End of Days
The devil's in the details, they say, and that's certainly the case with End of Days, which did little to further the careers of either Arnold Schwarzenegger or Gabriel Byrne (or that of director Peter Hyams, perhaps the most proficient hack in Hollywood.) The DVD pads out the movie with a fair bit in the way of extras, the majority of which has to do with the details. Lots of them. More specifically, aside from a commentary by Hyams, a text piece on the Book of Revelations, and a "Spotlight on Location" piece, there is a section called "Special Effects: The Devil's Playground," which delves at length into various special effects sequences ranging from a spectacular subway crash to a sex scene featuring Gabriel Byrne and two women (Fight Club used similar technology for similar effect, curiously enough). Getting through these supplements takes some time. The movie has been transferred with a 2.35:1 aspect ratio, anamorphically enhanced for 16 x 9 televisions. The source print is excellent, and the transfer shows off rich, deep colors despite an overall dark production design (a few minutes in, there is a fly-over shot of Manhattan that has wonderful patches of vivid color on the buildings.) There is no evidence of compression artifacts. The Dolby 5.1 Audio is excellent, with nice Surround work, great dialogue clarity, and a deep, clear bass that does a terrific job with both rumbles and thumps. The music is served very well by the mix, with elements woven into all corners of the Surround image, rather than being focused to the front. The French 2.0 mix is clear and nicely done, though with less separation between elements; the voice cast and dubbing seem to be uniformly good. Finally, the Hyams commentary is generally low-key, with regular pauses and a fair bit of rambling around -- as director's commentaries go, this isn't the worst, but it does tend to be on the boring side.