The Darkest Hour is the story of five young people who find themselves stranded in Moscow, fighting to survive in the wake of a devastating alien attack. (Gary Reber)
Special features include the featurettes Survivors (HD 08:10) and Visualizing An Invasion (HD 12:09), five deleted and extended scenes with optional commentary by Director Chris Gorak (HD 04:48), and up-front previews.
The 2.40:1 1080p MVC native 3D picture is satisfying, though, not among the top-tier 3D releases thus far released. Dimensional depth is not as delineated, as some the scenes would suggest. Yet perspective relationships between characters against their environments conveys decent depth. Thus, technically the sense of dimensional depth is realistic and not exaggerated. Gimmick 3D effects are rare and when they do occur they punch out of the screen, such as scattering debris, vaporized humans, and exploding aliens. Compared to the 2D version, this adds excitement and dimensional perspective. The color palette is consistently strong and balanced with nicely saturated hues that can pop. The 3D rendering accurately captures the Moscow settings and the shopping center corridors. Fleshtones are generally natural in tone, though, a bit pastier. Resolution is excellent, with fine detail exhibited throughout, even in the dust and debris, resulting from the damage and destruction inflicted by the aliens. Contrast is nicely balanced as well, with deep black levels and decent shadow delineation. Without reservation, the 3D presentation is superior to the 2D, due to the immensely realistic presentation of depth and perspective. This was verified by switching back and forth between the two presentation formats. While not pushing the envelope for 3D presentation, the picture is absolutely engaging and will not disappoint. (Gary Reber)
The DTS-HD Master Audio™ 5.1-channel soundtrack is terrific with a nuanced, yet dynamic representation of soundscapes depicted on the screen. The soundfield is at times huge and immersive, with particularly effective discrete directionalization of sound effects and atmospherics. Deep bass response to sub-25 Hz frequencies really intensifies the excitement and the terror. The orchestral music score is nicely recorded with a wide and deep soundstage that effectively expands aggressively to the surrounds during the intense action scenes. Gunshots blast through the soundfield with convincing realism. Atmospherics are nuanced, while imploding buildings and battle chaos plays with power and clarity, along with eerie synthesizer-injected sound effects. Dialogue is nicely delivered with good spatial integration, which heightens the realism and sense of constant danger. This is a thrilling soundtrack that delivers the chills and thrills of an alien invasion that suspends disbelief. (Gary Reber)