The year is 1996 and the resurgence of the disaster movie genre is well and truly back into vogue. Aliens have invaded the world in Independence Day, Twisters have devastated Tornado Alley in Twister and in this film, aging star Sylvester Stallone tries to resuscitate his career from a bigger disaster than all those put together; the previous year's Judge Dredd.
When an explosion tears through the Hudson River Tunnel, sealing off both ends, Dr Kit Latura (Sylvester Stallone) has to guide the motley crew of survivors to safety, traversing many and varied obstacles in their way. But not all will be successful, and the questioning of his leadership could jeopardize them all.
Now 15 years old, Daylight has aged a little, but the visual effects have held up surprisingly well. I guess that's why you pay the big bucks for ILM. It's certainly not a classic and fits very much into the mold of 'check your brain in at the entrance', but it's still a worthwhile Saturday night matinee.
Daylight is presented in a full screen aspect ratio of 1.85:1 (its original aspect ratio), encoded with VC-1 compression.
Unfortunately, Universal continues their trend of re-hashing what appears to be old HD transfers of films, slapping on a bit of DNR to hide video noise and film grain and spitting out a new encode. Worse, Universal have re-purposed the same encode from the HD-DVD release back in the day which was reasonable enough, if not a little aged.
Realistically, it's not all bad. Despite looking a little soft, the transfer is reasonably balanced, with good detail and relatively good colours (albeit a little desaturated - likely an artistic choice).
Similar to last month's release of Babe, it's still pretty good and infinitely better than my aged NTSC DVD, but simply bettering a DVD release should not be an appropriate benchmark for success and Universal's cheap Blu-ray tactics are continuing to wear thin. It's a real shame that many of my favourite catalogue films are Universal releases. I'm genuinely scared for Scarface and Jurassic Park later this year, but please - by all means, prove me wrong Universal.
The main audio track is encoded in DTS HD Master Audio at 24 bits.
Holding up a fair bit stronger than the video track, Daylight was always a demonstration worthy mix from the early days of DTS laserdisc and DVD.
While the years since have dulled the sharpness a little, it is still a good example of relatively aggressive mid 90's audio mixing.
Of course, many of the techniques that have been honed in the last decade are absent here. Most notably, it seems that audio mixers went crazy during the action scenes, but then forgot to spend as much effort to carve out a convincing aural experience through other scenes.
Bass usage is relatively high, but tends to overwhelm the mix with a generic, non distinct rumble rather than a punchy and tight sound that is used today.
The score by Randy Edelman is appropriate, but entirely unmemorable.
Overall, a reasonably good mix that has aged better than many of the same era.
Quite stunningly and supremely annoying, Universal have decided to release Daylight on Blu-ray in Europe and Australia without any of the extra features that were included on the special edition DVD, or the recently released U.S. Blu-ray. This is despite the fact that Universal distributes the film in all three territories.
Again, this happened to Babe and I have no idea why Universal are going to the trouble of mastering another Blu-ray image without extra features, rather than simply re-purposing the U.S. master. It's frustrating and annoying, especially so when otherwise, a large amount of disc space is simply going to waste.