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4-Disc Collector's Edition Analysis
on October 12, 2012
I'm reviewing the 4-Disc Collector's Edition. I'll go through each disc individually to give you an idea of what you'll be getting, and which version you should purchase. But first, let's briefly discuss the movie itself.
If you haven't seen the film yet, you're still probably aware of the polarized reception it received. Some love it, some hate it. Instead of giving you another opinion on why it's the best/worst film ever, let me tell you what to expect. PROMETHEUS is not a horror film. Certainly it has structural similarities to ALIEN, and there is one scene that I would consider very "stressful." But overall, the film is what I would classify as a "concept drama." That is, a drama that doesn't focus on characters, but rather on concept. Don't let any of the tense trailers fool you, this movie was meant as a discussion piece, not an adrenaline rush. You can decide whether it succeeds or fails when you watch it yourself.
Onto the discs ...
DISC 1 - 3D Blu-Ray (ONLY AVAILABLE IN THE 4-DISC VERSION)
A lot of critics commented that PROMETHEUS had some of the best use of 3D they have ever seen. I don't know that it fully delivered on what I was expecting, but here is my take on the 3D presentation seen on this disc:
1) 3D isn't used as a gimmick where things jut out of the screen at you, which is a plus in my book.
2) There are a few sequences that look absolutely gorgeous in 3D, usually involving holograms or "projected" images. I also think that the medpod scene benefits particularly by the use of 3D.
3) I feel like the depth of the 3D was under-utilized. Almost everyone seems to disagree with me, but I felt that throughout most of the film, the 3D was a bit flat. That being said, if you prefer 3D, you should get this disc in order to fully appreciate the aforementioned scenes.
The image quality was near perfect, and there were no noticeable signs of ghosting on my TV setup. Audio quality was fantastic, the mix sounded nearly identical to the 2D disc, so I'll comment more on it in my review of that disc. Subtitles are also included.
DISC 2 - 2D Blu-Ray (AVAILABLE IN ALL BLU-RAY VERSIONS)
The image quality here is near perfect. Most important for me are the blacks, which are quite striking on this transfer. Definite reference quality material here. As far as audio clarity goes, it's spot on. The dynamics are up to a bit of interpretation, but it is worth noting that the speakers are seperated with precision. And there aren't any silly choices made like dialogue coming only from the front speakers, or the back speakers being dedicated exclusively to music. Subtitles are again included.
The primary draw of this disc, apart from the film itself, is the surprisingly large wealth of bonus features. We have two audio commentaries: one by director Ridley Scott, and one by the writers. In addition, there are more than 30 minutes of alternate and deleted scenes (although many scenes have incredibly minimal changes) with optional audio commentary, and The Peter Weyland files. The Peter Weyland files are comprised of four videos (created for the express purpose of promoting the movie) that play very much like deleted scenes or webisodes. None of the content is necessary to understand the film, but they certainly help give further context and depth.
For any casual fan, this disc includes all of the elements comprising of PROMETHEUS's "canon." So unless you want a 3D copy of the movie, or are into bonus features, the standard Blu-Ray release should be more than satisfactory.
DISC 3 - Blu-Ray Bonus Disc (ONLY AVAILABLE IN THE 4-DISC VERSION)
As far as completionists go, this disc is solid, if not perfect. I was hoping that FOX would come out with an extended cut of the film to be released six months down the road, but this seems to be the definitive home video release for the foreseeable future.
The good news is that it's the most COMPLETE wealth of bonus features I have seen since the transition of home video to the Blu-Ray format. From the "Behind the Scenes" documentary, which performed beyond my wildest dreams, to an incredibly massive collection of pre-vis sequences, artwork, stills, storyboards, promotional content, and more. (I love when they're willing to include marketing material like trailers, tv spots, and posters, because those so often shape our opinions of the final product.)
So why do I think that the disc is imperfect? Because there is more content that we were told that we would get that we're not getting. In an interview, Ridley mentioned at least one deleted scene that we're not getting here. We were also promised an early version of the script, while the film was still a hardcore ALIEN prequel. That was supposed to be on the "second screen" app. Due to ambiguous legal reasons, that's not happening.
(On that note, the second screen app is an interesting idea, but isn't necessary for a complete viewing experience.)
DISC 4 - DVD + DIGITAL COPY DISC (AVAILABLE IN BOTH BLU-RAY VERSIONS)
This is a bare bones version of the DVD and includes a digital copy. It doesn't include any of the special features that are on the standard DVD release, but those are all included on the 2D Blu-Ray disc anyway. The advantage I see with these combo packs isn't that I need to watch the same movie on a billion different devices, but if I currently have only a DVD player, and plan on upgrading to Blu-Ray eventually, I can buy the special edition now for only a few dollars more than buying the DVD on its own.
Both the two and four-disc version comes with an Ultraviolet copy of the movie IN ADDITION to the standard digital copy.
[EDIT AS OF OCT. 21st] Some have reported macro-blocking and various other issues with the 2D Blu-Ray disc and the Extras disc. Not all copies are affected, but if yours is, and you don't wish to exchange your discs, you should be able to fix it by turning off your Blu-Ray player's internet connection. It apparently has something to do with new copy protection protocal. In addition, there have been reports of these discs working well after updating the firmware, and/or on different Blu-Ray players.