The world's best computer hacker (Jackman) becomes entangled in a cyber-heist masterminded by a charismatic mystery man (Travolta). The daring theft of a government slush fund (code-named Swordfish) becomes a high-stakes game of life and death.
Up-front ads make you want to hack into this HD DVD to shut them off. You can't pass by hitting the menu button, but you can skip past them. This HD DVD provides more features than available on the DVD, including audio commetary by director Dominic Sena, the 15-minute HBO First Look, an eight-minute Effects In Focus: The Flying Bus, and the 13-minute In Conversation cast and crew interviews, two alternate endings with optional commentary, a short Planet Rock audio reel, the theatrical trailer, and online info.
The high-definition 2.35:1 HD DVD has a slick, stylish appearance, with colors that are well balanced in their stylized hues. Some scenes are predominantly green, while others have a warm, "tobacco" stain. Blacks are deep and solid, and fleshtones appear balanced. Images are sharp and detailed with, at times, intentionally unfocused segments and swerving camera movements that can be dizzying. Distractions are rarely noticed in this picture, as the picture is clean and solid with no obtrusive edge enhancement or pixelization. (Suzanne Hodges)
I hate to sound like a broken record, but the 5.1-channel Dolby® Digital•Plus encoding provides a level of realism to the soundtrack that has never been achievable before in the home. Bass is tight and articulate, dropping down to 25 Hz and below through the LFE and full-range channels, and dialogue has a silky smooth delivery that brings life to the voices. Throughout the presentation, there can be an utter disregard for the surround channels, but when incorporated, they are used nicely. Atmospheric effects are delivered well throughout the soundfield, but true phantom imaging on the sidewalls and center surround are rarely present. This is, however, an enjoyable soundtrack. (Danny Richelieu)