The Darkest Hour (Blu-ray)
4.3 Stars (out of 5) – Rated PG-13a
This sci-fi action thriller tracks the adventures of a group of young Americans touring Moscow who get caught up in an alien invasion. Despite the unfamiliarity of their surroundings, the Yanks quickly team up with the Russians to fight back.
Emile Hirsch, Olivia Thirlby, Max Minghella, Rachael Taylor, Joel Kinnaman, Veronika Ozerova, Dato Bakhtadze, Yuriy Kutsenko, Artur Smolyaninov, Pyotr Fyodorov
Blu-ray Release Date:
April 10, 2012
English SDH, Spanish
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 4.8 Stars (out of 5)
Dolby and DTS Demo Discs used as basis for comparison
● Subwoofer – 4.5 Stars
● Dialog – 5.0 Stars
● Surround Effects – 4.5 Stars
● Dynamic Range – 5.0 Stars
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1
Movies made for 3d have great cinematic opportunities to use surround sound. This film does a great job of synchronizing outwardly pushed objects to rear speakers. Chirping birds, splashing water, gusts of wind, barking dogs, and the electrical arching sounds of the aliens also use surround speakers to fill the room with action. The subwoofer stays active with sounds of gunshots, tight explosions, music in the nightclub, and random rumbles when the aliens are around. Dialog doesn’t get lost in the action, and the DTS-HD mix offers a large frequency of audio enjoyment.
Video 4.6 Stars (out of 5)
Spears & Munsil Benchmark Blu-ray Edition used as basis for comparison
● Color Accuracy - 4.0 Stars
● Shadow detail – 4.5 Stars
● Clarity – 5.0 Stars
● Skin tones – 4.5 Stars
● Compression – 5.0 Stars
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC, Resolution: 1080p, Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1, Original Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
Believe it or not, The Darkest Hour’s video performance isn’t too dark. Lots of scenes happen at night and the film does a decent job of keeping the darkness at bay, however some details are still lost to the shadows. Colors seem a little muted and possess a light grey tint. This seems to sap the life out of green trees, takes the joy out of blue skies, and makes the Red Square look more like a “maroon square.” This stark look does make the orange alien glow seam full of life and pop of the screen. At times skin tones can be a little red, but for the most part they stay on par. The picture is sharp and brings out the details of wrinkles on shirts, loose hairs, bricks on buildings, beard stubble, and the ashy remains of the alien victims.
Bonus Features 3.0 Stars (out of 5)
● Survivors (1080p, Dolby Digital 5.1, 8:10): A short film based in the world of The Darkest Hour.
● The Darkest Hour: Visualizing an Invasion (1080p, 12:09): A look at creating the film's special effects.
● Deleted and Extended Scenes (1080p, 4:48): Anne and Natalie at the Airport, Skyler Brags to Tess, Ben and Vika Talk About Their Siblings, A Toast to the Fallen Comrades, and Natalie and Sean Talk About Anne and Ben. With optional director commentary.
● Audio Commentary: With director Chris Gorak
Movie – 3.0 Stars (out of 5)
The Darkest Hour takes the overused sci-fi plot of alien invasion and tries to breathe new life into it by having a unique design for the evil extraterrestrials. It’s told from the perspective of the survivors, so the scope of the movie is small. The movie suffers from its small scale because we don’t get to see the big invasion; we just see them invade a club. However, this type of storytelling does give us the opportunity to develop the characters. Luckily the characters are not cookie cutter stereotypes and offer some extra depth to the story. There are a few plot holes and illogical science, but most sci-fi movies run into these types of problems. It’s nice to see a movie where aliens invade a country besides the United States, but of course the Americans are still the heroes. Overall The Darkest Hour is a fun movie that it doesn’t possess enough personality or scale to make it a movie you’ll remember.
Posted by The HT Guys, April 25, 2012 7:11 AM
About The HT GuysThe 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.