Home Page | About Me | Home Entertainment | Home Entertainment Blog | Politics | Australian Libertarian Society Blog | Disclosures

Dark City cover

Blu-ray Reviews: Dark City (Director's Cut)

Not previously published
Last updated 21 April 2009

Dark City
1998 - Reel DVD
Director: Alex Proyas
Starring: Rufus Sewell, William Hurt, Kiefer Sutherland, Jennifer Connelly, Richard O'Brien, Ian Richardson, Bruce Spence, Colin Friels, John Bluthal, Mitchell Butel and Melissa George

Movie: 5 Picture: 4.5 Sound: 4.5 Extras: 4

Running time: 100/112 minutes (Theatrical/Director's Cuts)
Video: 2.35:1, 1080p24, VC1, 18.09/17.83 Mbps (Theatrical/Director's Cuts)
Sound: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 3/4.1 @ 6046/5913 kbps (Theatrical/Director's Cuts); 5 x Commentary tracks: DTS 2/0.0 @ 255kbps
Extras: Fact Track showing differences between Theatrical and Director's Cuts; Three Featurettes (16:9, 480i, MPEG2, DTS2.0 @ 256kbps - 82 minutes); Trailer (1080p24, VC1, DTS5.1 @ 1536kbps - 2 mins); Production Gallery - 80 stills (1080p24, MPEG4 AVC, no sound); Metropolis Comparison - 11 text pages (1080p24, MPEG2, no sound); Neil Gaiman on Dark City - 1 text page (1080p24, MPEG2, no sound)
Restrictions: Rated M (Australian rating); Region B; Opening 'Reel' logo in 1080i50 format

This is the video bitrate graph for the theatrical cut of this movie, generated by BDInfo 0.5.2:

Dark City (Theatrical Cut) video bitrate graph

This is the video bitrate graph for the Director's Cut of this movie, generated by BDInfo 0.5.2:

Dark City (Director's Cut) video bitrate graph

No review as yet

Comparison: Blu-ray vs PAL DVD

Here are some comparisons between the PAL DVD and the Blu-ray version of this movie. At the top of each is the full frame (suitably shrunk down) used in the comparison, with a 250 pixel wide detail from the frame underneath. The left side is from the PAL DVD. The image was captured digitally from the disc, scaled up from its native 720 by 576 resolution to 1,024 by 576 (to present in the correct aspect ratio), and then, in order to be comparable to the Blu-ray version, from that to 1,920 by 1,080. The detail is from that last scaled version, and has not been rescaled again. The right side is from the Australian Blu-ray. This has not been scaled at all.

Different applications were used to capture the two frames, so I am not normally comfortable comparing the colour between the two, merely the detail and sharpness. However there is a marked difference in the colour balance of the whole movie, with the Blu-ray having a far greener, more stylised, hue. These shots do seem to be representative of how things look on the big screen. For those visitors from NTSC lands, generally the PAL DVD is just a touch sharper than the NTSC DVD.

When it comes to sharpness and detail, the comparison is all one way. Notice, also, the lack of MPEG2 compression 'noise' on the Blu-ray, and the appearance of the film grain. Sometimes grain attracts criticism. But if it's part of the film, I want the Blu-ray to deliver it:

Comparison 1

Just check out Rufus Sewell's face in the DVD version, what little detail of it you can find:

Comparison 2

Look here especially at the print of the skirt, how natural it seems in the Blu-ray:

Comparison 3

Comparison 4

Comparison 5

You would not know from the DVD that this office is enclosed in fluted glass:

Comparison 6

© 2002-2009, Stephen Dawson