Daredevil (2003) - Director's Cut [Blu-Ray]

Genre(s): Action / Crime / Drama
Fox || R - 133 minutes - $39.98 || September 30, 2008
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2008-09-16


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Mark Steven Johnson
Writer(s): Mark Steven Johnson (screenplay)
Cast: Ben Affleck, Jennifer Garner, Michael Clarke Duncan, Colin Farrell, Joe Pantoliano, Jon Favreau, David Keith


Theatrical Release Date: February 14, 2008


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Feature Commentary
  • Enhanced Viewing Mode
  • Fact and Fiction Feature
  • Beyond Hell's Kitchen: Making Daredevil
  • Jennifer Garner Screen Tests
  • Featured Villain: Kingpin
  • Daredevil: HBO First Look Special
  • Moving Through Space: A Day with Tom Sullivan
  • Giving the Devil His Due
  • Man Without Fear: Creating Daredevil
  • Shadow World Tour
  • Modeling Sheets
  • Multi-Angle Dailies
  • Trailers
  • Music Videos
  • Still Galleries


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (2.35)
  • English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin

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.::THE FILM::.

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When Daredevil first came out in February of 2003, it was pretty much panned by both the critics and fans alike. And indeed, it wasn’t a very good movie, a chopped up plot and miscasting galore, starting with Daredevil himself, Ben Affleck. But even though the theatrical version never touched the first tier comic movies like Batman (1989), Superman, Spider-Man and X-Men, I still found it to be at least a little entertaining, quite flawed, but entertaining none-the-less.

Then only a year later, in 2004, Daredevil: Director’s Cut came out with 30-minutes of new footage inserted back in. While so many other movies come out with “Unrated” editions, getting the label by inserting an extra second or something, this was not just a slapped together DVD and instead it truly was a daring new vision by writer/director Mark Steven Johnson. The Director’s Cut took a so-so film and elevated it to actually being really good and even worthy of being one of the better second-tier comic book films.

Now, I’m only going off of memory when comparing the two (theatrical vs. director’s cut), but I do remember one key plotline that was reinstated this time around. It involved the murder of a prostitute and the case surrounding it. Matt Murdock and his associate Franklin ‘Foggy’ Nelson (Iron Man director Jon Favreau) take the case of a man arrested for the crime that he did not commit. What was so great about this new subplot is that in the theatrical version it was fairly confusing, but with it back in, the entire plot makes complete sense.

There are other scenes put back in/removed and I’ve run them down here (via IMDb):
** SPOILERS **
- Removed: Confession booth scenes between Father Stevens and Murdock
- Removed: Love scene between Murdock and Elektra
- Added: Flashback scene with Young Murdock seeing his adopted mother
- Added: Kingpin brutally killing two of his bodyguards
- Added: Foggy having a conversation with Kingpin’s right-hand man, Wesley
- Added: As Murdock is about to shut down for the night, a woman being murdered is seen just outside of his chamber
- Added: Matt and Foggy break into the murdered woman’s apartment
- Added: Late night scene as Foggy works to find a clue to break the case
- Added: Extended scene at the morgue when Ben Urich received a phone call
- Added: Conversations between Matt and Ben
- Added: Matt interrogates a corrupt police detective
- Added: Extra f-bomb from Bullseye
- Added: Extended fight between Elektra and Bullseye
- Added: End fight between Daredevil and Kingpin is longer and more wicked
- Added: Acquittal celebration from the accused as he hugs Foggy
- Rearranged: The scene tagged after the credits is now during a montage at the end of the movie.

Even with these changes, Daredevil still cannot reach the heights of other comic book movies and I still feel Affleck wasn’t that effective as Matt Murdock and Jennifer Garner wasn’t nearly that tough looking as Elektra. Even so, the film was very entertaining and from most people, this “Director’s Cut” propels it from being the bottom of the superhero genre barrel.

Strangely enough, Marvel gave Mark Steven Johnson another shot at making a comic book movie, Ghost Rider starring Nicolas Cage. Strange because while both Daredevil and GR made about the same at the box office, Ghost Rider looks like it will receive a sequel. Why? Beats me. As much as I didn’t care for the casting of Affleck, Cage was far worse and the entire film was downright terrible.

At the end of the day, if you still haven’t seen the “Director’s Cut” and have been avoiding it because you hated it at the theater, give it another shot, I think you’ll find it to be a better overall film. I know why Fox wanted to cut this down to PG-13, but it’s too bad they didn’t have the guts to release this version instead.

My only major complaint about this Blu-ray release is the fact Fox didn’t also include the theatrical version. I’m sure disc space was at a premium with all that was included, but I’m sure they could’ve included a second, smaller disc (25GB) for this version for those to watch and compare.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Nearly all the features from the previous releases have been ported over, except for the theatrical audio commentary.

First up is an audio commentary from Writer/Director Mark Steven Johnson and Producer Avi Arad discussing the reasons behind the director’s cut and the differences between them. I would’ve actually liked some kind of exclusive new track with Affleck and/or other cast members (and Johnson again) 5 years later to get their opinions on the film today.

Enhanced Viewing Mode – Takes you behind the scenes as you watch the film. Also ported from the original 2-disc release, this basically features the same material available separately. Personally, I’m not much for these kind of features, but for those who don’t want to watch each special feature, this is a good way to get the behind-the-scenes info.

Fact and Fiction Feature – Also ported from the original release, this is just a text commentary that gives you little tid-bits about the history of Marvel and the characters featured in the film.

Beyond Hell’s Kitchen: Making Daredevil (58:51) is a great and fairly extensive ‘making-of’ that takes you from the beginning of the project (when Chris Columbus was set to direct) to Mark Steven Johnson helming to the nuances of shooting on a tight schedule and a limited budget for this type of movie. It’s not the best featurette I’ve seen, but still well worth watching.

Featured Villain: Kingpin (2:20) – Short featurette that has sound bites from Michael Clarke Duncan on his character, Kingpin, and how he went about fleshing out the character. He also tells a great story about how Mark Steven Johnson wanted him to gain more weight.

Daredevil: HBO First Look (24:51) – Hosted by Jennifer Garner, this is just a promotional thing that gives some background on the Daredevil comic book and what the movie has to offer. A good portion of the info provided was already contained in “Beyond Hell’s Kitchen”.

Moving Through Space: A Day with Tom Sullivan (8:26) – Who is Tom Sullivan you might ask? He’s the sight challenged consultant on the film and we get to see some of his daily activities from swinging the club at the golf course to his exercise regimen.

Giving the Devil His Due (15:27) – This is a great featurette that outlines the changes made from the theatrical cut versus the director’s cut. Writer/director Mark Steven Johnson explains why certain scenes were removed from the theatrical version (MPAA, keeping the running time around 100 minutes, etc).

Under “The Comic Book” (just like on the original DVD), we have:

Man Without Fear: Creating Daredevil (58:10) is a fantastic and detailed featurette that goes in-depth on Daredevil’s origins and features interviews with those involved with the comic book from Kevin Smith to Frank Miller to Stan Lee.

Shadow World Tour (6:48) – Gives examples of Daredevil’s hyper sense abilities and how they were portrayed in the movie.

Modeling Sheets is a basic fact sheet that gives bios on the characters in the ‘Daredevil’ comic book.

Finally, the rest of the Blu-ray includes Jennifer Garner’s Screen Test (2:29), Multi-Angle Dailies which allows you to check out different scenes using multiple camera angles, 3 Music Videos, a few theatrical trailers and several still galleries (Storyboards, Costumes, Set Design, Production Stills and Props).



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

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Fox brings you Daredevil: Director’s Cut in HD on one 50GB Dual Layer disc using AVC codec. It is presented in widescreen with the original 2.35 OAR. I paid close attention to the visuals and while the video does look good, I did notice several instances of graininess during certain scenes, none of them I believe to be intentional. The colors look fairly crisp and black levels look about right. The final scene between Daredevil and Kingpin looks great with a ton of water blues filling the screen as we get to see the drips of water/sweat coming off of Michael Clarke Duncan’s head (isn’t that why you wanted this in HD?).

A DTS HD 5.1 Master Lossless audio track was all that was needed to give that boom a film like this deserves. At the same time, even though the sound effects were excellent, I did feel the dialog sometimes were too soft while most other times the levels seemed to be just fine. The disc also has a standard Dolby Digital 5.1 in English, French and Spanish.



.::OVERALL::.

Daredevil: Director’s Cut is a major step up from what Fox released to theaters. There’s a larger, more rounded story now with a plotline that changes from a revenge story to Daredevil trying to stop Kingpin and his reign of power on Hell’s Kitchen. It also doesn’t hurt that we now have more screen time from Joe Pantoliano and Jon Favreau.

Although Fox doesn’t offer any exclusives on this Blu-ray, I’m happy to see that almost everything from both releases was ported over. Also, the video isn’t anything to brag about, but it still looks good and a slight improvement over the DVD version. With a low SRP, it is worth buying, for no other reason than having all the features on one disc.


Note: Images do not represent the true quality of the Blu-ray.