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Since the 1950’s, there has never been a shortage of alien invasion movies. THE DARKEST HOUR ($31) is the latest take on this oft-played scenario. And while THE DARKEST HOUR doesn’t bring any new revelations to the table, the film does supply the requisite jolts and sci-fi action. The premise of THE DARKEST HOUR finds Americans Sean (Emile Hirsch) and Ben (Max Minghella) arriving to Moscow to sell the social networking software they have developed. The business deal goes south, so our two young Americans decide to drown their sorrows at a Moscow nightclub where they meet American girls Natalie (Olivia Thirlby) and Anne (Rachael Taylor). The partying quickly comes to an end when the power goes out, and outside the club, the patrons witness lights descending from the evening sky. On the ground, the lights become invisible, but anyone making contact with these invisible entities is instantly turned to ash. Hiding in a basement for several days, the survivors of the nightclub massacre emerge to discover millions dead, Moscow in ruins, and the city to be only one in a worldwide invasion. THE DARKEST HOUR then follows our protagonists as they look for other survivors, while trying to find a way to stop the invaders. The cast of THE DARKEST HOUR also features Joel Kinnaman and Veronika Ozerova.

Summit Entertainment has made THE DARKEST HOUR available on Blu-ray Disc in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the AVC codec. Shot digitally THE DARKEST HOUR features an excellent 1080p presentation. Like many newer all digital productions, THE DARKEST HOUR features a first-rate level of image sharpness, clarity and dimensionality. In addition, texturing and fine details, such as individual hairs and imperfections in the actor’s skin are also fully realized. Depending on available lighting, colors can appear rich and fully saturated, or they can appear just a bit more subdued. Additionally, flesh tones are always highly appealing. Blacks are pitch perfect and the whites are pure. Blacks are deep and inky, while the whites are crisp. Contrast is very smooth. Shadow detail is strongly resolved; although, the movie is shot and lit to give even dark sequences detail and dimensionality. As this is an all-digital production, the elements from which THE DARKEST HOUR has been mastered are free from imperfections. Being an all-digital production, there is no actual film grain, but there is a very tiny bit of noise in the image.

THE DARKEST HOUR is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. No question here, this is a demo quality soundtrack. The sound design is highly aggressive throughout the film’s numerous "alien attack" sequences. All of the discrete channels engage fully for sound effects placement, which float and zip around the sound field effortlessly. The sound design also helps to create a sense of acoustic space for the open areas that the characters inhabit. Fidelity is excellent, producing wholly believable sound effects, in addition to a rich sounding musical component. The bass channel track adds a ground shaking quality to effects. Voices are cleanly reproduced and the film’s dialogue is always completely understandable. A Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 channel track is also encoded onto the disc, as are English and Spanish subtitles.

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 extras. Starting things off is a running Audio Commentary with director Chris Gorak. Next up is Survivors, an eight-minute short film sequel to THE DARKEST HOUR. The Darkest Hour: Visualizing An Invasion is a twelve-minute featurette on the film’s visual effects. Deleted Scenes and Extended Scenes close out the extras.

THE DARKEST HOUR is another in a long line of alien invasion movies. The film doesn’t bring any new revelations to the table, but does supply the requisite jolts and sci-fi action. The Blu-ray presentation is excellent on both the video and audio fronts.


The Darkest Hour (Blu-ray) (2011)


DVD & Blu-ray Disc reviews are Copyright 2012 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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