Plot: What’s it about?
After she suffered mortal wounds in battle, Elektra (Jennifer Garner) died. But her story doesn’t there, as her master Stick (Terrence Stamp) used an ancient power to revive her, bringing her back from the dead. Afterwards, she resumed her training and soon became much more skilled, with more power, more speed, and more mental awareness. Not as much as she’d like, but enough to allow her to stand out from her fellow trainees. But Stick sees anger within her, related to her death and the circumstances involved. So he sends her out of the training and into the world, to rediscover her old self. She turns to assassin work, which she does without hesitation and never fails to complete an assignment. But when her latest target is a young girl and her father, she has doubts and soon learns an evil organization is after them also. So she protects them and learns that if they fall into evil hands, it could spell certain doom. Can Elektra put her own inner demons aside and overcome her psyche, or will evil be able to prevail?
After the negative reaction to Daredevil, a sequel seemed out the question and while no sequel has been announced as of yet, we do have this spin off, Elektra. Jennifer Garner (13 Going on 30, Tv’s Alias) returns in the title role and of course, a better choice would be hard to find. Garner has experience as a femme fatale from Alias, so she slips into this role with ease. She has a likable presence, but can turn cold in a heartbeat, like as cold as ice. So she was a natural to bring Elektra to life and delivers a solid performance, given the mediocre material. No, Elektra isn’t all that well written and some great moments are wasted, including a total waste of one of the comic’s coolest villains, Typhoid Mary. The action scenes are basic, but enjoyable, while the special effects go over the top time and again. But you expect that with a movie like Elektra and for a popcorn movie, I had a lot of fun with this one. The pace could have been quicker and the action kicked up a notch, but Garner is on her game and the movie skates past. Not a great movie or even a good one, but a passable diversion and a worthwhile rental.
Fox revisits Elektra here with a two disc edition that includes not only a host of new supplements, but a director’s cut of the film itself. If you expected a director’s cut that changed the scope and depth of the movie, you will be sorely disappointed here. There is about two minutes of new footage put back into the movie, none of which has much of an impact. A little more information here and there, but its two minutes and it would have to be a crucial two minutes to make a real difference. I think Fox just tagged the director’s cut label on this release to pull in more viewers a second time. I wish I had more to comment on with this new version, but Elektra is still the same, even in this director’s cut.
Video: How does it look?
Elektra is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. As this is a visually complex picture, I had some doubts about this transfer, but those worries were unfounded, as the image provided here looks terrific in all respects. I did see some grain, but it is light and never an issue, while the source print is in fantastic condition, as expected from such a new release. The red hues dominate the scope here, but all the colors look in top form and I saw no bleeds or such, even when the reds hit maximum richness in some scenes. The contrast is also very important here and true to form, the black levels are stark and well balanced, so shadows and detail levels are dead on throughout. This is not a perfect visual presentation, but for a movie that uses a lot of visual tricks, this is a terrific treatment.
Audio: How does it sound?
The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is the inferior of the soundtracks found here, but fear not, as it still sounds terrific. But as good as it sounds, the track falters when stacked up against the brand new DTS option. This new track opens up the material, which means action scenes are more explosive, while even reserved sequences have more presence. The small touches, the kind of subtle details that add to the atmosphere, which can make the experience more immersive, all come across well here. I was blown away by some of the more audio intensive sequences, so fans are in for a real treat here. This disc also includes subtitles in English and Spanish.
Supplements: What are the extras?
If you want a look behind the scenes, you’ll find it here in the two part documentary titled Relentless, which examines the production from conception to completion. Relentless takes us inside the creative process, from how the story would be approached to the casting decisions, to visual design, special effects, you name it and you’ll probably get at least a glimpse in this piece. A host of cast and crew interviews provide candid comments, so this isn’t the usual promotional fluff. Perhaps not an in depth as I would like, but a lot of ground is covered, so you have to expect some sacrifices. Rob Bowman provides his director’s comments in an alternate audio track, joined by editor Kevin Stitt. The two spend a lot of time promoting the movie and the cast, so this is a very slap on the back kind of session. A few decent comments can be found between ass kissing moments, but not enough to make this track tolerable. This release also includes storyboards, a look at the mythology in the film, deleted & alternate scenes, and the film’s teaser & theatrical trailers.