The Prestige appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Because this release came out early in the existence of Blu-ray, I expected problems, but instead the transfer held up well.
Overall softness seemed positive. A few slightly soft shots materialized but those didn’t create obvious concerns. Instead, the majority of the flick provided strong delineation. 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 Uncompressed PCM 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.
How does the Blu-ray compare to the DVD release? Audio showed a bit more range and fullness, while visuals were tighter and smoother. The Blu-ray gave us a good upgrade.
The Blu-ray repeats the DVD’s extras, and 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 33 seconds. They mix movie shots, clips from the set, and interviews.
In “Notebook”, 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 materials seen in the movie – becomes genuinely fun.
With Movie Showcase, we’re told we’ll get “instant access to the filmmaker’s most cinematic moments that showcase the ultimate in high definition picture and sound”. What this means is that we find an alternate form of chapter search, as the “Showcase” links to three short clips; these run a total of two minutes, 10 seconds. The “Showcase” feels pointless to me.
The disc opens with ads for The Guardian and Invincible. No trailer for Prestige appears here.
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 Blu-ray delivers good picture and audio as well as some decent bonus materials. While not one of Christopher Nolan’s better movies, The Prestige still works well.
To rate this film visit the DVD review of THE PRESTIGE