Unstoppable appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. The transfer delivered a stylized image in a satisfying manner.
Sharpness seemed solid. Given the movie’s loose “documentary-style” photography, some soft shots emerged, but those stemmed from the camerawork. The vast majority of the flick was precise and well-defined. Jagged edges and moiré effects created no concerns, and no edge enhancement seemed to be evident. I noticed no signs of print flaws, as the image looked clean; we found quite a lot of grain, but that was a visual choice.
Like most modern action flicks, Unstoppable went with a highly stylized palette. Teals and drab blues dominated the movie; the 777 train gave us some red/yellows, and interiors with Connie demonstrated a warmer golden look, but those blues were the main focus. Rarely did the film offer tones that seemed “normal”, but the disc replicated them accurately, as its hues represented the flick’s design well.
As for the dark elements, they were deep and dense. I thought blacks seemed nicely replicated and presented clear, taut textures. Low-light shots came across extremely well. They looked very well-defined and delineated and made the movie quite attractive. This ended up as a solid representation of the original project.
I felt even happier with the aggressive DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Unstoppable. As I expect from an action picture, the soundfield offered a lot of activity throughout the film. Most of this came from trains, of course, though helicopters and other elements zipped around the room as well.
Railroad components became the most dominant component, though, and they helped turn this into an impressive piece. The trains filled out the spectrum in a truly engulfing manner, and movement/blending was excellent. The soundscape really plopped us in the middle of the action and created a stunning environment.
No issues with audio quality materialized. Speech was natural and concise, with no edginess or other concerns. Music sounded dynamic and full, while effects followed suit. Those elements were accurate and impressive, with crisp highs and rich lows. Bass response was especially deep, as that side of things threatened to trash my subwoofer. The excellent track nearly warranted “A+” consideration; this is the kind of killer ride that reminds you why you spent a lot of money for your fancy home theater system.
We find a good mix of extras here. These launch with an audio commentary from director Tony Scott. He provides a running, screen-specific chat that looks at what led him to the project, research, story/script/characters, cast and performances, sets and locations, editing and visual design, camerawork, stunts and effects.
A veteran of many commentaries, Scott knows what he’s doing, and that experience shows. Scott covers all the appropriate bases and does so in a lively manner. He helps make this an informative and engaging discussion.
Though not listed as such, Tracking the Story: Unstoppable Script Development actually offers another audio track. We get to listen to story conferences between Scott and writer Mark Bomback. The piece lets us eavesdrop as they discuss various story/character topics and work through the screenplay. I really like this extra, as it gives us a fine “fly on the wall” view of the production; I’d love to see more material of this sort on other releases.
Four featurettes ensue. The Fastest Track: Unleashing Unstoppable runs 29 minutes, 40 seconds and includes notes from Scott, Bomback, producers Eric McLeod and Julie Yorn, supervising location manager Janice Polley, production designer Chris Seagers, Western New York and Pennsylvania Railroad chairman/CEO Eugene H. Blaybey II, director of photography Ben Seresin, pursuit arm DP Brooks P. Guyer, pursuit arm driver Mike Majesky, aerial DP David B. Nowell, engineer/remote operator Steve Stertzbach, and actors Chris Pine, Denzel Washington, Rosario Dawson, and Ethan Suplee.
“Track” looks at story development and research, locations, Scott’s visual sense and shooting the film, action and camerawork, and aspects of the flick’s main train. Given how much territory Scott covers in his commentary, some repetition becomes inevitable. However, that’s not a problem, as “Track” still delivers plenty of fresh material. Combined with a lot of good footage from the set, the featurette gives us a solid look at the shoot.
For the 10-minute, one-second Derailed: Anatomy of a Scene, we hear from Scott, co-producer Diane L. Sabatini, special effects technicians Bruce Hayes and John Ziegler, special effects supervisor John Frazier, and special effects coordinator Joe Pancake. As one might expect, “Scene” looks at the work that went into the movie’s derailment sequence. It lets us see the details that went into the segment and becomes an entertaining view.
Hanging Off the Rail: Stunt Work lasts 14 minutes, 25 seconds and features Scott, Pine, Washington, stunt coordinator Gary Powell, and special effects set foreman Richard Cordobes. Like the title says, this one looks at stunts. It’s not quite as good as its predecessors, but it still delivers more than enough useful material to make it worthwhile.
Finally, On the Rails with the Director and Cast fills 13 minutes, 25 seconds with info from Scott, Washington, Pine, and Dawson. All four sit together on the set for a chat about various challenges and experiences. I like the round-table format, but the content tends to be pretty banal. Don’t expect much here.
The disc opens with ads for Love and Other Drugs, Street Kings 2: Motor City, and 127 Hours. We also find the movie’s trailer and Sneak Peeks for Machete, Casino Jack and the FX Channel.
A second disc includes a digital copy of Unstoppable. This gives you the chance to plop the movie on a computer or portably viewing thingy. There you have it!
A movie about a runaway train should be packed with excitement, and Unstoppable musters the occasional thrill. However, the film’s ridiculously active camerawork and editing render it nearly unwatchable, as the flick’s idiotic hyperactivity actually robs it of power. The Blu-ray comes with strong picture and audio as well as some supplements led by a good commentary and an enjoyable look at the script-revising process. While this is a top-notch Blu-ray, I find the movie itself to disappoint.