[img]http://t3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRAoqQbcD5x_WzpEq-3AoKTUFmj4HZ_SnfxmH6bgnekjiqe8dRv0J0SyVGO[/img]Releasing/Participating Studio(s): Summit Entertainment
Disc/Transfer Information: Region A Locked; 1080p High Definition 1.78:1 (Original Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1)
Running Time: 93 Minutes
Video Codec Information: MPEG-4 AVC (27.88 MBPS)
Tested Audio Track: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit)
Director: Duncan Jones
Starring Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan, Vera Farmiga, Jeffrey Wright, Russell Peters
MAKE EVERY SECOND COUNT.
The first thing that struck me over the head like a lead pipe from a jealous boyfriend of the stunning adult video starlet who I was trying to hit on in the park when taking in just 15 minutes or so of Duncan Jones’ Source Code was that this MUST have been based on either a video game or graphic novel – or some strange fusion of the two. I knew it was going to be science fiction-ey going into it, but this got REALLY strange in some spots – and I STILL cannot understand what really happened at the very end. Though, I gotta say, Michelle Monaghan was REALLY really cute in this and I couldn’t stop staring at her – thoroughly from head to toe – when she was onscreen; she’s just one of the most adorable, girl-next-door actresses out there, and between her infectious heart-warming smile and the fetching short skirt outfit she has on throughout Source Code, I was hooked.
OH – the story? Okay, well, what Duncan Moon Jones has concocted here is a quasi-futuristic-thriller-time travel spinster of some kind that actually fuses many different concepts and seems lifted from different motion picture projects; you don’t figure it out at first, at all, but at the crux of it is a government experiment (yes – by the U.S. government…who else?) wherein a severely injured helicopter pilot and military captain (Gyllenhaal) is placed in a specialized chamber and one small working part of his brain is tapped in to, allowing other government officials (Vera Farmiga and Jeffrey Wright) to “communicate” with him via a parallel universe creation of some kind. Sound far-fetched? It’s beyond that – it comes off as ridiculously impossible. What Jones does right, however, during his plodding and pacing of Source Code is to not reveal any of what is actually going on until the very end – throughout the film, we sit and wonder what it is exactly that is going on as Gyllenhaal’s Colter Stevens character routinely “flashes” back and forth between a Chicago commuter train and what appears to be some kind of isolation chamber he’s locked in by which he speaks to the government officials conducting this experiment. What we end up learning is that Stevens was a downed helicopter pilot who lost most of his lower body in a crash as well as one of his arms, and his now barely-functioning torso and minor part of his brain is being “controlled” by the government in a new attempt to battle terrorism – the notion by itself is pretty impressive and would be great if it was plausible. But, how exactly are they attempting to do this, you ask?
You see, some home-grown terrorist nut wants to blow up, first, the passenger commuter train in Chicago – as well as a passing cargo train simultaneously – with a pretty impressive explosive device that’s somewhere on the train being controlled by a cell phone, as well as destroy the entire city next…Jeffrey Wright’s Dr. Rutledge character represents the brain – no pun intended – behind this secret government experiment, while his subordinate, Colleen Goodwin (Vera Farmiga) is the go-between via the government’s orders and Stevens’ behavior. The whole thing just gets a bit head-scratching once we see the government “secret headquarters” in which these experiments are taking place; I mean, Gyllenhaal’s Stevens character is encased in a tomb-like pod in which cables and wires are hooked up to his head, suggesting this is how the government officials are tapping into what’s left of his mind, while Goodwin and Rutledge “speak” to what’s left of his essence via a microphone and infrared camera of some kind…yet, they are able to send Stevens “onto” the actual Chicago train by making him appear as another guy that sits opposite Monaghan’s Christina Warren character and whom she is starting a relationship with. What?
Sometimes, I gotta say, science fiction as much as I like it in doses (think the original Trek or Star Wars) gets way too thick, deep and trenched in monkey manure for its own good. I saw this happen with Oblivion and even After Earth, and Source Code is another good example. The filmmakers want us to believe that this Christina Warren is sitting on a commuter train outside of Chicago talking with a guy who she’s falling in love with, but the guy that WE as the audience see as Jake Gyllenhaal really looks like the guy SHE sees (don’t forget – Colter Stevens was badly injured in the helicopter crash and is being kept alive via an advanced form of life support wherein only part of his brain still functions for this mission) confirmed when he runs into the train’s bathroom and sees a different face in the mirror. All the while, the train continues to blow up from the explosion on board, with Stevens each time being “yanked” back by the government to be given another shot at stopping the bombing before it happens. Lost yet?
I shouldn’t even ask these questions because most of you have already seen Source Code no doubt, but indulge me here. So the film dips into the “time travel to stop a horrific act” genre, with Gyllenhaal portraying the tortured, confused “essence” of himself via brainwaves controlled by the government in his Colter Stevens character, routinely returning to the scene of the pre-bombing crime, each opportunity desperately searching for the person who is going to make the cell phone call to set the explosive off. As each time frame – or, as the government explains it rather haphazardly, each “Source Code” – puts Stevens back in the “character” sitting before Christina on the train until finally he can track down the guy who is going to bomb it, he eventually stops both bombs from blowing off, supposedly…but here’s the question I had: If this was a “parallel universe” he was operating in, as Wright’s Rutledge character explained to him, then how was he able to affect the outcome of real life by stopping the explosion that destroys the train? Doesn’t this dip into “Butterfly Effect” territory and question the “tinkering” of time and fate and the consequences this has on the future and life itself? I think this crossed some scientific boundaries and not for the good – the culmination of the film in the final sequences was even more of a head-scratcher to me, as Stevens begs Goodwin for a few more seconds so he can “rescue” Christina from the exploding train, even though Rutledge wants to continue using him for future “missions” in which they may be able to stop terrorism before it happens. Goodwin eventually takes Stevens’ real-life torso off of life support, much to the dismay of Rutledge, but the concluding frame suggesting Stevens and Christina are alive and well and walking through Chicago made absolutely no sense to me…is Stevens dead? What happened to the real train? Did he stop the bombing…or did he only stop the city from being blown up, not the train(s)? Where are they – Christina and Stevens – at the end of the film when they’re walking through Chicago? Is this an alternate reality or parallel universe?
While those elements were lost on me, we get some good performances here from just about everyone; Gyllenhaal was convincing in the Colter Stevens role, playing his confused, ping-ponging and nearly desperate “essence of himself” with passion and verve, while Monaghan was an absolute delight to look at and portrayed her Christina Warren character with a believability during the sequences in which she’s trying to figure out why her “boyfriend to be” (Stevens, but not Stevens…you know, the whole “different face in the mirror” thing?) routinely acts bizarre with each setting of a new “Source Code.” The only person I really had an issue with was Jeffrey Wright here, who I normally love – clearly aged since Casino Royale, he portrays his Dr. Rutledge character with an odd, twitchy, ants-in-the-pants behavior that was a bit offputting.
In the end, this was a decent rental, but I don’t see, unfortunately yet again, much replay value. As always, your mileage may – and probably will – vary.
[img]http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-q4ZNxx2mEzY/Ta2v7STRphI/AAAAAAAAD2A/sWLN7SRzDqA/s1600/jake-gyllenhaal-vera-farmiga-source-code-2011-movie-trailer-header.jpg[/img]VIDEO QUALITY ANALYSIS: HOW DID THE DISC LOOK?
Interestingly, the first thing that hit me about Source Code’s Blu-ray transfer was the inherent appearance of a thinly veiled layer of film grain – something I have not seen on a Blu-ray Disc in quite some time. Most transfers nowadays are either soaked in a noise reduction algorithm – based on general consumer feedback regarding grain – or are simply mastered so perfectly there is nearly no imperfection to speak of. Source Code, in its 1080p encode as prepared by Summit, exhibited a faint veil of grain running in the background of nearly all scenes, but it was far from distracting or annoying; the raw, incredible amounts of detail in facial close-ups – made even more dramatic by the transfer’s 1.78:1 letterbox-free ratio – easily made up for this element…but it wasn’t only about detail here. The whole transfer pretty much shines from beginning to end…no shadow crush, incredibly saturated but not overblown color, stable and twitch-free crop presentation…etc etc.
What definitely stood out for me, though, on this Blu-ray edition of Source Code was the amount of sheer, ridiculously eye-popping detail on facial zooms – when the scene captures Gyllenhaal’s face in a frame, every single pore, pock hole and overall mark can be seen in astonishing clarity. Other faces, notably the ones belonging to Farmiga and Monaghan, exhibited somewhat “flatter,” detail-less expressions.
[img]http://static.yify-torrents.com/attachments/source_code_(2011)/37940794_large.png[/img]AUDIO QUALITY ANALYSIS: HOW DID THE DISC SOUND?
The English DTS-HD Master Audio track in 5.1 as presented on Summit’s Region A Blu-ray of Source Code was everything you could ask of a mix daunted with the task of accompanying a high-octane sci-fi thriller – surround activity was robust and aggressive during the “Source Code time travel” clips as well as the continuous train explosions, dialogue exhibited no problems and there was a tight, controlled sense of heavy LFE. If anything – and this is really stretching to nitpick at something – the track exhibited a bit of what I’d call a “dated” sound as compared to BRAND NEW mixes of films that recently hit the market…it’s difficult to describe and would be even close to impossible to measure, but the 24-bit audio encoding here for the Master Audio mix had a somewhat “older” characteristic to it when paralleled with more massively-budgeted films as of late also accompanied by DTS-HD MA tracks.
As I said, though, this is really stretching and nitpicking to find something.
This was a one-time-only deal for me; most diehard sci-fi heads will most likely think differently. If you haven’t seen it yet, give it a rental spin and tell me what you thought.
As always, my friends, thanks so much for reading!