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Dirty Harry Collection on Blu Ray
on August 18, 2013
Dirty Harry Collection
The good news is that you get all 4 Dirty Harry films on Blu in one collection. Each film is on its own separate Blu Ray disc. The odd thing here, and the first I've ever seen for BluRay disc collections is that there are only two pages which hold the discs. Each page holds 2 discs, one on top of the other. I do not think that this will damage the discs in any way but I would certainly rather have had one page/holder for each disc.
VIDEO..A far cry from the poor masters of this film on Standard Def yet the transcode to Blu Ray still has some video issues. While the color grading has increased color resolution considerably, they have also crushed the blacks a great deal so that details in the many dark and shadowy areas are almost completely lost. Skin tones do vary from normal and natural to, in a couple of scenes, almost orange. In the opening scene which is a wide angle shot including the ocean, the grain in the water is quite obvious with almost a flicker to it and there is one short shot of a car's grill where stair stepping is observed as well. The video quality really does vary as I observed a couple of shots with thread noise and also a dark blotch which was either on the camera lens or on whichever master they converted to blu ray from. Mbps rate appeared to average in the high teens/low twenties. Despite all this, this remains the best looking video of Dirty Harry that I've seen.
AUDIO...The lossless Dolby True HD 5.1 is the surprising star of this film on blu ray with some very nice panning between the front and rear stages as well as some discreet channeling across the front stage. Not much LFE use but it does provide some ambience for the gunshots. All dialogue was easy to understand and far more transparent than any lossy audio codec. There was no need to adjust volume levels once they were set.
VIDEO...After viewing Magnum Force on Blu Ray, it occurred to me that this will be the best we ever see of this series of Dirty Harry movies. Magnum Force on Blu Ray is definitely greatly improved over its previous versions in Standard Definition, yet, it is not without its faults. Colors are natural and consistent throughout the film with normal appearing skin tones. There is a fine film grain for the length of the movie but no artifacts or real dirt that I could see. Contrast has been greatly improved and the entire image cleaned up as compared to SD releases, though small detailing in hair, leaves and such appear somewhat smooth. This also can be attributed to a soft camera focus which only sharpens when there are facial closeups where details and pores are easily defined. The best transfer of Magnum Force I've seen.
AUDIO.. Dolby True HD 5.1 is the lossless audio codec used again which will always be superior to a lossy codec. Early in the film the audio reminded me of the old movie newsreels shown in the old movie houses. It sounded a touch tinny and distant. This cleared up and the audio then sounded fine to me with clear and transparent dialogue. The surrounds are used here and there during most of the film with some nice panning between the stages and a few discreet foley fx. However, the last half hour really brings your surround system to life with plenty of rear to front & and front to rear audio panning and a ton of discreet directionality being sent to your surrounds of the bullets flying and cars racing by. It really makes a great quality difference. There is not a whole lot of work for your LFE channel other than to supply a little low end ambience.
Exttras...An excellent half hour documentary on the moraility of the Dirty Harry movies, as well as the typical commentary, trailers and a few other worthy extra documentaries. I believe I have seen all of them on previous releases but can't specify where. They might have been included on the extras disc of the 35 films, 35 years Clint Eastwood Collection which was so horribly made in terms of movie quality.
All in all, Magnum Force, as a film held up and retains its aging legs.
VIDEO...Generally, the Enforcer retains the same color grading, the same look as its two predecessors. The film grain is less noticeable and I saw no artifacts or aliasing anywhere. I also noticed an improved contrast that is better than the previous two films in the 4 film collection and significantly better than any Standard Def version.
Despite improved contrast, focus tends to be soft which is typical of film rather than the ultra sharp contrast of movies shot in video. Mbps rate seemed to average in the mid twenties and the overall transfer is not bad at all. About 20 minutes in, as the bad guys break into the warehouse, the film stalled for several seconds before picking up again. I went back to the same spot to repeat this issue and it did occur again. About 15 seconds of more or less, unimportant scene was missed.
AUDIO...Again the audio is a lossless Dolby True HD 5.1 audio and the levels are just fine with a nice spread across the front stage of its music score. While there is some panning between the front and rear stages, do not expect a whole lot nor should you expect much discreet directionality. There is some but not a lot.
Extras...More of the same older, but still quality documentaries regarding violence in movies, a very short doc on Eastwood being involved in the production and several trailers.
VIDEO...Probably the cleanest transfer of the four with only a mild film grain, barely noticeable. Colors appear richer and there are more details within the darker areas. Mbps rate appears to be the lowest, averaging in the mid teens. I saw no artifacts or aliasing anywhere and contrast really is quite good. The soft focus of the other films remains here but is in no way distracting, nor does it take away from the film. Overall a nice transfer
and definitely better than previous standard definition releases.
AUDIO..Lossless Dolby True HD holds some nice directionality for all the surrounds when needed. The quieter foley fx, especially on beach scenes are nicely discreet according to the assigned channels without being distracting from the center dialogue or action. The sub is asked to do some ambient work though not often. All audio levels are as they should be.
Extras...One commentary and another documentary on the evolution of the Dirty Harry films. Again, I have seen these before.
This 2013 collection release is undoubtably a double dip by the company to gain purchase from those who do not already have these movies on Blu Ray as individual discs. If you have them already on Blu Ray, then this collection is not for you but should you only have the films on Standard Definition discs or collections than go ahead and spring for it. The transfers are not perfect but there is a good enough amount of improvement between the SD releases and these to encourage your purchase.
All my reviews focus only upon the quality of a film's transfer to blu ray. I do hope this review has been of some help to you.
Thanks for reading.