Director David Fincher’s signature style — creepy,
stylishly shot thrillers — rises above the mediocrity of the
script in “Panic Room.” Previously released in 2002,
this new three-disc edition of the Jodie Foster thriller stands
among the most comprehensive releases to date.

Foster stars as a recent divorceé, who, with her
adolescent daughter, moves into an upscale house in New York
complete with a “panic room.” This room serves as an
impenetrable fortress in the event of a home invasion. When three
criminals break in searching for millions of dollars hidden within
that very room, and a war of attrition begins between the two
sides.

The movie is entertaining, but nothing too special. However,
this release covers nearly every aspect imaginable about the film.
The first disc features the movie, in a pristine widescreen
transfer (though not as good as the Superbit edition from 2002) and
Dolby Digital Sound. The disc also contains three different
commentary tracks: one with Foster and Forrest Whitaker, one with
Fincher and one with the writer, David Koepp. Each offers a
different perspective into the intense shoot and Fincher’s
commentary is incredibly informative about the creative
process.

The second disc contains featurettes on the pre-production
phase. Taking viewers from storyboards to the actual shots, few
DVDs offer such comprehensive glimpses into their creation. Also
present on this disc are production features such as an hour-long
documentary on the photography as well as a featurette on the
makeup. The documentary covers a unique aspect of filmmaking often
overlooked in DVD extras.

The final disc focuses on the post-production work with a few
sequence breakdowns from the production phase, showing four scenes
during filming to compare to the final product. 21 astonishing
featurettes demonstrate all of the special effects that went into
making “Panic Room.” From the creation of the room to
the computer-generated camera work, nothing is left to the
imagination. The creation of Howard Shore’s score is also
included in a featurette with multiple angles of the recording
session to choose from. While not the most interesting extra, it
shows just how comprehensive this set is.

“Panic Room” is a good film, but a DVD release of
this caliber should be saved for films that truly are noteworthy.
However, this set rivals the “Alien Quadrilogy” and
“The Lord of the Rings” extended editions as one of the
most complete offerings on the market. Fans of David Fincher, the
film or of filmmaking should invest in this extraordinary
package.

 

Film: 3 out of 5 stars

Picture/Sound: 4 out of 5 stars

Features: 5 out of 5 stars

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