The Prestige appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. From start to finish, the movie offered a terrific transfer.
At all times, sharpness seemed very positive. Virtually no instances of softness manifested themselves throughout the flick. Instead, the image remained tight and precise. I saw no signs of jagged edges or moiré effects, and edge enhancement was minimal. Source flaws remained absent, as no defects marred the presentation.
As one might expect from a period piece of this sort, the movie’s palette remained subdued. The image took on a semi-golden “old-time” look that fit the material. Within those constraints, the colors seemed strong. Blacks were deep and dense, while shadows appeared smooth and easily visible. This was a solid image.
While not as impressive, the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of The Prestige satisfied. Only a few sequences really brought the mix to life. Whenever the electrical machines appeared, they added very nice range to the soundfield and immersed the viewer. Otherwise, the track usually stayed with general atmosphere.
Audio quality seemed positive. Music was lush and lively, and effects followed suit. Those elements appeared crisp and dynamic throughout the film. Speech was concise and natural, as the lines betrayed no edginess or other flaws. Overall, the soundtrack presented a good sense of the environment.
When we look at the extras, we find a collection of featurettes under the banner of The Director’s Notebook: The Cinematic Sleight of Hand of Christopher Nolan. Taken together, these fill a total of 19 minutes and 26 seconds. The mix movie shots, clips from the set, and interviews. We hear from Nolan, novelist Christopher Priest, production designer Nathan Crowley, director of photography Wally Pfister, costume designer Joan Bergin, screenwriter Jonathan Nolan, and actors Hugh Jackman, Rebecca Hall, Christian Bale, Scarlett Johansson, Piper Perabo, and Michael Caine. The pieces look at the era in which the film takes place and related elements, sets, locations and production design, cast and costumes, camerawork and lighting, script adaptation issues, some facts about Tesla, and finishing thoughts.
As a collection of short pieces, “Notebook” can be somewhat disjointed at times. However, it gets into the material with reasonable depth – at least for such a short show. I’d have preferred something longer, though, and the lack of an audio commentary is a disappointment. “Notebook” is a nice teaser but not much more than that.
The Art of The Prestige splits into four separate galleries. We get collections devoted to “Film” (25 stills), “Behind the Scenes” (21), “Costumes and Sets” (25) and “Poster Art” (9). All are moderately interesting, though only “Art” – which showcases posters seen in the movie – becomes genuinely fun.
The DVD opens with a few ads. We get promos for Ratatouille. The Queen, and Déjà Vu. These also appear in the set’s Sneak Peeks domain along with clips for Renaissance, Roger Corman on DVD and Blu-Ray discs.
Despite plot twists that don’t come as surprises, The Prestige provides an entertaining tale of obsession and revenge. It mixes time periods and characters smoothly to keep us involved. The DVD presents excellent picture, good audio and some average extras. This one falls into “rental” territory.