Elektra DVD: Review By justincase

  • OVERALL
    3.0
    WORTHY
  • Feature
  • Extras
  • Replay Value
THE FEATURE
I died once...

And so it goes.

Jennifer Garner steps out of her CIA black-ops gear and into a red leather outfit, picking up some serious metal (Sai) for her turn as Elektra. We last saw the fiery blade-slinger opposite her alleged beau, Affleck, in Daredevil. What we learn in this film, though, is the backstory of the legendary Marvel hero-ess, as we tag-along with the time-bending tart as she glides along on a mission to vanquish the bad guys.

Haunted by her past, particularly her difficult memories of childhood and the brutal murder of her mother, Elektra is an assassin for hire. When she is booked to kill a father and daughter, some deep emotion stays her hand. However, the violent ninja band, The Hand, is hot on the trail of her mark and Elektra decides to defend them until she can figure out why The Hand wants the pair dead.

Rob Bowman directs Garner, who is joined by Goran Visnjic and Kirsten Prout in this tale of good vs. evil and how both sides of the coin can inhabit any given person... until the tossed coin finally lands.

Garner's portrayal of Elektra is cold and calculating, like the character herself. I would suppose that a mysterious covert operative of sorts is not terribly out of character for her. The action sequences are decent and the story works... right up until we see the ninjas poof into thin-air and the big-ass bird clamor off a graffiti wall to take flight only to, then, affix himself to the ninja's shoulder.

Let's face it... There is a fine line where the suspension of disbelief required for these comic adaptations to work is intact and the story takes us along for a fantastic voyage. When that line is crossed, however, the disbelief can no longer be suspended and we fall... tumbling back to reality and the tender suspension is left dangling. Elektra starts off in the right place. Empathy for the lead, great action a deep and dark story arc. However, we do get slammed across the disbelief line (even though we're led to expect to see these 'supernatural' powers) and can't get ourselves back into the groove for the remainder of the running time.

There is a lot of potential in the character and in Garner. Perhaps it is too much to expect a cinematic experience like we got from Spidey. In this case, the characters seem to dissolve right before our eyes, their very essence melting away and dripping off the screen. Our villains are not terribly plausible (in the Spidey stories, we get to find out what created such fantastic foes... what makes them tick). Here, we get some crazy supernatural villains that seem to have no reason to have come into existence. Where did they come from? Were they just circus freaks that banded together? How is it that Elektra can wipe out a man-mountain that can withstand a shotgun blast and the poke of a sai? What's up with a little girl with big skills and the story behind Terence Stamp's (Stick, in the film) ass-kicking training camp?

Guess you'll have to sit through the film to get any answers. This won't be easy, though, as the legacy of too many screenwriters throws the guantlet. This cadre of scripters has, however, given something new... simultaneously too much and too little. Too much go-time, with the fights, running and trash-talking and too little character time and backstory.

Elektra is entertaining. It is a decent diversion. You can do worse than Garner, martial arts and decent audio for a couple hours. Hell, the Typhoid kiss even gave me goosebumps. In the end, though, heavy-handed cinematography delivers a dark and dreary backdrop to fairly tired, if not over-the-top fight coreography. The film's hook is mostly Garner who does her dirty work in an unnecessarily skimpy and needlessly bright red outfit, chasing the demons that haunt her dreams.

It will end where it all began.
THE EXTRAS
Without a feature commentary track, the 'features' are only passable. They include the following:

Deleted Scenes

You get a few deleted/extended scenes that have no explanation or introduction and leave you to guess as to why they were cut. The one bizarre stop along the path, here, is the scene with Affleck playing his red-suited blind man begging our heroine to 'come back'. I know it shouldn't have seemed out of place, but it did.

The Making of Elektra

Pretty standard fare that will give you some promotional stuff

Comic-Con Presentation

Apparently Jennifer Garner is so sad not to be joining the geek-fest, as she is still on the set when this intro is created. Garner drops the 411 for the fanboys in this short bit.

It'll be a ride.

Inside the Editing Room

The one bit of scene-time that we spend with Rob Bowman, the directory. Rob takes us through a few scenes and lets us get a bit of insight. The scene of Stick bringing Elektra back to life was the main thing that should have been prominent in the film was the resurrection, which would have given us more awareness of the Stick character.

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The following 'special features' should not be construed to be either special or features and have only the slightest value on this section of this disc:

Theatrical Teaser

Theatrical Trailer

Soundtrack

Fox, then, takes us on a blatantly self-promotional trip to hilight a couple of its network shows, American Dad and Family Guy. Enough already. I don't need their baggage tagging along for the ride I paid for.
THE VIDEO
Presented in 2.35:1 widescreen, the progressive scan output looked crisp and clear on the HD LCD. The one big 'gotcha' was the layer-switch, but that was the biggest issue. Despite fast-action and deep, dark cinematography, there is no pixelation evident on this very adequate transfer. Save Bowman's choppy edits and the dark filters, I've got no real complaints.
THE AUDIO
Great sound and an intense and brooding score bring the film to life. Pump this through your 5.1 and take full advantage of the Dolby Digital presentation. You'll appreciate the added kick.
THE PACKAGE
Garner in red leather on the cover. For the guys, you can stop reading this now... I need not say more. For everyone else, you get Garner in the midst of stylized title treatment on a white background accented by kanji. A solid cover with sophistication in its presentation.

The back cover is decent, with the description and images from the film. However, as is usually the case, the credit and tech. detail is difficult to read through the background.
THE FINAL WORD
A fine way to spend a couple hours, although nothing that stands up to Spidey in the Marvel lexicon. Don't expect too much and you won't be too disappointed.

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