Perhaps it's a little obvious what happens during the movie, but the way it is told will have you engrossed from start to end. The movie opens so serenely. Images of New York waking up to another glorious day. People going about their business, heading to work and so on. We all know what is about to happen but even as the planes approach the towers there is no glorification of the incident. Indeed all we see is a brief shadow of a plane on a nearby building, and then we hear the explosion. There's no CG impact, not even actual footage of the event. It's so powerful and brilliant.
Acting throughout the movie is superb. Nic Cage puts in an superb performance as Sergeant John McLoughlin while Michael Pe˝a as Will Jimeno is equally as impressive. The supporting cast, and in particular those that play the wives and families of loved ones waiting for news, all put in stellar performances. Indeed many of the actors and actresses spent time with their real-life counterparts to learn about the situations they faced.
I found this movie to be not only a riveting viewing experience, but also one which brings back the horror of that day - but in a way in which brought home the reality of the people caught in that horrible situation. Needless to say World Trade Center it is one of the most impressive, and emotional, movies I've seen in years.
With much of the movie taking place in the rubble after the collapse there are a lot of dark scenes with dust and dirt covered characters. This darkness is often brightened by the occasional spot fire which has some brilliant orange colouring giving and ever present sense of danger.
Commentary with Oliver Stone:
Commentary Will Jimeno, Scott Strauss, John Busching and Paddy McGee:
Listening to the actual survivor Will Jimeno as well as three of the rescuers just brings to life the reality of the story. Each has some interesting recollections of the events and how it has affected them and each certainly expands on the events in the movie. This is a great addition to this release and in future could server as a valuable first hand 'historic' document.
Deleted/Extended Scenes with optional commentary by Oliver Stone (17.42):
A series of nine deleted scenes that add some to the storyline but for the most part only expand on current scenes in the movie. Oliver Stone's commentary details why they were cut out in the first place. These are only presented in Standard Definition with 192kbps audio.
The Making of World Trade Centre (53:42/HD):
An absolutely brilliant look at just how much work went into the making of this movie from the earliest development through shooting and finally into the brilliant music score. I would go so far as to say that this documentary is right up there with the best we have seen on any DVD releases.
Common Sacrifice (54:31/HD):
A brilliant documentary with interviews focused on John and Donna McLaughlin and Will and Allison Jimeno as they detail their experiences and their road to recovery. A fascinating insight into the pain and suffering which so many, including the survivors, endured.
Building Ground Zero (25:11/HD):
A fascinating documentary about what it took the filmmakers to recreate Ground Zero for the movie. Safety was paramount and the documentary goes into materials use for actor safety, and how to build up the correct levels accurately from Lidar Radar imaging of the site taken from the air after the collapses.
Visual and Special Effects (12:08/HD):
A brilliant, but short, documentary which shows some of the special effects used in the movie - which were primarily to show New York pre-September 11, the towers after they were hit, and then the effect of the collapse. Another interesting piece, that could have been extended quite a bit more.
Oliver Stone's New York (24:31/HD):
Oliver Stone was born and raised in New York and this documentary sees him taking us on a tour of the city. Not entirely related the movie, but it gives some insight into his love for the city, and why this movie is so special to him.
Q&A with Oliver Stone (12:33):
Mark Kermode hosts a BAFTA event at which Oliver Stone answers several questions about making this movie. Interesting he mentions that too many movies are 'politicised' these days which is a comment many have labeled at his own movies. This is presented in 4:3 Standard Definition.
The theatrical trailer for the movie in High-Definition.
TV Spots (3:11):
A series of TV Spots used to promote the movie presented in Standard Definition.
A series of around 50 still images showing various scenes from the production of the movie. While most are obvious I would love to see some facts on many of the images including locations, or the people in the shots.
With two discs in the set Paramount has been able to concentrate on delivering the best audio and video experience for the feature movie, and with most of the superb extras also in High Definition this is a new benchmark in quality. Yes, this set is expensive however it is the finest example of what the Blu-Ray format can produce to date. Stunning.
Review By: Dave Warner