After an urgent telegram interrupts his much needed break, Famed Belgian sleuth Hercule Poirot is travelling to France on the Orient Express. Soon into this journey, there is a murder, and Poirot is called upon to solve this by journey’s end.
The world renowned story comes to us on disc in a modern retelling, and given the ensemble of characters and intricate plot, there is an amount of re-watch value in the film, trying to out-guess the super sleuth Poirot himself.
Read the full SAMDB review of Murder on the Orient Express.
Over all the disc is of a high technical quality, with an enjoyable main feature, and some interesting bonus material. This is to date, one of the better presented discs from Next Entertainment, and hopefully a preview of more to come, considering some of the technically terrible discs they’ve released in the past.
Murder on the Orient Express is available now, to purchase on disc, in South Africa.
Video is encoded at a high average bitrate, with no visible artefacts on-screen. There is no visible colour bleed. Detail in darker scenes is good, including scenes where there are fine objects such as snowfall moving about.
Video for the disc menu system is encoded at a lower bitrate, saving space for the main feature. Video quality in the bonus features (given that much is interview and old archive footage) is of a good quality too.
Audio for the main feature is presented in a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, and is encoded with a high average bitrate. Dialogue is clear via the centre speaker, with the weight of the soundtrack carried by the front channels.
Use of the surround channels serve to expand the on-screen world, further drawing the viewer into the story.
Audio for the bonus features is presented in a 2.0 mix.
Navigation is simple, and easy to follow. The disc plays a short transition video, and then presents the main menu, with text links to play the main feature, set up, scenes, and extras. The main menu has a static background, with accompanying music from the film.
The set up sub-menu has a text list of audio languages, and a link to a sub-title menu (the text of which actually looks like a heading, which may be confusing). This leads one to another sub-menu for subtitle language choice, and a similar link back to the audio page.
The scenes sub-menus each have four large, still, colour thumbnails, for a total of twenty four chapters. While these are numbered, they are not labelled, nor is there a chapter index in the DVD case, meaning that navigating to a specific part of the main feature would likely require some guesswork.
The extras sub-menu has a text list of the various bonus material included on the disc.
Agatha Christie: An Intimate Portrait – A short documentary, of almost twenty minutes, with recording from Agatha Christie herself, talking about her life and books.
Through interviews, and archive footage, we are exposed to the life of the great, famous writer. The featurette presents many facts and a closer look at Christie’s life, and adds much depth to the feature itself, after seeing the genius, depth and detail of the stories. Sure to be very interesting to most viewers.
Let’s Talk About Hercule Poirot – A short look at the main character of Hercule Poirot, in this short video (almost ten minutes), and how the character went on to be covered in subsequent stories.
As with the featurette on Christie, this adds more depth to the character
Deleted Scenes – A collection of thirteen deleted, extended or alternate scenes from the film. There is an option to play all via a play list, or select each individually. There is also the option of playing a commentary for these by Kenneth Branagh and Michael Green.
These scenes are likely to be of interest to both the casual viewer, and filmmakers alike, especially given the added input from Branagh and Green.
Commentary By Kenneth Branagh And Michael Green – Director Kenneth Branagh (Cinderella, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit) and writer Michael Green (Alien: Covenant, Logan) give both an interesting and insightful commentary on the film, giving information on the story and filmmaking process.
The commentary is sure to appeal to filmmakers, yet still has a place for the casual viewer.
Gallery – A series of thirty six still images showing behind the scenes of the film, with the actors, set and locations. There is a choice to advance manually or to auto-advance the stills. This is all described on the first screen prior to the actual images themselves.
An intriguing look behind the scenes of the film, to see how the actual environment looked, compared to the final product we see on-screen.
The disc packaging is rather standard, with a poster and title on the front, with main cast names. The back has a few small stills from the main feature, an short synopsis (in very small font), a listing of the bonus features, and some incredibly small text specifying some technical details about the disc.