DVD365.net
Grave Danger (2005) artwork

Grave Danger (2005)

21st September 2005

What happens when just doing your job leads you to mortal danger? Nick Stokes knows, and it's up to his team to find him before it's too late.
William L. Petersen, Marg Helgenberger, Gary Dourdan, George Eads, Jorja Fox, Eric Szmanda, Robert David Hall, Paul Guilfoyle
Television, Crime
2
1 Hour 22 Minutes

Working the night shift Warrick and Nick are up for the same assignments. But with a single toss of a coin, Nick loses and goes to investigate a report of entrails found in a an alley. It is here, in this seedy alley that Nick vanishes whilst a police officer calmly vomits next to his car. Kidnapped by a madman demanding a ransom, Nick is entombed in a clear Perspex coffin with nothing but a tape-recorder for his final message, 12 hours of air, glow sticks and his loaded service revolver for when it all becomes too much.

But in a terrible twist, there is a live web feed to his teammates back at base. Whilst they can see Nick they are not able communicate with him, whilst Nick is unaware that they can see him. But as the hours tick by, panic starts to take over and Nick starts to prepare for the worst. The CSI's have a frantic race against time to save Nick before his air runs out, and it's going to take all of their skills, methods and cunning to save their colleague from a grisly end. Can they rise to this challenge, or will this be the one case Gil Grissom and the team cannot crack?

The success of the series, and not forgetting Jerry Bruckheimer's influence within Hollywood, has ensured that director Quentin Tarantino has been presented with a budget which was most likely bigger than of the majority of the CSI episodes. As a result, the transfer is near perfect and almost motion picture like, with no signs of artifacting or print damage. The picture is bright and colourful with a high level of detail throughout with the opening credits looking particularly impressive and, given that the majority of the episodes take place either at night or in dark and dimly lit locations, the black levels are quite remarkable with grain kept to a minimum. The quality is also helped by the producers clear intention to release this series onto DVD and into the world of American HDTV. So where other television series suffer from relatively poor transfers, CSI can be classed as being one of, and if not, the best.

Being a television based series you can't really go expecting anything flash or fancy in the sound department. However, with that all important DVD market to cater for, and the new HDTV format on the horizon, you can always hope that something special will come along. And that it has, with a Dolby Digital 448 Kbps 5.1 soundtrack which is surprisingly involving. The dialogue is crisp and clear in the centre and front channels whilst the usual collection pop music tracks during the forensic analysis scenes are bold and powerful. However, what is more amazing is the activity in the big feature film sounding surround channel. As with most films, the dramatic musical score finds its way to the rear and LFE channels, but it's the effective use of the creepy and dramatic ambient effects which truly makes these the best sounding CSI episodes yet. I just hope that future releases sound as good as this.

The main menu is scored and animated with clips of the unfortunate Nick entombed in his box. There's some nice menu transition effects with some of CGI graphics from the programme whilst the sub-menus are static and silent affairs. Even though this is a double episode it would have been much more interesting to merge the two episodes together, remove the obvious advert breaks and make it into a single film. Unfortunately, it keeps the same episode format and each part needs to be selected separately. And what's even more annoying is the fact that the second episode even has a recap on the first. I know Joe public has a short attention span, but we've only just watched the previous episode! Worse still, there's not even a "play all" option.

Extras wise, it's all a bit of a disappointment, with two bonus episodes thrown in for apparent good measure. Still, they are reasonable ones and consist of both pilots for CSI and CSI : Miami. If you missed them first time around then you may find them of interest, although owners of the box-sets will probably not be too chuffed. Considering that the box set DVDs already come with a half decent collection of extras, including many episodes accompanied by audio commentaries, why couldn't Tarantino drag himself to the studio to provide one here? And what about some behind the scenes footage, or even the television teasers for this and other episodes? The opportunities were boundless, but that quick cash in was most probably the main idea behind this release.

The season finale was a triumph for Channel 5 when it was aired, pulling in an impressive 3.6 million viewers for a much under valued channel, while over in America 35 million people tuned in. These impressive viewing figure are surely the green light for the producers to keep the CSI franchise running for a few more seasons yet. Also, hot the heels of this ratings triumph, the Grave Danger episodes have been nominated for an Emmy in the forthcoming Annual Awards in the Outstanding Directing For A Drama Series category. This is on top of an overall series nomination for Outstanding Makeup (non Prosthetic), Outstanding Sound Editing and Outstanding Single-Camera Sound Mixing.

I'm very surprised that the money making machine that is a CBS executive hasn't turned their attention to making and releasing a double episode of CSI before. Still, putting this slight cynicism aside, they are a good idea and I do like the occasional double episode. When you consider that an episode without adverts runs for a mere forty minutes, the CSI team don't really have too much time to solve the case. As a result things end up bounding along at a heck of a pace with impossible breakthroughs that have you slapping your forehead in frustration.

In previous reviews of the spin off CSI Miami series I've stated that I much preferred the original Las Vegas based version. However, after having watching Grave Danger and then the pilot episodes of CSI and CSI Miami back to back, I have to say that I've changed my mind. There's a definite feeling that the mother series has run its course and if they've started to bring in different directors, and the outlandish storylines that someone like Tarantino brings, it's started to take away just what the series is about. The spin off series are a very good idea, but I just wonder whether the CSI phenomena is just starting to show signs of cracking.

Fans of the CSI franchise are sure to enjoy Grave Danger whilst they continue to wait for the remaining series to be aired on television and released on DVD. However, with both pilot episodes of CSI and CSI Miami already on DVD as part of their respective series box set releases, the extras supplied here do look a bit on the thin and desperate side. With the cross over episode Cross-Jurisdictions still only available on the region one edition of CSI Miami, it would have been a golden opportunity to add some exclusivity to this release. Still, extras or no extras, this disc is going to sell by the bucket load.

  • Pilot episode of CSI Miami 'Golden Parachute'
The next landmark series from BBC's Natural History Unit, narrated by Sir David Attenbourgh, Seven Worlds, One Planet is released on DVD, Blu-ray and 4K UHD 2nd December 2019 from BBC WorldwideRead more
The Shanghai Job artwork

The Shanghai Job

DVD
12/02/2018
Ex-private security agent Danny Stratton is given a second chance following the biggest mistake of his career when he is tasked with escorting a valuable antique vase out of China. When the mission is ...
Gomorrah S2 artwork

Gomorrah S2

DVD
19/07/2016
Lee Mack artwork

Lee Mack

DVD
10/12/2014
Apple Tree Yard artwork

Apple Tree Yard

BDTV
20/02/2017
Blood artwork

Blood

DVDTV
10/12/2018
The Tunnel artwork

The Tunnel

DVDTV
20/01/2018
Parasite artwork

Parasite

UHD
19/09/2020
Now including the Black and White version of the film, Parasite is released on 4K UHD 23rd November 2020 from Curzon Artificial Eye
Little Birds artwork

Little Birds

DVDTV
02/09/2020
Total Recall artwork

Total Recall

DVDBDUHD
17/09/2020
Monkey Complete artwork

Monkey Complete

DVDBDTVBoxset
11/09/2020
Mystery Road S2 artwork

Mystery Road S2

DVDTV
16/09/2020
Scoob! artwork

Scoob!

DVDBD
06/09/2020

Angel Has Fallen

Features10/12/2019

When there is an assassination attempt on U.S. President Allan Trumbell (Morgan Freeman), his trusted confidant, Secret Service Agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler), is wrongfully accused and taken into custody. After escaping from capture, he becomes a man on the run and must evade his own agency and outsmart the FBI in order to find the ...

Superman

News28/07/2020

Daily Planet intern Clark Kent takes learning-on-the-job to new extremes when Lobo and Parasite set their sights on Metropolis as Superman: Man of Tomorrow arrives on DVD and Blu-ray 7th September 2020 from Warner Home Video.

Belgravia S1

News21/09/2020

Adapted by Julian Fellowes from his bestselling novel, from the makers of Downtown Abbey comes Belgravia, released on DVD 9th November 2020 from Universal Pictures (UK).
"So much of philosophy is just verbal masturbation."
Irrational Man (2015)

The Luminaries

DVDTV20/07/2020320

Outlander S5

DVDBDTVBoxset21/09/2020264

The Invisible Man

DVDBDUHDDIGITAL29/06/2020229

Bicycle Thieves

DVDBD24/08/2020224

The Luminaries

DVDTV20/07/2020320

Outlander S5

DVDBDTVBoxset21/09/2020264

The Flash S6

DVDBDTVBoxset24/08/2020184

Supergirl S5

DVDBDTVBoxset14/09/2020160

Angel Has Fallen

NOTESDVDBDUHD16/12/2019124

Bombshell

DVDBDNOTES20/12/2019121

Radioactive

NOTES24/04/2020103

Fantasy Island

DVDBDNOTES14/02/202040

Racing Stripes

DVD21/06/20053001

Austin Powers

DVD01/12/20071403

The Simpsons S16

DVDTV05/12/2013967

Semi Detached

DVDTV
04/09/2020

Outlander S5

DVDBDTVBoxset
16/08/2020

Full Metal Jacket

BD
14/08/2020