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2 Poor Transfers - Why?
on March 15, 2010
Just a bit of math. A blu-ray disc holds around 50 GB of data. Movies that take advantage of the space are the ones that generally look better. This Donnie Darko Director's Cut puts both theatrical and Director's versions separately onto ONE disc, cutting the amount of space available for each in half. The result: Neither cut looks better than a standard DVD. The image quality is soft to the point where film grain is barely even visible, and detail is poor, except in the occasional closeup.
I didn't actually watch the Directors cut until I bought this version recently, and didnt understand what the hub-bub was about. The sound mixing in the DC is downright awful in places where changes have been made. Most of the sound changes involve fading out the (excellent) score by Michael Andrews and putting loud sound effects in their place. Extra material in scenes adds some slight character padding that portrays Donnie in a somewhat less sinister light, which the removal of some of the music seems to want to suggest, too. There's nothing wrong with that, but a big part of the film's charm is the mood it evokes, and the score is a big part of it. Cutting it down just makes the tone of the film even harder to get a hold of, if that's possible...
The bonus disc contains a filmmakers journal, which will certainly interest film buffs, a documentary called 'they made do it too' about people who really liked the movie talking about how they liked the movie, and #1 fan: A Darkomentary (which I didn't watch).
The Philosophy of Time Travel book that was included in the original DVD is sadly not included here.
I'm a fan of the film, and even liked Kelly's Southland Tales (which was a good blu-ray, if not a great movie), but I can't recommend this release... it's just meh.
If they re-release the theatrical cut as a standalone with a better transfer, I'm down.