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Release Date: November 15th, 2011 Movie Release Year: 2011

Tom Cruise Collection

Overview -

Includes 'Collateral,' 'Days of Thunder,' 'Minority Report,' 'Top Gun,' and 'War of the Worlds.'

Rating Breakdown
Tech Specs & Release Details
Technical Specs:
5 BD-50
Video Resolution/Codec:
Aspect Ratio(s):
Audio Formats:
French Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround
Special Features:
Music Videos
Release Date:
November 15th, 2011

Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take


Despite the trend of bashing on Tom Cruise, I've remained a true fan. Plenty of people out there have a hard time separating a person's on-screen talent from their personal, political, sexual, and religious preferences, but not me. I don't care if he comes across as a weirdo in real life, it's his on-screen presence that I have always enjoyed and will continue to enjoy as long as he keeps making solid and fun films.

The 'Tom Cruise Collection' features five classic Cruise films from Paramount Pictures on Blu-ray. Of course, not each of them is a pure winner. Had multiple studios worked together to release a true "collection," then perhaps this would include his five very best films - but as it is, with one lackluster title and four winners, it's still worth owning. Included are 'War of the Worlds,' 'Top Gun,' 'Minority Report,' 'Days of Thunder' and 'Collateral.' Sorry, folks - none of the 'Mission: Impossible' films are included in this set, despite being Paramount titles. Paramount is releasing a 'Mission: Impossible' collection in December, just in time for the theatrical release of 'Ghost Protocol.'

I'll always have fond memories of my 'War of the Worlds' theatrical experience - and not only because I had a smoking hot date. Just before it was released, I was enrolled in a sci-fi literature class in college where the original 'War of the Worlds' was required reading. Having read the classic novel prior to seeing Spielberg's modernized adaptation, I was able to recognize how superb the updated screenplay was. Sure, they added kids to the mix for dramatic and emotional content, but the story itself was brilliantly adapted. For example, in the book, his horse-drawn carriage is the hot commodity in town. In the film, because the E.M.P. renders all cars useless, his stolen minivan is the coveted item. Having this seemingly insignificant scene replicated and transformed to fit our day creates one of the most intense and fear-inducing scenes in the film - the moment where the hoard of people overrun the van.

Many people complain about the ending to 'War of the Worlds,' but it's written that way in the source material. This isn't Independence Day and Will Smith isn't going to upload a Windows-based virus into an alien mainframe and cripple the extraterrestrial fleet. 'War of the Worlds' isn't an overly dramatized and coincidental invasion film about some average Joe who single-handedly defeats an alien race. No, this is a film about survival, placing the audience in the character's shoes and making them experience what just might happen should such a preposterous thing ever occur - and it does it with raw, entertaining and unapologetic grace.

'Top Gun' may be a typical '80s film, but it's an iconic and purely entertaining typical '80s film. I was too young to see 'Top Gun' in theaters, but I remember watching it frequently with my brothers when it made its way to VHS - and nothing on video prior to that mesmerized us more than the dogfights and mid-air jet sequences shown in the film. It turned each of us into jet fans. We not only hung posters of jets in out bedrooms, but made our parents take us to air shows at the Edwards and now-closed George Air Force bases. While revisiting 'Top Gun' for this review, I can imagine that the way these scenes feel in high-def has to be the way it felt to watch it on the big screen. To this day, more than 25 years later, those flying sequences in high definition are even more powerful and dizzying than I have ever seen.

Science fiction writer Philip K. Dick came up with more creative and original sci-fi concepts than most of his colleagues. Adding a sci-fi twist to the standard cop drama genre makes for fun viewing - especially when you throw in Spielberg-isms. Like all good science fiction, the perfect blend of humanity versus science with conflicting morals and ethics makes 'Minority Report' a double threat. The story itself is gripping and entertaining, but giving it strong symbolic content as well truly places it on a new level.

'Days of Thunder' is the film of this collection that I was least familiar with prior to reviewing it. I remember watching it as a teenager during it's television premiere, but not much else. Easily the weakest film of the collection, the majority of its entertainment value stemmed from triggered memories of Talladega Nights, making it even funnier when I realized that John C. Reilly appears in both films. Aside from that, there is very little to this overly serious and unfun movie. Out of the five films in this set, 'Days of Thunder' is the one that I'll likely never watch again.

Michael Mann is a hit or miss director, but just as 'Collateral' is my favorite of his films, this is also my favorite Tom Cruise performance. Cruise often tends to play similar characters in all of his films, but here he plays someone entirely unlike anyone before. We've seen him play bad guys before, but here he plays a truly bad guy - and he plays it convincingly well. Not being a fan of Jamie Foxx, his strong performance as Cruise's polar opposite in 'Collateral' gives me hope for his lead role in Quentin Tarantino's upcoming 'Django Unchained.' 'Collateral' may not be the first Tom Cruise film to come to mind when you think back on his long career, but once you start watching it, you realize how much of a fantastic little film it really is.

Like him or not, Cruise has been in some of the very best movies of the last 30 years. This collection isn't perfect, but it's a good start until we get all Cruise flicks on Blu-ray.

The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats

The 'Tom cruise Collection' contains five BD-50s in a slightly fatter than normal blue keepcase (note that the individual release of 'Days of Thunder' is on a BD-25, but now appears on a BD-50). All discs are the same discs from their individual Blu-ray releases. The 'Top Gun' disc is the same from both the 25th Anniversary Edition and the original 2008 release. 'Minority Report' was originally a two-disc release, so only the first disc with the main feature is included. Containing images from the five films, the cover art is also featured on a cardboard slipcase.

Video Review


War of the Worlds

Spielberg's 'War of the Worlds' comes to Blu-ray with a heavily stylized and specific look that doesn't exactly serve as eye-candy, nor will it ever be used for demo purposes. The 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encode (1.85:1) shows Janusz Kaminski's cinematography as it should appear. The heavy grain structure is intact to produce a gritty, cheerless film. while the use of diffusers and filters create an oversaturated picture with a weak contrast balance. As a result, depth of field is significantly affected, and the image is much softer than would be expected. In fact, it won't stack up to some of the best we've seen on the format, past and present. Whites are often overblown, which takes its toll on the finer details, and colors tend to bleed in almost every scene. Still, the video is fairly clean and crisp, all things considered. Although the palette is greatly restrained, primaries seems bright and accurate to the intentional look.

On a more positive note, blacks levels are richly rendered and inky, giving shadows a deep and profound appearance. While it's a mostly two-dimensional presentation, the transfer displays a strong improvement in resolution and clarity as opposed to its standard def counterpart. I'm sure some will likely moan a bit about the video not being the sharpest, but it's an excellent image with good visibility of background details as long as one gives some thought to the cinematography. It may not compare to the best we've seen in recent Spielberg catalogs, but the picture quality of this Blu-ray appears to be faithful to what the filmmakers intended.

Top Gun

For this anniversary edition, 'Top Gun' makes a flyby with the same AVC-encoded transfer as the previous two high-def releases. Back in 2008, this was a mildly acceptable release, still fairly early into the format's existence, but three years later, and nearly six since inception, the quality of the picture is not only underwhelming and disappointing, but unacceptable at this point for a favorite 80s action drama.

The overall transfer simply looks poorly aged, with some decent detailing though there are few spots of well-defined lines around the clothing. The image hardly has a moment where it truly shines or impresses thanks to some below average contrast levels and some instances of ringing around edges. Colors appear overly saturated and somewhat embellished, but much of that can be the result of Tony Scott's preference to emphasize warmer hues in the photography. Blacks maintain some semblance of accuracy, but tend to take away some of the finer details in the shadows.

In the end, this high-def presentation doesn't quite make the cut to join the elite school of the top one percent. It doesn't even get points for second place.

Minority Report

'Minority Report' is a highly stylized movie that was photographed to stand out from the usual sci-fi eye candy. This is not a bright or cartoonishly colorful movie like 'The Fifth Element'. Spielberg and his cinematographer Janusz Kaminski originally used a "bleach bypass" process to emphasize stark, blown-out contrasts, gritty film grain, and a deliberately skewed color balance. The look is effective in some portions of the movie and annoying in others.

The Blu-ray comes from an all-new film-to-video transfer supervised by Spielberg and Kaminski, in which they used the latest digital tools to fine-tune the picture to their liking. The result is true to the original intention, but helps to bring out more detail than previous video transfers. The stylization of the image prevents it from ever being the sharpest or clearest picture you'll see in high definition, but the 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 is still fairly sharp and nicely detailed. Some scenes are better than others.

The disc is presented in the movie's original 2.40:1 theatrical aspect ratio. Colors and flesh tones look sickly and bleached, as they're supposed to. Contrasts bloom and shadows fall off to absolute black quickly. Yet shadow detail is visible when it's dramatically important. The picture is often very grainy, and sometimes that grain has a noisy digital texture to it. Nevertheless, overall, this is exactly what 'Minority Report' is supposed to look like.

Days of Thunder

Paramount remastered 'Days of Thunder' for a 1999 DVD release of the film, and I wouldn't be surprised if they culled this Blu-ray from the same master. This transfer is dated in appearance and wildly inconsistent.

The 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encode suffers from a source that is all over the place. The opening credits don't exactly inspire confidence, with heavy grain, lots of dirt and blemishes, and a noticeably soft appearance. The film varies widely from there on out. Some shots are nice with ample detail and rich colors, while others break down amid fuzziness and dull contrast. Sharpness also fluctuates, as does film grain and shadow delineation, which is rarely superior. The encode is probably the best it could be all things considered, but I was bugged by the noise and some edge enhancement, that is likely employed to compensate from the overdone visual style. 'Days of Thunder' just doesn't look that hot.


The 'Collateral' transfer produces a very accurate rendering of the film's original look, but that might not please those who like their high-def pictures razor sharp. Because almost the entire movie takes place at night and Mann wanted to use as much natural light as possible, the director shot about 85 percent of 'Collateral' using high-definition video cameras – the first major motion picture to employ such a method. He would later use this technique to an even greater degree in 'Public Enemies.' As a result, setups could be more impromptu and the story could exude a more natural, gritty feel, but all that grit coupled with prevailing low light levels can, on occasion, produce a fair amount of digital noise, which is most noticeable during exterior scenes. It's a bit distracting at first, but the eye quickly adjusts, and given the film's subject matter and style, it contributes to the production's artistry. The high-def cameras also enhance details, so we're able to better discern background information and appreciate the clean lines and antiseptic buildings of the L.A. cityscape. The numerous aerial shots sport a seductive elegance, and the reflections in the cab's windows are marvelously crisp, as are close-ups, which exhibit a variety of subtle facial facets.

One might expect such a dark film to be afflicted by crush, but contrast levels remain well pitched throughout, allowing varying shades of black to comfortably coexist in the frame. Shadow delineation is excellent; the deep blacks never overpower the image or diminish the vibrancy of color. The red and yellow of Max's cab, green foliage (often illuminated by streetlights), and blue haze of the jazz club, as well as various other fleeting accents look vivid yet realistic, and Vincent's white shirt stands out nicely against the darkness and resists blooming. Fleshtones are spot-on, and though a slight yellowish cast often afflicts the film's exteriors (largely a result of the natural light used), it never swamps the picture.

Edge enhancement, banding, noise reduction, and macroblocking are all absent, so we can fully immerse ourselves in Paramount's excellent 1080p/MPEG-4 AVC encode. In the end, though, how much you enjoy the transfer really depends on how much you like Mann's style and approve of his creative decisions.

Audio Review


War of the Worlds

For the last few years, many home-theater enthusiasts have been using the DVD of 'War of the Worlds' to show off their system, especially for the bass. Now that it arrives on Blu-ray, both fans and hobbyists alike can push their equipment to the limits with this highly aggressive, reference-quality DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. I imagine many will hear neighbors complaining when watching this.

There is much going on in the sound design at any given time, mostly subtle atmospherics to generate an immersive soundscape. When things turn for the worst, the action maintains excellent clarity with superb, far-reaching dynamics that never overwhelm the well-prioritized, always intelligible vocals. The whole front soundstage is sprawling with random noise to give the lossless mix a demanding but very engaging presence. The rear speakers deliver distant ambient effects with awesome lucid movement that sometimes feels as though certain objects are right in the room. Directionality and pans are some of the best I've ever heard, with exhilarating, life-like transparency.

The real showstopper is, of course, the low-frequency output, and unless something went terribly wrong, there was never any concern that 'War of the Worlds' on high-res audio would disappoint in that regard. The movie has a breathtaking, chest-pounding bass line that is second to none, reaching the sort of lower depths that will really test the capabilities of any subwoofer. The incredibly powerful and spectacularly responsive bass is phenomenal, with convincing authority adding a heightened level of intensity to the film. The pods emerging in Ch. 5 will surely be a highlight and the go-to scene for demo purposes. In this respect, I recommend warning neighbors before watching this BD or at least, inviting them over to join you, because this is one wall-rattling mix that's more fun when played loud.

Top Gun

On the audio side of things, 'Top Gun' makes a much better landing with two equally enjoyable lossless tracks. Whether we're listening to the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack or the DTS-HD MA 6.1 option, the mix delivers with a wide and expansive imaging that's highly appealing.

The soundstage displays excellent channel separation with even, persuasive movement between the channels and very well-prioritized vocals in the center. When the F-14s scream across the screen, they fly by with ease while dynamic range remains stable without much distortion. Low-frequency effects are accurate and authoritative with powerful, thunderous roars. Rear activity comes alive during the dogfights, extending the soundfield with lots of action and commotion. The real winner, of course, is the score and song selection, filling the entire front soundscape and subtly bleeding into the surrounds for an effective and engaging presentation.

Only minor nitpick would be the high-rez soundtrack coming off a tad too loud during those scenes with the jet fighting, bringing too much attention to itself because it sounds like someone turned up the volume. Aside from that, the 80s actioner is a fun and enjoyable listen on Blu-ray.

Minority Report

The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack has a great deal of power and breadth. Many stinger effects are truly jolting. The stun rifles slam into their targets with a bass impact you can feel in your gut. Regular gun shots have satisfying crack and thump. The surround channels are constantly engaged to create an immersive soundfield.

The John Williams score is also broad and expansive. Fidelity is excellent in all respects, if a little cold (which could be intentional for the tone of the movie). The dynamic range strikes a nice balance between thundering impact and more subtle ambient effects. The track is rarely loud just for the sake of being loud. Bass is crisp and refined, not boomy. This is every bit the slick and polished action spectacle soundtrack you'd expect from a craftsman with the skill and resources at Steven Spielberg's disposal.

Days of Thunder

'Days of Thunder' gets a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Surround upgrade. It helps only nominally, with the film sounding surprisingly front-heavy for a big racing picture.

The dominant sound on the soundtrack to 'Days of Thunder' is "vrooom!!!" I must admit to quickly tiring of all the burning rubber and roaring engines, which soon blurs into abstraction. The front soundstage has a decent amount of expansion to it, and dialogue is balanced strongly enough to overcome the din. Surrounds didn't impress me, however, with a subdued presence. Dynamic range also sounds somewhat brittle, especially on the racing effects and the uber-cheesy Hans Zimmer score. Low bass provides some kick, but not nearly what I expected. Like the video, the audio on 'Days of Thunder' is no high-def showcase.


The smooth, well-defined DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track seamlessly manages both highs and lows and severe level shifts, thanks to excellent dynamic range. Within seconds, 'Collateral' can move from whisper-quiet conversations and sedate street cruising to explosive gun battles and cacophonous action sequences, yet the mix is so solid, volume tinkering is rarely necessary. Though surround activity is more limited than I anticipated, when the rears do kick in, the distinct effects add immeasurable ambience and weight to the film. The club scene's pulse-pounding techno music envelops with ease, and jets and helicopters make fine use of the track's directional capabilities, as well as adding some welcome bass. Gunshots possess attention-grabbing presence, yet myriad subtleties also come through well.

Dialogue is often spoken in hushed tones and occasionally mumbled, so at times it can be difficult to pick up, but for the most part it's easily understood. And James Newton Howard's elegant, understated score possesses fine tonal depth and good fidelity. On the whole, the track might seem a bit underwhelming throughout the first third or so of the film (when the audio is largely anchored in the front channels), but when it lets loose later on, we appreciate its breadth and the early clean quiet that sets up the full throttle climax. This surely doesn't classify as demo material, but it's a solid effort that serves the movie well.

Special Features


War of the Worlds

  • Revisiting the Invasion (SD, 8 min.) – This short piece comes with cast and crew interviews talking about the sci-fi genre and an emphasis on how this film holds up.

  • The H.G. Wells Legacy (SD, 7 min.) – Cool but quick feature that shows Well's family members talking about the novelist's enormous impact on science fiction.

  • Steven Spielberg and the Original 'War of the Worlds' (SD, 8 min.) – This brief comparison also looks at how Spielberg wanted cameo appearances from the cast of the classic 1953 version.

  • Characters: The Family Unit (SD, 13 min.) – As the title implies, this is a closer examination at the Rachel and Robbie characters.

  • Previsualization (SD, 8 min.) – Another short segment where viewers can watch the visual design work done before shooting commenced.

  • Production Diaries (SD, 91 min.) – By far, the meatiest and most exhaustive portion of the entire package, it is broken into four clickable segments, each covering a different aspect of the production. Plenty of behind-the-scene footage and interviews with filmmakers makes this an entertaining watch.

  • Designing the Enemy: Tripods and Aliens (SD, 14 min.) – Featuring interviews with all those involved, the piece explores the CGI design and directorial decisions made while creating the Martians.

  • Scoring 'War of the Worlds' (SD, 12 min.) – For those who love musical scores, this featurette comes with a nice interview of legendary film composer John Williams, in which he talks about the influences behind this score.

  • We Are Not Alone (SD, 3 min.) – Spielberg talks about the sci-fi pictures he's made thus far and shares his thoughts on the possibility of life on other planets.

  • Galleries (SD) – Exactly as the title suggests, there are four collections of stills and sketches from the production, costuming, and behind-the-scenes photos.

  • Trailer (HD) – The original teaser trailer for 'War of the Worlds' is also included.

Top Gun

  • Audio Commentary – Pieced together from separate recordings comes a group commentary with director Tony Scott, producer Jerry Bruckheimer, screenwriter Jack Epps, Jr., and technical advisors Captain Mike Galpin, Pete Pettigrew and Vice Admiral Mike McCabe. The conversation can be a bit annoying at times because voices seem to awkwardly interrupt one another, but it's fairly informative and for the most part interesting. The filmmakers are, of course, focused on the production and shooting, providing good anecdotes about the things that happened on set, working with the cast and the overall plot. Advisors, obviously, emphasize and talk about the technical details and accuracies — or inaccuracies — seen throughout the movie, giving fans some fascinating tidbits about reality versus fiction. In the end, it's a good alternative to the over-two-hours doc that follows.

  • "Danger Zone: The Making of Top Gun" (SD, 148 min.) – Broken in six parts, this exhaustive documentary covers pretty much every aspect of the production, whether you want to know it or not. Actually, it's a surprisingly entertaining, comprehensive look at the movie's making, from its meager beginnings as a script that was passed around for a while to the musical score, song selections and audience reaction. There's little in the way of criticism and delving too far into any problems experienced during filming, but interviews with cast and crew mildly touch on some troubles and are more focused on celebrating the movie as a memorable success. With tons of BTS footage throughout, the doc is a good watch for both admirers and non-fans alike.

  • Multi-Angle Storyboards (SD, 7 min.) – # With optional commentary by director Tony Scott, two scenes are showcased with the multi-angle option where viewers can compare storyboards and the actual shots.

  • Vintage Gallery (SD) – Inside this cheesy tab is a small collection of videos made during the original production of 'Top Gun' or shortly after. Kicking things off are four music videos that fans can rock out to, depending on the viewer's mood ("Danger Zone" by Kenny Loggins, "Take my Breadth Away" by Berlin, "Heaven in Your Eyes" by Loverboy and "Top Gun Anthem" by Harold Faltermeyer and Steve Stevens). Followed by seven TV commercials and an interview with a young Tom Cruise (7 min). Finally, two EPKs called "Behind-the-Scenes" (6 min) and "Survival Training" (8 min).

Minority Report

Since this is disc one of the two-disc individual release, there aren't any special features included on it.

Days of Thunder

  • Theatrical Trailer (HD) – That's it -- the film's silly theatrical trailer, albeit in good-quality 1080i/MPEG-2 video.


  • Audio Commentary – Director Michael Mann always gives good commentary, and this one for 'Collateral' is no exception. His easygoing, conversational manner and substantive insights make listening a pleasure, and even when he's merely analyzing the plot or pointing out innocuous details, his vocal timbre and incisiveness maintain our interest. Here, he talks about shifting the tale from its original New York setting to L.A., the artistic and analytical process of making a film, the trainings the actors underwent to get better in touch with their roles, and various bits of direction he gave to Cruise and Foxx.

  • Documentary: "City of Night: The Making of 'Collateral'" (SD, 41 min.) – Although this absorbing documentary doesn't cover every aspect of 'Collateral,' it provides a great feel for the meticulous nature and collaborative spirit of the production. We learn about the importance of character backstories and why Mann chose to shoot most of the film on high-definition video. We also witness Cruise's gun training and Foxx's driving training, peek in on fight choreography rehearsals, examine some of the stunts, take a look at Smith's audition tape, hear from the picture's composer, and more fully appreciate Mann's craftsmanship. Extensive comments from Mann, Cruise, Foxx, Smith, and others, plus plenty of on-set footage enliven this well-made chronicle that will enlighten both the movie's casual and diehard fans.

  • Featurette: "Special Delivery" (SD, 1 min.) – In this short piece, a hidden camera follows Cruise as he masquerades as a FedEx deliveryman to see if he can blend into the real world's fabric without being recognized, just as Vincent does in the film. Mann talks about the experiment and assesses its success.

  • Deleted Scene with Commentary (SD, 2 min.) – Mann discusses a dialogue-less scene of Max and Vincent evading pursuit by the LAPD, noting it was cut because it slowed down the film's momentum.

  • Featurette: "Shooting on Location: Annie's Office" (SD, 2 min.) – Mann describes the trickiness of shooting inside a dark office building. Some on-set footage shows Mann conferring with his actors in between takes.

  • Featurette: "Tom Cruise & Jamie Foxx Rehearse" (SD, 4 min.) – Rehearsal footage from two different venues is juxtaposed with the finished sequences, often in a multi-screen configuration for comparison purposes, so we can see the evolution of the actors' performances.

  • Featurette: "Visual FX: MTA Train" (SD, 2 min.) – Mann analyzes segments of the climactic subway showdown, explaining why he chose to shoot the sequence in front of a green screen instead of on the actual rails.

  • Theatrical Trailers (HD, 5 min.) – Both a teaser trailer and theatrical trailer are included, although both run approximately the same length.

If you can separate Tom Cruise's personal life from his success-filled career, then this five-movie collection is for you - just so long as you don't already own any of these titles. Four of the five films are worthy of owning - 'Days of Thunder' being the exception. 'Top Gun' also isn't the finest Blu-ray transfer, but after already having two Blu-ray releases, it's likely we're not going to get a better version. Being sold as cheap as it is, this collection is definitely a worthy buy for Cruise fans.