Case Number 16464

S. DARKO (BLU-RAY)

Fox // 2009 // 103 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // May 27th, 2009

The Charge

It's time to travel forward.

Opening Statement

The sequel to the cult favorite Donnie Darko arrives on Blu-ray, sporting a jumble of time-traveling weirdness and hallucinations and Elizabeth Berkley.

Facts of the Case

Daveigh Chase returns from the original film as Donnie's sister Samantha, a depressed, emotionally tortured girl who escapes her life and lands in a jerkwater town in the middle of the desert with her best friend. One night, while bunking at a dumpy motel, a meteorite hits and suddenly the universes splinter or something.

Samantha is caught in a branching cluster-F of black holes and time travel and ghostly premonitions and watery appendages growing out of stomachs and the end of the world and...I don't know what I'm talking about anymore.

The Evidence

You know what S. Darko is? It's a movie that will make you feel stupid for not liking it. It's such a dense, difficult smear of filmmaking that if for some reason you find yourself in my place not digging on it, you, like me, may briefly think that you're a lesser viewer. But just briefly. Because peeling back the near-endless layers, reveals: more layers. More dense, difficult layers.

For example, have you ever seen a "fourth dimensional hypercube" used so prominently in a film? Do you know what a fourth dimensional hypercube is? Apparently it's some kind of world-ender and, fella, if you didn't know that -- the filmmakers, in their commentary, mention these geometrical apocalypse-bringers in the cavalier kind of "Duh, everyone knows these things can so kill us!" way -- go back to picking on your banjo and eating Pops with a Spork. Also, according to the commentary, "Anything from the fourth dimension will look like a rock." So, there you go.

The complicated plot is made further tedious by the bland characters. Samantha is a bore and her BFF is a severely unlikable brat. There's another guy named Iraq Jack and he plays a big role in the end of the world and that's important and all and I can't really remember anything about him except he sat on a windmill and his name rhymed because that's weird and cool.

Diehard fans of all things Darko may find value in taking a machete to the thick bramble of this storyline. If that blows your skirt up, far be it for me to deny you that exquisite experience. If it wasn't for the commentary offering a Cliff's Notes version of the impenetrable plot, unraveling all the deeper meaning about tangential universes and whatnot, you would have to devote the time equivalent to building a two-car garage by yourself.

Those of you ready to continue on the Darko journey will be well-served by this Blu-ray. The 1.78:1 widescreen video presentation is very, very good. The high-def picture quality upgrade is noticeable from the start. The desert town setting lends itself well to the 1080p resolution boost and the numerous effects shots promise an effective visual workout, though some of the lesser stuff like the water tentacles and the flaming meteorites aren't great. The DTS-HD Master Audio is a full, satisfying mix, giving the cool soundtrack some clean weight. Extras: the filmmakers' commentary, a standard-issue, standard-def 15-minute making-of documentary, a featurette on the Utah location and six minutes worth of deleted scenes.

The Rebuttal Witnesses

No I'm not a fan, but I'd be lying if I sad that director Chris Fisher doesn't produce some stunning imagery.

Closing Statement

No thanks. If I wanted to ensconce myself in mind-numbing mythology, I'll re-watch the Matrix sequels, thanks.

The Verdict

Guilty. Sentence: two years work release at a rabbit farm.

Review content copyright © 2009 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Video: 95
Audio: 90
Extras: 80
Acting: 70
Story: 60
Judgment: 66

Perp Profile
Studio: Fox
Video Formats:
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)

Audio Formats:
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (French)

Subtitles:
* English
* French
* Spanish

Running Time: 103 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Rated R

Distinguishing Marks
* Commentary
* Deleted Scenes
* Featurettes

Accomplices
* IMDb
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt1231277/combined