Light It Up

Light It Up (2000)
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Cast: Usher Raymond, Forest Whitaker, Judd Nelson, Vanessa Williams
Extras: Music Videos, Featurette, Theatrical Trailer

At first look, ’Light It Up’ looks like your average urban movie, which usually have very limited appeal to many viewers. However upon diving into the film, it soon becomes obvious that the film is not nearly as rough as it may seem at first and presents itself as a very well scripted modern day drama about a group of high school kids. After an unfortunate accident in which a security guard is shot in the leg at a school, these kids take the wounded officer hostage, barricade themselves inside the school and make a stand for the intolerable conditions within the school. Stamped as gangsters the media blow their ideals out of proportion and the students have to take a different route to make their voices heard while the police is slowly closing in on them.

’Light It Up’ is presented in a beautiful 16×9 enhanced widescreen transfer on this DVD in the movie’s 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The transfer is absolutely clean and without a hint of noise or grain. Highly detailed, the transfer holds up to even the most scrutinizing examination. Colors i nthe film are powerfully rendered without any signs of bleeding or noise reproducing even the subtlest hues nicely. Shadow delineation is flawless in the transfer and the black level has been adjusted perfectly, creating deep and solid blacks that never lose details. Even in the darkest shadows you are always able to discern details without break-up. The highlights are bold and precise without over-emphasis, creating a faithful reproduction of the movie’s look. The compression is without a single hint of a compression artifact and you will search in vain for pixelation or other visual signs of digital data reduction.

The DVD features a strong Dolby Digital 5.1 mix. With its wide frequency response, the track is dynamic and natural sounding throughout. A good bass extension gives the track power while the high end is clear and never appears over-emphasized. Dialogue is always understandable and clear, however some signs of distortion were evident in the dialogues, most likely a result of the original voice recording. Surrounds are used effectively, although never obtrusively. Subtle, yet always present, the surrounds create a nice ambiance for the film. The movie features an score that consists mostly of a number of hip-hop tracks that are well produced and integrated. Two of these songs can be found as music videos in the DVD’s supplemental section, as well as the film’s trailer and a small featurette with cast interviews.

Within a short period of time, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has catapulted itself into the top league of DVD publishers and ’Light It Up’ is yet another example what excellence can be achieved in DVD releases. The DVD stands out as a high quality release that is practically without flaws, while the film is powerful and taut and deserves to be seen. Give it a try. I am sure you will like this movie as much as I did.