Customer Review

187 of 199 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Packaging, aspect ratios FINE; movies GREAT, June 7, 2011
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This review is from: Stanley Kubrick: Limited Edition Collection (Spartacus / Lolita / Dr. Strangelove / 2001: A Space Odyssey / A Clockwork Orange / Barry Lyndon / The Shining / Full Metal Jacket / Eyes Wide Shut) [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
I won't review the films themselves. I have done so elsewhere, and if you are reading this, you probably are a Kubrick fan, anyway. My set arrived yesterday and I have spent some quality time with it, though I have obviously not had a chance to watch every disk all the way through, yet.

On one user's negative review with respect to the "destructive" packaging: all I can say is, if you stop and think about it before wailing on the disks trying to get them out of their sleeves, you'll be FINE. The sleeves, are indeed, engineered to keep the disks in, so they don't fall on the floor if you tip the package the wrong way. A moment's thought will tell you that a thumb on the label side of the disk, a forefinger on the edge, and some firm but gentle pulling while rotating a little is all you need to get the disks out without a hint of damage. The sleeve will release its grip and all will be well. Believe me, you'll be glad for the snugness of the fit when you realize how well it protects the disks when you're not watching them.

On the continuing Aspect Ratio controversy: I could be wrong about this, but I think the esteemed Mr. Kubrick would be fine with the 16x9 cropping of The Shining, Full Metal Jacket, and Eyes Wide Shut. It's true that Kubrick initially only wanted videos of his films released "full frame", i.e. with the whole negative image showing unmasked, because he hated pan-scan, and thought letterboxing distracting. After Barry Lyndon, he shot 35mm without a hard matte, but composed for 1.85:1 precisely because he knew some theaters would project it 1.85:1 while others would go for 1.66:1, and still others would have their own "custom" aspect ratio - i.e. funky screen size based more on the way larger theaters were being chopped up into multiplexes at the time, than on the needs of the films being shown. But newer 16x9 HD TVs, which became popular after his death, largely obviated the need for near full-negative cropping, as far as video is concerned. Kubrick's visual compositions are just slightly roomy in 16x9, without the oddly empty quality of some of his shots when viewed in full-frame on a 4x3 TV. There are purists who get almost violent when discussing the "proper" aspect ratios of Kubrick's *oeuvre* on video, and who insist we should be watching them in 4x3 even now, because "that's what he intended." I am not among them. His original reasoning made sense when TVs were all squarish, but I think he would have accommodated 16x9 home theatre TVs, had he lived into the Blu-ray era. Such TVs existed in his lifetime, but they were not the norm the way they are now. If you read his interviews carefully, he was a surprisingly practical guy, for being such a perfectionist.

The transfers appear, in most cases, to be the same ones used for the last release of the collection, but in a format closer to their native 4k resolution. They are - thank God - NOT over-enhanced the way so many mass-market "popular" films seem to be when released on Blu-ray, these days. While they are sharp and detailed, they don't have those artificially "cut out" looking edges, either. I'm not a videophile, but I like what I see and hear.
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Tracked by 5 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 10 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 3, 2011 8:14:12 AM PDT
Andréas says:
"but in a format closer to their native 4k resolution"? What are you trying to say? I'm pretty sure the movies in this box are the exactly the same as the ones on the previous Blu-Ray releases.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 16, 2011 5:08:13 PM PDT
I'm talking about Blu-Ray vs. DVD. My understanding is that the film transfers are 4K high-def from the 35MM o-negs. Blu-Ray 1080P is closer to that resolution that the DVD 480P resolution. They probably are exactly the same as the previous Blu-Rays (which I skipped, waiting for this collection to come out, instead).

Posted on Sep 22, 2011 3:01:01 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Sep 22, 2011 3:33:04 PM PDT]

Posted on Nov 10, 2011 11:15:49 AM PST
B. Cooper says:
Cardboard sleeve cases DO eventually scratch discs. When you first purchase the set they are obviously dust-free. However, after sitting on a shelf for a while the accumulated dust catches between the sleeve and disc and WILL scratch it. I agree with the remainder of your review, but these cases are engineered to save money NOT to protect your discs.

Disney tried the same thing with WALLE and Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader. It does NOT work, and your discs will end up scratched.

Supporting this format only tells distribution companies they can keep cutting costs because the consumer will not care. I, for one, do care when I pay $60+ because I want a product that will last beyond the inevitable next media format.

Posted on Nov 10, 2011 9:05:32 PM PST
I agree with Wing. Kubrick accepted full frame as a compromise and protected his shots so they'd work unmated on 4x3 televisions, but he composed most of his movies for 1.85:1. Since HDTVs are slightly narrower than 1.85:1, you get a tiny bit more image on the top and bottom than he framed for when the movies are presented unmated on 16x9 displays, but that's a lot closer to his intention than 4x3 ever was. Kubrick's insane fans might scream about this, but Kubrick would have just laughed at them.

Posted on Feb 29, 2012 12:53:22 PM PST
They should have also added Paths of Glory, which is most certainly considered "essential" Kubrick work.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 16, 2012 10:23:17 PM PDT
db says:
Thanks, Wing and Mark. I've been an "original aspect ratio" elitist since the laserdisc days, and this discussion is exactly what I wanted to know.

I had avoided getting "Full Metal Jacket" on DVD all this time because it was full screen, and I wanted the original aspect ratio, which I assumed was a typical 1.85:1 or 2.35:1. I should've looked online for forum discussions before; it only recently occurred to me that maybe this was one of the unusual ones that was originally shot in 1.33:1. (And I'm surprised he did it with something filmed as late as "Eyes Wide Shut".)

Your discussion sounds like what they did with "The Princess Bride". There was a laserdisc release of it in full frame (which I didn't get), but apparently it was still filmed with widescreen theaters in mind, so even many of us elitists are satisfied with the widescreen version. (And apparently there was one shot in the full frame version where you can see the boom mic at the top.)

Now I think I might get the full frame FMJ on DVD just for the fun of it, and then get the widescreen version in HD.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 4, 2012 3:36:14 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 4, 2012 3:36:34 AM PDT
Andréas says:
Who cares? The Criterion Blu-Ray might be expensive, but it's much better than anything WB could have put together.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 4, 2012 3:39:35 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 4, 2012 3:40:28 AM PDT
Andréas says:
My advice to anyone worried about this would be to purchase the UK Blu-Ray boxset (which is far cheaper and uses a big blue plastic case). The UK box doesn't have Spartacus or Strangelove, but you can easily buy those seperatly.

Posted on Jun 15, 2014 5:12:44 AM PDT
Steve says:
Are there special features or extras included with any of the films?
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