Top critical review
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Blu-ray version review
on December 30, 2007
I own movies in both HD DVD and Blu-Ray formats so I've seen very many HD movies and am well familiar with the formats capabilities.
Being one of my favorite movies, Cast Away's release in Hi-Def got me very excited. I'm a big fan of the movie and give the movie itself 5 stars but am only reviewing the quality of this release here. The opening sequence where the FedEx truck drives up and picks up the package for delivery to Russia looks only slightly better than the standard DVD. When the truck opens up and the Russia scene starts it looks a lot better, but still more like 720p quality. Through the rest of the movie the HD quality stays about the same, decent but not great. It's certainly a step up from DVD but there are a few scenes that seem to be no better than my 2 disc DVD edition. The best looking scenes are the closeup scenes where the HD quality becomes more apparent but it still doesn't look anywhere near as good as other HD titles I own. Some of the best looking HD titles I own are: The Matrix collection, 2001, The Fifth Element, Apollo 13, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Pirates of the Caribbean, and number of others.
While watching the movie and examining the quality I came to the thought that it might not be the transfer that's the issue but possibly it was the director of photography's filming. It looks like the DP tried hard to keep a balance of focus between the actor and the background thereby not getting a truly sharp focus. I could be wrong but this is what it looked like. The 5.1 surround sound was fantastic. I didn't notice any difference between my DVD and Blu-ray versions, though I do admit I really didn't examine the audio.
Overall the movie was nice but I was let down as I was expecting better, especially from a movie with such a great environment. If you own the 2 disc DVD keep in mind the 2 disc set has all those extras and this hi-def release does not. So you may want to hold onto your set. Don't go getting Cast Away expecting the same HD quality you see in all those top notch movies that people use to showcase the format. It still looks great and certainly better than DVD just not leaps and bounds better for most of the scenes. Again, I can't say for sure but it may simply have been the way it was filmed.
Sony PS3 (latest update)
Samsung LN-T5265F 52" LCD 1080P (calibrated)
Toshiba 5.1 surround sound system