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    Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes Blu-ray Review

    Blu-ray Warner

    Aug 27 2013 07:25 PM | Cameron Yee in DVD & Blu-ray Reviews
    Director Hugh Hudson’s live action Tarzan adaptation swings onto Blu-ray with a faithful and filmlike high definition presentation, courtesy of the Warner Archive Collection manufacture-on-demand service.

    Title Info:

    • Studio: Warner Brothers
    • Distributed By: N/A
    • Video Resolution: 1080P/AVC
    • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
    • Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HDMA
    • Subtitles: English SDH
    • Rating: PG
    • Run Time: 2 Hr. 17 Min.
    • Package Includes: Blu-ray
    • Case Type:
    • Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
    • Region: A
    • Release Date: 07/16/2013
    • MSRP: $21.99

    The Production Rating: 3.5/5

    In the early 1980s, moviegoers were presented with not one, but two, Tarzan movies.

    The first, John Derek’s Tarzan, the Ape Man (1981), was conceived as a showcase for his pin-up-worthy wife Bo Derek, telling the familiar Tarzan story from the perspective of the Jane character, whom Derek played.

    Though Derek’s sex appeal was undeniable, the film proved a failure with both viewers and critics alike, setting the stage for the next movie – Hugh Hudson’s Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes (1984) – to do much better on all fronts.

    Though part of the film’s success came from simply being more faithful to Edgar Rice Burroughs’ 1912 novel, it also did a fine job casting the lead role, an orphan raised by apes in the African jungle, which went to a then unknown Christopher Lambert. Supporting work by the inimitable Ian Holm as the Belgian explorer who discovers the legendary “ape man” and brings him back to civilization, also helped sell the more pulpy material, even when it pushed the boundaries of believability.

    Rick Baker’s primate makeup effects, which deservedly received an Academy Award nomination, continue to impress today. In fact, it’s in the jungle scenes, where Tarzan is surrounded by his adopted ape family, that the film is most sure-footed. In the environment of Tarzan’s aristocratic heritage, things feel fairly perfunctory and predictable with its “stranger in a strange land” motif, though it’s ultimately in keeping with Tarzan’s fate that the jungle is where the story seems most at home.

    Movie trivialists will be entertained by seeing Andie MacDowell in her first film role, playing the part of Jane, but vocally dubbed by Glenn Close due to MacDowell’s southern accent.

    Video Rating: 4/5 3D Rating: NA

    Framed at 2.40:1 and presented in 1080p with the AVC codec, the transfer offers a faithful and filmlike presentation with strong and consistent contrast, nicely saturated color, and very good detail. Film grain appears intact with no signs of excessive digital manipulation.

    Audio Rating: 3.5/5

    Dialogue in the 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is intelligible, though the mix can sometimes make one ride the volume dial to compensate for levels running too low (in the case of some dialogue) or too high (with soundtrack cues). Bass activity is fine, though LFE is of course absent.

    Special Features: 1.5/5

    • Commentary by Director Hugh Hudson and Associate Producer Garth Thomas
    • Theatrical Trailer (1:29, HD)

    Overall Rating: 4/5

    Warner Home Video’s manufacture-on-demand Blu-ray of the superior 1980s Tarzan live action film offers a solid high definition presentation, though extras are understandably limited due to the film’s age. Nevertheless, the release is an easy one to recommend, especially for those looking for an adaptation more faithful to its source material.

    Reviewed by: Cameron Yee
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    I've heard it through the grapevine, that the transfer on this title is immaculate and deserving of the highest praise. Though it's a title I've never seen and thought that I wasn't interested in, I must say that the enthusiasm about the outstanding cinematography has sold me.

    It's a magnificent film, IMO.  Among its laudable achievements is a glorious music score by John Scott who incorporates bits of Elgar into his highly original score materials.  I consider the entire film a major film achievement.  Note, too, a touching and wonderful, albeit final, film performance by Sir Ralph Richardson.

    Edgar Rice Burroughs was an action-adventure storyteller and a terrific entertainer. The second half of the film is nothing like the book. The story falls apart in the second act. Instead we get drawing-room angst. But at least it's not juvenile, and that's something. For all its flaws, I rate this film very high. Visually and aesthetically it is a feast for the eyes. Looking forward to buying this bluray-on-demand.

    Regarding the audio, it sounds like the dynamic range is intact, all good then.