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  • Elektra: Director’s Cut (Blu-ray Review)

    May 12, 2010 8 min read

    Elektra: Director's Cut (Blu-ray Review)When Elektra, a spin-off from 2003’s Daredevil, was first announced so many years ago my heart filled with overwhelming anticipation.  Back then; I guess you could say I had a small crush on Jennifer Garner.  She was, after all, in prime physical form for her hit TV series Alias, not to mention that sexy vixen outfit that adorned her promiscuous curves opposite Ben Affleck in 2003’s Daredevil.  So I guess you could say that I was looking forward to seeing her fill that uniform once again and kick some ninja clan a$$. There was only one small problem.  Didn’t she die in Daredevil?  How would they ever bring her back?  Inquiring minds wanted to know.  I can’t tell you how many sleepless nights I laid awake contemplating this.  It was horrible.


    Elektra opened theatrically to mostly negative critical reviews on January 14, 2005.  The movie stars Jennifer Garner, Goran Visnjic (ER), Kristen Prout and Terence Stamp.  The Rob Bowman directed film barely churned a profit.  Astonishingly, it was released less than 3 months later on the DVD format.  I remember that fondly because I thought that was the quickest I ever recalled a feature film coming out on the home video format.

    The film’s story continues right after the events that unfolded in 2003’s Daredevil.  Thank God for continuity.  In Daredevil, the Marvel comics character Elektra Natchios (Garner) was killed by Bullseye.  Thankfully, our Blu-ray film today explains how Elektra was given a second life and able to walk among the living again.  Thank God again for martial arts masters with secret reviving life powers.  Where would we be without them?  Well, I guess I should at least be thankful for the fact that at least Elektra does not do a Michael Myers and wake up all the sudden in the back of an ambulance after being fatally shot in the head point blank.

    Before we move on, here’s an interesting point to consider.  Remember me telling you about Elektra’s lightning fast DVD release in 2005?  Well the film was also released again later that year in a 2-Disc Director’s Cut edition.  And guess what?  It contained a whopping 3 minutes of extra footage.  That brought the runtime to a whopping 99 minutes.  And now we sit here discussing the May 4th 2010 Blu-ray release of Elektra and believe it or not, I was initially pounded with rumors that it would clock in at an alarming length of 139 minutes.  Sad to say, that’s not the case.  This Blu-ray release is the Director’s Cut of the film, just like it was on DVD.   So if there is any truth to this super extended cut rumor, then we might see another Blu-ray release of Elektra in the near future.  Depending upon how much you liked the previous 2 editions of the film, this could either be a good thing or a bad thing.  It worked for Daredevil on Blu-ray, so why not Elektra?  I guess if there is one thing I am disappointed in on this Blu-ray release, then it is the fact that this rumored Extended Cut did not see the light of day on Blu-ray.  Maybe it was just all that.  A rumor?  Only time will tell I guess.

    As I mentioned 2 paragraphs ago, Elektra (Garner) was murdered in 2003’s Daredevil, but a blind martial arts master, Stick (Terrence Stamp), brought her back to life.  He trains her in the martial art of Kimagure, whose practitioners can control the flow of life and death and live only to destroy the evil organization known as The Hand.  After several years of intense training, she eventually leaves her clan and finds herself employed as a hired assassin who never fails.  However, I shouldn’t use the word “never.”  The moment she receives a contract for $2 million to kill Mark Miller (Goran) and his daughter Abby (Kristen Prout) things forever change in Elektra’s world.  She doesn’t really fail, but she doesn’t really complete her assignment either.  Elektra must make a difficult choice between good or evil in executing her deadly mission while battling her childhood demons and also, singlehandedly taking on the terrifying warriors of The Hand.  At the end of the day, will she win or lose?  That’s the question, isn’t it?  Now it’s up to you to find out the outcome.  Are you up to the challenge on Blu-ray?  You better do your pushups!

    Elektra: Director's Cut


    I have to admit; I was pleasantly surprised by the visual presentation of Elektra on Blu-ray.  Given the fact that so many filmgoers hate this film, I was really concerned with how good it would look on Blu-ray format, but more importantly how much effort the studio would put into cleaning this title up for a quality transfer.  I love to be wrong about things like this.  Elektra looks absolutely stunning on the Blu-ray format.  The only reason you are seeing a score of 4.5 and not a 5 is for the reference quality factor only.  The heavy CGI-laden effects coupled with the mostly dark scenery doesn’t make this the most visual reference disc to show off your collection with in comparison to the newest king of Blu-ray, Avatar.  However, Fox delivers a near home run with this 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 video encode.  The contrast heavy film is presented in a 2.39:1 framed aspect ratio.  Despite the many dark sequences, the level of detail here is outstanding, especially in the fabric of Elektra’s many outfits (the important parts here).  The colors vibrantly pop right off the screen during the forest battles.  From what I heard about the previous DVD transfers, it looks like we have a winner here folks.  Let’s check in with the audio department and see how Elektra ranks there.

    Elektra: Director's Cut


    Like the visuals, the Blu-ray’s audio presentation is near flawless.  There are little things here or there I can nitpick about, but for the most part, Fox did a bang up job on the bombastic DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround mix.  Yes I used the word “bombastic.”  And for good reason too!  The fight scenes, the chases and the zany martial arts action all utilize deep thumping bass dynamics.  Me like!  While I was tempted a couple of times to actually turn my sound down, I didn’t for one simple reason.  A couple of times I found the dialog to be just a tad low.  It wasn’t that it wasn’t audible or a deal breaker, but it felt oddly low in just a couple of spots.  If not for that, then we may be talking about a possible 5-star rating.  But let’s be honest.  Not many people were expecting much from this Blu-ray release so we should be thrilled that it actually turned out this good.  While much of the movie is passive in dialog, the action sequences come to life thanks to the DTS-HD track that delivers non-stop zany action all around you.  I mean, who doesn’t like a good throwing star zinging by your ear every now and then?

    Elektra: Director's Cut

    Special Features  

    Elektra makes its Blu-ray debut with a heaping helping of extras.  It may not look like much on paper, but believe me; you’ll definitely be taking a few bathroom breaks trying to squeeze all the features into one gigantic viewing marathon.  Unfortunately, it’s a mix bag of goodies.  What I mean by that is the fact that the extras are not all in High-Definition (insert a sad face).  However, the two main ones we care about here are (at least in pseudo Hi-Def).  Let’s cut to the chase and get into the good stuff.  You wanted extras, then you got your extras!  Elektra’s supplemental materials are as follows.

    Elektra Blu-ray Menu

    • Commentary by Director Rob Bowman and Film Editor Kevin Stitt– Just your standard every day commentary track.  If you’re interested in this film, then you already know you should check this out.
    • Relentless: The Making of Elektra Part 1: Production (HD) – This was a long one.  Almost a whole hour and a half long.  Wow!  I never expected to learn so much about this film.  It was interesting to learn about Jennifer Garner’s hesitation towards this project.  She was very concerned this movie was going to suck and ruin her career.  Rob Bowman assured her he wouldn’t let that happen.  What do you think?  Also, interesting to note, is the discussion over the low budget and number of shooting days they had to work with.  This was another concern of Jennifer’s and rightfully so.  And finally, I was really perplexed to find out that they were not allowed to make this a love story at all.  They had their instructions.  Hmm.  That goes against everything I learned these past 5 months in film class.  You always have that B-love story.  In my opinion, I think Rob did a good job with what he had to work with.
    • Relentless: The Making of Elektra Part 2: Post-Production (HD) – Here’s another long one clocking in just over 53 minutes.  If you like editing, special effects and sound mixing, then this is the place for you to be.
    • Deleted Scenes(SD) – There’s a total of 3 scenes with optional commentary by Rob Bowman and Kevin Stitt.
    • Alternate/Extended Scenes (SD) – There are 7 scenes here with optional commentary by Rob Bowman and Kevin Stitt.
    • Elektra: Incarnations(HD) – This is really cool.  This 52-minute documentary takes a look at the history of Elektra in the comics.  It explores Frank Miller’s early work to the present.  This was very interesting because after watching this, I really don’t believe that Jennifer Garner’s passive character was the right choice for this film and Daredevil, to be fair.  After all, she seems like she was a cold-blooded killing machine in the comics.  Unless I am wrong, her character is not conveyed in the film like this?
    • The Mythology(HD) – Dr. Katerina Zacharia, of Loyola Marymount University, discusses iterations of the Elektra story in Greek Mythology for a casual 15 minutes of runtime.
    • Theatrical and Teaser Trailers(SD) – It is what it is.  Here you have the various Elektra trailers in glorious High-Definition.  Not!  Sadly, they are only presented in Standard Definition.  Boo!

    Elektra: Director's Cut

    Final Thoughts  

    Well there you have it folks.  Elektra is one of those films you either like or you despise.   With me, the film is a guilty pleasure of mine so I stand by resolute in my feelings towards it.  It’s not the most exciting film ever made, but it’s also not the worst.  It’s my Blu-ray review so ultimately I have the right to feel the way I do about it.  I’m going to give it the green light and recommend a purchase for all the fans of the film that want to own it on the Hi-Def format of choice because of the stunning Blu-ray transfer in both the audio and video worlds, as well as the special features package, which is enough to keep you busy for hours on end.  All others should proceed with caution and maybe try a rental first.  So for all my Elektra fans out there, make sure to check out Jennifer Garner as she kicks some ninja clan a$$ in HD and at the same time looks good doing so (that’s always a plus in my opinion).


    Buy It!


    Bring home Elektra today on Blu-ray!



    Elektra: Director's Cut Blu-ray Cover Art



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