XenForo Template The Silence of the Lambs Release Date: Available now (released March 3, 2009) Studio: MGM Home Entertainment Packaging/Materials: Single-disc, "eco-friendly" Blu-Ray case Year: 1991 Rating: R Running Time: 1h58m MSRP: $34.99 MAIN FEATURESPECIAL FEATURESVideo1080p high definition 16x9 1.85:1480i or 480p standard definition; 1080p high definitionAudioDTS-HD Master Audio: English 5.1 / Dolby Digital: French 5.1, Spanish 2.1StereoSubtitlesEnglish SDH, Spanish, Cantonese, Korean, MandarinNone The Feature: 5/5 A film has reached a certain pop culture significance when a broad TV comedy like "The Office" can reference it with only the name "Clarice" and some slurping sounds. In fact I'd wager that even if someone hasn't seen "The Silence of the Lambs" (or read Thomas Harris's novel) they still know who Hannibal Lecter is and what he's known for, after years of jokes and impressions of the film's most memorable character. So you'd think after 18 years of both praise and parody that the film would somehow be diminished, that Lecter would have lost his teeth by now. Well, time and the continuing pop culture references haven't done it and neither have the dim sequels and prequels that followed in its wake of success. "The Silence of the Lambs" continues to be as horrific and permeated with dread as it was when it first hit theaters, thanks in large part to the cast that features Anthony Hopkins as the high class serial killer Lecter and Jodie Foster as the strong, but beautifully vulnerable, FBI-agent-in-training Clarice Starling. But much can also be said about director Jonathan Demme's guiding hand that knows how to pace and build up to horror rather than just spring it on a person like a cat leaping from a cupboard. In fact I can't say the film contains any horror movie tropes of that ilk, going for something more subtle and nuanced, which explains its continuing appeal and its broad success at the time (Academy Awards for Hopkins, Foster and Demme and the awards for Best Picture and Best Screenplay). As rare as it is for a horror film to win an Oscar, rarer still is a film that loses none of its impact from either time or exposure. Video Quality: 3.5/5 The film is accurately framed at 1.85:1 and presented in 1080p with the MPEG-2 codec. The film's drab and dreary color palette doesn't prove to be much of a challenge for the format, with fleshtones veering toward the bluish-green for most of the film. Overall contrast can be a little flat, with inconsistent black levels that don't always plumb the darkest depths. The second visit between Clarice and Lecter, where Lecter is swallowed up in shadow, is a prime example of the black level limitations, with things looking more gray than inky. Detail and sharpness show similar levels of inconsistency, looking quite pleasing at times but at others looking a touch hazy or soft. Skin surfaces in close ups often look waxy or smudged, a sure sign of noise reduction, though at other times the softness looks like the result of extremely shallow depth-of-field (of course the transfer cannot be faulted for the latter). The occasional telltale loss of detail in wide shots further points to the use of filtering, though fortunately there seems to be no attempts to compensate for its side effects with sharpening measures. Overall, I would label the transfer as inconsistent, the presence of noise reduction being the most bothersome. For a taste of what might have been, check out the high definition theatrical trailer in the special features. There's much more visible grain structure (not a bad thing) and a much more satisfying level of detail. Audio Quality: 3.5/5 The DTS-HD Master Audio track is front heavy with clear and intelligible dialogue taking (literal) center stage. Surround activity is limited to support for the soundtrack and some mild wraparound effects in a few key scenes. LFE is non-existent of course, but bass response seems appropriate for the material. Special Features: 4/5 The special features package includes the majority of items from MGM's 2001 Special Edition and 2004 Collector's Edition. As expected, some of the special features from the Criterion Collection release, which included an audio commentary with Hopkins and Foster, remain absent. However, this Blu-Ray does have a new picture-in-picture video commentary that includes the two leads, though the feature itself could have been better implemented. Perhaps then the photo gallery could have been carried over too. As it is, it's a nearly complete package of extras, though, after awhile, a bit repetitive in terms of actual information. Items are in high definition where noted. "Breaking the Silence" Video Commentary: The new feature has interview clips with the actors Foster, Hopkins, Scott Glenn, Anthony Heald, Kasi Lemmons and screenwriter Ted Tally, along with various factoids related to the film. The clips are hard coded onto a standard definition transfer of the film, which is a pretty regressive technique considering the Blu-Ray format has a picture-in-picture feature tailor-made for this sort of thing. "Understanding the Madness" (19m35s): FBI and other law enforcement professionals provide a history of criminal profiling and talk about the film's major influences. In high definition with stereo audio. "Inside the Labyrinth" (1h03m): 2001 retrospective documentary includes interviews with Hopkins, Foster and other members of the cast and crew and covers major topics like development, the characters, set design, protests from the gay community and the Academy Awards. "Page to Screen" (41m17s): Cable channel program covers some familiar territory but places more emphasis on the source material, the optioning of the novel and early development efforts. "Scoring the Silence" (16m00s): Composer Howard Shore reflects on writing the music, and shares the philosophy and goals behind the project. 1991 "Making Of" (8m08s): A brief, archival behind-the-scenes look at the production. Deleted Scenes (20m32s): Twenty-two scenes. Outtakes (1m45s): Actors struggle with latex gloves, get their lines wrong and goof off. Anthony Hopkins Phone Message (33s): Hopkins leaves an outgoing message for the answering machine. TV Spots (5m55s): Eight spots. Theatrical Trailer (1m50s): In high definition with stereo audio. Teaser Trailer (1m05s) Packaging This is the first release I've seen use the VIVA Eco-Box, which strives to be environmentally friendly by cutting down the amount of plastic used for each case. This is achieved by removing large portions from the center sections. The design is kind of interesting, but I can see collectors having problems with its eventual affect on the cover insert. Recap The Feature: 5/5 Video Quality: 3.5/5 Audio Quality: 3.5/5 Special Features: 4/5 Overall Score (not an average): 4/5 An enduring and masterful contemporary horror film gets an average presentation and a fine - if at times redundant - set of special features.