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51 of 63 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Drastic image manipulation destroys Douglas Slocombe's original vision, 9 Oct 2012
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This review is from: Indiana Jones The Complete Adventures (Limited Edition Collector's Set) [Blu-ray] [1981] [Region Free] (Blu-ray)
First things first. The Indiana Jones trilogy comprises my three top films of all time, and there are none that I have held in greater anticipation on Blu-Ray. The prospect of seeing veteran cinematographer Douglas Slocombe's beautiful, lush, detailed, atmospheric cinematography in high definition as it was originally MEANT to be seen was irresistible.

It is therefore with great sadness that I write this (apparently very much a lone voice as I have tried, unsuccessfully, to find any negative comments on this release, so shoot me down if you will), but I find that the drastic alterations made to the original trilogy (particularly Raiders) to make the cinematographic style conform to Janusz Kaminski's jaundiced-looking, washed out lighting from `Crystal Skull' purely heartbreaking. In short, Raiders has been completely re-graded with drastically boosted brightness levels and a sickeningly orange colour palette that completely destroys Slocombe's original vision. The other two films also suffer, but to a progressively lesser extent.

I'll be returning my set to amazon and sticking with the 2003 DVD trilogy that I've had for years, which presents the films in a (to my eye) much more pleasing, accurate way.

Like I said, the general consensus on this new release is that it is wonderful, and you may well be completely satisfied with it, but I just thought I'd add the perspective of someone who was hoping to see the films as they were originally meant to be seen, rather than a version done presumably to appease modern audiences who are used to a much higher contrast photographic style.

But if I were Steven Spielberg, I think I'd owe Douglas Slocombe an apology.
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Comments

Tracked by 5 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 23 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 10 Oct 2012 01:23:00 BDT
Marty Gillis says:
I have to agree with your assessment. Unfortunately wherever I post about it I am almost instantly flamed. The proof is in the viewing and knowing the difference between proper contrast/brightness or blooming and a natural color pallet verses Orange Nazi flags. 'Raiders' I feel is the most egregious in this set, but I also notice things being a bit "off" on the next two titles in the series. I am old enough to have seen these films multiple times in different theaters and even my first VHS copies had ALMOST the proper color rendering and original look to them. Watching 'Raiders' now is distracting and a disappointment. Such a shame, as the actual elements seem to be nicely cleaned and prepared for the scan.

Most negative remarks about my views on this release tend towards telling me I need to fire my display calibrator. The sad truth is, my display IS properly calibrated to a 2.2 gamma curve and I re-calibrate my color values every month using a meter and software controlled by my DVDO iScan Duo. While not perfect, it is at least 98 to 99% of the way there so I trust the colors I am seeing. We will never convince others of this if they can not see it instantly for themselves.

Just wanted you to know you are not alone and there are many that share your view over at the AVS forum. Cheers! Marty G

Posted on 10 Oct 2012 10:38:20 BDT
Last edited by the author on 10 Oct 2012 10:39:08 BDT
1 Star!? Is it really that bad????? I hope not, my set's on the way, so I hope you're just an extreme perfectionist when it comes to AV.

I've noticed over the years the Star Wars trilogy colours have been messed with (compare to the ADYWAN FAN EDIT VERSION - Star Wars Revisited - to see how good it can look) and no longer look the way I remember, so if this is the same I'll be really upset.

Posted on 10 Oct 2012 13:48:06 BDT
rheailia says:
I think that it was a valid comment and has helped me to inform me on whether or not I will purchase the Blu-Ray version.
Thank you.

In reply to an earlier post on 10 Oct 2012 16:02:57 BDT
I'm certainly an extreme perfectionist, but I suppose all impressions are subjective, and you may well find that the new blu-ray version is superior for you personally. In terms of pictorial clarity and detail, there is certainly not much to complain about, and the problems become less severe as you progress through the trilogy. My extreme disappointment comes from the fact that I've always loved the cinematography of the original trilogy, and it seems that a deliberate decision has been made to make them (particularly Raiders) look like a 'new' film as opposed to a product of their time. Personally, I am not a fan of the current trend for high-contrast cinematography and grading that results from the use of digital intermediates, and I think that retrospectively changing the work of such a legendary cinematographer as Douglas Slocombe is deeply disrespectful. It seems that some film-makers (particularly George Lucas, whose meddling I wouldn't be surprised resulted in this) think that they know better in hindsight.

Posted on 11 Oct 2012 05:04:05 BDT
Last edited by the author on 11 Oct 2012 05:05:23 BDT
litemakr says:
I agree with you 100%. I am astounded as to why there isn't more outcry about this. Raiders has been completely re-timed for both color and exposure and looks nothing like it has for the past 31 years. The overall orange tint is a bizarre choice, not even in keeping with a "modern" look, more like a botched digital color timing job. Shots vary in color and contrast from shot to shot, even within scenes. The ark opening scene is particularly jarring, with shots that are flat out overexposed and shots of Indy and Marion looking like oompa loompas when they are supposed to be in moonlight. Very, very disappointing. Especially considering this is probably the last time the film will be transferred. This was a 4k scan and will most likely be the way Raiders will be seen from now on. Really sad.

Posted on 11 Oct 2012 10:35:58 BDT
A Khan says:
OMG! You're completely right. I teed up the DVD version along with the Blu-ray and flicked between the two. The difference is horrific - completely washed out and orange palette. Very disappointed!

Posted on 11 Oct 2012 12:13:23 BDT
Last edited by the author on 11 Oct 2012 12:13:41 BDT
Pantheon says:
I always respect other's opinions; but as someone who gave a 5* rating to this set I really can't see what you're getting at. I also put my DVD in my alternate player and flicked between the two and saw no such problems with the palatte etc.
Although, in all fairness, even if I had I would have simply accepted it. I've seen more than one interview with Stephen Spielberg stating that Raiders now looks the way he'd always wanted it to look. Who am I to argue?

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Oct 2012 17:29:51 BDT
Last edited by the author on 11 Oct 2012 18:31:31 BDT
As I said, my opinion is certainly subjective, and some things will bother some people more than others (for example I had no problem with James Cameron's new grade of 'Aliens' which he did for the Blu Ray, giving the film a far bluer tint than before and reducing the visible film grain, as I thought that really suited the film and was done with great care). I suppose I just find Raiders especially jarring considering the (to my eye) cavernous gap between this and the way I am used to seeing the film.

The settings on different TV sets can also make a difference. One of my pet hates is overexposure and 'clipped' highlights, so I tend to have the brightness and contrast levels set lower on my TV than many people do (ie those who are content with the default factory settings), so the difference would be much less noticeable on sets with higher brightness and contrast.

That said, I'm glad to see that a number of people seem to agree with what I've said... at least I know I'm not going blind or delusional!

As far as Spielberg stating that this is the way he always wanted the film to look, I have also read this. Where I think directors such as Spielberg are wrong is in believing that they have an exclusive ownership of their films. The fact is that once a film is released to the public, and they take it into their hearts in the way that they did with 'Raiders', some people develop a sense of attachment and ownership of their own, and resent it when the original film makers retrospectively decide that they know better or are more capable now than they were at the time they made it. For a prime example of this, look no further than George Lucas over 'Star Wars' or William Friedkin over 'The French Connection'.

Posted on 11 Oct 2012 18:51:23 BDT
revolver31 says:
i agree and have posted my review on watching raiders and the quality of this release.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Oct 2012 09:25:19 BDT
Very fine review. I will now stick with the 3 disc dvd set I have from 2003? I remember "Band of Brothers" coming out and having missed the tv series looked forward to the dvd set, only to be horrified by the grainy, pale (would have been better in black and white) unwatchable mess that was the dvd set.
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