Top critical review
Awful looking Blu-Ray
22 June 2014
Amazon really needs to seperate DVD and Blu-Ray reviews. There is no reason to combine them. When I bought the DVD in 1999, I would have given it 5 stars. The Blu-Ray I am giving one star because IT LOOKS WORSE THAN THE DVD!
I know that Universal is bad about not doing new transfers for Blu-Ray releases, but this is a travesty. Have you seen the Young Frankenstein Blu-Ray? Yeah, this is worse.
This film was originally released in 1999 on a 4x3 letterbox DVD. It looks like the exact same scan was used, with someone who had no clue what they were doing blindly applying digital filters to it. Truthfully, get the DVD and just do a zoom on it, it will look better than this mess.
First, the disc has like 20 subtitle tracks, and the disc menu, like most European discs, pops up and ask you what language you want. It defaults.... to CHINESE!!! What the heck!Oh, if only this was the worst of the issues. After a half dozen warning screens, we are dropped into a menu with a video playing in the background that is obviously SD video. And the music starts in the middle of a word to a song. So poorly authored disc.
Then you hit play, and you are presented by this beautiful Universal studios logo in breathtaking 1080p, followed by the production company's logo - and its all jaggied. Obviously rendered at 480. Then we are dropped into the hall of the school, and that is when the mess starts. Grain is frozen on the screen. It looks like they used a fine grain film, so the noise is everywhere. What is bad is the grain is actually frozen in the color from the first shot, which means kids are running through this multi-colored noise. The text is almost unreadable.
But the DNR is not the only issue. It looks like some poorly done framerate conversion was done. This leads to blurryness anytime there is a camera pan or fast movement.
You notice a lack of detail in everything and start to wonder if this is actually an SD upconvert. This is confirmed when they throw open the doors and Donny walks in - there are SCANLINES in the door!
So I started to get disappointed. Maybe this film was originally shot on tape, and they tried to clean it up for Blu-Ray (badly) and then... You start seeing film spots and scratches and hairs in the video.
Then you start seeing ringing and halos around Donny and other characters.
Then Donny invites the kids to the stage as he is singing "Any Dream Will Do" and you see these blue streaks all over the kids, and you realize it is frozen film grain from the smoke and the blue lights that has frozen in place over these kids faces. It's awful.
So how about the sound. I was very excited to see that it said DTS-MA 5.1. Don't be fooled - it is the exact same Dolby Digital track from the DVD. Actually, no, its not, it sounds worse - possibly from the conversion from one audio format to another. This shouldn't be the case, but this is way flatter sounding than the DVD ever was.
This Blu-Ray is a nightmare! Everything that could be wrong with a digital transfer is wrong here - HORRIBLE DNR (I am okay if DNR is done correctly, that is not the case here), scan lines, contrast blown out of proportion, macroblocking, aliasing, ringing and halos, and an SD upconvert.
This disc is a travesty. It has no redeeming factor. Do yourself a favor and pick it up on DVD - it really does look better than the Blu-Ray does.