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Under the watchful eye of writer/director Alfonso Cuarón CHILDREN OF MEN ($30) is a dark, bleak and gritty science fiction movie masquerading a socio-political thriller… or is it the other way around. Either way, CHILDREN OF MEN is a marvelous film that rivets one to the edge of their seat for its entire running time. Adapted from the 1992 novel by P. D. James, CHILDREN OF MEN is set in a dystopian Great Britain in the year 2027. Due to epidemic of global infertility that begun eighteen years prior, the human race is slowly dying out. With less than a century left before human extinction, societies around the world have collapsed into anarchy, with only the United Kingdom remaining as the last functional government on the planet. Although functional, the British government now resembles a fascist military state, which has begun deporting the millions of illegal immigrants that have shown up on its shores seeking asylum.

CHILDREN OF MEN stars Clive Owen as Theo Faron, a non-descript bureaucrat sleepwalking his way through a meaningless existence. After surviving a terrorist bombing on a coffee shop, Theo finds himself contacted by Julian Taylor (Moore), his estranged wife of twenty years, who has become the leader of the terrorist group known as the Fishes, that are trying to stop the mistreatment and deportation of the refugees that have shown up on the British shores. Julian offers Theo ₤5,000 in exchange for his help in obtaining a travel permit for a young refugee named Kee (Claire-Hope Ashitey). Needing the money, Theo is able to get the permit from a cousin, who is a high-ranking government minister. However, Theo’s cover story to his cousin results in a joint travel permit, requiring that he accompany Kee to the coast. While making the trip, Theo learns that Kee is pregnant, but the pregnant girl quickly becomes a political football, which a faction of the terrorists intends to use to further their political own agenda. The cast of CHILDREN OF MEN also features Michael Caine, Philippa Urquhart, Charlie Hunnam, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Danny Huston, Pam Ferris, Denise Mack, Jacek Koman, Caroline Lena Olsson, Milenka James and Peter Mullan.

Universal Studios Home Entertainment has made CHILDREN OF MEN available on Blu-ray Disc in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the VC-1 codec. As expected, the 1080p presentation delivers a terrific image with the stark, gritty cinematography. The picture is quite sharp, highly dimensionality and provides great clarity and fine detail. Colors are subdued and reflect the bleakness of the joyless, polluted world that the characters inhabit. Blacks are deep and whites are completely stable. The movie has a rather contrasted look that adds to the bleak quality the cinematography is conveying. Shadow detail is usually good, but there are times where things are purposely obscured. The film elements from which CHILDREN OF MEN has been mastered are virtually pristine. There is a veneer of grain throughout the course of the presentation, which helps maintain a film-like quality.

CHILDREN OF MEN is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This is a pretty terrific soundtrack. Considering the gunfire, terrorist attacks and military quelling of political activists, the sound design for CHILDREN OF MEN enters action movie territory on occasion and becomes quite aggressive. The discrete channels engage nicely for sound effects placement, plus the panning is quite convincing. Fidelity is pretty terrific, thanks to the lossless encode. The bass channel track adds plenty of percussion and rumble. Voices are cleanly reproduced and the film’s dialogue is always completely understandable. French, Spanish, German and Italian DTS 5.1 channel tracks are also encoded onto the disc. Subtitles are available in English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Korean, Dutch and Portuguese.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the disc's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as the supplements. Featurettes include the following programs: The Possibility Of Hope (twenty-seven minutes), Children Of Men Comments By Slavoj Zizek (six minutes), Under Attack (eight minutes), Theo And Julian (five minutes), Futuristic Design (nine minutes) and Visual Effects: Creating The Baby (three minutes). A few Deleted Scenes close out the standard supplements. Universal's U-Control interface is utilized for an interactive version of the movie that provides in context picture-in-picture, pop-up supplements in relation to individual moments or sequences in the film (requires a Profile 1.1 player). CHILDREN OF MEN is also BD-Live enabled (requires a Profile 2.0 player).

CHILDREN OF MEN is a dark, bleak, gritty and superb. The Blu-ray presentation is excellent. Highly recommended.



Children of Men [Blu-ray] (2006)


DVD & Blu-rayDisc reviews are Copyright © 2009 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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