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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cult Classic
I have to say, like many, I missed this when it came out at the cinema so this was brand new for me. I think that it was a shame this missed out on the publicity as it is not a million miles away from the Matrix, and a year earlier, however with the ground breaking special effects and the big name cast, the Matrix seems to have taken all the glory. This disc contains both...
Published on 13 Jan 2009 by chuckles

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I really want to like it more...
This film has so much going for it with great special effects, a worthy cast, an interesting concept and as it has been pointed out - it was done a year before the Matrix, so it should be a done deal. Problem is that there was something missing and I'm not sure I can put my finger on it.

I do say that it is one of those sci-fi films that is a must see for any...
Published on 1 Jan 2011 by Amazon Customer


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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cult Classic, 13 Jan 2009
By 
chuckles "barnie884" (Netherlands) - See all my reviews
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I have to say, like many, I missed this when it came out at the cinema so this was brand new for me. I think that it was a shame this missed out on the publicity as it is not a million miles away from the Matrix, and a year earlier, however with the ground breaking special effects and the big name cast, the Matrix seems to have taken all the glory. This disc contains both the original and theatrical releases, and with lots of extras this is a great disc for fans and new viewers alike. The film itself is a clever sci-fun/murder mystery film which keeps you interested for the whole time. It also looks and sounds good on the blu-ray transfer, giving you a great idea of the in depth and atmospheric sets. I enjoyed this very much!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "When was the last time you remember doing something during the day?", 24 Dec 2012
By 
@GeekZilla9000 "I am completely operational a... (Doncaster, Yorkshire, UK.) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
Dark City had the misfortune of being released at the same time as Titanic, it didn't perform well at the cinema and although it gained a strong following when it came out on VHS - a year later a film exploring similar themes was much lauded and people were too busy talking about the Matrix to even think about this obscure Sci-Fi film noir. Strangely, the Matrix was so copied in style that it feels very much 'of its time' and Dark City probably feels like the more fresh of the two films.

When John Murdoch awakes with amnesia and a dead prostitute, he flees the scene of the crime unable to accept that he is a notorious serial killer. He starts to notice the strange goings on which are simply never questioned by anyone else in the city; why can nobody ever remember the finer detail of their memories? Why can nobody recall what they did during the daytime? And just how do you get to Shell Beach? This film Noir has the feel of an old fashioned detective story along with a strong science-fiction edge, it is clearly inspired by other cinematic works and I've heard the post-industrial cityscape compared to Blade Runner - not surprising seeing as both films are heavily influenced by Fritz Lang's Metropolis, and the 'baddies' of this piece seem to look like a cross between Nosferatu and the Borg from Star Trek: The Next Generation! Actually, director Alex Proyas discusses the Nosferatu look in the bonus material (just look at the Blu-Ray cover art work). It seems that Proyas threw every artistic technique at his fingertips into Dark City, but it doesn't drown under it - a fantastically gothic world is created which is free of any specific era, this could just as easily be set in the 1930s as a hundred years from now. Dark City is ambitious beyond its budget - but it pays off, we view cities warp and fold as they alter into new landscapes. Buildings melt away and bridges twist as structures remodel themselves - and over 20 years before Inception!!!

This Blu-Ray release contains both the theatrical release and the Directors cut, at 1hr 51min the Director's cut is only 11 minutes longer but it's always great to watch the film how it was initially intended to look. If you've not seen this for a while then you may not recognise which parts of the film are the extra bits - but a feature on the disk is a little pop up to let you know you are watching part of the director's cut, of course you only need to have that activated if you really want to! This is an impressive Blu-Ray release, there are three commentaries to start with, Alex Proyas gets technical and the Screenwriter commentary is similar but looks at things from the narrative point of view. Film Critic Roger Ebert provides the standout commentary however and I would recommend it to those who tend to not listen to them. He is not only a big fan of the film, but has an encyclopaedic knowledge of film in general and points out possible influences and links with movie trivia. There are some text only extras which are quite interesting, and over an 1.5 hours of video documentary covering the making of this film and an analysis of Sci-Fi in general. The actual picture quality was surprisingly good, probably because the last time I saw this it was on a shaky VHS. The film takes place almost entirely at night but the picture doesn't descend into a mush of greys and washed out detail, it's fair to sayI saw things on this viewing that I've never seen before.

In a nutshell: Science Fiction often gets a raw deal. Like other Sci-Fi classics such 2001: A Space Odyssey and Blade Runner, Dark City was initially considered a bloated flop but has since gained the recognition it deserved. It may display evidence of being influenced by other films, but it never looks like a re-hash or a copy, this is an original film in both style and scope and has gone on to influence other film makers since. This is a fine example of cerebral Science Fiction and it looks superb, *plus* it's got Richard O'Brien in it!
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48 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars awesome, 16 Aug 2008
By 
Mr. A. Nash (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I have always liked the film but on blu ray it is something else. The picture quality is stunning as well as the sound.

What should be noted is that the blu ray disk contains both the theatrical cut(100mins) and the directors cut (111mins). The disk is also packed with an extensive range of extras such as 5 commentries and numerous making of documentries.

Overall this is one of my favourite blu ray disks and for the price it is a must buy for any fans of the film or any fans of science fiction in general.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark City: Not to be taken lightly., 27 Jan 2008
By 
Mr. Bennett J. Dunn "Flaze" (Bristol, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Dark City [DVD] [1998] (DVD)
Dark City starts with a man, John Murdoch (Sewell), waking up confused, alone and memoryless in a gloomy hotel in the middle of the night; committed of murders he didn't commit and pursued by ghostly agents who want him on account of the mysterious psychic power he has developed.

It so happens that I wanted to watch 'Dark City' because having seen Rufus Sewell in 'The Illusionist' I wanted a comparison and this intriguing film seemed a good option. In fact I'm very glad I bought it because the film is a masterpiece of science fiction. Combining a tense surrealism with incredible visual effects and an indescribable sense of foreboding, Dark City draws you into its dark heart. I was not sure quite what to expect, but from the first intriguing moment to the cosmic finale I was gripped by the mystery; the pace; and the queer malevolence of 'the strangers' whose hidden purpose both intrigues and discomforts.

On the one hand, Dark City could be described as an extended 'escape quest' along the lines of the Truman Show, but that would be an injustice. For whereas in the Truman Show everyone was conspiring against Truman, in Dark City everyone is oblivious to the monstrous 'experiments' conducted upon themselves by the alien strangers, leaving only John Murdoch sentient and aware except for one (somewhat unappealing) scientist traitorously acting on behalf of the strangers. Dark City is profoundly philosophical in its treatment of what constitutes identity, the value of memory and what it is that fundamentally makes us human, for the way the 'strangers' callously tamper with the human mind is enthralling and it is only when one distances oneself from the dreamlike quality of the film that the troubling nature of such a possibility is realised.

All in all, I loved this film and I recommend it to anyone who's ever considered the question 'who am I?'. It's a fast-paced exciting story with a great performance by Sewell, convincingly backed by Jennifer Connelly and William Hurt, filled with stunning effects; creepy music; supernatural powers; and the haunting dilemma of existentialism that will leave you - strangely in sympathy with the 'strangers' - pondering long after the ending.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quick Reviews!, 15 Sep 2007
By 
This review is from: Dark City [DVD] [1998] (DVD)
Carrying on with the look of The Crow, Proyas gives Dark City an appropriately noirish atmosphere. Many have asked whether The Matrix 'borrowed' heavily from Dark City. The similarities are blatant, the opening few scenes are almost identical to the Wachowskis' movie, and some of the early dialogue is the same. The look is similar, as is the story to some extent: your life is being controlled by an outside, unseen force, and the human race is their little play thing. Then again, Proyas' story has elements from Metropolis, and Blade Runner. Both films are must-sees from the nineties, but unfortunately Dark City is barely known.

Sewell's character Murdoch wakes up with no idea who he is, or who the dead woman beside him is. When he is chased by a group of leather clad baldies, he begins to wonder what the hell is going on. He questions why no-one can remember the last time there was daylight, or remember the way out of the city. Help comes in the form of odd doctor Sutherland, who seems to be the only other person in the city who doesn't mysteriously fall asleep at midnight. Sutherland teaches Murdoch how to harness his powerful gift (an ability to 'change' his surroundings), and then try to bring down the bad guys.

Questions of free will are explored, and like The Matrix we wonder whether it would be better not to know. At the end, there is still no escape from the city, although Murdoch's power to create remains. Most of the performances are good, though unlike The Crow, Dark City has a bleak, close to emotionless feel to it, and only Jennifer Connoly adds some glamour. The film is visually stunning and the plot is engaging, though it was always clear that this would never be the blockbuster which The Matrix set out to be. The DVD extras are a short making-of and a trailer, but you can pick this up cheap and catch up on one of the decade's forgotten gems.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I really want to like it more..., 1 Jan 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Dark City [DVD] [1998] (DVD)
This film has so much going for it with great special effects, a worthy cast, an interesting concept and as it has been pointed out - it was done a year before the Matrix, so it should be a done deal. Problem is that there was something missing and I'm not sure I can put my finger on it.

I do say that it is one of those sci-fi films that is a must see for any who are into the genre, especially of the comic-book and/or gothic variety. It will give you enjoyment and may grip you somewhat.

But perhaps I've just watched too many films over the years that are supposed to be thrillers. I didn't find this one to be particularly challenging and it was obvious what was happening within the first half and hour of the film. For instance harking back to films like Blade Runner there was always the element of leaving certain things unresolved in order to enhance the tension. I didn't feel any of this in Dark City and I think that this is a trick that the writer/director(s) missed.

Although there is the one part of the movie I did particularly enjoy and it is at the end but I can find no way of alluding to it without spoiling the ending of the film and to be honest the ending is fairly weak without the great special effects.

I actually want to lie and say what a fantastic film it was and totally faultless because I really enjoyed what the film was ATTEMPTING to achieve. But perhaps you need to watch it for yourselves and decide.
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34 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Most Philip K. Dick-like film ever, 29 April 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Dark City [DVD] [1998] (DVD)
I really loved this film. Strangely it's criticized for being more form than substance. Well yes, the movie is very stylish. And yes, it's a bit of a comic book world, with caricatural protagonists -- the dark city, the sad cop, the beautiful singer, the mad scientist. But far from being a weakness, this is a crucial element of the plot. I won't give it away; let's just say it's quite clever, even breath-taking and paradoxical. Like the Matrix, it was filmed in Australia, and it shares some of that film's (and that country's?) gloomy esthetic and mystical bent, without the fancy martial arts but with a tighter, more original and poetic plot. I haven't seen this film in a few years -- I really want to get the DVD soon!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Superb Blu-Ray visuals, entertaining sci-fi - everything works expect some sub-par FX and a creaky backstory., 18 April 2009
Picture-quality is stunning on Blu-Ray, and I suspect that the costumes and lighting benefit. I've no idea what it was like on the first cut, but in this extended cut it's a gripping story, told at an admirably even pace and without resorting to many Hollywood action-movie cliches (you'll find no tedious car chases here). I gave it four stars - so what's not to like? Despite the generally inventive visuals, I was rather unimpressed by the presentation of the ending "battle". Especially the sub-par FX. Also, the story has a science-fiction setting, but the science is distinctly hazy and what's happening is generally rather unconvincing. And I say that as someone who's a long-time SF fan, and who can do "unbelievable". That said, it's certainly interesting for being a successful hybrid of several genres: mystery, noir, detective, vampire/horror, sci-fi, and even bits which veer towards the superhero genre. But I suspect that, for me, it's one of those films that's only going to be successful once - I doubt I'd watch it a second time now that the mystery has been explained.
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Any More..., 19 May 2007
This review is from: Dark City [DVD] [1998] (DVD)
Breathtaking film. Beautiful to look at and it hurts your head to follow the plot. It's agressively intelligent and it doesn't wait for the popcorn public to catch up - you pay attention or you miss out.

That said, it's worth the effort, as all the strands fall neatly into place. Second and subsequent viewing show how everything was there for you to understand from the start if you could just get the jigsaw puzzle pieces to hold still long enough.

Extremely good performances from Rufus Sewell (Martha Meet Frank, Daniel and Laurence), William Hurt (Gorky Park, The Big Chill), Keiffer Sutherland (Lost Boys, 24), Richard O'Brian (Rocky Horror Show) and the sadly missed Ian Richardson (House of Cards, Hogfather). Where could you find a cast like that now?

It's all crafted by Alex Proyas, who went on to make a splendid job of I Robot.

Highly original, highly thought provoking, highly entertaining and highly recommended!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A review of the Director's Cut, 31 Mar 2009
Dark City has been one of my favourite films for many years, it's a criminally underrated sci-fi film that, like one of it's influences, Blade Runner, was a flop when it was released and is only now starting to recieve some of the praise it deserves. Also, like Blade Runner, a decade after it's release it now sees the film given the 'director's cut' treatment. Unfortunately, unlike Blade Runner, this new cut does not improve/radically transform the film the way Ridley Scott's did. The main alteration is the removal of the opening narration which basically gave away the whole twist to the film, so that now the beginning of the film seems much more mysterious and is all the better for it. The rest of the changes just consist of slightly extended scenes that don't really add a great deal to the film. The dubbing of Jennifer Connolly's singing has been removed so that you can now actually hear the actress' own voice however there was a reason for why she was dubbed - she's just not a very good singer and I feel it let's those scenes down. Another gripe is that the excellent musical score has been significantly toned down to the extent that it's often barely noticeable which is a shame as I felt it really added to the atmosphere of the film. And some of the special effects actually seem to have been made less 'special' which I also think is a mistake. Where this DVD scores over the previous release, however, is in terms of it's extras which boast 3 commentaries, and a very informative 'making of' documentary. But in terms of the film itself, I feel that the original theatrical cut is actually the one I prefer, just turn the volume down for the first 2 minutes so you don't hear the opening 'spoiler' narration and you have a much more satisfying movie.
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Dark City [DVD] [1998]
Dark City [DVD] [1998] by Alex Proyas (DVD - 1999)
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