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BLU-RAY 4DISC BOX SET
on 24 January 2013
There are plenty of reviews here concerning the films and their content, and if you are reading this review then most of you will already be fans of the movies looking to update to Blu-ray. I don't have the DVD's available to compare the qualitative difference of the two mediums and so will confine my comments purely to the quality of the Blu-ray discs as stand-alone products - the box-set as a whole, being greatly let down by films one to three, earning only a 2 star rating overall.
If you are seeking the picture perfection associated with Blu-ray updates, then this collection will disappoint greatly. Mission Impossible, the original and oldest film of the series, as expected shows its age, and the transfer does little to improve things. Soft edges and a lack of detail dates this film giving it a 'retro' look that may appeal to fans of the original movie, but not to those looking for a superior picture. Occasionally close-ups do appear pleasing with moderate detail, but more often than not you are left wondering whether you are in fact watching a DVD and not a Blu-ray. Colour banding is also very much the order of the day in many scenes and particularly noticeable in the sterile white and grey environments of building interiors. In short the film really shows its age and gets a poor transfer to Blu-ray.
MI:2 fares little better, and in many respects is a far inferior transfer to that of its predecessor. With a more recent film you'd expect a better transfer, and occasionally this film does offer fine linear detail, especially on faces. Colours too are far richer this time around, but colour banding is severe from the outset. In fact it was difficult to find a scene that did not suffer in this way, the banding sometimes so overwhelming that I found myself watching the bands rather than the movie. Background detail too is disappointing, especially in exterior shots where you would expect to see beautifully defined landscapes rather than the blurred images you actually get.
MI:3 finally glows with the kind of clarity and colour one expects from a Blu-ray, though picture grain is heavy throughout, especially in brightly lit interior shots, and did become distracting in places. Blacks are deep though lack detail and colour banding was not an issue on this outing, allowing for a far more enjoyable experience. The shots of the Vatican and the Rome skyline were particularly enjoyable and sharply detailed.
MI:4 Ghost Protocol not only has a snappier title, but glows with the kind of luxuriant detail you'd expect from a film made in the High-Def' age. At last Paramount have hit a bullseye - even though it took them four attempts to do it! Right from the opening shots of the Budapest skyline, you know you are watching something far superior to the previous three films. Colours and linear detail are sharp and blacks beautifully deep whist retaining detail. If I was rating this film alone I would have given it a five star rating both for the quality of the transfer and the content of the movie.
Paramount are infamous for their poor quality high definition transfers to Blu-ray, and the first three films in this collection are perfect examples of this. If you are a fan of the films then I can only guess that the DVD's you have been watching are of atrocious quality, and therefore this offering may be an improvement. If on the other hand you are looking for a couple of well-presented action Blu-rays, then stick to buying the final two instalments of this disappointing collection.