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416 of 462 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Blu review only...
I noticed the 440+ reviews here are for the film - not the Blu so I at least wanted to answer some common questions about this cut.

The director's cut is 111 minutes with the already mentioned changes listed here and everywhere - including the removal of the beginning narration, more character development scenes, etc. The transfer looks phenomenal (compared to...
Published on July 26, 2008 by Steve Kuehl

versus
41 of 50 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Brain Candy Sci-Fi
When I saw Dark City in the theater, I turned to a friend after it was over and told him this movie was either a triumph or a total disaster, I just didn't know which. After sleeping on it for the weekend, I finally came to the conclusion that this movie was indeed a triumph. If The Matrix did not upstage this movie a year later, I firmly believe people would still be...
Published on December 27, 2002 by Steven Y.


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416 of 462 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Blu review only..., July 26, 2008
This review is from: Dark City (Director's Cut) [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
I noticed the 440+ reviews here are for the film - not the Blu so I at least wanted to answer some common questions about this cut.

The director's cut is 111 minutes with the already mentioned changes listed here and everywhere - including the removal of the beginning narration, more character development scenes, etc. The transfer looks phenomenal (compared to how I saw it prior - even upscaled). I played the title on both a Panasonic plasma and a Bravia via a 80 GB PS3 and Sony BDP301. I paused the film in over 34 spots of action, dark contrasts, bright colorings and various hue changes. Virtually every frame looked excellent, especially the scenes with Jennifer Connelly singing; the majority of the colorings were in her scenes until those last beach sequences.

The special features are the same between the DVD and Blu with the exception of one of the commentaries. The 7.1 DTS HD sound was enjoyable, even though two of the channels were primarily used in the large machine sequences only.

A worthwhile Blu addition and I did not see too many failings in the grain reduction/transfer issues I had read about.
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119 of 130 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Science Fiction Noir, August 16, 2000
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This review is from: Dark City (DVD)
'Dark City' is pure science fiction noir and a visual feast: a gloomy metropolis encrusted with bristling Gothic ornament, redesigned and reinvented in impressive FX sequences night after night. Making up original stories in the noirish setting is one difficult task, as you can tell by watching the movie. It is complicated and mysteriously complex, all to the point where, if you take your eyes of the film for one second, you can get lost. Every moment of your attention must be paid to the movie as it unfolds, otherwise you may perhaps not appreciate the quality and effort that movie brings on. Films like "Dark City" are the pinnacles of imagination and visual style--you look at them and wonder, how any human being could possibly create such breathtaking scenarios and stories. The movie is not for one second dull and dreary, and never for one moment a let down.
The premise of the movie, outlined by Kiefer Sutherland's "mad doctor" character as we descend into the "Dark City", is that a race of aliens is dying, although they are advanced enough to control spacetime through thought alone, a process known as "tuning." His character is central to the plot of the aliens' experiments with a cast of human subjects by rearranging their memories nightly - not just within an individual, but from one person to the next. The whys and wherefores revolve around one John Murdoch, played with urgency by Rufus Sewell and shadowed throughout by John Hurt's angular, intense police detective.
In this era of pretentious, over the top sci-fi films (The Matrix) Dark City stands as a triumph of imagination and will endure for years.
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183 of 209 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Dark Sci-Fi Question-Reality Film, March 18, 2003
By 
John Nolley II (Fairfax, VA United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Dark City (DVD)
The trailers for Dark City suggested a film so complex and impeneterable to leave the viewer rather confused at its conclusion, yet in execution the film makes far more sense than the intriguing montage in the trailer.
Set in a dark world--literally dark, as no one seems to remember being out during the day--the film focuses on John Murdoch (Rufus Sewell), a man who awakens amnesiac to find a murdered woman nearby. Soon thereafter pursued by the police (led by William Hurt), he must solve the mystery of his missing memories and eerie pursuers.
Helped along the way by a woman claiming to be his wife (Jennifer Connelley) and a pendactic psychiatrist (Kiefer Sutherland), Murdoch learns that his pursuers are a race of aliens with the power to warp reality with their minds who continually change the city and the memories and even lives of the people inhabiting it in an experiment designed to save their lives. Murdoch has developed their same power to "tune" and save humanity from the aliens' machinations.
The film's theme of questionable reality--carried across on two levels as both human memories are manipulated and the physical world itself changed on a nightly basis--is done fairly well if somewhat less successfully than the in the Matrix.
Replete with dark imagery suiting the film noir genre and quite at home in Blade Runner, the movie makes for a stunning visual performance. The aliens are masterfully done as frightening and eerie outsiders. My only complaint is that I was able to grasp the film's actions and meanings on a first viewing with little difficulty; I had expected to come out with the sense of, "What the heck?!" that would require two or three viewings to fully digest the film's depth. Yet that aside, the film is still a definite watch for any fans of film noir or reality-questioning sci-fi.
The DVD includes a number of special features to sweeten the deal, including two commentary tracks, the theatrical trailer (whose music unfortunately didn't make it into the film), an isolated score track, and more. The video and audio transfers are crisp and clean.
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69 of 78 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece, now even more perfect (plus DVD supplements)., May 15, 2008
This review is from: Dark City (Director's Cut) (DVD)
A brilliant film from Alex Proyas, that expertly mixes noir, science fiction and themes of existentialism. A lot has been written about this great film (go read Ebert), so I won't repeat. But here are the confirmed special features for the DVD release; it's a packed-to-the-gills release, and Amazon had not updated the product page at the time of this post.

* The disc will carry both the theatrical and director's cuts of the film - each of which will be presented in anamorphic widescreen, along with an English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround track.
* Extras will include:
- 3 commentary tracks (with director Alex Proyas, Writers Lem Dobbs, and David S Goyer, Director of Photography Dariusz Wolski, Production Designer Patrick Tatopoulous, and film critic Roger Ebert)
- An introduction by Alex Proyas
- A Memories of Shell Beach making-of featurette
- An Architecture of Dreams featurette
- Text Essays
- Neil Gaiman review of Dark City
- A production gallery
- Trailers and more.
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31 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A question-your-existence dark fantasy that works., April 9, 2004
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This review is from: Dark City (DVD)
Dark City is the equivalent of taking a train through a tunnel with the proverbial light at the end being either an oncoming train or the end of the tunnel - except the tunnel is a nasty horror film roller coaster loop without the majority of the gore and bad plot. (The light analogy is apt; Dark City is one of only two films I know of where no scene takes place in daylight, at least until the end of the film.)
If you've never seen this, the plot is a man (Rufus Sewell with an American accent reminscent of Damian Lewis in Band of Brothers) accused of murder being forced to explore the underside of his city - and realizing something is very, very wrong in the very structure of the universe when memories don't add up. Feared and then supported by his wife (Jennifer Connelly as she just started becoming a superstar), helped at times by an amoral 'psychatrist' who has a lot more up his sleeve than therapy (Kiefer Sutherland acting for a change!), he is pursued by a droll detective (William Hurt) as they question the reality and realize the horror of their lives.
The plot works here for several reasons, unlike much in this genre. The heroes are worth rooting for and clearly delineated against the real bad guys, and the explore-the-world theme that often overcomplicates plotlines this gets pulled along at a quick pace by at first the murder charge and then later the pursuit by the real baddies. Give the writers credit too - unlike the Matrix, the world created here doesn't borrow extensively from myth and religion and you don't need to watch five times to get the point. Cinematography is out of this world - and one of the reasons this picked up comparisons to Lang's Metropolis - and the sound track featuring a ton of brass, bass, drums and weeping violins fits.
The DVD transfer has good blacks (important given that whole never see the sun thing) and I happened to actually learn things about films in general from the Ebert commentary.
A good chaser of this genre after watching the last couple of Matrix films. Recommended.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark City [Director's Cut], November 3, 2008
This review is from: Dark City (Director's Cut) (DVD)
At last! A director's cut that actually improves on the original!

The 1998 version of Dark City was a fantastic film (apart from the studio enforced opening narration), very inventive plot with lots of good 'reveals' throughout, also, the cuts were very fast (I don't think a single 'shot' lasted longer than five seconds) which propelled the story along at a blistering pace.

The new edit has an improved 5.1 soundtrack and the re-cut has slowed the film down - which actually improves it. There are extensions to lots of scenes that round off each character's involvement in the plot, and the opening narration has been removed (hurrah!). The picture has also had a major clean up that reveals plot as well as detail.
The new extras are also very interesting and a welcome change from the usual, boring, "This is how we did the effects" documentaries.

All in all, a better version of an already outstanding film. 10/10.
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41 of 50 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Brain Candy Sci-Fi, December 27, 2002
This review is from: Dark City (DVD)
When I saw Dark City in the theater, I turned to a friend after it was over and told him this movie was either a triumph or a total disaster, I just didn't know which. After sleeping on it for the weekend, I finally came to the conclusion that this movie was indeed a triumph. If The Matrix did not upstage this movie a year later, I firmly believe people would still be talking about it. I do not agree with Roger Ebert that Dark City was the best movie of 1998, but I do admire director Alex Proyas' efforts to dare the audience to actually use their brains. Dark City is not filled with pointless car chases or endless gun fights. It is instead filled with something better - ambitious ideas that force us to question the very nature of reality. Are the memories we possess really ours and organic in nature? Or are they synthetic and subject to the whims of chance? For that matter, does reality exist in and of itself or is it an artificial construct? Is human consciousness real or do we just think it is real? Am I the same person I was yesterday or was I someone else? Do not get the idea, though, that this movie is the visual equivalent of a staid classroom lecture. Dark City also functions as an exciting movie in its right by combining the best elements of sci-fi and film noir into an engrossing mystery. Just think of Dark City as a good movie with more of a brain that you might be used to.
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars They are the strangers, September 5, 2006
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This review is from: Dark City (DVD)
Cult films don't come much more groundbreaking than "Dark City" -- it was bending reality before the Matrix ever did.

At first glance, Alex Proyas' movie seems like a basic sci-fi little-man-against-evil-aliens flick. But it isn't. Instead, it's a dark grimy nightmare where nothing is what it seems, and everything we think is real is just an elaborate illusion. This is one of the rare films that is creepy from start to finish.

The Strangers are pasty-faced, bald, leather-coat-wearing aliens (think Darth Vader, post-mask), whose survival depends on somehow imitating human souls and dreams. So they created the Dark City, to observe and manipulate the unwitting humans.

Our hero John Murdoch (Rufus Sewell) wakes up naked in a tub, with no memory of who he is, and the police hunting him for brutal murders that he is sure he didn't commit. And worse, hes being pursued by the Strangers, without even knowing who they are or why they're after him.

And then he starts seeing past the Strangers' illusions. Buildings are reshaped, people's memories change, and the sun never appears. As John searches for hints to his past, he finds that the places he knew never existed -- and it's connected to the Strangers. Now John and a suspicious cop will unravel the truth of the City -- and of why the Strangers want John.

It's not surprising that "The Matrix" and "Dark City" are often compared. They deal with an illusionary "real" world, malevolent manipulation, and one man who might be able to stop the bad guys. But "Dark City" is very much unique -- it's dark, angular, and haunted, like if Fritz Lang made a sci-fi noir.

The Dark City is a pretty creepy place, like a... well, like a city at night, with some surreal skyscrapers, big cogs and giant clocks. Proyas gives all these scenes a creepy feeling, which is only increased by the fact that there are so few people in the streets and houses. Even everyday things like eating soup and going to work become unreal.

But it's also paired with a very suspenseful script, which is equal parts surrealism and gnostic philosophy. All the dialogue is well written ("You know something, I don't think the sun even... exists... in this place"), and very spare. But Proyas makes all the dialogue weirdly disconnected, as if the characters are never really communicating fully. It adds to the dreamlike feeling.

Sewell is well-suited to the role of John Murdoch, moving seamlessly from confusion to skepticism to a pretty wild action scene where he clashes with all the Strangers. Connelly has a good if underused role as his nightclub-singer wife. Kiefer Sutherland is a bit annoying, but he does a good Peter Lorre impersonation with all those nervous gasps.

Like Kafka on acid, "Dark City" is a unique and compelling sci-fi movie, with outstanding direction and an amazing plot. Definitely a must-see.
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33 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Probably the Best Sci-Fi Film of the 1990's, September 2, 2006
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This review is from: Dark City (DVD)
Incredibly imaginative, ground-breaking visual effects, terrific acting, heavily atmospheric, crisply paced and written... it just works on every single level and it works brilliantly. Seeing this in the cinema the first time, my mouth was agape for a goodly portion of the film, particularly the "tuning" of the city sequences and the very memorable climax. This simply in one of the great Sci-Fi films of all time, and also goes into history with films like DARKMAN and THE MATRIX as the best comic-book films that weren't comic books, which is mostly due to Proyas' direction and the co-writing of David Goyer, who wrote the BLADE films, co-wrote BATMAN BEGINS, and has worked on several different actual comics over the years. Great, great film.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Creepy, Cool, and a wrongfully-neglected classic, May 15, 2006
By 
Katsuhiro Otomo (Maplewood, NJ United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Dark City (DVD)
Way back in the dawn of middle school, I used to play a role-palying game called UnderWorld. As I was looking through the player's guide, I came across a list of movies I could watch that helped inspire the game. Since this movie was on it and I'd heard it mentioned before in connection with one of my favorite authors, I decided to give it a try, following the instructions the UnderWorld guide gave me to skip over the opening introduction.

Almost two hours later, I was in love.

The plot is very meticulous, so I'll only reveal a part of it: John Murdoch wakes up in a bathtub with no memory of who he is or where he's been. Seeing an oddly-shaped syringe nearby, he immediately flees the scene, stopping to save a goldfish dying on the floor. As he goes through his pockets, he finds a postcard for Shell Beach, which triggers a bit of memory (accompanied by the movie's theme music...only played backward)...

Meanwhile, a detective on the police force who has taken over a serial killer case discovers a dead body in the very hotel room where Murdoch was staying. he takes it upon himself to track down Murdoch and find out what happened.

Lastly, a creepy doctor named William Schreiber is trying to find Murdoch to either manipulate him, or explain what's going on with him...

And throughout the movie, people change identities, a race called The Strangers menaces Murdoch and various characters, and it all leads to an ending, that, although a bit cheesy, you don't see coming, and one of the coolest fight scenes I've ever seen. The acting is great, Rufus Sewell especially, and the effects and set design evoke both creepy and beautiful images.

If you haven't yet seen this movie, you must be absolutely crazy.

Just remember: SKIP TO THE OPENING CREDITS.
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Dark City (Director's Cut) [Blu-ray]
Dark City (Director's Cut) [Blu-ray] by Alex Proyas (Blu-ray - 2013)
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