Cover Art and Menus: 9/10
The menu isn’t much to talk about, as with most discs these days. However, the cover is really eye catching for me. I don’t often like cover art, but this time, the bold full frontal portrait like image of the young girl is creepy enough to make me want to see the movie, and a little bit haunting enough to make me not so sure:)
- Mama’s Little Devils: Bad Seeds & Evil Children – A few film reviewers, website folks, and movie talkers discuss the idea of children who do bad things in movies. From early in the 20th century they have been featured, but it’s not a very common thing because it’s just too creepy. It’s an ok feature, but the “experts” lack a certain something.
- Additional Scenes & Alternate Ending – The additional scenes are brief and with the exception of one family moment, they are not missed. I think the one of them at the dinner table would have been a good way to lighten the mood for a couple of minutes, but they might have wanted us to be in the tension mode the whole movie, mission accomplished.
- BDLive – Nothing presented this time around other than trailers for the movie.
- Digital Copy – This is not an extra. Enough said.
The Movie: 7/10
I like it. OH, why? Well, pull up a cup of coffee and open your mind. I didn’t know what to expect from this movie. The trailers seemed to be selling a so-so run of the mill horror wannabe kind of movie that’s best left for late night cable next year. There’s no good reason for me to have had the reaction, but if you are like me, you’ll understand. Some of these modern thriller/horror flicks that try to be a little more clever than they really are all have the same PR firms promoting them. This one pretty much barked overindulgent and shallow to me, and that’s a lot to get out of a silly little commercial, but it just goes to show you how, um, how…ugh, wrong I can be.
Orphan isn’t delicate about getting to the point quickly and concisely. The attempts to build tension with the fake scares, dramatic music, and fast exposition of characters does feel a bit rushed, but not in a bad way. If there is an OK way to do it, this movie hits the mark. I did feel a bit hand fed on a few things, but it wasn’t overwhelming enough to take away from the things that are good about it as a whole.
The story isn’t fully original. There are new ideas, enough to keep it from feeling bogged down with dramatic horror tactics from cinematic history. The appearance of the perfect family with hidden sorrows and traumas isn’t new, however, it’s the people in the story who make it go beyond a somewhat stale tale. The cast is really pretty awesome if you ask me. I enjoyed every person, the way they seemed to just jive with each other. The couple, Vera Farmiga and Peter Sarsgaard, were convincing, genuine (if not a bit cranked up with movie styling), and the kids were all excellent. I have to give a nod to the young Isabelle Fuhrman as Esther, this actress is on my list of people to watch! She’s got a tough role of being a troubled girl, but playing it cool. She’s got to understand adult themes, speak in a Russian accent, while still being able to be a kid. She’s truly the star of the show.
This isn’t a perfect movie. Of course it’s not even close. There are those moments of, “oh come on” but only couple and they resolve themselves pretty quickly either through some well played action sequences or through more quiet moments between characters in which the actors all basically draw me in scene after scene. It’s got a good gutsy few bits and pieces that keep it from being overly sentimental or dramatic. I like it. I recommend it for a good weekend movie watching, in the dark, with a blanket and a bowl of popcorn. Popcorn helps with the nerves during those suspenseful scenes.
Audio & Video: 8/10 (By Ascully)
Orphan was a great little Psychological Thriller that pleasantly surprised me. The Blu-Ray presentation was also quite good, but the muted colors and dingy dark scenes don’t really show what HD is all about. Warner use a VC1 transfer at 1.85:1 aspect ratio and utilize a whole BD50 which with the lack of extras affords the movie quite a high bit rate.
Audio is very impressive and uses the Dolby TrueHD codec to good effect. The track is quite heavy on the bass and lacks a little in the surround channels but it does dialog and the impressive set pieces proud. It’s hard to find fault on a lot of the newer Blu-Ray releases in the audio dept and Orphan is no exception.
I did enjoy the movie, I just don’t know if I NEED to have it on my shelf. If it’s around for ten bucks, I would go for it. Other than that, even though it’s a quality thriller, I’m all for a weekend rental of Orphan.
Overall Score 8/10