The 2011 film "Urbanized," the final documentary in Gary Hustwit's design film trilogy following 2007's "Helvetica" and 2009's "Objectified," comes out on a single-disc Blu-ray package. It examines the design of cities and the challenges of housing, mobility, space, economic development, and environmental concerns in urban areas. This critically acclaimed piece wanders through the different cities around the world and the strategies and issues behind their designs. It features interviews with different people involved in housing, architecture, and policy-making. These respected experts discuss their ideas on how each design can fit the needs of a specific location.
Given the challenging requirements filmmakers typically encounter when shooting documentaries, "Urbanized" delivers a sufficient HD presentation showcasing many interesting shots of urban areas around the globe. From the world's major metropolises to lesser-known cities, its wide variety of shots looks into the different design aesthetics and philosophies from one urban dwelling to another. This Blu-ray transfer provides a fairly sharp picture with impressive depth of field. The bold and rich colors, accurate skin tones, and above average contrast aptly match the urban environments' pleasing details. The crisp and clear images are also free from blemishes and compression issues.
This Blu-ray release offers a five-channel mix and a stereo mix. Both of them sound adequate for a documentary work. These front-centric lossless tracks maintain relatively topnotch fidelity and clarity compared to many other documentaries. The film's sound has some occasional opportunities for surround activity through the environmental noises during interviews and documentations of urban and natural elements in different countries.
The disc hosts a generic special feature entitled "Extras," which simply supplies additional footage that didn't make it to the final cut. This HD material mainly includes interview segments and it runs a little more than 53 minutes long. The film also has an option for English subtitles.
"Urbanized" explores a significant theme that many people can find intriguing. This globe-trotting picture provides a generalist view of the urban planning in various cities during different time periods. Its engaging storytelling makes it play like a travelogue with an insider's look at the issues and concerns of different urban locales around the world. It features insights from urban planners and local government units, which allow it to maneuver around the sociopolitical and historical aspects of people's way of living. It is the type of film that may only be a secondary option to popcorn flicks and catalogue releases, but for those seeking a material that has more informative value than fictional narratives, this meaningful documentary can serve them well.