Elektra returns in this spin-off to Daredevil. Unfortunately, Elektra, as portrayed in Daredevil, just wasn’t interesting enough to garner (no pun intended) a spin-off movie of her own.
Elektra (2005, Blu-ray)
Directors: Rob Bowman
Writers: Mark Steven Johnson motion picture characters and Frank Miller comic book characters Zak Penn (written by) and Stu Zicherman (written by) (as Stuart Zicherman) & Raven Metzner (written by)
Features: * Commentary * Deleted Scenes * Alternate/Extended Scenes * Production Documentary * Post-Production Documentary * Multi-Angle Dailies * Mythology Documentary * Mythology Featurette * Trailers
Jennifer Garner ... Elektra
Goran Visnjic ... Mark Miller
Kirsten Prout ... Abby Miller
Will Yun Lee ... Kirigi
Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa ... Roshi
Terence Stamp ... Stick
Natassia Malthe ... Typhoid
Available on Blu-ray May 4, 2010.
When we last left Elektra, she was lying on the roof of a building in New York City. She had just died at the hands of Bullseye, a nefarious assassin working for the equally nefarious Kingpin. Matt Murdock, or Daredevil, is looming over her, crying for his lost love. This is where the Elektra story arc should have ended, at least in the movie world. Sure, it’s implied that she survives (Murdock receives a brail version of her charm), but did we really need an Elektra spin-off?
While many comic book fans would say, "yes" to that question, others are likely to say "no." In truth, the movie version of the character Elektra (played with great fever by Jennifer Garner), as portrayed in "Daredevil," just wasn’t interesting enough to garner (no pun intended) a spin-off movie of her own. She was a paper-thin character in a relatively paper-thin, albeit entertaining, comic book action film.
But alas, Elektra is alive and well after being resurrected by a band of mystical ninjas led by Zod, err Stick (Terence Stamp). Elektra studies up, trains hard and becomes one of the greatest assassins the world has ever known. Her latest job, however, causes her conscious to surface and she finds herself protecting her latest target, a young woman (with a similar background) and her father, from a vicious and evil clan called The Hand.
Much like the theatrical cut of "Daredevil," "Elektra" is a bit of a mess. The fight choreography is mediocre and film feels like a lame movie-of-the-week. On the flip side, "Elektra" does pack a few entertaining punches along the way and most action fans should be pleased by the film, particularly the colorful villains.
"Elektra" is certainly not aided by a weak script riddled with lukewarm characters such as Abby Miller, played by Kirsten Prout. Abby is the young girl Elektra tries to protect. Once we discover the secret behind her character, she ceases to be interesting. Rather than let her develop as her own self, the screenwriters lazily make her a carbon copy of Elektra, right down to the color of her hair and her 80’s style bangs. Sure, the writers are obviously trying to draw a parallel, but this could have been done is a much more poignant and subtle way.
This is, of course, the least of the film’s problems. "Elektra" struggles with its back story as seen in "Daredevil." It appears as though the screenwriters did not want to show too much of the "Daredevil" plot (the editors even cut out the Ben Affleck cameo). Rather, they opted for a quick bit of exposition and a somewhat confusing montage. The result is likely a little jarring for most non-comic book fans, who presumably thought Elektra was dead (after seeing the last film).
"Elektra" may please comic book fans (I’m not sure how accurate it is) and it may please the average action fan looking for a fun time, but others needn’t bother. The movie does have it’s moments but unfortunately for everyone involved; those moments are few and far between, littered among a mine field of tiresome set pieces, weak plotting and boring characters.
Film Report Card:
Entertainment Value: B
Film Value: C
"Elektra" is presented in 2.35:1 widescreen using the AVC MPEG-4 codec on a dual-layered BD50 disc. The film itself consumes an impressive 30.0 gigs of space.
Oddly, compared to last year's "Daredevil Director’s Cut" Blu-ray release "Elektra" is noticeably different in terms of picture quality. The film is fogged over by a strong haze of film grain and black levels are incredibly rich, often bleeding elements together.
Also, the film looks washed out at times, which only adds to the Lifetime movie-of-the-week feel the film already has. The encode is fairly pristine though with very few flaws such as artifacting or edge halos. That said, the print doesn't really boast the best depth of field, and some scenes felt flat (the forest battle, for example). Honestly, "Elektra" has never really looked all that great on home video (or in theaters, I presume). Like the story, the quality of the print itself is tiresome and shoddy. At least this Blu-ray provides the best possible version of this mediocre image.
Audio choices are English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, French, Spanish and French Dolby Digital 5.1 with Spanish subtitles and English captions for the hearing impaired.
Fox offers up a stellar high-res track for fans to enjoy. While the track, again, doesn't quite compare to the reference mix of "Daredevil," sonics are aggressively tuned, which help add some punch to the lazy action sequences. Bass is active throughout, also punctuating action beats, but it did seem a little muddled in spots. Dialogue is clean and crisp, with very few high-end crackles. The film's score is evenly balanced amidst the action and slower beats of the film. While this mix misses the reference mark by a few notches (it's not as finely tuned as "Daredevil") it should give your system a fine workout regardless.
Extras and Packaging:
The BD copy of the film, provided from Fox, came packed in a blue single-disc BD case featuring the film’s theatrical artwork. Sadly, there's nothing new on the disc whatsoever. Also strange, the theatrical cut of the film is missing, as well as the extras found on the first DVD release. Still, fans will likely be pleased with the goodies that have been ported over. They include:
• Director's Cut -- It runs just three minutes, and adds very little. But it's still the preferred version to watch.
• Commentary -- Director Rob Bowman and film editor Kevin Stitt sit down and chat about the film.
• Deleted Material (SD) -- A rather hefty collection of deleted scenes, alternate scenes and extended scenes (including the Ben Affleck cameo) which would have likely made this movie a little better.
• Relentless - The Making of Elektra Production Documentary (81 minutes, SD) -- An impressive documentary about the production.
• Relentless - The Making of Elektra Post-Production Documentary (53 minutes, SD) -- Again, this impressive documentary highlights the film's post-production process. Well worth a look!
• Multi-Angle Dailies (SD) -- A further look at how the film was made, this time through the lens of dailies.
• Elektra Incarnations Mythology Documentary (52 minutes, SD) -- A wonderful documentary detailing the origins and evolution of the comic book character.
• Elektra in Greek Mythology Featurette (15 minutes, SD) -- Finally, there's a terrific featurette about how Elektra fit into Greek mythology.
"Elektra" hardly a ground-breaking motion picture, but it has its moments. Sadly, nothing new is added to this Blu-ray. The transfer is disappointing though it's still the best we've seen for this film on home video, but the audio mix is great and the included ported-over extras are pretty awesome, too.
Blu-ray Report Card:
HD Content: N/A
Recommendation: Fans should pick this disc up.
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----R. L. Shaffer