Monday, April 10, 2017

Donnie Darko (4-Disc Limited Edition) (Blu-ray + DVD) Review

Please note this review is not based on final product, but check discs Arrow Video sent out to journalists for review purposes. While I do think these discs offer exceptional quality, there is always the possibility of a change between when check discs were issued and when the final product is received for consumer purchase. As a matter of policy, I do not normally review check discs because they are not in my opinion the same as final product and I have been a professional in this industry for nearly twenty years. However given the fact that I have never worked with Arrow Video before and I understand this is an extremely limited release, I did in fact review the film and it's contents and from what I saw, this movie looks and sounds great.

Donnie Darko has achieved cult status over the years and it was released around the same time the film Sexy Beast was released and the reason why I mention it is both films feature anthropomorphic rabbit costumed characters in different contexts and the two movies could not be more different, though the coincidence is still worth noting. The cast of Donnie Darko is nothing short of amazing and features an ensemble that includes both real life brother and sister playing fictional brother and sister, Jake and Maggie Gyllenhaal, Drew Barrymore, Jenna Malone, Marry McDonnell, Noah Wyle and Patrick Swayze. The four disc set will include both Blu-ray and DVD versions of the Theatrical and Director's Cuts and the source for these transfers comes from a new fully restored 4K master supervised by Writer and Director Richard Kelly. I have not watched Donnie Darko in years so I cannot attest how much better these new transfers look compared to the originals, but I can say whole heartedly that the picture quality was simply razor sharp and very impressive. An English 5.1 Surround Soundtrack that highlights the film's 1980s' New Wave/Alternative score beautifully is provided along with English Subtitles for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired as an option..

Extra value features include an audio commentary track with Director Richard Kelly and Star Jake Gyllenhaal, which is screen specific. A cast and crew feature length audio commentary for the film is also included for the Theatrical Cut, which is my preferred version of the film.The Director's Cut features a full length audio commentary with Director Richard Kelly and his friend Kevin Smith, who keeps the momentum going.

The running time on the Theatrical Cut is 1:53:14 while the Director's Cut has an approximate run time of 2:13:53. A mix of new and archival extra value features are included though not all are presented in high definition. These include the documentary Deus ex Machina: The Philosophy of Donnie Darko (1:25:23) Richard Kelly's short film The Goodbye Place (8:43), a reel of delete and extended scenes that can be viewed individually or in succession (31:54) and has optional Director commentary, the theatrical trailer (2:28), a Director's Cut trailer (:55) and two 32 second TV spots as well as two 17 second TV spots too. These extra features are spread across the two Blu-ray Discs for each respective version collectively.

The rest of the bonus materials include a production documentary (52:54), archived interviews (14:19), featurettes under the titles They Made Me Do It (4:48) and They Made Me Do It Too (30:17), a fan film (13:18), storyboard comparisons (7:58), B-roll Footage (4:47) the Cunning Visions infomercials with what seems to be a fake in character optional audio commentary track (5:42), and an image gallery. The interactive menus are elegantly rendered and easy to navigate. 

This appears to be the definitive home video release of Donnie Darko for the ages. Donnie Darko (4-Disc Limited Edition) (Blu-ray + DVD) will debut at retailers on and offline on Tuesday, April 18, 2017 courtesy of Arrow Video.

(C) Copyright 2017 By Mark A. Rivera.
All Rights Reserved.