Blood Diamond (Warner)
Featuring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Djimon Hounsou, Jennifer Connelly, Arnold Vosloo and Michael Sheen
The movie that the De Beers company loves to hate, Blood Diamond actually received less mainstream press than I thought it would upon its premier last year. I figure most of the outrage against “blood” or conflict diamonds has already been generated from years of media reports covering the West African conflicts and South African profiteering that occurred during the 1990’s and eventually ended up in a process for ferreting out illegal diamonds mined out of war zones in order to illegally finance insurgent forces and their respective warlords. This process, called the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (with “Scheme” sounding kinda sketchy, don’tcha think?) is supposed to create transparencies in the diamond trade and make those declaring their effusive love each other feel good about putting a high-grade, 4-C rock on the ol’ ring-finger. And that, with the development of character archtypes we care about, is basically the plot for this earnest film that offers plenty of bloody action for the gung-ho and grim reminders for the socially conscious.
The acting earned plenty of awards nominations, but some might find the characters to be rather two-dimensional as they race to find a rare pink diamond and discover the true meaning of Christmas (I’m kidding about that last part). The Blu-ray disc offers the same tech specs as the upcoming HD DVD disc including widescreen 2.35 ratio image (1080p) with a video quality that focuses on the 4-Cs of hi-def: clarity, crispness, compression and color levels. Audio is offered in a solid DD PCM 5.1 mix as well as Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 (English, Spanish and French like the subtitles). The Blu-ray disc release offers an audio commentary by Director Edward Zwick along with a slew of production features and video diaries called “Focus Points” that include:
• Blood on the Stone: Follow a Diamond’s Path from the Ground to the Stone
• Becoming Archer: Profiling Leonardo DiCaprio
• Journalism on the Front Line: Jennifer Connelly on Women Journalists at War
• Inside the Siege of Freetown: Edward Zwick on One of the Movie’s Pivotal Sequences
• Nas Shine on ‘Em Music Video
• Theatrical Trailer
Note that the HD DVD release (in early July) will include even more features including hi-def only items such as In-Movie Experience (IME) which is a picture-in-picture offering that allows a power-user to have an ongoing pop-up video commentary during the film and will offer additional behind-the-scenes footage and interview commentary. Warner Home Video will also include a web-based feature that will allow the viewer to rate aspects of the film as well as additional commentaries and video diaries. WHV is not releasing these features on Blu-ray, so consider that when purchasing for your hi-def system.
See also the HD DVD review of Blood Diamond