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post #1 of 3 Old 01-15-11, 10:40 PM Thread Starter
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The Social Network - Blu-ray Review

Title: The Social Network
Starring:Jesse Eisenberg, Justin Timberlake, Andrew Garfield
Directed by: David Fincher
Written by: Aaron Sorkin, Ben Mezrich
Studio: Sony Pictures
Rated: PG-13
Runtime: 120 Minutes
Release Date: January 11, 2011

Movie:
Video:
Audio:
Extras:
Overall:


Synopsis:
If you are reading this review, my guess is you have a Facebook account. Being that it's statistically the most widely used social networking website worldwide, you may have even logged on in the last 24 hours. The effect that Facebook has had, not only on social networking, but also on web communication in general, industry/group self-promotion, social online gaming, and even on politics- is groundbreaking and seemingly irreversible. The crazy thing is Facebook still has plenty of room to grow. In April of 2010, it was estimated that 41.6% of US residents had a Facebook account. Not the world....less than 42% of US residents. That's shocking to me considering over 76% of US residents own a computer, and Facebook is less than 7 years old and is already valued at over $41 billion. Fascinating stuff. But, "you don't get to 500 million friends without making a few enemies." Let's start with the very first one.

Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) is your typical Harvard student having a drink with his Boston University attending girlfriend, Erica (Rooney Mara) in the year 2003. Mark details his ambition to stand out amongst the many other Harvard students that also scored a perfect 1,600 on their SATs by trying to get accepted into one of the prestigious Harvard Final Clubs. A complex conversation ensues and then turns south quickly as Erica ultimately breaks up with Mark. Bad call? Possibly...

Slightly intoxicated, Mark then goes home and publicly blasts Erica on his blog, noting that even though she has some physical limitations and can often have the personality of a female dog, he admits she also has a pretty face. Using an algorithm that his roomate Eduardo (Andrew Garfield) once used to rank chess players, Mark then goes on to create a website where users decide which female is more attractive based on photos he stole from the university's facebook pages. (a facebook was once more commonly known as an online university directory containing photos and basic student information). In a matter of hours, the popularity of this website known as facemash.com managed to generate 22,000 hits bringing down the Harvard campus network.

The following day, Mark receives a slap on the wrist from Harvard's administration board for breaching security, violating student privacy, and violating certain copyright laws. However, the overwhelming popularity of facemash along with the fact that Mark created the site in one night while drunk manages to draw the attention of twins, Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss (Armie Hammer) and their business associate Divya Narendra (Max Minghella). Also students of Harvard, the three approach Mark with an idea for a social networking site called harvardconnection.com where students upload their information to profile pages, and access is exclusively limited to invitees that must be Harvard students. They need a programmer to work on the site, so Mark agrees to help them.

A short time later, Mark then approaches Eduardo with an idea to create a unified Harvard facebook with a concept similar to harvardconnection.com where Harvard student exclusivity will also be the driving force of the site's popularity. "The ultimate Final Club, where Mark and Eduardo would be the presidents." Mark lays out a plan where Eduardo provides $1,000 to fund the startup, is CFO and 30% owner while Mark is 70% owner and will be the creator and programmer. Eduardo agrees to the terms, so Mark goes on a coding binge to get the site started as soon as possible while communicating just enough to hold off the Winklevoss twins. One month later, Mark and Eduardo launch thefacebook.com with invites to Eduardo's connections at the Phoenix Final Club where he was recently accepted.

Six days after the site's launch, the Winklevoss twins and Divya report to the Harvard Crimson campus newspaper that Mark entered into a verbal contract with them to create harvardconnection.com, but then kept them at bay while stealing their idea and creating thefacebook.com. Three days later, a lawsuit was filed against Mark. An underlying theme of the film from this point chronicles this lawsuit keeping the viewer in question of whether or not Mark did steal intellectual property. The bulk of the story, however, centers around thefacebook's meteoric rise in popularity, expanding from Harvard to other universities and eventually to other countries within a matter of short years.

When thefacebook eventually expands to the west coast, the founder of Napster, Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake) catches wind and sets up a meeting with Mark and Eduardo. Immediately skeptical of Sean's past, personal life and business tactics, Eduardo pushes for the site to start generating revenue while Sean agrees with Mark's philosophy that they need to continue building the site and expanding before ruining it with ads. Sean's contributions at this meeting are suggesting that they move out to California and for them to drop the "the." Facebook.com is born.

Eduardo supplies funding for Facebook to move it's headquarters to California for the summer while taking an internship in New York and trying to generate advertiser interest. While out in California, Mark moves in Sean and the two begin working together. When Eduardo makes a trip out to California to visit, he's enraged to find Sean living off his investment and making business decisions that he, the CFO should be making. In retaliation, Eduardo cuts off the bank account supplying the company, but coincidentally, this happens the same day one of Sean's contacts decides to make an angel investment of a half a million dollars. The other branch of this story is we find Mark is involved in two lawsuits simultaneously. We find that his best friend Eduardo is also suing him for cutting him out of the company. Accusations of intellectual property theft while turning his back on his only real friend, Mark is left with the realization that he may have to pay for decisions he made along the road of creating arguably this century's most influential social phenomenon.

I feel guilty because even though I'm not obsessed with Facebook (denial?), I'm riveted by other people's obsession with Facebook. I'm captivated by it's rise in popularity, the story of how it got there, and the fact that it's currently the 3rd most valuable US website behind only Amazon and Google. The Social Network does a fantastic job delivering this story not only to people like me, but also, I believe it's a story that will keep Facebook "haters" interested from beginning to the end.

Rating:
Rated PG-13 for sexual content, drug and alcohol use and language.

Video:
The Social Network sports a MPEG-4 AVC encoded 1080p transfer at an aspect ratio of 2.40:1. The majority of the film has a unique look like you're in a 100 year-old dorm room that's lucky enough to be up to minimal electrical code so that you're able to see by lamplight. There's a dark and yellow-green feel to everything that adds to a mood that makes you feel like this story isn't necessarily set in the present. However, when you jump forward in time, law office rooms tend to portray a broader color field. Outdoor rowing scenes also produce evidence of much stronger color depth. Blacks are inky and whites are bright with only one forgettable instance of blooming that I noticed. A nice layer of film grain stays consistent even during some of the darker scenes with no noticeable crushing, but there are some minimal instances of posterization like in the club scene with Sean Parker for example. Textures are quite nice and highly detailed at times, but there are also some instances of softness. Overall, this is a very decent transfer that does well by enhancing mood rather than being overly textured or saturated.



Audio:
I was completely blindsided by this uncompressed 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track. I'm telling you people, believe me when I say this is a phenomenal audio track. The score is extraordinary and I give high praise to Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. I even bought the soundtrack! Large portions of the music tout some of the tightest, deepest, wall-rattling bass you may ever hear in a dramatic film like this. That being said, the dynamic guitars and sparkling highs are equally impressive as the music moves around the room fading from channel to channel and back again. If the audio transition from the broken chimney scene to the club scene with Sean and Mark doesn't bring a smile to your face, you may want to check your pulse! None the less, this scene, which may be the most impressive audio demonstration of the film, may also demonstrate the biggest negative. Although accurately representing conversation in an actual dance club, the dialogue of this scene is slightly annoying to try and discern over the pounding techno music. Some of the score sounds very much like an over-the-top Nine Inch Nails album. (The cru rowing scene in England, for example). If this appeals to you, then great, but if not, it may be a little distracting. These are minor infractions, however. Another reason to fall in love with this track are the impressive ambient sounds. The sounds of an active bar scene, the splashing of cru paddles combined with squawking geese and even the clicking sounds of a bike as it passes by all add to the immersive ambiance. Even the menu sounds impressive. If you want to demo your sound system for music, bass or even to show off how great even dialogue-heavy dramas can sound, this is the disk to put in.

Extras:
Disc One
  • Audio Commentary with Director David Fincher
  • Audio Commentary with Writers Aaron Sorkin and the Cast, including Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake, Armie Hammer, and Josh Pence
  • BD-Live.

Disc Two
  • How Did They Ever Make a Movie of Facebook? A four-part documentary.
  • Jeff Cronenweth and David Fincher on the Visuals
  • Angus Wall, Kirk Baxter, and Ren Klyce on Post Production
  • Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, and David Fincher on the Score
  • In the Hall of the Mountain King: Music Exploration
  • Swarmatron
  • Ruby Skye VIP Room: Multi-Angle Scene Breakdown

Overall:
Call me. Email me. Text me. Facebook me. When did Facebooking become a verb representing a form of communication that could stand up to the likes of email or even a phone call? All I know is it's big. It's getting bigger, and generally the true-life back story for something like this can equate to a very intriguing movie the likes of 21, Rudy, or even The Pursuit of Happiness. With all of these examples, some liberties were taken to make a very interesting story screen-worthy, and I believe the same applies with The Social Network. Let's face it, a Harvard computer nerd sitting around coding probably wouldn't make the most interesting movie, but I found myself enthralled in a very interesting story with intriguing characters. The facts and characters may not be 100% true to life, but the result is one of the very best movies of 2010 worthy of multiple viewings, a fantastic audio track and my full personal recommendation.

Your AV bookmarks include:
FaceMash- 9:12
Club Scene- 1:20:25


Last edited by Cory Phoenix; 01-16-11 at 10:34 AM.
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post #2 of 3 Old 01-20-11, 11:18 AM
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Re: The Social Network - Blu-ray Review

Thanks for the great review. This film is at the top of my Netflix rental list. I did not realized until seeing the Golden Globes that Trent Reznor had done the soundtrack. I enjoy Nine Inch Nails so I'm looking forward to paying extra attention to the backgound music.
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post #3 of 3 Old 01-20-11, 01:49 PM Thread Starter
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Re: The Social Network - Blu-ray Review

Quote:
usrsld wrote: View Post
Thanks for the great review. This film is at the top of my Netflix rental list. I did not realized until seeing the Golden Globes that Trent Reznor had done the soundtrack. I enjoy Nine Inch Nails so I'm looking forward to paying extra attention to the backgound music.
Glad you enjoyed the review. Let me know what you thought of the movie once you get to watch it.

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