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5 Days to Midnight (mini-series) - 5ive Days To Midnight Review




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Rating
Video:   9/10
Audio:   9/10
Extras:   3/10

Has the future already happened?
by Gord Lacey (All reviews)
11/12/2004

Physics professor J.T. Neumeyer (Timothy Hutton) discovers a strange briefcase with his name on it. He opens the case to discover a police file contains details of a murder - his! The murder is supposed to take place in 5 days, but the paper is 40 years old. When events in his life mirror the file he begins to believe it's real, and now he's racing to prevent his own death.

I have mixed feelings on this mini-series. It's very cool, but time-travel movies are hard to pull off without becoming impossible. I've been thinking about the events in the mini-series, and I don't think they could occur the way they're set out. Maybe I'm over-thinking things, but hey, that's what I do.

Video

The mini-series is presented in anamorphic widescreen (1.78:1), and it looks very nice. It's a very recent series so the prints are clean (no dust or debris). There are a few instances of grainy shots, but not many. The colors are bright, and the blacks are deep. I didn't like the shots that were done using a slow frame-rate, but the director and directory of photography thought those were the coolest things ever (listen to the commentary). I felt that those shots pulled me out of the show and didn't fit with the rest of the production. There are 2 episodes per disc, but there isn't a "play all" feature.

Audio

The audio (presented in Dolby Digital 5.1) sounds great. There is quite a bit of separation between the various speakers, and there are a number of good sound effects used in the series. The dialog is very clean and easy to understand; no problems here. There are subtitles in English, as well as a stereo track if you don't have the capabilities for 5.1.

Extras - How we rate extras

Commentary
Michael Watkins (director) and Joel Ransom (director of photography) provide commentary on the first and last episodes (1 & 4). I found the tracks a bit boring, and both participants congratulated each other on their work a little too much. They were fond of tossing around technical terms that the average viewer may not understand. Unless you loved this mini-series then you can feel free to skip the commentary tracks.

The Formula for Design (12:51)
Michael Watkins, Bill Burd (property master), John Marcynuk (art director) and Kari Matchett (Claudia Whitney), discuss the creation of the briefcase, the files, Carl's loft and the night club.

Fractures of Time (11:08)
I thought this would be a featurette about the time travel aspect of the show, but Michael Watkins, Joel Random, Kari Matchett, Timothy Hutton (J.T. Neumeyer) and Randy Quaid (Irwin Sikorski) talk about the various camera effects used in shooting the series.

Remixing Reality (10:20)
A look at the special effects used in the show, with Sam Nicholson (visual effects supervisor).

Proving Destiny: The Weatherby Oak Tree Stunt (10:00)
A featurette on the oak tree falling into the house, and how they pulled it off.

Summary

I enjoyed this when I first watched it, but when I began thinking about the show I thought it started to fall apart. If you're a fan of sci-fi then you may want to check it out, but don't think about it afterwards!

This is a decent set; the quality is there, but the special features are a bit disappointing. Two of the featurette names are misleading (Fractures in Time and Remixing Reality), and I hoped for something that would cover the time travel aspect to the show, but there wasn't anything. The commentary track seems a bit self-serving, and I quickly grew bored of the constant praise. This is a decent rental.


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