Unbreakable appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. This was a mediocre presentation.
Sharpness looked inconsistent, partially due to some edge enhancement; I saw light but persistent haloes throughout the movie. Some shots looked pretty accurate and concise, but plenty seemed somewhat soft and fuzzy. The image lacked shimmering or jaggies, but it came with a smattering of print flaws; though not heavy, I saw occasional specks and marks.
In terms of palette, Unbreakable favored reasonably natural hues. The film took on a somewhat blue tint during interiors, and those shots tended to seem a bit muddy. Overall, the colors were fine, though. Blacks seemed decent to good; they could lack great depth but they were acceptable, and low-light shots were about the same. This wasn’t a terrible image, but it lacked the detail I expect of Blu-ray.
The film’s uncompressed PCM 5.1 soundtrack worked pretty well, though one shouldn’t anticipate a ton of pizzazz despite the fantasy elements involved. This might be a superhero movie, but it’s not one with lots of action and sizzle, as it emphasized character beats. A few scenes opened up the room pretty well – like those at a football stadium or on the train – but those remained pretty subdued; heck, the flick cut away before the opening crash, so we didn’t even get a big slam-bang piece there.
Despite the subdued nature of the mix, it seemed satisfying. The soundscape offered well-placed elements that cropped up in logical spots and meshed together in a smooth manner. This wasn’t a kick-butt mix, but it suited the material.
Audio quality seemed strong. Music was bright and full, with good delineation of the elements. Speech remained concise and distinctive, while effects offered solid clarity and range, with nice punch when appropriate. This was a track that merited a “B”.
Only a handful of extras fill out the disc. Behind the Scenes goes for 14 minutes, 17 seconds and features comments from writer/director M. Night Shyamalan, producers Barry Mendel and Sam Mercer, sound designer Richard King, art director Steve Arnold, editor Dylan Tichenor, director of photography Eduardo Serra, costume designer Joanna Johnston, composer James Newton Howard and actors Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson. We learn of the project’s roots and development, story/characters, storyboards, shot structure and camerawork, costume and visual design, sound and score. Despite the program’s brevity, it touches on a lot of topics and does so in a satisfying manner. This becomes a tight overview.
Comic Books and Superheroes runs 19 minutes, 22 seconds and offers notes from Jackson, Spirit creator/author of Comics and Sequential Art Will Eisner, artist/author of Understandng Comics Scott McCloud, artists Dave Gibbons and Alex Ross, Go Girl! creator/author of The Great Women Superheroes Trina Robbins, writer/editor Denny O’Neil, writer/artist Frank Miller, and Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay author Michael Chabon. They discuss a variety of superheroes and themes, with some connection to Unbreakable. “Books” lacks a particularly concise thread and kind of wanders all over the place, but it still offers good insights from a mix of compelling participants.
Next comes a Multi-Angle Feature for the film’s “train station sequence”. This allows you to compare storyboards with the final scene. It goes for four minutes, 11 seconds and provides a decent implementation of its concept, though I’d have preferred split-screen to show both elements at the same time.
Seven Deleted Scenes occupy a total of 28 minutes, 29 seconds. (That total includes intros from Shyamalan.) Some interesting pieces appear, and these help flesh out a few character areas such as the problematic relationship between David and Audrey. That said, none seem terribly significant, so I don’t think the film suffers for their excision. (I’m happy that one reveals why Audrey and Joseph have so much junk food with them at the hospital, though.)
Shyamalan’s comments offer a nice complement to the scenes. He sets them up for us and explains why he cut them, so his notes add to the experience.
Finally, Night’s First Fight Sequence shows a two-minute, 27-second clip. It gives us a segment from Millionaire, a videotaped flick Shyamalan shot as a kid. Given the director’s youth, it’s not as awful as he claims in his intro, though it does beg the question: why does a guy armed with a gun bother to get into a fistfight?
The disc opens with ads for Blu-ray and National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets. No trailer for Unbreakable pops up here.
M. Night Shyamalan’s follow-up to his smash hit The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable doesn’t work quite as well, but it still accomplishes its goals. We get an involving variation on the superhero genre with nice twists along the way. The Blu-ray provides mediocre picture, solid audio and a smattering of interesting bonus materials. The lackluster visuals disappoint, but the movie remains a good one.