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CSI: Crime Scene Investigation — Grave Danger Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Codec: VC-1
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit), Spanish DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
  • Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
  • Region: A (B? C?)
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Run Time: 85 Mins.
  • Discs: 2 (1 x Blu-ray + 1 x DVD)
  • Studio: Paramount Home Entertainment
  • Blu-ray Release Date: February 7, 2012
  • List Price: $24.99

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Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:3/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:0.5/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:3/5]

I never understood the fascination with the CSI franchise and I still don’t. The multitude of offshoots the series has produced, spreading to different cities with different casts amazes me to this day. The original series, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, set in Las Vegas, is admittedly slick looking, after all, it is a Jerry Bruckheimer production, but in the end it is still just a crime procedural. There have been many of these on television over the years and after watching an episode here and there of CSI, I cannot fathom what has caused it to be so popular.

Still, I grant that it is popular, enough so that even the likes of Quentin Tarantino was seduced into directing the season finale of the series’ fifth season. That’s what we have here in “Grave Danger” a two-part episode made available as a stand-alone release by CBS/Paramount.

As for the style of the episode, Tarantino plays it rather safe and it follows the basic guidelines of any given CSI episode, so, in all honesty, the fact that it is directed by him (from a story he also concocted, but didn’t script) is more a publicity draw than anything else. There are a few minor standout moments that bear his signature style, however, such as a hallucination toward the end of Part 2 in black and white that shows a surreal, gruesome autopsy of Nick Stokes (George Eads). It could have been taken straight out of Kill Bill and was an obvious way to appease censors, just as the black and white sequence in Kill Bill.

The story for “Grave Danger” is a simple one, upon arriving at a crime scene, Nick Stokes (George Eads) is kidnapped and buried alive by a mysterious man. The CSI team must hurry to find his kidnapper and where he is buried before he runs out of air or decides to take the ultimate way out – kill himself with a provided gun. Even more cruel, the kidnapper has hooked up a webcam feed that allows Nick’s colleagues at CSI to see him buried for two minuted at a time, every time they click a button that turns on hot lights in his plexiglass coffin, but also cuts off a fan pumping air in, unbeknownst to them.

The episode is mildly entertaining for those who are not CSI fans, but anyone who wants to watch thinking they are going to see an incredible Tarantino work need not apply.

Video Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

CSI‘s sleek production style and Tarantino’s directorial tweeks come across exquisitely in this 1080p/24 VC-1 transfer from CBS/Paramount. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation is an original 35mm film production, so there is an element of grain and often grittiness apparent in the image. That isn’s a bad thing at all and in fact imparts some wonderful textures and obviously intended stylistic choices. The blacks are inky with good shadow details, flesh tones are spot on and colors have nice “pop.”

Audio Quality

[Rating:4/5]

Audio is the weakest link in the production. Apart from the opening theme song, The Who’s “Who Are You?”, the mix is rather subdued. Atmospherics in the surrounds are at a rather low level and low frequencies are timid at best. Still, there’s a good stereo spread and dialogue is clean.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:0.5/5]

A single self-congratulatory behind the scenes featurette is included in which the cast, crew, and Tarantino all gush over one another about the series and how great it is to be working with each other on this episode.

  • CSI: Tarantino Style (1.33:1; Upscaled-HD; 00:17:36)

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3.5/5]

I’m not certain about the necessity of selling a single two-part episode of such a long-running series on Blu-ray (+DVD) at a SRP of $24.99. To me, the price seems exorbitant and a bit ridiculous for an episode that isn’t that spectacular. Of course, ardent Tarantino fans who absolutely need to have everything he has ever done on Blu-ray, will likely want to pick this up. Everyone else can pass it up without thinking twice.

Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product]B006CR2P7Q[/amazon-product]

BestBuy.com
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation: Grave Danger -

Purchase CSI: Crime Scene Investigation — Grave Danger on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for More Blu-ray Titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:3/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:0.5/5]

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