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Although some plot points were thoroughly predictable, I found VANTAGE POINT ($39) to be one of the most entertaining political thrillers/action movies that I have seen in quite some time. The plot of VANTAGE POINT involves an assassination attempt on the President of The United States at a counter-terrorism summit in Spain, in which the U.S. leader is shot down in a public square in front of numerous witnesses. What VANTAGE POINT does with this premise is to replay the incident form the viewpoint of eight of the individuals in attendance- all of which having a different key to the puzzle of what was seen and what really happened. Only after the audience sees the event from each of the vantage points does the story progress to its inevitable conclusion.

VANTAGE POINT runs a compact ninety minutes, so neither the film, nor its storytelling conceit ever wears out their welcome. Director Pete Travis keeps things moving in rapid-fire fashion and maintains visual interest, as much of the film is dedicated to showing the same core event over and over. VANTAGE POINT features more than enough star power in its terrific ensemble cast that includes Dennis Quaid, Matthew Fox, Forest Whitaker, Bruce McGill, Edgar Ramirez, SaÔd Taghmaoui, Ayelet Zurer, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, William Hurt, James LeGros, Eduardo Noriega, Richard T. Jones, Holt McCallany, Leonardo Nam, Dolores Heredia, Alicia Zapien, Justin Sundquist and Sean O'Bryan.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has made VANTAGE POINT available on Blu-ray Disc in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the AVC codec. The 1080p presentation is utterly superb, coming across as one of the more film-like Blu-ray releases that I have seen of late. The images never looks over-processed or impossibly clean; there is a nice veneer of grain throughout the presentation that gives VANTAGE POINT a very organic look. Image sharpness and fine detail are truly excellent. Individual hairs, lines in the actorsí faces textures all register incredibly well. Colors have good saturation, but rarely seem pushed to unrealistic levels- flesh tones are also quite natural. Blacks are deep, white always appear crisp and contrast is very smooth. Shadow detail is very good, but most of the film plays out in broad daylight. The elements from which VANTAGE POINT has been mastered are free from defects.

VANTAGE POINT is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel Dolby TrueHD soundtrack. Much of VANTAGE POINT plays out in action movie mode, so the sound design is quite aggressive. There is excellent use of all the discrete channels for sound effects placement, plus the effects bounce around the sound field effectively- the climactic car chase is great fun. Fidelity is pretty terrific. Music has a very strong presence, plus the bottom end of the track adds enough kick to the explosions. Voices are cleanly reproduced and the filmís dialogue is always completely understandable. French, Spanish Portuguese and Thai Dolby Digital 5.1 channel tracks are also encoded onto the disc. Subtitles are available in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Korean, Thai and Chinese.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the discís interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as some nice supplements. Starting things off is a running Audio Commentary from director Pete Travis. Vantage Viewer: GPS Tracker is an interactive mode for the movie that allows one to see the positions of the various characters in relation to the action (requires a Profile 1.1 player). Featurettes include Vantage Point: An Inside Perspective (twenty six minutes), Plotting An Assassination (sixteen minutes) and Coordinating Chaos: Stunts (seven minutes). Outtakes and Trailer close out the supplements.

VANTAGE POINT is a compact and highly enjoyable little thriller. Sonyís Blu-ray presentation is excellent and gets kudos for maintaining an organic, film-like quality. Recommended.



Vantage Point [Blu-ray] (2008)


DVD & Blu-rayDisc reviews are Copyright © 2008 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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