A Few Words About A few words about...™ Chicago -- in BD

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Feb 18, 2007.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
    Reviewer

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 1999
    Messages:
    9,346
    Likes Received:
    5,277
    Real Name:
    Robert Harris
    Viewing two Academy Award Best Pictures that span three decades back to back is an amazing experience, especially when each is handled in the finest possible quality via the two competing formats.

    The Sting (1973) from Universal and released on HD carries with it the look of the 5254 stock on which it was photographed.

    Chicago (2002) used virtually every trick in the cinematographic book in varied conditions and light levels. Photographed on both Kodak Vision 200T (5274) as well as the high speed 500T (5279), grain structure varies per the stock. Original select prints were produced on both Kodak Premier (2393) for deeper blacks, as well Vision (2383) for the normal high speed run.

    What I found quite extraordinary about the new BD of Chicago was how it replicated the look of the original film, with it's extra-vibrant color scheme and black rich black, the latter courtesy of the Pioneer Pro Plasma 2k, which is my chosen viewing surface. Those who have not yet experienced Pioneer's latest gen plasma, must seek it out. Even if one is not immediately n the market for this high end product, it's important to know what holds the top spot for "state of the art" and to have the visual knowledge of precisely how perfectly a properly created image can be displayed in high definition.

    But this is also where it gets a bit tricky.

    While the Miramax (Disney) Blu-Ray disc is fully encoded with all of this visual information, it will take a quality monitor to reproduce it properly and fully.

    What matters here however, is that the visual information is on the disc, along with un-compressed audio. One can always upgrade in the future to match the software's capabilities.

    Disney has proven that they have the ability to take a difficult film and bring it to BD disc with perfection. And being able to view a cinema favorite in the new format makes the experience especially important.

    Now that we've seen what can be done with Chicago on BD, I'd like to make a personal request of Disney to bring Martin Scorsese's Gangs of New York to BD as quickly as possible.

    Chicago shines on Blu-Ray, and is added to the short list of films that has made it's way to home video with virtual perfection.

    Chicago comes Extremely Highly Recommended. As both cinema, as well as a home video experience, this is a huge treat.

    RAH
     
  2. Michel_Hafner

    Michel_Hafner Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2002
    Messages:
    996
    Likes Received:
    114
    What happened to the Ruby? :)
    There is an even better Pioneer plasma coming in autumn with 4 times the contrast and therefore quite some blacker blacks. If there is no SED by then I might go for it.
    Here they claim Gangs is coming on HD-DVD
    http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=806888
     
  3. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
    Reviewer

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 1999
    Messages:
    9,346
    Likes Received:
    5,277
    Real Name:
    Robert Harris
    The Ruby and I are on different coasts. The Elite 2k is the finest image that I've been able to find, with none superior until the next arrives.

    RAH
     
  4. BrettB

    BrettB Producer

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2001
    Messages:
    3,019
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ruby?! Do you still have the 960?
     
  5. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 1999
    Messages:
    8,800
    Likes Received:
    3
    RAH,

    you echoed my impressions of Chicago on BD as well. Clearly someone at the Mouse has a clue, which is especially reassuring given the sad state of affairs with so many Miramax SD-DVD discs. There were times when the AVC bit-rate topped out above 43 mbps. That's astonishing... that's like running MPEG2 at almost 80 mbps!!

    And that lossless 24/48 PCM audio... sigh....

    Your rich understanding of the film medium/technology used for this production which is a marvel to discvoer. Thanks so much for sharing your very informed impressions... which extend far beyond the simple "it looks great" subjective test to which most of us are limited.

    dave
     
  6. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2000
    Messages:
    4,684
    Likes Received:
    25
    Location:
    Knocksville, TN
    Real Name:
    Rachael Bellomy
    Dead rabbits, dead rabbits, dead rabbits....I'm with ya Robert!
     
  7. Felix Martinez

    Felix Martinez Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2001
    Messages:
    1,465
    Likes Received:
    28
    Location:
    South Florida
    I re-watched Chicago on Blu this afternoon and was both delighted and saddened.

    Delighted that this release appears to retain every bit of high-frequency information from the film. On my 92 in. screen, I felt like I was peering into the emulsion. It was rich; it was alive with detail.

    The DVD was barely watchable, I thought, with loads of compression nasties, high-frequency smearing, the works. In fact, I haven't seen the DVD in years, until I popped it in to do an A-B comparison with the Blu-ray. The "light bulb wall" finale completely falls apart, visually, on standard def disc. Mosquito noise? We're talking a swarm. On Blu-ray, it takes one's breath away. Every light bulb is rock solid. This is an example of a film finely represented on HD, IMHO.

    Audio was exquisite, but that's for another post, along with my raves about the direction, music, performances, choreography, etc., etc.

    You see, my delight turned to sadness after re-reading RAH's review. The request to release Gangs of New York has been answered by Miramax, but the promise of what could have been seems to have died along with all those cheatin' guys in Chicago...
     

Share This Page