DVD & Blu-ray Reviews

Source Code, Blu-ray (2011)

It mixes time travel, out-of and in-body experiences, teleportation, and other Philip K. Dick-type pursuits with a strongly emotional feeling to create a most involving experience.

Published on July 27, 2011

Source Code, Blu-ray (2011)

Source Code, Blu-ray (2011)

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan, Vera Farmiga
Studio: Summit 66118869 [7/26/11]
Video: 1.78:1 for 16×9 1080p HD color
Audio: English DTS-HD MAster Audio 5.1, Spanish DD 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Extras: Audio commentary by Director Duncan Jones, Writer Ben Ripley & Jake Gyllenhaal, “Access: Source Code”
Time: 94 minutes
Rating: ****½

One online reviewer calls this suspenseful sci-fi movie “Quantum Leap meets Groundhog Day.”  It mixes time travel, out-of and in-body experiences, teleportation, and other Philip K. Dick-type pursuits with a strongly emotional feeling to create a most involving experience.

Gyllenhall’s character is a soldier who had been a copter pilot in Iraq but is now in some sort of government pilot program which allows him to go back in time again and again, but for only eight minutes at a time, in the body of a man who was riding on a train going into Chicago which was going to be blown up by a crazed terrorist. His job is to find the terrorist, prevent the train being blown up in this sort of test run, and to then stop the terrorist from setting off a much larger bomb to level all of Chicago.

The lab, with an increasingly empathic handler played by Vera Farmiga, sends the soldier again and again back into the train for eight minutes to attempt to find the bomber and stop him. He is completely lost at first, not knowing the woman sitting across from him or what he is supposed to do, but each time around he picks up more evidence so that he can finally prevent the tragedy from happening. The many repetitions of the first part of the train scene became a bit tiresome to me in the theater, but although I expected it would be worse with the Blu-ray, the film is so well done that one’s interest is held from start to finish.

The programmers of the bonus features have now found a way to make viewing a film thoroughly unpleasant.  This probably occurs only on the Blu-ray with its greater capacity, and perhaps only on my Oppo players, but the “Access: Source Code” feature is maddening. It is designed to provide “scene specific” features such as interviews with the case and crew, expert comments on time travel plus some shorts on the subject, behind-the-scenes footage, trivia and various facts – all while you watch the movie. Trouble is, it wouldn’t work, and I couldn’t get it off the screen (tried all the buttons on the Oppo remote) without starting the whole movie over without selecting the special feature. It covered half the screen with other video clips without sound, for example.  It’s looking more and more like perhaps it is an advantage to download movies on the Internet without any extras, rather than a disadvantage. Of course you’re not getting the highest resolution of Blu-rays.

 – John Sunier




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