A Few Words About A few words about...™ The Last Temptation of Christ -- in Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Mar 5, 2012.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    For those who have not seen it, and may be offended by religious revisionism, be aware that filmmaker Martin Scorsese's The Last Temptation of Christ, based upon the novel by Nikos Kazantzakis, takes a slightly different tack from what you may have learned in Sunday school.

    So much so, that at the time, 1988-89, threats had been made against the director.

    Whatever your religious education and leanings, The Last Temptation of Christ is never short of unique. With a screenplay by Paul Schrader, and known actors in major roles, who speak in their normal tones, it sometimes seems a bit odd.

    Compare it, for example, with the usual means of casting films of the Roman era. Somehow we've become used to English actors in those roles. Consider Stanley Kubrick's Spartacus, for example -- English actors as Romans, American as the slaves, with the sole exception of Jean Simmons, who played a slave from Britannia.

    With an image derived from an interpositive, and audio via DTS-HD Master, this new release from Criterion seems as close to perfect for Blu-ray as one might wish. Might it have looked better with an image harvested from the original camera negative, as opposed to one generation away?

    Doubtful.

    The Last Temptation of Christ is an important film, presented beautifully on Blu-ray.

    Image - 4

    Audio - 5

    Highly Recommended.

    RAH
     
  2. Charles Smith

    Charles Smith Extremely Talented Member
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    Excellent! Good to hear.
     
  3. bgart13

    bgart13 Screenwriter

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    It's not anymore revisionist than all the times the Bible has been rewritten and edited...
     
  4. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    What!?

    By whom?
     
  5. Larry Sutliff

    Larry Sutliff Cinematographer

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    I'm really looking forward to this one. My personal favorite Scorsese picture.
     
  6. Guest

    I prefer Jesus of Nazareth, but this film is good too.
     
  7. bgart13

    bgart13 Screenwriter

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    :D
     
  8. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Ah...

    Stephen King.
     
  9. WinstonCely

    WinstonCely Stunt Coordinator

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    Good to hear. Now if only they would release After Hours and King of Comedy....
     
  10. Who's On First?

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    "I read it on an internet forum, so it must be true!"
    Sorry, Robert... everyone's a comedian today, huh? :D
     
  11. 24fpssean

    24fpssean Stunt Coordinator

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    Robert, I was wondering about the end title sequence. Theatrically, on film, when Jesus dies the celluloid is literally blown off of the screen by the power of God and the bright white end credits are shown against an off-white cinema screen. All versions of the film on home video have darkened the screen when the end titles come on to a tawny gold to make the white credits more visible. Were they able to reproduce Scorsese's original intent at all? Regardless, my blu ray is still on order and will arrive Tuesday.
     
  12. Professor Echo

    Professor Echo Screenwriter

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    KUNDUN.
     
  13. ShellOilJunior

    ShellOilJunior Stunt Coordinator

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    Just a heads up for people looking to save a buck. Deep Discount is offering the blu-ray for $19.99 (free shipping). Use code NET5 and grab it for $14.99 shipped. (Code is only good once per account).
     
  14. Craig S

    Craig S Producer
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    Thanks for the heads-up, Patrick. Just moved my pre-order to Deep Discount and saved $12!
     
  15. David Mahlan

    David Mahlan Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for the heads up. I haven't ordered from Deep Discount for a while, but just returned to get this.
     
  16. 24fpssean

    24fpssean Stunt Coordinator

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    Okay, this is a terrible disc. 59 minutes into the film the blocking and banding around Satan's pillar of fire is shocking. Universal clearly handed Criterion their twelve-year old HD master, which was generated for the Standard Def release back in 2000, and left it up to them to deal with the results. The yellow end titles prove that this Blu-ray is sourced from that ancient master, and yes in the digital world twelve years is ancient.
    Played the disc on a friend's system (different equipment than mine) and the results were the same. His jaw dropped at the blocking and banding and he despaired that now he couldn't buy a disc of one of his favorite films. I've decided to keep my 2000 DVD of the film because standard def limitations are vastly preferable to this mess of digital inadequacy.
    And for the record, watched Monty Python and the Holy Grail on BD and Sony was able to handle the blank white film screen at the end when the film breaks, so what is wrong with Universal/Criterion that they just couldn't do the same with what is supposed to be a blank white screen at the end of Last Temptation? Because this is NOT a new scan; the BD credits say it was approved by Scorsese and Ballhaus and Schoonmaker, but that was TWELVE YEARS AGO. Robert Harris gives the disc a glowing 5/5 for video and audio. Are people watching these things with all the lights on, or while they are texting, or outside in broad daylight, that they can't see these problems. If we pay higher prices for a Criterion Blu-ray, we want the movie to resemble what it looked like theatrically. This charade of home video reviews and reviewers has got to stop. Most of these guys have never seen these films projected on the big screen off of 35mm. That does make a difference. Absolutely. Period.
    Will there be a recall of this disc? No, because nobody out there seems to remember what it looked like theatrically. Banding and blocking are unacceptable, especially if we are paying higher prices for what is supposed to be a better treatment of a film on Blu-ray. If Mr. Harris has some kind of filtering device that is making this disc viewable, I would like to know what that is. But I think the filtering is happening deeper than.
     
  17. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Your comments are taken seriously. I sampled and obviously missed something, but am returning.

    RAH
     
  18. Adam_S

    Adam_S Producer

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    12 years ago, the master would have been 1080i HDCAM right? because that would be before HDCAMSR, iirc. Would criterion really have converted that to 1080p for release? If they did, that's incredibly disappointing.

    I would have thought a company of Criterion's caliber would get a newer transfer. Perhaps this is an error of a REALLY bad authoring job rather than a nefarious conspiracy to use an old master?
     
  19. Mark-P

    Mark-P Producer

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    Interlaced or progressive has to do with how a disc is encoded, not how the elements were originally scanned.
     
  20. Adam_S

    Adam_S Producer

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    I think you're confusing scans and encoding. a Telecine scans a film and stores it on a tape. The tape has technical limitations as to what it can store. Twelve Years ago, HDCAM stock was used for mastering and it had a max resolution of 1080i. HDCAMSR came along a few years later and it could do 1080p as well as 2k, 4k etc as well as 10 bit 4:4:4 and so on and so forth.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HDCAM

    This is why WB has to completely redo their first "Ultra Resolution" restoration of Singin in the Rain, and can't just put the old remaster to bluray. When WB did Singin in the Rain, it was mastered to 1080i HDCAM.

    Bluray and DVD authoring is done when the studio sends a copy/clone of the master tape to the authoring house so the authoring house can encode it.
     

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