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Christopher Webster [DVD News 07.30.08] movie review news scifi dvd action dystopic



Well it's official; 10 years on and Dark City remains one of the most visually striking and thematically relevant films I've ever seen. To put it bluntly, this long overdue Director's Cut DVD is like a gift from the great god of film. It takes an almost flawless film and turns it into a perfect 10 out of 10 and, dare I say, perhaps even the best and most influential scifi film in history. Certainly The Matrix wouldn't exist in the form that it does had Andy and Larry Wachowski not so obviously studied its look and stolen the essence of its story, but perhaps that's a conversation for another post. So what's different on this DVD? Find out after the break.

The Look:
The first thing I noticed when I threw this bad boy in for a spin in my player was that the anamorphic transfer is absolutely pristine. After suffering for all these years with a terrible, first gen, non anamorphic, transfer it was a real treat to see a version that showcases just how cutting edge this film still looks. I'm pretty sure the color timing has been changed as well because it's somewhat brighter which, as odd as it seems, actually makes the murky, Metropolis style, city even more pleasing to the senses. Dark City is a film that will never age. Period.


The Story:
The next big change is that Alex Proyas has taken out the opening narration which, like in Blade Runner, was tacked on as an afterthought when the studio became concerned that the audience would be confused. This is a HUGE improvement as the film's suspense hinges on the mystery surrounding the strange world and the plight of John Murdoch. In the theatrical version you know more than Murdoch right off the bat, and now you are with him on his journey. Makes me wish I'd never seen it before.

Next is the inclusion of two new subplots. One concerns the daughter of May the prostitute (played by the beauteous Melissa George), and the spirals in Murdoch's fingerprints. These subplots are somewhat extraneous but nevertheless add to the believability of the overall world of the film. Most of the 11 extra minutes however are merely slightly elongated scenes.

The last thing I noticed was that Jennifer Connelly's voice has been re-inserted into the nightclub musical scenes. This fixes some pretty bad overdubbing in the theatrical cut and adds another great improvement to the overall flow of the film.

I would highly recommend picking up the Dark City Director's Cut. It definitely gets the Quiet Earth seal of approval from me.

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quietearth (9 years ago) Reply

spirals in fingerprints? I wonder if Higuchinsky got word of this. Seriously, this is one of the top ten films of all time.

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projectcyclops (9 years ago) Reply

He can TUNE!!

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Nameless (9 years ago) Reply

I love this film and it's about time for a DARK CITY: DIRECTOR'S CUT DVD.

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synaptic flow (9 years ago) Reply

Awesome movie, but the best and most influential film in sci-fi history? Um... No.

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Mr. Anonymous (9 years ago) Reply

This is a very good movie.

"the best and most influential film in sci-fi history"

Well not in history but the best within the last 10 or 20 some years.

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gileadslostson (6 years ago) Reply

Brilliant film. Haven't seen it in years and since I live in Austria now I can only get it in German. Will have to pick up a copy next time I fly home.


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