Featured In Issue 141, July/August 2009

WSR Score3.5
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
Paramount Home Entertainment
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Violence and language
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Single Side, Dual Layer (BD-50)
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Color With B/W Sequences
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Not Indicated
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(THX® Digitally Mastered):
Edward Zwick
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Dolby TrueHD 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1
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(French Language):
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Daniel Craig stars as Tuvia Bielski, an ordinary citizen turned hero, in this action-packed epic of family, honor, vengeance, and salvation. Defiance is a riveting adventure that showcases the extraordinary true story of the Bielski brothers, simple farmers—outnumbered and outgunned—who turned a group of war refugees into powerful freedom fighters. Tuvia, along with his unyielding brother, Zus (Schreiber), motivate hundreds of civilians to join their ranks against the Nazi regime. Based on a true story and on the book Defiance: The Bielski Partisans by Nechama Tec. (Tricia Spears)

Special features include commentary by Director Edward Zwick, the following featurettes: Defiance: Return To The Forest (HD 26:05), Children Of The Otriad (HD 13:42), and Scoring Defiance (HD 07:00); a "Bielski Partisan Survivors" photo gallery (HD 01:58); and two theatrical trailers.

The 1080p AVC picture exhibits an edgy, harsh look with desaturated colors and fleshtones. Otherwise, the overall visual character exhibited in the rural forested scenes is nicely presented in richly hued browns, blues, and greens. Still, the imagery portrays a rough, life-on-the-edge existence that clings for survival. Blacks are deep and shadows are generally well defined, but at times, depth is masked. Resolution reveals fine facial features and fabric textures during closeups, but otherwise, the picture is overall soft and pristine. The winter snow scenes are engrossing, with a captivating visual presence. This is a stylized picture that convincingly portrays life's rawness when confronted with survival. (Gary Reber)

The Dolby® TrueHD 5.1-channel soundtrack is conventionally produced, using production sound and ADR that is generally spatially integrated within the context of an outdoor existence, though, at times, is utterly disconnected. Low-level atmospheric sound effects, which are, at times, barely perceivable, occupy the soundfield and sometimes provide an enveloping holosonic® surround presence. During fighting scenes, the surrounds are aggressively directionalized with gunfire and sound effects. The orchestral music score is nicely recorded, with a wide and deep soundstage that, at times, wraps deep into the surrounds. Bass extension is deep and energized below 25 Hz in the .1 LFE channel. While the sound is generally frontal focused, at times, the surrounds are energized and provide an effective enveloping experience. Unfortunately, the sound design is not impressive and fails to achieve sonic potential suggested by the imagery. (Gary Reber)