Cover Art and Menus: 9/10
I love this cover design. Yes, I said, it. I Love it. It’s bold, to the point, and tells you enough about the story you are about to experience to get your attention, but not enough to blow the whole thing with too many details. The Blu-Ray comes in a cool looking book that has over 30 pages dedicated to the movie.
The menu is simple and easy to navigate. There’s not much to it, just a still image and navigation…fair enough.
- Commentary By Michael Douglas & Joel Shumacher – I like to listen to commentary for movies I admire, but sometimes it’s a bit too much Hollywood mogul overload…case in point.
- Deconstructing D-Fens A Conversation With Michael Douglas – This is a brief one way discussion featuring Michael Douglas talking about the making of the movie, the themes, how it fits into today’s society..etc. The problem is that it’s obviously edited by a wannabe music video director who chops it up and even uses filters that are distracting.
- Theatrical Trailer – It’s kind of interesting to see how this movie was marketed at the time. It’s got a very 70’s vibe with that late 80’s and early 90’s flare, if you know what I mean.
The Movie: 8/10
I have seen this movie a few times and each time it gets better in some areas, worse in others. Let’s start with the better list. I love the theme of the story. A man used up and tossed aside by a culture that’s moving forward while he is staying in the past. He’s neutralized by an outdated job, outdated ideas, and so institutionalized by his job and repressive upbringing that he can’t function anymore.
It’s not a new story, not a new character, but it’s done in a way that is very “of our times”. Then again, if you go back in history you will find this guy all along the way. D-FENS is a man who has cracked under some pressure we are not sure of in the beginning. It’s a slow build from his initial abandonment of his car in the heat of a morning traffic jam to the eventual unraveling of his other wise controlled demeanor.
It’s a movie that has early 90’s stamped all over it. The post-Greed, pre-Grunge era in my life time line. The look is an odd mixture of refined 70’s grit mixed with 80’s gloss and topped off with 90’s heavy handedness. If you know what I mean I’ll give ya a pat on the back:) These are the good things about the film. The bad stuff, well, it’s mixed with the other good thing, the acting.
The best performances are obvious, Duval, Douglas, Weld, they do a fantastic job. It’s everyone else who pretty much fall off the radar of quality acting. There are characters who seem to serve no purpose but lame old school TV comedy relief, and others who are truly poorly executed.
I have to put the bad acting aside though, the mixed quality gives it more charm than it seemed to have when I first saw it so many years ago. I think the best thing for me is that I “get it”. I understand D-FENS, and I understand the world he’s living in, and I think if giving the right circumstance, a very hot summer day, and enough pressure I might do a bit of falling down myself.
Audio & Video: 7/10
These older movies are the kind I look forward to most on Blu-Ray as I am always excited to see how good they look. Falling Down looks better than it ever did theatrically with very little noise and a very sharp 1080P image. Some of the long shots that Joel Shumacher uses are perfect for the HD format as fine detail becomes visible in scenes that were always murky on DVD. There are a couple of soft looking scenes but this 25GB single sided disc does a good job of making the movie look as good as possible.
Audio is a little strange and is presented in a Dolby TrueHD 2.0 stereo mix, for a fairly recent movie I am not sure why this isn’t presented in 5.1. The audio is obviously all front anchored with little to no use of the sub woofer throughout the entire movie. Overall the sound is quite unimpressive and some of the speech is actually hard to hear near the opening of the film. I wish Warner would have remixed the film in 5.1. It’s the only thing preventing me giving the audio video higher marks.
Do I get a bloated disc with tons of extras and a personal invitation from Michael Douglas to come to his house for dinner? No. This is a movie I want to own, but I sure wish these older films with so few extras would be appropriately priced, like around 10 bucks. Not gonna happen. It’s worth seeing again, or for the first time, for the price of a rental. When they pull some more stuff together for extras, or lower the price, I’ll add it to my collection.
Overall Score 8/10