DVD Reviews and Recommendations Read, Post and Request DVD Reviews.

DVD Talk review of 'Patriot Games' (Blu-ray)

Old 07-24-08, 07:31 AM
  #1  
DVD Talk Legend
Thread Starter
 
Shannon Nutt's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 16,578
DVD Talk review of 'Patriot Games' (Blu-ray)

I read Stuart Galbraith IV's DVD review of Patriot Games at http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/read.php?ID=34033 and...

Interesting discussion re: the video quality/process for this Blu-ray. I actually thought the video was the ONLY reason one might want to upgrade to this title, but obviously Stuart disagrees.

While I agree that the Blu-ray compromises a lot of the original intent/look of the movie in exchange for a sharper image, I'm not sure going the other route would have made the movie look any better than the current DVD version.

Like it or not, most viewers are tending to judge Blu-ray releases not so much for if they retain the theatrical look, but on the "wow" factor of the video - and this is the way Paramount seems to be going with their transfers. For example, Top Gun was a heavily "grainy" film in theaters - but it's quite "sharp" on Blu-ray.

I'm sure this is going to be a continuing debate with viewers and am wondering what the reaction to the upcoming "Godfather" releases is going to be...since the original film was always intended to be somewhat underexposed and muted and - I'm guessing - the new one will be much sharper and brighter, even though I'm sure we'll get lip service about this being Coppola's "original intent".

Anyway - I'm not disagreeing with Stuart's opinion - it's justified. But I question what Blu-ray owners REALLY want with their titles - "original image" or "best image possible". It's an interesting debate.
Shannon Nutt is offline  
Old 07-24-08, 09:16 AM
  #2  
DVD Talk Reviewer
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Kyoto, Japan
Posts: 1,008
I think DVD Savant and others are right when they say DNR and other digital manipulation of film for high-def is going to the be the most contentious issue in home video since colorization.

My own opinion has changed somewhat after posting a rave review of the Blu-ray of THE LONGEST DAY. Over at AVS Forum there's been a big debate about this (http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...1041475&page=2) and while I don't entirely agree with everything they're complaining about, they also make some extremely valuable observations.

Many people seem to think that Blu-ray is going to benefit new movies but not old ones. That's hogwash. Grainy, cinemtographically sloppy movies from the '70s and '80s (DIRTY HARRY for one) on even high profile pictures like SUPERMAN aren't going to benefit all that much on Blu-ray, while earlier films shot in wide gauge systems like VistaVision (e.g., THE SEARCHERS, NORTH BY NORTHWEST) can or will look eye-poppingly spectacular. As I've said before, I'm surprised how incredible even a 1.37:1 black and white film like CASABLANCA can look.

It depends on the film, on the condition of the original negative, what format was used, the film stock, choices made by the cinematographer -- all kinds of things. Films made in the 1930s or '50s will in some cases look better than films shot in the '90s. Artistically important films will look bad while cornball stuff like ESCAPE FROM ATHENA will look spectacular.

Obviously, all things being equal a high-def transfer is going to look better than a standard-def one, but only marginally so in many cases. Instead of artifically trying to boost these weaker Blu-ray candidates and bringing bad press to the format, the studios' home video divisions ought to be highly selective this year and next, carefully choosing movies that show the format off to its best advantage. (Warners clearly realized this with CLASH OF THE TITANS, just about the worst possible title for Blu-ray. It has some of the worst process work ever.)

PATRIOT GAMES isn't really one of those films, though had the entire film looked like the trailer instead of this meshy mess, consumers wouldn't be as turned off and annoyed as I was. It doesn't make the film look better/newer -- it makes it look phony, like CGI.

In short, I'm totally on the side that film should look like film; high-def transfers should as accurately as possible reflect the way the picture looked when projected under ideal conditions when it was new. Period.

...and by the way, I like film grain.

Last edited by S Galbraith IV; 07-24-08 at 09:19 AM.
S Galbraith IV is offline  
Old 07-24-08, 09:30 AM
  #3  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Josh Z's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Boston
Posts: 11,152
Originally Posted by S Galbraith IV
Instead of artifically trying to boost these weaker Blu-ray candidates and bringing bad press to the format, the studios' home video divisions ought to be highly selective this year and next, carefully choosing movies that show the format off to its best advantage.
This is a dangerous suggestion. Sony and Disney already do this to some extent, primarily focusing their release slates on known "eye candy" movies with big budgets, nice photography, and recent video transfers. The problem with this is that it contributes to the glut of crappy action and sci-fi movies overwhelming the format.

I believe that every movie deserves to be presented in its best and most faithful quality possible on Blu-ray, even if it's not an eye candy title. The studios should not artificially manipulate films to "clean them up", but they also can't be afraid to release movies with difficult photography just because their audience expects everything to have that "through a window" look of programming on Discovery HD. The consumer needs to be educated, not pandered to.
Josh Z is offline  
Old 07-24-08, 10:22 AM
  #4  
DVD Talk Reviewer
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Kyoto, Japan
Posts: 1,008
You misunderstand - I don't at all mean to suggest that home video divisions should concentrate on eye-candy titles -- closer to the opposite of that, in fact. Nor am I suggesting titles be limited to sci-fi/action genres, or big budget high concept films. I want to see less of that and more classic and art house releases.

As far as catalog titles what I'm talking about could include films as varied as THE COURT JESTER (musical-comedy), THE FIVE PENNIES (biopic), GUNFIGHT AT THE O.K. CORRAL (Western), ARTISTS & MODELS (comedy) -- films benefitting because of the original film format, all VistaVision in this case.

I do think good photography and new transfers are a good thing, and for that reason I'm excited about ITV's recent release of David Lean's GREAT EXPECTATIONS. I'm sure that'll sell about 1/50 what HOT ROD did, but it'll also help bring a demographic to the format that it dearly needs right now.

Warners demonstrated how good MGM's Technicolor musicals looked in their THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT! set. I don't know this for a fact, but it sure looks to me like they dropped in newly-mastered high-def material from the original negs about 20% of the time on all three pictures, and those clips (including SINGIN' IN THE RAIN, HIGH SOCIETY, and MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS) looked just wonderful, as good or better than ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD. If we could see more black and white full frame movies, regardless of genre, that looked as good as CASABLANCA, I'd be first in line to buy one.
S Galbraith IV is offline  
Old 07-24-08, 01:48 PM
  #5  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Josh Z's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Boston
Posts: 11,152
Originally Posted by S Galbraith IV
You misunderstand - I don't at all mean to suggest that home video divisions should concentrate on eye-candy titles -- closer to the opposite of that, in fact. Nor am I suggesting titles be limited to sci-fi/action genres, or big budget high concept films. I want to see less of that and more classic and art house releases.

As far as catalog titles what I'm talking about could include films as varied as THE COURT JESTER (musical-comedy), THE FIVE PENNIES (biopic), GUNFIGHT AT THE O.K. CORRAL (Western), ARTISTS & MODELS (comedy) -- films benefitting because of the original film format, all VistaVision in this case.
I think we're on the same page about wanting more movies of this nature. However, you're still segregating the "good-looking" movies from everything else, and that I don't agree with. Blu-ray should be about more than just good-looking movies. It should be about a faithful presentation of all movies.

I don't mean to sound argumentative here. I'm sure we agree on more points that not. But this is an ongoing debate happening right now at all the major studios, and I'm afraid that many of them will say, "That movie's too grainy. Screw it. Find something prettier to release instead" when looking through their catalogs. When that happens, we the viewers will miss out of a lot of great content.
Josh Z is offline  
Old 07-24-08, 09:30 PM
  #6  
DVD Talk Reviewer
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Kyoto, Japan
Posts: 1,008
Again, just to clarify: I'm not suggesting segregating "good-looking" movies from everything else. I think you and want the same thing, but differ perhaps on how home video labels should deal with unreasonable (or misperceived) consumer expectations with the format.

You and I don't expect a Blu-ray release of MONTEREY POP to be smooth like butter because we know going it that it was shot in 16mm -- it's going to look grainy. We don't have a problem with that so long as Criterion maximizes the capabilities of the 16mm preprint material. But would I select that to be among my label's first Blu-ray releases? No. Janus Films is a big library full of great titles; what's wrong with debuting with something else instead?

The same thing with Warner Bros. and CLASH OF THE TITANS. Personally, I'd love to have a Blu-ray of CLASH OF THE TITANS, but with 10,000+ movies in their library, I see nothing wrong with pushing this back a year and replacing it was something similar but which looks better as new BD consumers acclimate themselves to the format, its capabilities and limitations.

My main point is that if, for example, Warner Home Video wants to release a major catalog title like DIRTY HARRY, then they shouldn't screw around with it. I would rather see them hold it back for a year or two and then release it in a "faithful presentation," than do what they did: get it out right away but with all that DNR crap because of its perceived "graininess."
S Galbraith IV is offline  
Old 07-24-08, 10:25 PM
  #7  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Josh Z's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Boston
Posts: 11,152
All right, I'll concede to that.
Josh Z is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Archive Advertising Cookie Policy Privacy Statement Terms of Service

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.