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Customer Review

22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not an ideal blu-ray, but undoubtedly the best available version, March 16, 2010
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This review is from: Ran (StudioCanal Collection) [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Yes, it would have been great if Criterion released this blu-ray, fully restored and remastered in all its glory. But this StudioCanal blu-ray does not deserve the wild condemnations it's received. It certainly looks better on my blu-ray player than the Criterion DVD (now out of print). And the most important Criterion extra--Chris Marker's documentary AK, about the making of Ran--is included on StudioCanal's disc too.

I saw the recently remastered print of Ran earlier this year in the theater, and this blu-ray is a fine approximation of what I saw. My hunch is that the problems people have with this transfer are related to original film materials that just may not be in pristine condition, even with the latest remastering. StudioCanal may have compounded the problems with a less-than-consistently-stellar digitalization, but, again, this is the best way to see Ran out of all the existing home video versions. The biggest problem is that some scenes look fantasticly vivid and sharp, while others are soft. But that was true of the print I saw in the theater.

About the film: its power remains undiminished, 25 years later. Harold Bloom once said he thought this film and Kurosawa's "Throne of Blood" were the best Shakespeare adaptations on film. An opinion open to debate, to be sure, but he's on to something. Certainly Lear's descent into madness has rarely been as viscerally and shatteringly conveyed. This is late-stage Kurosawa, where the graveness of tone and deliberation of pacing add a layer of richness and depth to the expected visual splendor. And Toru Takemitsu's haunting score (consciously recalling Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde, and its intertwining of East-West musical styles) is surely one of the great film scores of all time and adds immeasurably to the film's power.

To sum up: could have been better, but a dramatic improvement is probably not likely until the film gets a proper restoration. Let's be grateful for this perfectly fine blu-ray, especially when attractively discounted by amazon.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 17, 2010 12:27:08 AM PDT
CaveatUproar says:
Sorry, but I'm not wasting money on a mediocre transfer (and that's putting it nicely!)

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 1, 2010 2:44:03 PM PDT
And there are other issues about this edition, the sloppy subtitling being another that brought down its quality further. That was entirely within the studio's control.
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