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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Unbreakable
Unbreakable
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment // PG-13 // June 26, 2001
List Price: $22.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Loren Halek | posted November 28, 2001 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

Unbreakable was a largely underrated movie that came out late last year from the creator of The Sixth Sense, M. Night Shyamalan. I was not able to see the movie when it came out in the theaters because of a death in the family and I was quite excited to get my hands on this DVD.

If you've ever been into comic books or are a former or current comic book collector, you should like this film quite a bit. The two people I watched this with were neither and they both liked it as well.

Unbreakable is the story of David Dunn (Bruce Willis), a football security guard that seems to have a normal life. He and his wife (Robin Wright Penn) are on the mend, he's looking into finding a job elsewhere and there's a son in the picture as well.

The beginning is set on a train where Dunn is talking to the woman next to him. Next thing you know, the train has derailed. We go to the hospital with the mom and son and find out that David survived the derailment without a scratch on his body while everyone else on the train died. So, why did he live through the train wreck and why, from the best of his knowledge, has he never been sick? This is when we meet Elijah Price, the other main character in the movie.

Elijah has a condition where his bones easily break. He owns a comic book shop called "Limited Edition". Elijah is very serious about his trade. A man comes in saying he is buying an art piece for his son who is very young and Wood tells him to get out because the son would not give it the care it needs. Elijah believes everyone has an opposite person in this world that has strengths where the other has weakness. He believes he's found his opposite person in David Dunn. Elijah contacts David about him possibly having superpowers, but David brushes him off. Elijah goes to many lengths, including breaking himself severely, to prove that David does indeed have these superpowers. But does he?

That's the setup for the movie. The rest of the movie is David testing out whether he truly has superpowers and what this would mean for his life and his family's life. There are some very shocking and uplifting moments in the film, but you'll have to watch it as I feel I cannot give spoilers out in case people have not watched it. I was really intrigued by the movie and think it is a well written story that moves slowly, but not enough for you to tire of it. At its base, this movie is a character development study and it succeeds well.

I've heard the critiques about the swerve at the end. I personally thought the movie ended wonderfully, but it honestly was not as much of a shock as The Sixth Sense was the first time I saw it. I highly recommend this movie and I also highly recommend watching it at least another time just like The Sixth Sense.

The DVD

Video: This 2.40:1 anamorphic transfer is of excellent quality. The only real "defect" I found were a few hints of shimmering. The color in the movie is very quiet and when there are standout colors they are handled beautifully. The cinematography in this movie is amazing. The beginning train scene with the dialogue and moving camera is brilliant, as is Elijah getting his first comic book as a child. Once you listen to the background stuff on disc 2, you'll love the cinematography even more.

Sound: Offered in Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1, as well as Dolby Digital 2.0. The sound is very good and is of much more use than it was in Sixth Sense. The director talks about how he's found that sound is very important in film since Sixth Sense and he certainly uses it to a better degree in this film. The DTS track was a bit cleaner than the DD track, which is normal, but both were very good.

Menus: The score is played during the menus and some lines of dialogue flow through the menu. It is well done and easy to navigate.

Extras: The second disc is where you will find the extras. They are all pretty good, with one glaring omission that I will explain at the end.

Deleted Scenes: There are 7 deleted scenes that you can either do entirely or each scene alone. The director prologues the scenes before they are played. None of them went into the movie for good reason. Although they are wonderful scenes, many of them are redundant with other parts of the movie. I also think many of the scenes could have gone in to replace the original scenes. The Elijah in the circus one is pretty interesting though and looks more into the history of Elijah and his weaknesses than we are given in the movie.

Making Of: This is about a 15 minute documentary on the making of Unbreakable. It skims the surface of the movie, but it also takes a few peeks into why the colors are the way they are and how they went about creating the storyboard. It was informative, but there could have been more. The director also talks about this being the first act in a trilogy. He honed it down from a three act story to the first act only. However he makes no indications that we will see the others.

Comic Book Documentary: This is about a 20 minute documentary on comic books and heroes from a variety of people. You get such people as artist Alex Ross (from Kingdom Come and who also did the 2 pictures included in the 2-disc set) and writer Frank Miller (Dark Knight Returns, Batman: Year One, Daredevil years ago, etc.) along with many others talking about comic books and what superheroes mean. It is very interesting, but I wish they would have cut that one lady out as she is a bit annoying.

Train Station Multi-Angle: This is not a multi-angle version of the train crash in the beginning, but a scene that happens later in the movie. You can watch this with just sound effects, just music or the final full sound cut (all in Dolby Digital 5.1). You can also switch from storyboard to the actual movie clip. It is quite interesting. Unfortunately you cannot switch the sound option on-the-fly once you've started.

M. Night Shymalan's Short Film: We get to see one of the director's first short films. I believe it is called Millionaires. He says it is very bad and he is right. He stars in it and it really isn't that long. Basically it is a fight scene done at someone's house when he was younger. It is funny to see how far he has gone from then to now.

So, what is the glaring omission I talked about earlier? There is no commentary track. This is VERY disappointing. I would have liked to hear at least the director talk about the movie as it is going along. I have no clue why this was not included, it would have added to this release to understand all the nuances.

Final Thoughts: Overall, Unbreakable is a great buy. The movie alone is worth buying. The extras are just an added bonus. I am a bit disappointed by the lack of commentary or more extras (this is the newly christened Vista series after all), but as a whole it is a great buy.
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