Phantom appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. Though not a great image, the movie looked fine.
Sharpness could be a little iffy, as some wide shots veered toward mild softness. However, those issues weren’t severe, so most of the flick demonstrated solid clarity. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering materialized, and I saw no edge haloes. Print flaws failed to mar the presentation as well.
Colors tended toward the modern Hollywood palette of teal and orange, though not in a severe Michael Bay way. Though these dominated, they didn’t overwhelm, and the hues seemed appropriate. Blacks were reasonably deep and dense, and shadows showed acceptable smoothness. Nothing here really excelled, but the image held up well.
I felt more impressed with the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack. Like many other sub-based films, this one used all the channels to create an involving, immersive experience. Various mechanical and water-based components popped up in the different channels and meshed together to form a smooth, engulfing soundscape. This was an active and impressive soundfield.
Audio quality also functioned nicely. Music was full and rich, while effects showed strong accuracy; those elements demonstrated good clarity and solid low-end. Dialogue appeared natural and clear. The soundtrack added to the cinematic experience.
As we move to extras, we begin with an audio commentary from writer/director Todd Robinson and actor Ed Harris. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific look at the project’s roots and development, story/characters and the historical background for the material, sets and locations, effects and visual design, cinematography and editing, cast and performances, and a few other areas.
Though Harris throws in the occasional remark, Robinson does the vast majority of the speaking here. That’s fine with me, as he delivers a solid overview of his film. He touches on a nice variety of topics and even defends the lack of Russian accents on display. Expect to learn a lot in this useful piece.
Three featurettes follow. Facing the Apocalypse runs 12 minutes, 58 seconds and includes notes from Robinson, Harris, producers John Watson and Pen Densham, producer/actor Julian Adams, cinematographer Byron Werner, and actors David Duchovny and Johnathon Schaech. The show looks at memories of the Cold War and the history behind the film’s tale, story, characters and script, shooting in a submarine location, cinematography, cast and performances, and some effects. Given the brevity of this program, I expected little from it, but it actually packs in a lot of good details. This turns into a tight, efficient overview.
In the six-minute, three-second The Real Phantom, we get comments from Robinson and technical advisor/Red Star Rogue author Kenneth Sewell. As expected, we learn some details about the facts that inspired the movie. We’ve heard a little of this elsewhere but get a solid recap here.
Finally, Jeff Rona: Scoring Phantom lasts three minutes and involves composer Rona. He tells us about his musical choices for the film. This is an awfully short featurette, but it still delivers a reasonable amount of useful material.
We also find a Music Video for “An Ocean Away” by Rachel Fannen. This isn’t a great song, but the video’s interesting and moody. At least it avoids the usual “shots from the movie” clichés.
The disc opens with ads for A Good Day to Die Hard and 12 Rounds II: Reloaded. Under Sneak Peek, we find promos for Broken City, The Americans Season One, Stoker and Killing Lincoln. No trailer for Phantom shows up here.
While not on the level of the best submarine-based thrillers, Phantom holds its own. The movie delivers a compelling story that it tells in a reasonably satisfying manner, even with a few misfires along the way. The Blu-ray provides good picture, terrific audio and a few informative bonus materials. This becomes a nice release for an enjoyable film.