18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Blu Ray does justice to Papillon!,
This review is from: Papillon [Blu-ray Book] (Blu-ray)I am a Steve McQueen fan and I think this movie is one of his very best performances if not THE best. The fact this film was not nominated for Best Picture and Steve McQueen for Best Actor of 1973 escapes me. He was known not to 'play ball' with the Hollywood system and was very much his own man, that may have had a hand in this film being so grossly overlooked in that respect. With that said, this review is going to deal with the actual Blu Ray transfer , both video and audio , and not the plot or performances contained in it.
Papillon comes to Blu Ray on a BD-50 disc with plenty of room for the 2 and 1/2 hour film, uncompressed 5.1 DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack and a few small extras. It is currently being offered in the Blu Ray book format, with some nice glossy production photos and stills, but not much written content. It is a pleasing presentation but I would have been just as happy with the disc itself in an Eco case for the same price. Still, it is a nice classy way to store and display this wonderful film.
I had read many online reviews before purchasing this title and it had been pointed out to me that for perhaps the first 10 to 20 minutes the picture quality may not be all that it should with the remainder of the film blossoming into a beautiful 1080p HD presentation that belies the films age (38 years now) and lets you get lost in the stark harshness of the prison, the lush beauty of the jungle , the leper colony at night, the exhilaration of the ocean and the paradise of the West Indies where Papillon finds temporary respite. Skin tones throughout the film are natural, and besides the overabundance of grain in the first 20 minutes Papillon has a very pleasing look to it. There is a good amount of fine detail to see in this transfer , beautiful colors when applicable and a stable dirt free image. For an older catalog title this one is a real treat and the best it has ever looked on home video period!
The soundtrack with music by the late great Jerry Goldsmith fares just as well as the picture quality. (IMHO) The music has been presented in crystal clear uncompressed DTS HD Master Audio format and it takes full advantage of it. The timpani and bass drums and very low notes on the Cello's and String Bass resonate with authority and clarity from my subwoofer. Ambient effects are spread through the surrounds at certain points during the film, especially the jungle scenes and ocean sounds and are few and far between but never obtrusive or gimmicky. My only complaint would be that sometimes the dialogue may be a bit 'tinny' and a few times it gets just slightly clipped or distorted, but always intelligible (other than perhaps a few short words on the prison ship) and easy to understand. The majority of the dialogue sounds just fine and is much better than I had hoped for a film of this age and era. The original recordings were obviously made with care for this much quality to shine through in a lossless audio presentation. The separation and expanse of the music mix is very very good and on my Denon/Klipsch system it had me feeling I was at the Cinerama! Cool! It really is a good soundtrack and the fact it is from 1973 makes it all the better.
There are only two small extras included on the disc, one is a pretty nice 12 minute documentary about the making of the film and then a trailer which might not be what you expect to see, give it a play and be amused! Both special features are in SD by the way but their inclusion is nice and I enjoyed both of them.
No doubt about it, Papillon is a film classic and this Blu Ray release is THE way to see it at home. A 5.1 surround system that decodes DTS-HD Master Audio will reveal a beautiful and engaging soundtrack to complement the gorgeous 1080p visuals. Also, this disc is NOT Java encumbered and as such the disc resume feature will WORK which is good if you can't sit for the entire 2 and 1/2 hours without a break.
For McQueen fans and classic film fans in general this is a great purchase and a fine addition to anyone's personal video library! It's is great to see the potential of Blu Ray being used to this films advantage. Highly recommended and my absolute favorite McQueen film bar none!
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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 10, 2011 7:06:43 PM PDT
Mark R. Wietstock says:
Thanks for this review. Having seen the movie a number of times, and already recognizing it as one of the finest "prison" epics ever made, I was less interested in the content-based reviews and specifically looking for some detail/insights on the quality of the Blu-Ray presentation. Your review provided exactly that kind of detail. Well done.
In reply to an earlier post on Oct 10, 2011 7:38:17 PM PDT
Thanks very much! All my disc reviews concentrate on the PQ and tech aspects as those are the ones I myself try to find. Hope you enjoy the film on Blu Ray. It might not be a full restoration but it is quite good and much better than I had hoped for. Cheers! Marty G
In reply to an earlier post on Nov 12, 2011 4:06:45 PM PST
Must agree re comments on the specific media...Blu-ray.
I really think it's about time that Amazon were able to present reviews as per the exact product and not about something produced years earlier. Hi def is something now with us the world over and time for Amazon to move on.
In reply to an earlier post on Nov 12, 2011 4:45:15 PM PST
Thanks MelAus ! Hopefully someday the Blu Ray section for reviews will be separate from DVD and VHS. It needs to be! Cheers! Marty G
Posted on Feb 6, 2012 11:21:38 PM PST
Cristopher Howard says:
Perfect review, Bravo!
In reply to an earlier post on Feb 7, 2012 7:14:02 AM PST
Thanks C. D. ! Cheers, Marty G
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