Review: Equilibrium Blu-ray

Equilibrium Blu-ray boxSTUDIO: Echo Bridge | DIRECTOR: Kurt Wimmer | CAST: Christian Bale, Sean Bean, Emily Watson, Taye Diggs
RELEASE DATE: 5/10/2011 | PRICE: Blu-ray $19.99
BONUSES: featurette
SPECS: R | 107 min. | Science-fiction | 1.78:1 aspect ratio | 2.0 stereo audio | no subtitles

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

Kurt Wimmer’s science-fiction thriller Equilibrium was pretty much invisible when it was released in theaters in 2002, but the movie gained a following after its DVD release, and those fans will be pleased to know its Blu-ray debut in the U.S. is decent.

EquilibriumWimmer, who wrote the Angelina Jolie thriller Salt, wrote and directed Equilibrium, setting up a futuristic world in which emotions are controlled by a drug that’s mandatory for every citizen. Sense-offenders, who stop taking the drug in favor of being able to feel and appreciate art and music, are hunted down and killed by clerics, the best of which is John Preston (Christian Bale, The Fighter). Bale’s Preston meets an offender (Emily Watson, Red Dragon) who reminds him of his wife, who was incinerated by his fellow clerics, and begins to question the order he has served so well.

The story isn’t without its flaws, which Wimmer acknowledges in the featurette on the Blu-ray disc. But the flashy fight scenes are the highlight of this film. The clerics use a fighting style that allows one man to easily beat a group of enemies in one battle (which is explained in the movie), and cinematographer Don Beebe (Nine) makes good use of light and angles to show off the action.

All looks good in this high-definition version. The film hasn’t been remastered, and the Blu-ray is an uncompressed version of the DVD, but the transfer is still clean for the most part. The picture has grain, but it’s not overpowering, and there are a few dirt spots, but they’re only noticeable if you’re looking for them.

Where the Blu-ray video excels is the color saturation. Wimmer’s futuristic world is filled with grays and blacks, but the world of the sense-offenders is covered in color. That’s especially noticeable with Watson, whose red lips and cloak and blue eyes are bright and beautiful in high-def.

The Blu-ray sound is the major disappointment on this disc, as Echo Bridge didn’t upgrade it beyond 2.0 stereo. Despite that, the audio isn’t terrible, it just could be so much better.

The only special feature on the disc is the forementioned featurette, “Finding Equilibirum,” which was on the DVD released in 2003. It’s a brief but fine behind-the-scenes piece, featuring interviews with Wimmer, Bale, Watson and others.

Note, although this is the film’s debut on Blu-ray in the U.S., it has been released overseas and some copies can be bought here.


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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.