darkness. There were very little compression issues that were visible, and skin tones changed with the color palette.

Bonus Features 2.0 Stars (out of 5)

● The Reality of Contagion (HD, 11 minutes): A short that takes a look at the threat of real world pandemics.

● The Contagion Detectives (HD, 5 minutes): Interviews with experts about the dangers of contagious diseases.

● How a Virus Changes the World (HD, 2 minutes): An animated overview of the life of a deadly virus.

● BD-Live Functionality

Movie - 4.0 Stars (out of 5)

Review

Contagion is not a emotionally driven thriller that tugs at your heartstrings. It plays more like a cold documentary that presents the terrifying facts on display for all to see. This film pulls no punches, after the first ten minuets people have died and the movie is off and running. In fact this film is paced so rapidly and is filled with so many characters, you might forget one or two of them before the movie is over. It's this rapid pace and multiple storylines that makes the film seam a little disjointed and cold. By the end of the film I realized Matt Damon and Kate Winslet were not the stars of this film, it was the virus itself.

This movie terrified me. Sometimes the camera would focus on a door handle or a coffee mug for just a second too long, and I made me wonder. If the someone touches that, will they be next? What was even scarier than the rapidly spreading plague like virus was the break down of society and the loss of humanity. Although the film doesn't focus on it long, the message was clear, fear is the true virus. In this film, it's spread by media, loss of trust, and the will to survive.

Posted by The HT Guys, January 17, 2012 7:47 AM

More in Category: Blu-ray

About The HT Guys

The HT Guys, Ara Derderian and Braden Russell, are Engineers who formerly worked for the Advanced Digital Systems Group (ADSG) of Sony Pictures Entertainment. ADSG was the R&D unit of the sound department producing products for movie theaters and movie studios.

Two of the products they worked on include the DCP-1000 and DADR-5000. The DCP is a digital cinema processor used in movie theaters around the world. The DADR-5000 is a disk-based audio dubber used on Hollywood sound stages.

ADSG was awarded a Technical Academy Award by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2000 for the development of the DADR-5000. Ara holds three patents for his development work in Digital Cinema and Digital Audio Recording.

Every week they put together a podcast about High Definition TV and Home Theater. Each episode brings news from the A/V world, helpful product reviews and insights and help in demystifying and simplifying HDTV and home theater.