Season four of AMCs Runaway Hit The Walking Dead Finally Shuffles Onto Blu-Ray
Arriving just in time for us to relive every scare, every groan and every twist before the October 12th (13th here in the U.K) premiere of season five, we now have the stunning HD release of season four, extras and all.
***WARNING… SEASON 3 SPOILERS AHEAD***
Months have passed since the Governor’s ill fated attempt to wrestle the prison from the hands of Rick and company. There is an air of peace, of calmness as Rick, long tired of the responsibilities that fell upon him as the unelected group leader, has taken to farming as a way of both providing for the now much larger group (thanks to the influx of Woodbury residents), but more importantly as a way of bonding with son Carl. Runs are still made into the surrounding towns and suburbs, as supplies drop to dangerously low levels. The search radius, broadened as the last of the local resources bares no fruits. Daryl hunts, whether it be deer, rabbit, snake, basically whatever he can train the sights of his crossbow on. Michonne hunts also. But hers is a much different prey. Still sore about Andrea’s fate, there is only one thing she tries to track, constantly venturing out, distancing herself from the group. Her target? The Governor himself.
Of course, this wouldn’t be The Walking Dead if there wasn’t some constant threat looming on the horizon. Our heroes squaring up to the next perilous situation, whatever shape or form it may be. As we first catch up with the group there seems to be a pretty nasty flu epidemic doing the rounds at the safe haven they’ve come to know as the prison. This may seem trivial, but in a world on its backside, medication severely thin on the ground, casualties, fatalities even, are inevitable. And fatalities can only mean one thing…
I’m going to be honest, give you my honest opinion. That’s the job when reviewing something, no matter how popular it may be, to give an honest assessment of the material at hand. This season is a slow burner. The first half especially so. Gently paced, never boring, but occasionally running a little flat here and there. Still however throwing in a couple of surprises and answering the odd question as we reach the midway point, whereupon we reach an epic turnaround. From that point on we are treated to the familiar character development that has long become a staple of this show. The writing consistent, showing no sign of becoming stale or repeatedly treading over old ground. That is an achievement in itself and a relief to fans after the departure of season three showrunner Glen Mazzara. Not without its own little faults here and there, but Scott M. Gimple does a wonderful job taking over the reins left vacant by the aforementioned Mr Mazzara. The newer characters (some recognizable to fans of the comics) are explored, some even given a bit of a backstory, as we embrace them, welcoming them with open arms to the trenches of this apocalyptic environment. Older characters meanwhile, are also expanded upon. Just as we thought we knew them, their pain, what makes them tick, we’re thrown something new to ponder. A curveball, if you will.
I could ruin this entire season, I want to cover that much, but I’m trying my hardest not to. Safe to say it all gathers momentum after the halfway mark, never reaching a thunderous gallop, but drifting steadily along. The added bonus, the beauty of Blu-Ray/DVD is that you don’t have the agonizing two month wait between the mid season finale and the mid season premiere. But you know what they say, the best things come to those that wait. We’re treated to new characters, some good, some bad, some we really aren’t sure about, but all vital to the continuing narrative. Fans of the comic will recognize the odd face, and one scene in particular makes a welcome appearance in the season finale, much to the delight of this reviewer. It definitely lent a ‘bite’ to that episode, let me tell you. New locations carry a sense of mystery, and anticipation is squeezed from both the script and the amazing cast members. It’s also nice to see our motley crew of heroes and misfits return to their original task of finding out more about the outbreak, what happened and where. There are shocks, surprises, relief and the traditional ‘WTF?!?’ moments we’ve become accustomed to. See the thing is, nobody is ever ‘safe’ in this world, not even kids (Sofia, Season Two, anyone?) Ever since the very first episode, right up until now, not one person, no matter how much of a fan favourite, is off limits when the writers wield that blood stained axe. That’s what genuinely makes you feel for these characters as they investigate every noise and search every abandoned house. Your nerves are constantly on edge, shredded in fact, as you fear for them, squirming in your seat as they open every door, breathing a sigh of relief right there with them, as they make it from one gruesome, life threatening scenario to another. Of course, not all are so lucky. But we’ll not go into that.
Bear McCreary’s original score still fits, filling the silence, adding even more raw emotion to the corresponding scenes. The intro credits still making the hairs stand up as it gallops along at a canter, indicating the seriousness of the subject matter. As far as music goes, this is amongst some of the finest I’ve ever had the pleasure of absorbing, albeit subconsciously. It’s pretty obvious that every scene is dissected, music added lovingly, gently caressing the ongoing performance.
We finish with a bang, naturally. The big season finale episode, cliff hanger and all. Questions still remain about certain characters, their motives and we get the feeling season five is going to kick off in the same manner in just under three months time. With a sense of urgency, action and even more twists and turns, dragging us in even deeper, like an army of walkers, unrelenting, sinking their teeth in and refusing to let us go.
Walking Dead Season 4 is released on both Blu-Ray and DVD on 26th August (US) and 29th September (U.K).
Blu-Ray edition includes 5 discs featuring:
- All 16 Episodes As Originally Broadcast
- 1080p HD with Dolby TrueHD 7.1 Audio
- Deleted Scenes
- Audio Commentaries
- Never Before Seen Production Footage
- Several Extended Episodes Seen For The First Time
Like the Walking Dead? Check out the season five trailer at right here on Back To The Movies at http://bttm.co.uk/walking-dead-season-5-trailer/