Review: Seven Blu-ray Book

Seven Blu-ray boxSTUDIO: Warner | DIRECTOR: David Fincher | CAST: Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, Gwyneth Paltrow
9/14/2010 | PRICE: Blu-ray $34.99
commentaries, featurettes, extended scenes, alternate opening and ending, stills
R | 127 min. | thriller | 2.4:1 aspect ratio | DTS-HD audio | English and Spanish subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

Seven Se7en movie sceneIf it’s possible, David Fincher’s acclaimed thriller Se7en (Seven) is even more chilling on Blu-ray. The movie is about the last case of a retiring detective (Morgan Freeman), who works with his replacement (Brad Pitt) to solve a string of murders that punish the seven deadly sins. Gwyneth Paltrow plays Pitt’s wife, who is having a difficult time adjusting to their move to the movie’s unnamed city.

In high-definition, this city looks even more dreary, with its rain, dark streets and grafitti-covered buildings. The murder victims are shown in more gruesome detail, and they’re not pretty. The visuals are sharp and disturbing.

Unlike with many movies on Blu-ray, which benefit from higher color saturation, Seven‘s moody, dreary color scheme is left intact, but what color there is, such as in the apartment of Pitt and Paltrow’s characters, makes a heavy contrast to the rest of the film.

The sound is equally clear, from the detectives’ footsteps to the squelch of boots in blood. The loud slams and crashes in the action sequences are suitably heart-stopping, and the throbbing soundtrack builds tension in your bones.

The movie comes with a horde of special features, but they’re not new; all have been available since 2000 in the Seven Platinum Series on DVD. But the supplements are worthy of being recycled.

Four commentaries cover every aspect of the production:

  • the stars with Fincher, Pitt and Freeman
  • the story with author Richard Dyer (writer of the Seven novel on which the movie is based), screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker, editor Richard Francis-Bruce, producer Michael de Luca and Fincher
  • the picture with cinematographer Darius Khondji, production designer Arthur Max, Francis-Bruce, Dyer and Fincher
  • and the sound with music consultant Ren Klyce, composer Howard Shore, Dyer and Fincher.

They all offer insights to the making of the movie and the decisions that were made, We also get to know the people more, such as Freeman’s love of books and reading.

Also offered are a collection of extended scenes, an alternate opening with Freeman’s character shopping for a new house and an alternate test ending as well as storyboards.

Film fans will enjoy seeing the opening sequence from various angles in storyboards and with different sound choices, getting an idea of why Fincher went with the final version.

There are also a host of production design stills and photographs, with commentaries, and video details of the movie’s John Doe’s notebooks, with the creators going into detail about how they were made.

The only new special features on this Blu-ray version are a series of commentaries/featurettes under the banner “Mastering for the Home Theater,” in which we learn about the mastering of Seven for high-definition Blu-ray. It’s techy stuff that most movie fans will yawn through, but pros and technofiles will find it fascinating. They even show the process of color correction and other fixes that were made.

Warner’s Blu-ray package also contains a book with photographs and behind-the-scenes trivia, most of which are in the special features within the discs.


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About S. Clark

Sam Clark is the former Managing Editor/Online Editor of Video Business magazine. With 19 years experience in journalism, 12 in the home entertainment industry, Sam has been hooked on movies on since she saw E.T. then stared into the sky waiting to meet her own friendly alien. Thanks to her husband’s shared love of movies, Sam reviews Blu-ray discs in a true home theater, with a 118-inch screen, projector and cushy recliners with cup holders.