A Few Words About A few words about...™ Pan's Labyrinth -- in HD & BD

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Jan 6, 2008.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    This commentary has been updated, based upon new information at of 6/08.

    One of last year's great theatrical pleasures was Guillermo del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth released by New Line.

    Released just after Christmas in both high definition flavors, the film has arrived in high quality.

    One interesting attribute of the production is the manipulation of black levels, which in many scenes have been lifted quite dramatically to avoid any semblance of a real black. In other scenes, they play quite normally.

    This is an acceptable high definition version of the film when viewed on monitors not over 50",
    as above that size DNR and softening of the image becomes noticeable.

    For those who have not experienced it on screen, a rental in high def is a wonderful way to go, until this is re-mastered without the loss of resolution.

    My only advice is to stay away from reviews and commentaries regarding content, so as not to spoil the dream-like qualities of this work. And please, if at all possible, view in Spanish with English sub-titles.

    Recommended, with caveats.

    RAH
     
  2. Paul Arnette

    Paul Arnette Cinematographer

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    I was very pleased with the Blu-ray Disc when I watched it last week. I almost did not buy this disc, but it seems that Guillermo del Toro's movies always require a subsequent viewing for me to truly appreciate them. This film is a real masterpiece.
     
  3. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    Agreed RAH and Paul. What a beautiful film. One that leaves you feeling quite changed as a result.
     
  4. BrettV

    BrettV Stunt Coordinator

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    I have yet to see this in HD. But I saw the film twice in theaters -- a friday night, and then the next day. I couldn't stop thinking about it.

    Definitely picking this one up.
     
  5. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    I want to add a caution to potential viewers of this film: it's disturbingly violent in places; this caught me off guard and left me shaken afterwards. If you're put off by personal, explicit violence, you might give this one a second thought.

    That noted, this is a strong, novel film.
     
  6. Glenise

    Glenise Supporting Actor

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    I still don't know how to rate this movie. Yes, it is violent in some areas.
     
  7. Michel_Hafner

    Michel_Hafner Supporting Actor

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    Great film. Unfortunately New Line saw it fit to apply DNR to the US version. If you like natural film grain and dislike the smoothed over look you are better served with the UK BD or the German DB (no English subtitles on that one, but DTS Spanish).
    Pans Labyrinth Pics & Impressions - Page 6 - AVS Forum
     
  8. Lou Sytsma

    Lou Sytsma Producer

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    A classic and yes it is violent. Shocking until one realizes this is a non-Hollywood fairytale.

    The story takes place in violent times where when things at their worst, people are at their best. A beautiful and moving film.

    I've watched my SD version several times and can't wait for my HD disc to arrive.

    BTW the extras are great too!
     
  9. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Yeah, I heard about the complaints beforehand, but I still thought the Region 1 release was excellent.
     
  10. Aaron Silverman

    Aaron Silverman Executive Producer

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    This is one of those movies that I recognize as an excellent piece of work but just don't feel much urge to watch a second time. I found it very depressing.

    I'm generally a big fan of Del Toro.
     
  11. Michel_Hafner

    Michel_Hafner Supporting Actor

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    I have not seen the US version. But the stills tell me at least some shots must have suffered from DNR. I know the German BD which has also DNR in a few shots, but is overall free of the problem and looks very good.
     
  12. Kyle_D

    Kyle_D Second Unit

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    I watched this one last night. As someone who saw the film in the theater multiple times, I was slightly bummed about the lack of grain on the BD. In the theater, the grain added a lot of texture to the visuals and contributed to the film's otherworldly quality, especially in the blue-tinted night scenes where the moonlight is allowed to bloom ever so slightly. At times, this encode makes the film look like it was shot on HD video rather than 35mm, and it detracts a bit from the feel of the film I experienced in the theater.

    At the same time, the BD of Pan's Labyrinth is rich in preserving the film's color and detail; it looks a million times better than the murky, washed-out DVD. I just wish HD compressionists would resist the temptation to make everything look as smooth as HD sports in order to appease tech fanboys.
     
  13. Eric F

    Eric F Screenwriter

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    Yes, a shockingly violent film. Hopefully like Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange at some future date I can acknowledge the masterpiece in filmmaking it is and get past the violence, but right now I just can't see myself watching the movie again so soon.
     
  14. BrettB

    BrettB Producer

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    In all the reading I've done on the Patton BD Pan's Labyrinth came up several times as suffering a similar fate. We watched PL yesterday. I haven't seen the Patton BD yet. I'll be renting Patton asap but in the meantime I guess I'm wondering how these 2 compare.

    I thought PL looked quite good. There wasn't much grain, excpet for some fx shots, but it didn't look overly-processed, or fake, or waxy (which seems to be the popular word at present).

    As to the movie itself.... there was much to like but mixing the fantastical fairy tale element with brutal violence was quite off-putting. I think my wife was actually kinda pissed off. [​IMG] Still processing.
     
  15. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    As someone who hasn't been shy when it comes to complaints about DNR, and who also saw Pan's Labyrinth in a theater, I have to say that the level of noise reduction on the U.S. Blu-ray didn't particularly trouble me. Yes, none or less would have been preferable, but this didn't strike me as a situation where the film experience was drastically altered by DNR. (I realize we all have our own personal thresholds.)

    As for the violence, the original Grimm's Fairy Tales were pretty violent stuff. I saw this film as getting back to the essence of what fairy tales are about: one way to make sense, from a child's perspective, of a world that is filled with huge, uncontrollable and frequently malevolent forces. What's so striking about Del Toro's achievement is the ease with which he's able to glide between the fairy tale world and the real one.

    M.
     
  16. Paul Arnette

    Paul Arnette Cinematographer

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    Fortunately, we have a choice in the matter for this particular film as the Optimum Home Video UK BD release of Pan's Labyrinth does not have DNR and is region free to boot. Although it is open-matte.

    As you astutely point out, we all have our own personal thresholds. And while the domestic release is certainly better than some other BDs out there, I consider this film to be a masterpiece and must own the best version possible.
     
  17. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Owning an open-matte presentation is not the best version in my opinion while the US release does close enough justice to how the film look to me in the movie theater.
     
  18. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    Robert,

    isn't the film 1.85:1? Are you talking about opening the matte up to 1.78:1?

    Paul,

    I wasn't aware that there was a UK BD along with the UK HD DVD. I'll be placing my order!
     
  19. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    It's still not being shown as the filmmaker intended which is my point. Also, you're paying almost twice the cost of the US BRD.
     
  20. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    How one compares opening up a matte by a few scan lines versus filtering out a visible layer of detail from an entire film is a subjective issue, which was why I asked for clarification.

    Personally, in this case, I view the loss of detail as more destructive to the intended art.
     

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