In this thread I want to present Blu-rays that are - in my opinion - very good, but I also want to hear other opinions and other members present their favourite Blu-rays.
With "very good" I mean all the technical things like picture- and sound-quality, bonus material, not the quality of the movie itself. For me, the most important thing is, that the movie looks and sound great. No filters, no DNR, no upmix from Mono to 5.1 or something like that.
I want to start with "Bram Stoker´s Dracula" from 1992.
(I love "Dracula" also because it was my first "real" book in english that I read completely in a version from "Penguin Popular Classics". I tried other books like "Frankenstein", "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" etc., but that english is much more difficult, but "Dracula" was easier in comparison, except for the parts when british slang is spoken. I also read it because I was disappointed by my three german translations of that book. When Lucy asks Mr. Morris to talk "American" and he uses the word "ain´t", you can´t translate that properly).
Of course I have all german versions of that movie, but the master is the same as in the US. I have the movie on VHS from the 90s, on the first release on DVD, then on the Collectors Edition on DVD (2 Discs), and on the 4K Blu-ray which is relatively new. That 4K version is absolutely fantastic! The colors are great, and you see so much more details then I saw before on the other versions! Suddenly you see the texture of the clothes, you see the form of the embroidery on dresses, etc. etc.,
I don´t know why so many people and even movie companies think, that grain is some kind of dirt that has to be removed with DNR. Grain is a part of the film stock and contains information too! Fortunately, they did not use filters for this Blu-ray release; you can see the grain in every scene, and that´s why the picture has a high richness of detail, skin doesn´t look like wax.
Of course, nothing is perfect, and there are some minor complaints. Although they call it "Deluxe Edition", it´s just one disc (at least in Germany), and they put mass of bonus material (mainly the old bonus material from previous editions along with a few new interviews) on the same disc, which leads to very small compression. But you see that compression only when you press pause and zoom in the picture, then you can see just a little bit more grain, a little bit more details. But nobody watches a movie like that. But from a "Deluxe Edition" I expect the bonus material on a separate disc to minimise the compression.
Another thing are the subtitles in the parts when they speak Romanian. In the original movie there were english subtitles in a typeface that matches with the mood of the movie. On this Blu-ray they removed those subtitles and put in forced subtitles in an ugly white font that doesn´t match to the movie. And you can´t turn them off!!
Here are some comparisons between the 4K Blu-ray and that bad old Blu-ray of that movie.
Here, on the 4K-version the edges are more defined and sharper, that dragon-figure looks more three-dimensional, you can see the text much better, as well as the three red lines, which are not blurry anymore.
In this comparison, the skin on the old BD looks very glossy, like wax. But the background is horrible! There is no color gradient, it looks like a pixelated mess, as if someone played with filters, or something.
Here is a stronger closeup. The skin looks - as I mentioned before - still like wax, the blood on the lip is just a round spot, her necklace is a mess, and the ruff is blurry. On the other hand, on the 4K version the blood on the lip is more defined, you can see the single pearls on the necklace as well as the pattern on her ruff.
I guess in the future there will be much better versions of this movie, but till now, in my opinion this BD is the best version so far, the film never looked better!
Edited by Sandra Merkatz, 08 June 2017 - 11:20 PM.
I can recommend it, because they didn´t use DNR etc. on this, you see the grain, and many details, and the colors especially of the costumes are beautiful and bright, not as dark and muddy as on the old DVD.
On the DVD you can´t ready anything, and you have ugly double edges from the compression. On the BD, the picture looks clear, no double edges, grain, and better colors. And you can read the text better. ("My Name is Janet Margaret Weiss, I´m 23 years old ...")
This is a zoom of a wide shot. Again you see much more details, better colors and grain, not a soft DNR-mess.
Here you also have much more details, and beautiful, shiny colors instead of the muddy picture on the DVD.
On the BD, there is a lot of bonus material (most of it I don´t really need, like the shadow cast), but some of them are good, like the Trivia Track, the Vintage Callback Track or the Outtakes. Again it´s a shame they put all the specials on one disc, but the picture still looks good. I would recommend that BD to anyone who likes the movie.
Thanks for that review! Is the new 4K version a new transfer (I assume) and if so, is it available in a 1080P blu-ray or only in UHD?
I´m sorry, I didn´t saw your respond! I think it´s a new transfer, it was scanned in 4K, but pressed on a 1080p Blu-ray, so it´s not a "real" 4K picture, but you still get a sensational picture full of details. It´s not on a UHD-disc as far as I know.
I'm a big fan of blu-rays. I don't even know why DVD's exist anymore.
That´s great, I wish you a nice time with your BD
Please let me know how you like it!! (And if the subtitles in the Romanian-spoken parts can be disabled off on the US-BD). I don´t know if you have one of the older versions, but if not: the documentaries are also very interesting, how they create effects like they did in the early 1900s, and used only stage effects like back then.
Two little examples: in one scene, when Harker travels in the train, there is a shot of his open diary at the bottom of the screen, while the train is rolling from left to right above it, and it throws a shadow on the pages of the book.
They did this effect actually on-screen; they build a GIANT diary, and let a miniature train roll in the distance, and adjusted the light on the train in a certain way, so the train throws it´s shadow on the book.
Or when the driver of the carriage reaches out for Harker, his arm seems to become longer and longer. That was no CGI-effect, they just put the driver on a moveable seat that moves towards Harker - by filming it the right way it looks as if the arm is becoming longer, in reality the whole driver was moving. Simple stage tricks done on camera - but effective results!
Did you order the right BD, and not this one?
I love BDs too. I guess the DVDs are for people who don´t have a flatscreen, or they are not interested in HD or to buy a new TV and a new Blu-ray player. I can understand that, but I don´t like DVDs anymore, because they are limited in their possibilities.
Edited by Sandra Merkatz, 10 June 2017 - 08:10 PM.
Another great vampire-movie, this time much older: "Nosferatu - Eine Symphonie des Grauens" ("Nosferatu - A Symphony of Terror") from 1921, by Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau. (And a vampire-movie that doesn´t have such a cheesy, predictable "hero-rescues-girl" happy end like so many vampire movies, for example the ones from the HAMMER-studios, which I like very much apart from that)
It´s a shame that this movie wasn´t available on DVD for a very long time in Germany, and so I´ve got a British import-version with a very interesting audio commentary. But of course it´s a DVD and the picture quality is not the best, and it contains an English version of the movie, but because I´m always interested in watching a movie in the original language (in this case German), I wanted a German version.
There are different versions of that movie, but the best - compared to the other ones - is the above-pictured German Deluxe Edition.
Here some comparisons between the UK-DVD and the German Deluxe Edition BD.
I guess they did on the DVD some kind of DNR or another filter for removing dirt. They also removed a curl of her hair. On the BD it´s there and the picture looks sharper and better, the color not over-saturated.
Another example how sharp that movie looks; you can see many details like the leaves on the trees, the windows, the bricks, the fence, the curtains.
There are also two American-BDs of that movie. One contains the movie in English, with English intertitles that look like this.
I think they didn´t a very good job here, because altough the typeface looks "old", the picture looks too clean in comparison to the actual movie. Also, the translation here doesn´t really fit to the more lyrical German text, but that´s just my opinion.
The problem is, that they zoomed into the picture which results in loss of picture-information on every side, like in this shot:
There is also another US-BD which contains the German version of the movie, but still with a zoomed picture.
Edited by Sandra Merkatz, 10 June 2017 - 09:35 PM.
Persona (Criterion - all of their Bergman films are jawdropping, brings new life into the close-ups)
Many of the early Bond movies look fabulous, all were 4K restored
The Quiet Man (Olive)
Shane (Warner/Masters of Cinema UK)
Sweet Smell of Success (Criterion/Arrow - the blacks are soooo inky!)
Stalker (the new upcoming Criterion version, debuting July '17)
She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (Warner Bros.)
The Tree of Life (Fox)
Mulholland Drive (Studio Canal 2017 4K remaster).
The Searchers looks great as well, even though it was one of the first Blu Ray titles released in 2006. Would look even better today though with a 4K scan. Many of the other VistaVision movies look terrific like Vertigo and NBNW.
I am surprised to read that! I only know the DVD and the Blu-rays, which were all bad. I´m curious how the 4K version looks and if they release it in Europe too. (But I won´t buy it, because there will still be this ridiculous censored scene - I guess you know which one I mean - and this scene is censored on every version. So I wouldn´t recommend it, except when the scene is uncensored now).