Articles

Movie Renter's Guide Number 154 - January, 2008 - Part I

ARTICLE INDEX


"The Kingdom" (Blu-ray/HD DVD)

The KingdomSynopsis
Jamie Foxx, Chris Cooper, Jennifer Garner, and Jason Bateman ignite the screen in this high-intensity thriller about a team of elite FBI agents sent to Saudi Arabia to solve a brutal mass murder and find a killer before he strikes again. Out of their element and under heavy fire, the team must join forces with their Saudi counterparts. As these unlikely allies begin to unlock the secrets of the crime scene, the team is led into a heart-stopping, do-or-die confrontation.

Specifications

    • Universal
      2007, Color, Rated R, 1 hour 50 min
    • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
    • 1080p
    • English/French DD+ 5.1
    • Directed by Peter Berg
    • Starring amie Foxx, Chris Cooper, Jennifer Garner, Jason Bateman, Jeremy Piven, Danny Huston
Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Strong
  • Sex: No
  • Language: Yes

Commentary

I saw this at the theaters during a special sneak peek and enjoyed it immensely. I am surprised it didn't go on to do better at the box office, but I understand this isn't a very popular subject right now. Despite being directed by Peter Berg it reminds me a lot of Michael Mann's work, who serves as one of the producers of the film. The story is riveting and the acting is excellent. The action scenes are extremely intense, and I never once found myself bored or not entertained. If you didn't get the chance to see this in theaters, you really should give this a chance on HD DVD.

Technical

Universal delivers a solid HD presentation. This is a stylized piece, but it looks outstanding. Contrast is exaggerated a bit but adds a lot of dimension to the image and helps with color rendition. Blacks are solid, with great shadow detail and no blocking. Fine object detail is exceptional and even longer shots are tightly focused. Depth of image is always strong.

Like the recent Bourne film, the image has a quality that makes you feel like you're in the moment and not just watching something on a screen. A phenomenal job by Universal here.

Originally this film was announced as having a Dolby TrueHD lossless soundtrack, but the disc only includes a 24-bit Dolby Digital Plus mix. But don't let that fool you, this is still a wonderful track that is both engaging and immersive. Bass response is incredible with excellent use of the LFE channel and serious tactile response. The gun fights in this film really draw you in and have some of the best dynamics I've heard lately. The soundstage is very open and spatial, with great discrete surround use and atmosphere. Dialogue is always natural in tone and presence. A reference soundtrack presentation.

Extras

Universal has given this one the full treatment. The hybrid HD DVD release features Universal's "U-Control" interactive suite that lets you enable features while you watch the film. This includes notes and info on the region, government and religions of the Middle East, interviews, commentary, and a pretty cool multi-view selection during the shootout near the end of the film that allows you to look at different perspectives of the shot. The disc also includes deleted scenes in HD, production features, a look at the history of the region, and a feature commentary. It's also web-enabled, allowing you to connect to Universal's web space and download more content such as trailers and featurettes.