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Artificial Intelligence - Natural Grain (Bluray review)
on 27 July 2011
Okay, let's get this out of the way, this is a grainy film, one of the grainiest I have bought in fact. Now let's get something else out of the way, it's supposed to look like this. Spielberg shot an at times washed out, dreamy and soft looking film, and it is shown here, warts an' all. It is not a bad transfer as some may think, a bad print wasn't used, nor could any "remastering" have been done to improve it. Applying DNR to "smooth" out the level of grain here would have probably created one of the worst Bluray releases so far. It would have removed every detail and texture and left us with a very bland picture. As it is the grain does dampen things a little, such is the speckly nature of it, but there is still far more detail shown here than on any previous release.
However, intentional or not, it is very grainy, this is more noticable at the start of the movie where it's mostly daytime scenes. It can be a bit distracting, but it also adds to the feel of the film. When things go a bit darker, in tone as well as in lighting, things do improve. The Flesh fair looks very good, the special effects hold up well, and that continues for the rest of the feature as they venture into the city and beyond. By the halfway mark the grain for me wasn't a problem, my eyes had adjusted, the grain had settled due to the darker scenes and more often than not, it looks very good. If I was to compare it to another bluray release, it would be Minority Report. If you were happy with the look of that film on Bluray then you should be fine here, if you thought it was too much then maybe pass on A.I.
We have a nice supply of extras on the disc. They cover many aspects of the movie from AI's creation, design, lighting, special effects, the robots, the actors, the soundtrack etc. Plenty to get your teeth into really.
Finally, if you can overlook/don't mind the level of grain here, then this is a good release and definitely a step up from the DVD. I saw A.I at the cinema and remember it well, it was never going to look silky smooth, and what we have here is a faithful representation of the Directors vision. It won't be for everyone but hopefully this review helps a few people in their decision.