DVD Talk
Release List Reviews Shop Newsletter Forum DVD Giveaways Blu-Ray Advertise
Reviews & Columns
Reviews
DVD
TV on DVD
Blu-ray
International DVDs
Theatrical
Adult
Video Games

Features
Collector Series DVDs
Easter Egg Database
Interviews
DVD Talk Radio
Feature Articles

Columns
Anime Talk
XCritic.com
DVD Stalk
DVD Savant
High-Def Revolution
Silent DVD

discussion forum
DVD Talk Forum
Resources
DVD Price Search
Customer Service #'s
RCE Info
Links

DVDTalk Info
Review Staff
About DVD Talk
Advertise
Newsletter Subscribe
Join DVD Talk Forum
DVD Talk Feeds


Special Offer

Search: For:
Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Equilibrium
Equilibrium
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment // R // May 13, 2003
List Price: $29.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted May 11, 2003 | E-mail the Author
Buy from Amazon.com
C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Recommended
E - M A I L
this review to a friend
P R I N T
Printer Friendly
The Movie:

Reportedly, Miramax has more movies on the shelf than any other studio. Some of those films were given a very small release in 2002, including "Waking Up In Reno", "Impostor", "Below" and "Equilibrium". "Below" and "Equilibrium" both have gained a following, and they're certainly not exactly low-budget fare, either, with both costing nearly $30m. Both films have their positives and negatives.

"Equilibrium" is a futuristic sci-fi drama/actioner that takes place in the near future, after WWIII has taken place. Emotions have been outlawed and the public is forced to take daily doses of Prozium, a drug to completely dull the emotions. Enforcers known as Clerics are required to find those known as "Sense Offenders", and are trained in a style that mixes martial arts with gunplay.

Christian Bale (good recently in "Reign of Fire") stars as Cleric John Preston. Early on, Preston accidentially destroys his daily dose of Prozium. Unable to get another dose, he runs into Mary O'Brien (Emily Watson), a woman who questions the need to supress emotions, living with music and perfume. Soon enough, Preston is doing some questioning of his own, trying to attempt change in society without letting his suspicious partner, Brandt (Taye Diggs) know.

While "Equilibrum"'s exploration of a dark, emotionless future society wasn't particularly original or deep, other aspects of the film (such as the outstanding production design) aided the film's presentation of its universe. Other films ("Dark City", "Gattaca") have ventured into the same territory a bit better, but still, the story is presented in a compelling-enough way (although obviously taken from quite a few stories of the past), but some plot holes are occasionally apparent (why do people apparently on the drug occasionally smile or get angry?) and the first half could have used some tightening.

The film's handful of action sequences have been often compared to "The Matrix", but these sequences stand on their own quite nicely (the last 10-20 minutes are remarkable) and are impressively done for a picture not operating with a large budget. The film's sleek, vivid and imaginative production design is also quite remarkable for a film this size. A few special effects are so-so, but the film largely relies on its production design to achieve the desired look. It's all captured quite slickly by Dion Beebe ("Chicago")'s glossy cinematography. The performances were also good, although Watson's character could have been a bit more well-developed.

I found "Equilibrium" to be pretty entertaining. The story isn't particularly original, but it's presented in an engaging manner, with strong visuals, fine performances and occasional bursts of impressive action. I'd be surprised if it doesn't find more of an audience on video than it did during its brief theatrical run.


The DVD

VIDEO: "Equilibrium" is presented by Miramax/Dimension in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. The presentation is generally excellent, with only a few minimal flaws to be seen throughout the otherwise sparkling transfer. Sharpness and detail are superb throughout the picture, and no softness or other inconsistency appeared, which made all the details of the film's production design even easier to appreciate.

Still, a few minor faults intruded - although not anything particularly distracting, a hint of edge enhancement appeared in a few scenes, while a compresison artifact or two were also visible. The print, on the other hand, looked terrific, with no marks, specks or dirt.

The film's color palette is extremely desaturated, and the presentation seems to handle the bleak appearance accurately. Black level remained solid, as well. Quite a nice presentation.

SOUND: "Equilibrium" is presented by Miramax in Dolby Digital 5.1. This is a fairly aggressive surround mix, complete with plenty of surround use both very noticable and a bit more subtle. The action sequences are particularly well-handled, with plenty of sound effects from the rear speakers. The score is also nicely presented, balanced out nicely among the rest of the elements. Audio quality is solid, with deep bass, crisp dialogue and clear sound effects.

EXTRAS: Director/writer Kurt Wimmer has a great deal to share about the making of the feature, offering not one, but two commentaries for the picture. The first commentary has only the director discussing the feature, while the second track has minimal participation from the producer while Wimmer continues to go through more information about the production. Impressively enough, Wimmer pauses fairly rarely throughout either track, finding new aspects of the story or production to discuss. He goes into great detail about casting, working with the various actors, story, production design, action sequences and more. Both are enjoyable comments that will shed more light on the picture for those interested.

Sneak Peeks: Trailers for "Dracula II", "Below", "Invincible" and, finally, a terrific trailer for Quentin Tarantino's Fall picture "Kill Bill".

Also: "Finding Equilibrium", a thin 4-minute "making of" featurette.

Final Thoughts: "Equilibrium" is a nicely done sci-fi drama with some occasional instances of stunning action. The DVD offers very good audio/video quality and a couple of informative supplements. A little expensive at $29.99 retail, the DVD is worth a rental for those in the mood for some sci-fi action. Those who are already fans of the picture - and there seems to be a fair amount, from what I've read - may want to consider a purchase.

Other Reviews:
Popular Reviews
1. Eastbound & Down: Season 4
2. Mystery Science Theater 3000: XXX
3. Scanners
4. Bob's Burgers: Season 3
5. Heaven Is for Real
6. Shogun
7. Noah
8. Rio 2
9. Transcendence
10. Insomnia: Criterion Collection


Special Offers
DVD Blowouts
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
Alien [Blu-ray]
Buy: $19.99 $9.99
8.
9.
10.
Special Offers
Release List Reviews Shop Newsletter Forum DVD Giveaways Blu-Ray Advertise
Copyright 2014 DVDTalk.com All Rights Reserved. Legal Info, Privacy Policy, Terms of Use