Predestination (Blu-ray Review)

predestination whysoblu coverFive years back the Spierig brothers made a film called Daybreakers, which received a level of praise from some circles, as far as interesting takes on the vampire genre go.  I was not huge on the film overall, but I was happy to praise the world they created for the film, which I thought was actually better suited for a TV series.  Now the Spierig’s are back with Predestination, a time travel story, based on a short story by sci-fi writer Robert A. Heinlein.  I am a fan of time travel movies and this film did a number on me in terms of both the handling of the always tricky plotting for these types of films and its approach to gender politics, which I was certainly not expecting.  Now the film is available on Blu-ray, which is good, because this is an involved, well-filmed, well-acted, and engaging time travel flick that fans should go check out.


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Ethan Hawke stars a time-traveling agent who has been tasked with catching a terrorist known as the “Fizzle Bomber”.  Following a successful attempt to stop a bomb, despite losing out on catching the bomber, Hawke’s character is injured.  Following his recovery, he is sent on one last mission before forced retirement.  Ideally this mission will allow him to catch the bomber.  It involves posing as a bartender in the 70s and meeting with a writer (Sarah Snook) who has one hell of a life story to tell.  Everything is not what it seems though, as we soon find out various forms of connections the characters we are introduced to all have with each other.

I feel like I have to be careful not to spoil anything, but given that this is a time travel movie, there is no doubt that some may already know at least one of the twists that this story has.  It makes no difference, however, as Predestination is similar to a film like The Prestige in the way it has a list of twists and turns to reveal to its audience, as the film effectively arrives at its ultimate destination, which, in turn, keeps the viewer still in a certain state of mind, if they choose to continue thinking about the fun brain scratcher that is the time paradox and its layers found here.

This is the kind of thing that makes me like time travel movies and where this film manages to make even more out of a somewhat familiar premise is in the character development.  While Ethan Hawke plays things pretty close to the vest up to a point, managing to really deliver later on in the story, it is the tremendous work by Sarah Snook that takes this film to the next level.  She plays the character with the story to tell and regardless of where things head, following the telling of her lengthy backstory, seeing the way that backstory plays out is quite a treat that is given a level of respect that both feels like an authentic character journey for someone struggling with identity, as well as a very interesting way to get into the world of time travel and consider how elements of this backstory can be seen in a new light.

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Again, I am being vague in a certain sense, while seemingly revealing other aspects in another.  It should matter little, however, as the Spierig brothers have taken this story developed a very respectable film.  In addition to the trickiness of the plot and the effectiveness of the actors (Noah Taylor is also featured in the film and he is quite solid), I am again struck by the world the brothers have created for their film.  Predestintion is a low-budget production, but the way it handles how these characters can time travel, the rules involved, and even some of the period setting-related details and costuming is all quite effective.  One can clearly get the sense that the Spierig worked with what they could, but it has come together in the best of ways, given how successful the film is.

Predestination has all the elements of a passion project.  Taking an old sci-fi story and adapting it for a modern film, with a great understanding of how to make it work, has led to a great example of how to add to a sub-genre I quite enjoy.  The film has plenty of complexity in its story, strong performances, and a great job done to build out this world.  I was very happy to catch this film and look forward to seeing it again…unless I already have…


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Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1

Clarity/Detail: Predestination features a sharp and detailed transfer that is simply terrific in the way it captures the world of this film.  Even in the way it spans decades, this disc has a sort of visual sense that makes for a consistent look throughout the film that allows for the right kind of clarity.  Scenes taking place in a bar, in a classroom, or even a dirty warehouse all feel visually represented in the right way.

Depth: Seeing characters appear or disappear from a certain space makes for a good way to determine the dimensionality in this film and it is strong.

Black Levels: Black levels are deep and inky, which allows for some strong scenes taking place at night or in darker areas.

Color Reproduction: While the film goes back and forth between cooler locations and mood and warmer locations, the colors presented have a strong appearance throughout.

Flesh Tones: Facial textures are presented with a nice level of clarity that only adds to this very strong visual presentation.

Noise/Artifacts: Nothing to note.



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Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD Master Audio, French (PAR), Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English, English SDH, French

Dynamics: Predestination’s lossless soundtrack is terrific, with a great handle of how to bring both the subtlety and urgency to the audio aspects of this feature.  The film begins with promise, given a minor amount of action that takes place, but even once it settles down, the audio track holds onto what makes for a good auditory presentation.

Low Frequency Extension: There is a nice, weighty kick from the LFE channel when things start to get intense.  It serves this disc well.

Surround Sound Presentation: The various channels get a good workout, as the film makes sure to utilize them in the right way, in an effort to make for the best delivery of the score, the sound effects, the ambient noises, and the dialogue, all into one dynamite mix.

Dialogue Reproduction: We hear from a few people and they are all coming through loud and clear here.



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There is a great, Blu-ray exclusive documentary about the making of this film, but we are still so close to having even more to work with, but the lack of a commentary track is just a little unfortunate.

Features Include:

  • All You Zombies: Bringing Predestination to Life (HD, 1:16:30) – Almost the same length as the film, this making-of is divided into part, but can be played all together.  It explores all the aspects of the film and is totally worth the time of anyone who enjoyed the film.
  • Bloopers (HD, 1:37) – Standard stuff here.
  • A Journey Through Time (HD, 4:33) – A very condensed version of the awesome doc on this disc.
  • Trailers


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Predestination was a blast to watch.  It has all the great things I enjoy in a time travel film, with some new aspects and ways to handle the concept that I really took to as well.  In addition, this Blu-ray is pretty great, given the stellar video and audio, along with the great making-of featured on this disc.  This is a great little package that any sci-fi fan should go for.

Order Your Copy Here:

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Writer/Reviewer, Film Lover, Podcaster, Gamer, Comic Reader, Disc Golfer & a Lefty. There are too many films, TV, books, etc. for me to list as favorites, but I can assure that the amount film knowledge within my noggin is ridiculous, though I am always open to learning more. You can follow me on Twitter @AaronsPS4, see what else I am up to at TheCodeIsZeek.com & check out my podcast, Out Now with Aaron and Abe, on iTunes.

2 Responses to “Predestination (Blu-ray Review)”

  1. Brian White

    I bite! I’m gonna have to check this one out too!

  2. Brian White

    All I can say is whoa!
    I got mind-f$&ked by this one!
    What an AMAZING film! I wish more people can see this!
    And this 1 plus hour doc on the making of is equally impressive!
    Can’t wait to watch this again…TODAY!!!!