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Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit), French, Spanish,Thai Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Subtitles: English SDH, Chinese, French, Korean, Spanish, Thai
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Run time: 129 Mins.
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • Blu-ray Release Date: March 27, 2012
  • List Price: $35.99

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Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:2.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2.5/5]

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:2.5/5]

It’s been over ten years since the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and, frankly, I’d have expected to see far more films dealing with the subject making their way into theatres by now. The floodgates haven’t really opened, but we have been given one or two films in the intervening years. One of them is director Stephen Daldry’s (The Hours; Billy Elliot) Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, from the Jonathan Safran Foer novel.

The story surrounds a young boy, Oskar (Thomas Horn), who is dealing with the death of his father (Tom Hanks) in the World Trade Center attacks. In the aftermath, as Oskar withdraws into his own world and further away from his mother (Sandra Bullock) the young Oskar discovers a key in his father’s closet he convinces himself holds a vital message left to him from his father. Oskar, an inquisitive boy with many phobias and an off-putting personality, must force himself to journey out into the hazardous world he fears so much to find the lock that the key fits and learn the secret message.

More about the actual journey and supposed growth of Oskar and a family dealing with tragedy than it is about the 9/11 attacks themselves, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close nevertheless fails to capture the true gravitas of its scenario. Sprinkled with melodrama and just the right amount of emotional cues, the film lingers far too much on the surface of things, never getting to the depths of the psychological issues affecting the survivors. Another major issue is the unlikeable character of Oskar. Granted, a young boy dealing with the sudden and tragic death of a parent can be granted a certain amount of leniency, but by all accounts, as we see in the film’s various flashbacks, Oskar, even before the death of his father, was a bit of an obnoxious kid who always spoke his mind, regardless of how rude it might seem. There’s some reference to him possibly having Aspberger’s Syndrome, but, then, it’s said, “tests were inconclusive.” So, what, he’s just a neurotic kid who needs constant stimulation and acts like a brat?

Extremely Loud could have been so much better, but after the film was over, I was nothing but disappointed and feeling a bit manipulated as well.

Video Quality

[Rating:5/5]

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close was done on the Arri Alexa in high definition and comes to Blu-ray in an AVC/MPEG-4 1080p/24 encodement framed at 2.35:1. The image is flawless, as one would expect from a cinematic HD production of such recent vintage and relatively high budget. Noise is nonexistent and contrast is quite strong. Flesh tones are incredibly accurate while detail is nicely textured and extended. Blacks are rather deep offering a solid bottom to the image as well. While there is some very slight crush in places, it doesn’t hinder the overall nuance of darker scenes.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4/5]

Audio is rather straightforward in the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit) soundtrack. As one would expect from a film like this, it is heavily reliant on the dialogue. The sound designers haven’t done much at all with the surround channels, although the mix does tend to liven up just a bit when Oskar is journeying through the streets of New York.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:2.5/5]

All video extras are in 1080p and are fairly self-explanatory. They offer interviews with the cast and crew and a particularly lengthy featurette on Max von Sydow.

The supplements:

  • Making Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:19:47)
  • Finding Oskar (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:07:50) – A profile of the young actor Thomas Horn and his character “Oskar.”
  • Ten Years Later (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:11:25) – A discussion of the real life 9/11 victim Daniel McGinley.
  • Max von Sydow: Dialogues with the Renter (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:44:00) – The great Max von Sydow – nothing more to say.
  • DVD
  • UltraViolet Digital Copy

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3.5/5]

An obvious attempt at building a tearjerking piece of Oscar bait (with two Academy Award winning actors cast as well) not to mention a Golden Globe Winner (Max von Sydow also appears), Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close is a failed attempt at chronicling the post-9/11 struggle of families in the wake of that awful tragedy. Had there been some actual emotional depth and psychological exploration here, then this would have been a good film. Instead it gets lost in the silly journey of a not so likable boy and his search for a message from the grave. See Hugo for a better rendition of that story.

Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product]B0077ATSZE[/amazon-product]

BestBuy.com:
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close -

Purchase Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close on Blu-ray Combo Pack at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:2.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2.5/5]

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