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Kurosawa had lost most of his collaborators prior to the shooting of "Ran". All of that informs the darkness and his identification for the main character. While Kurosawa freely borrowed from "King Lear", he also informed the film with many issues facing himself; he felt isolated from the Japanese filmmaking community and he was unappreciated in this late phase of his career having to scramble to get financing (frequently going overseas to get it). Kurosawa felt isolated and alone without his collaborators. The loss of his wife just prior to shooting meant that Kurosawa threw his raging emotions into "Ran" using the story of "Lear" as a means to examine his own personal situation.
A beautiful, rich transfer from Criterion. There's few digital artifacts and there's virtually none of the issues that dogged the "Masterworks" edition of this film. The image isn't cropped (the "Masterworks" edition had the edge of the frame cut off) and the high definition transfer looks marvelous with rich colors, remarkable clarity and depth to the image. There is noticeable grain but that's part of the original theatrical presentation of the film and not a surprise given that the film is 20 years old. The Dolby Digital 2.Read more ›
By far the biggest problem is the so-called "digital restoration," which consists of two things: running the whole movie through a miscalibrated digital denoising filter, and increasing the contrast and color saturation to cartoonish levels. The latter change can at least be undone at the playback end, but the former does irreparable damage to the image. Most of the image problems mentioned here by other reviewers are due to this "restoration," not to defects in the new transfer.
The damage from the digital denoising is severe and present throughout the film. It's easily recognized with experience, or when the denoised image is shown next to the pristine original. But since I don't have that luxury here, I'll just mention some of the more easily seen symptoms. Clouds seem slightly unnatural, as if hand-painted, because their delicate wispiness is interpreted as noise and removed (see for example 0:11:45 and 2:18:00). Thin bright lines against dark backgrounds "sparkle" or "twinkle" like stars; this is caused by cross-frame denoising, which misinterprets movement of sharp edges due to frame jitter or camera movement as transient noise (see for example the sunray pattern in the Ichimonji crest beginning at around 0:04:30). Fast-moving objects shrink or disappear completely for brief intervals, again due to cross-frame denoising (see for example Kyoami's legs as he runs, at around 0:09:15).
The new _Metropolis (1927)_ DVD includes a restoration featurette which explains why computerized denoising was not used in the restoration of that film, and shows examples of some of the problems described above.Read more ›
However, this gem's transition to DVD has been cringe-worthy on Region 1. The Fox Lorber edition is noted as being one of the worst transfers in existence, and while many were satisfied with the Masterworks edition, most who were familiar with the film (and many who weren't) recognized that there was an obscene amount of digital manipulation. The result is the film's colors looked utterly artificial and the film has nowhere near the serene look it normally does. The transfer is just deplorable.
But, true to their reputation, Criterion is coming to save the day. They've announced they're working on a release for late this year. Expect a deluxe edition that you WILL want to wait for, guaranteed. Let the current editions rot.
The images are muddy and dark. The sound is old 78s quality. It really is a shameful, shoddy piece of work. By all means, order the movie. It's Kurosawa's magnum opus, great in every detail. Just make sure you shell out a few bucks more for the Masterworks edition, or splurge and go for the Kurosawa multi DVD collection.
This review is meant solely for the Fox Lorber 1985 DVD release.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I've enjoyed films by Akira Kurosawa, and after having watched The Seven Samurai when I'd been younger I started to discover more of the famed Director's films. Read morePublished 18 days ago by Film fan
Akira Kurosawa's "Ran" -- the great 1985 period epic freely adapted from Shakespeare's "King Lear" and now stunningly rereleased -- begins... Read more
This is a great replacement for my cheap, Chinese-made DVD (that looks like it was copied from a VHS tape). Read morePublished 3 months ago by Patrick Yamada
Ran means Chaos. This is Akira Kurosawa's vision of Shakespeare's King Lear. Lord Hidetora Ichimonji decides to give his title and lands to his eldest son and presents his other... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Bwhami
Early in the film, the jester entertains the King with a metaphorical story about rabbits. Soon after, the camera shows a cloud in the shape of a rabbit! Read morePublished 4 months ago by Eli Spivakovsky
I bought this edition of RAN because of it advertised blu-ray condition. But the image is just as bad as a DVD. Read morePublished 4 months ago by jose luis gomez serrano
I recently started collecting Criterion blu-rays and started discovering classics lovingly restored. This was my first Kurosawa movie that I have ever seen. Read morePublished 6 months ago by M. S. Luis
|Topic||From this Discussion|
|Blu-Ray release cancelled||
Too bad. This was going to be THE ONE to own on blu-ray.
Jun 8, 2009 by Varuzhan Avetyan | See all 3 posts
|Lionsgate Ran Blu-ray||
Japanese: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Japanese: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
French: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
German: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Italian: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Spanish: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, Danish,... Read More
Jan 30, 2010 by manicsounds | See all 2 posts
|King Lear necessitates it's own genius||Be the first to reply|