Elektra (2005) - Director's Cut [Blu-ray]
|Genre(s): Action / Adventure / Fantasy|
|Fox || Unrated - 100 minutes - $29.99 || May 4, 2010|
|Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2010-05-08|
Writer(s): Frank Miller (characters); Zak Penn and Stu Zicherman & Raven Metzner (written by)
Cast: Jennifer Garner, Goran Visnjic, Kristen Prout, Will Yun Lee, Terence Stamp
Theatrical Release Date: January 14, 2005
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Portions of this comes from my initial DVD review of the Elektra: Director’s Cut, I’ve made some additions/updating when appropriate.
Plot: Restored to life after sustaining mortal wounds in Daredevil, Elektra (JENNIFER GARNER) now lives only for death as the world’s most lethal assassin. But her latest assignment will shape her final destiny in the climactic battle between good and evil.
Marvel Comics over the past few years was the king of creating good to great comic book movies with the two Blade movies (1999/2002) and moving on to the X-Men movies (2000/2003), Spider-Man (2002/2004), The Incredible Hulk (2007), Iron Man (2008) but they also had some duds. Despite those successes, mediocre to downright poor Marvel films included The Punisher, Daredevil (although I liked it), Spider-Man 3, Fantastic Four and Elektra. The latter of these isn't as bad, but they threw away a well thought out story and hung onto CGI and/or the built-in support to carry them through.
When I first saw the theatrical version, my initial thought was over was why? Why did this movie need to be made? One can argue that its box office failure was due to the release date in January, but releasing it later wouldn't have changed the fact that the movie was average... at best. Will a director's cut do the same as it did with Daredevil? In a word, no. Director Mark Steven Johnson added in more than 30 minutes of footage that truly changed the complexion of the movie, with Elektra, Rob Bowman adds in a whopping two minutes, two minutes that I didn't really notice.
As for the movie, it's merely OK. The set design seemed to have been done on the cheap and certainly the supporting actors alongside Jennifer Garner were also on the cheap as well. I can understand why. Although the movie Elektra is spinned off from made over $100m (squeaked past it), it was still a risk with an actress who had yet to prove to be a movie star. In any case, the way I describe the overall product is that it's a well made TV series pilot, which isn't a surprise since director Bowman made his career out of directing "X-Files" episodes.
Garner, for her part, does fine with the role, but in hindsight, a stronger actress was needed since she had to carry the film on her own. Elektra boasts supporting actors including Goran Visnjic (TV's "ER") and Terrence Stamp, who is all but wasted as Elektra's blind mentor. And although Garner certainly doesn't have the star power to carry a movie on her own, I do think she does her best despite the obstacles.
Mostly everything from the DVD release has been ported over save for some image galleries.
Director & Editor Commentary - The first DVD release carried only some deleted scenes, a featurette, but no commentary track. I was interested in hearing what director Rob Bowman had to say about the movie. Sometimes, although rarely, a commentator might have some honesty in the final product, and in this case, there was a little of that. Bowman does address the failure at both the box office and critically. But like any good director, he doesn't back away from it, in fact, he still believes in the film and hopes others will give it a second chance. While I still can't agree that Elektra is anything but an average movie, I applaud him for sticking with it. Bowman is joined by Editor Kevin Stitt, so they do have some good stories to bounce off each other.
Relentless: The Making of Elektra, Parts 1 & 2 (TRT 140:23; SD) - Extensive making-of documentary split into two parts: production and post-production. Part 1 runs at an impressive 105 minutes and features a ton of behind-the-scenes footage which, at times, also has commentary from Bowman explaining what the purpose of this or that take was or how impressive that actor was doing a scene. While there is a little butt-kissing, I was very impressed with this part and was intrigued at what part 2 might provide. And in the second part, we get to see the process of getting all the elements together from editing to sound mixing to visual effects. Like part one, this one too is quite broad in scope and, at least for me, was far more interesting than the movie itself.
Multi-Angle Dailies (2:26; SD) - Four different takes of a scene from the movie where, using your "angle" button, can switch the different cameras (and a combined one). Nothing of note, but still fun to actually use that damn angle button on the DVD remote (a feature, I believe, the manufacturers thought would be used more often).
Deleted Scenes (5:12; SD) and Alternate/Extended Scenes (13:41; SD) - These scenes were available on the previous release. There are three scenes: "Sai Approach", "Come Back to Me" and "Rounding Up the Troops" and are accompanied by optional commentary from Bowman and Stitt. Unfortunately, they do comment on the first and last scene, but are completely silent for the one with Ben Affleck.
Meanwhile, there are 6 alternate scenes with optional commentary and were cut for the right reasons. But, there are also a couple of those, if isolated, are cool, but within the movie would've slowed it down even more. The one I found to be good was a cut between Elektra and her younger self as she climbs the stairs of the Natchios estate, comparing her ordeal with the death of her mother. There is an alternate ending of sorts with an X-Men or Iron Man like moment as the head good guy sits across a table with the bad guy showing everything that happened was merely a game.
Both are presented in letterboxed widescreen.
"Elektra: Incarnations" Mythology Documentary (52:49; SD) - Not as interesting as "Relentless", but for the comic book fan (be it DC, Marvel, Image or just in general), this could be a worthwhile viewing (if you could care less, then best bet is to skip it). Anyways, this documentary features interviews with artists (Frank Miller) and others involved with the Elektra character since her introduction. Also covered is her (Elektra) purpose as well as industry stories (scratching Elektra's heroin addiction). Basically, you'll learn all you want about this character just in this nearly hour-long documentary.
"Elektra in Greek Mythology" Featurette (15:26; SD) - This featurette gives a good background on Elektra's name (as briefly referenced in the film by Mark), but if you are only interested in the movie then this might not be your cup of tea. The problem for me was it reminded me of my Russian history class which had to the most boring experience in my life.
Also included are the theatrical teaser (1:42; SD) and the theatrical trailer (2:25; SD).
.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.
Elektra makes its debut on Blu-ray presented in its original theatrical 2.35 aspect ratio and in 1080p high-def. I was a bit surprised that the movie was as dark, and a few times, oversaturated, as it was. I don’t think this has anything to do with the transfer but how it was originally shot. For instance, in the opening scene, some shots were very dark but only made Elektra’s classic red outfit pop out even more. At the same time, even the daylight scenes were a bit drab and although I haven’t seen “The X-Files” in some time, the darker atmospheres, even during the daytime, looked similar. Darkness aside, the detail levels are pretty good and like I said, when we do get to see Elektra’s red outfit, it does have a certain pop.
The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track certainly packs a punch... literally, well kind of, I guess. From the first scene when Elektra makes her entrance for a hit job, she punches the hell out of a bodyguard and with each blow you can hear the thump reverberate throughout the room. Outside of the punches, the rest of the track is pretty good with the dialogue being just strong enough to make out what everyone is saying while there’s some soft ambient noises making use of the front and rear channels as well. I can’t quite say this is a great track but should be more than satisfactory, unlike the movie itself.
As a comic book fan, in general, I found Elektra to be one of the most mundane and average comic book movie ever. There's nothing really memorable, such as an action sequence, nor the performance from the lovely Jennifer Garner. However, Elektra does make a good time-waster and a film you don't have to think about... at all.
As for the Blu-ray, I wasn't immensely impressed with the picture but it is a decent step up from the DVD and the audio is satisfactory enough for my ears. Add in a good amount of features, and assuming you like the movie, this might be worth picking up.