The Next Three Days appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 TVs. The movie came with a generally average presentation.
For the most part, sharpness was fine. Wider shots tended to be somewhat soft, a factor exacerbated by mild edge haloes. Still, overall definition tended to be acceptable to good. No issues with jaggies or moiré effects occurred, and source flaws remained absent.
As expected from a dark thriller of this sort, Unthinkable came with a subdued palette. It went with a fairly sepia tone that favored a brownish tint or bluish notes. This meant the film lacked prominent colors and could appear a bit drab. Nonetheless, the hues were acceptable given the stylistic choices.
Darker elements were a weakness. Blacks seemed a bit mushy, and low-light shots – of which the movie included many – lacked good definition. Shadows tended to be somewhat dense and opaque, so it became tough to discern details in these dimmer images. Overall, the movie remained perfectly watchable, but it wasn’t a strong presentation.
I thought the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of The Next Three Days seemed fine but unexceptional. Though the subject seemed like something that would pack a lot of action, the focus on planning the breakout meant the material remained subdued most of the time. Music boasted good stereo presence, and effects offered a fine sense of place.
For the most part, they did little more than embellish the environment, though. Though we found the occasional dramatic effect –most of which came in the third act - those weren’t a major factor. The soundscape added a good sense of place but not a ton of active material.
Audio quality was fine. Speech remained concise and distinctive; I noticed no edginess or problems with the lines. Music appeared full and rich, as the score came across well. Effects didn’t often have much to do, but they seemed accurate and lacked distortion or distractions. The track remained too low-key for a high grade, but it seemed good and deserved a “B”.
The disc comes with a fairly nice array of extras. We open with an audio commentary from writer/director Paul Haggis, producer Michael Nozik, and editor Jo Francis. They sit together for a running, screen-specific look at the source material and its adaptation, cast, characters and performances, sets and locations, script/story issues, pacing and editing, and music.
Though not a bad track, this one tends to be pretty mediocre. At its best, it provides some good information about the film. However, it also tends to drag at times, especially as it progresses; lulls become more prominent about one-third of the way into the movie. You'll learn enough to make the commentary worth your time, but it never threatens to become particularly good.
Three featurettes follow. Making The Next Three Days goes for 18 minutes, 28 seconds and offers notes from Haggis, Nozik, production designer Laurence Bennett, and actors Elizabeth Banks, Russell Crowe, Lennie James, RZA, Allan Steele, and Ty Simpkins. The show looks at the original French film and its adaptation, locations, research and story, and Haggis’s impact as director.
This offers a general overview without much to make it special. It repeats a fair amount of material from the commentary and doesn’t delve into the film with great gusto. While it’s a decent program, it’s never much better than average.
During the six-minute, 45-second The Men of The Next Three Days, we hear from Haggis, Nozik, Crowe, Banks, and actor Brian Dennehy. They talk about cast, characters and performances. As with “Making”, we find a few decent notes, but this remains a pretty ordinary show.
Hosted by actor Jason Beghe, True Escapes for Love runs seven minutes, 37 seconds and features info about real-life cases of jail breaks. This is a quick but enjoyable overview of prisoners who attempt to flee the law.
Cast Moments lasts two minutes, 24 seconds and provides a blooper reel. I wouldn’t expect a gag collection for a dramatic movie like Days, but that’s what we get. They offer pretty standard goofs and giggles, though it is sort of fun to see the usually Oh So Serious Crowe laugh it up on the set.
Next we get a collection of Deleted and Extended Scenes. The disc provides 13 of the former (13:07 total) and four of the latter (6:17 total). The vast majority of the pieces run under one minute; only “John Visits Lara” (3:59), “No Letter from Mom” (2:07) and “John Sees a Ghost” (2:36) last longer than that.
This means most of the clips provide brief and pretty inessential moments. We do get more from secondary characters like John’s brother and son, though to my surprise, we find nothing extra from the police; I thought they’d benefit from the expanded running time. I can’t say that any of these scenes offers much of interest, but they do expand some parts a bit more and they’re moderately interesting to see.
The disc opens with ads for The Lincoln Lawyer, Rabbit Hole, Biutiful, Tenderness and 3:10 to Yuma. These appear under Also from Lionsgate as well, but we get no trailer for Days.
Prison escape movies are supposed to be exciting, but the folks behind The Next Three Days didn’t seem to get that memo. Oh, it tries to pump out some thrills in its final act, but by that point, it’s essentially lost us. The DVD offers mediocre picture quality along with fairly good audio and a mix of decent supplements. Days isn’t a bad film, but it fails to deliver the necessary drama to make it succeed.