Blu-ray Review The Right Stuff Blu-ray Review

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Cameron Yee, Nov 4, 2013.

  1. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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    XenForo Template The Right Stuff Blu-ray Review

    In celebration of its 30th anniversary, Warner Home Video brings Philip Kauffman’s The Right Stuff to Blu-ray, but does the release have what it takes, or will fans find themselves reaching for the "mission abort" button?

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    Studio: Warner Brothers

    Distributed By: N/A

    Video Resolution and Encode: 1080P/AVC

    Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

    Audio: English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD, Spanish 5.1 DD, French 5.1 DD, Other

    Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Other

    Rating: PG

    Run Time: 3 Hr. 12 Min.

    Package Includes: Blu-ray, DVD

    Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer), DVD-9 (dual layer)

    Region: A

    Release Date: 11/05/2013

    MSRP: $27.98




    The Production Rating: 4.5/5

    ...it takes a special kind of man to volunteer for a suicide mission, especially one that's on TV.” – Chuck Yeager (as played by Sam Shepard)Adapted from Tom Wolfe’s non-fiction bestseller, Director/Writer Phillip Kauffman’s The Right Stuff chronicles the United States’ quest to send a man into orbit around the Earth, an endeavor that took place from 1959 to 1963 and was overseen by then fledgling government agency NASA. As with the book, the film humanizes the ambitious Project Mercury by focusing on the men selected as astronauts, individuals who served as both the project’s public face and ultimate risk takers. The film also highlights the aircraft test pilots who embodied the rare physical and mental qualities required for such dangerous work, specifically Chuck Yeager and his supersonic flights with the Bell X-1 and X-1A airplanes, and of course the long-suffering spouses who constantly lived with the uncertainty of their husbands’ survival.The effectiveness of Kauffman’s film, now celebrating its 30th anniversary, is in its combination of shrewd casting and effective storytelling, which hits all the major points in the “space race” timeline without feeling like anyone or anything gets short shrift (though I’m sure some historians will disagree). Most of the actors filling the roles were unknown at the time, but it’s difficult now to see anyone else besides Ed Harris as the principled John Glenn, Sam Shepard as the no-nonsense Chuck Yeager, and Scott Glenn as the jocular Alan Shepard. Dennis Quaid and Fred Ward as Gordon Cooper and Gus Grissom, respectively, also turn in effective portrayals of men willing to risk their lives for the reputation of their country.From a technical standpoint, the film also holds up incredibly well – the scenes aboard the experimental aircraft and the Mercury rocket launches remain as tense and visceral as they were when they were first constructed, thanks to skillful special effects, sound design, and editing that bring various scale models and practical effects to life. Of course, the film seems downright simple compared to Alfonso Cuaron's head-spinning film Gravity, but it's also no surprise the film taps Harris to be the voice of Mission Control (along with playing Glenn, he also played NASA Flight Director Gene Kranz in Apollo 13). Just as the astronauts of today owe a great debt to the pioneers of the Mercury Project, so does a state of the art film like Gravity to cinematic forebears like The Right Stuff.


    Video Rating: 4.5/5 3D Rating: NA

    Framed at 1.78:1 and presented in 1080p with the AVC codec, the transfer provides a lovely presentation of Caleb Deschanel’s naturalistic cinematography, featuring excellent black levels, shadow detail and contrast. Colors are also rich and nicely saturated, particularly in the warm glow of the California desert scenes. Detail is consistently first rate, from close ups of performers to landscapes, and grain appears intact with no signs of excessive manipulation. A few softer shots pop up here and there, but appear inherent to the source.



    Audio Rating: 4/5

    Dialogue in the 5.1 Dolby TrueHD Master Audio track is crisp, clear and intelligible. Surround channel activity is somewhat limited, but instances of aircraft flyovers and other environmental sounds are seamless and balanced. LFE is absent, given the vintage of filmmaking and sound design, but action sequences where rocket and airplane engines have major presence have reasonable and robust low frequency activity.


    Special Features Rating: 4/5

    The second disc containing the bonus material is a re-pressing of Disc Two of the 2003 Special Edition, and thus carries over the most critical extras from the previous release.The Journey and the Mission, Audio Commentary with Selected Scenes (24:29, SD): The same 24 minutes of scenes serve as the visual backdrop for two separate, compiled commentary tracks, the first featuring members of the cast (Chuck Yeager, who served as a technical advisor, Dennis Quaid, Barbara Hershey, Jeff Goldblum, Harry Shearer, Ed Harris, Fred Ward, et al) and the second, the filmmaking crew (Caleb Deschanel, Robert Chartoff, Irwin Winkler, Bill Conti, Philip Kauffman, et al).Realizing the Right Stuff (21:04, SD): Retrospective piece catches up with members of the cast and crew 20 years later and covers the film’s development and production.T-20 Years and Counting (11:25, SD): The continuation of the retrospective covers the special effects, editing process, film score, premiere, and initial reception.The Real Men with the Right Stuff (15:30, SD): The final part of the retrospective interviews Chuck Yeager, Scott Carpenter, Walter Schirra, and Gordon Cooper about the Mercury Project and the events depicted in the film.Additional Scenes (10:54, SD)Interactive Timeline into Space: Text panels highlight major events in the journey to space, from 1961 to 2012. The information about the James Webb Space Telescope (2010) and the Orbital Space Plane (2012) is now incredibly inaccurate, however.John Glenn: American Hero (1:26:31, SD): PBS biography on Glenn, produced in 1998.Theatrical Trailer (3:30, SD)Collectible Book: Incorporated into the packaging, the high quality printed material includes an overview of the film’s source material, an essay about the film’s legacy, cast and crew biographies, and promotional and production photographs.

    Online Bonus: The Sound of The Right Stuff

    The Sound of The Right Stuff: 30th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray from Dolby Laboratories on Vimeo.


    Overall Rating: 4.5/5

    The Right Stuff launches onto Blu-ray courtesy of Warner Home Video, offering a great looking and sounding high definition presentation. The special features carry over the major items from the 2003 special edition DVD, making the Blu-ray a worthwhile upgrade for those looking to jettison the standard definition iteration from their collections. For first time purchasers of the title, the Blu-ray is of course the one to pick up.


    Reviewed By: Cameron Yee


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  2. Walter Kittel

    Walter Kittel Producer

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    This is probably an academic question, since this is one of my must have titles on Blu-ray, but I am curious...

    The original DVD (and SE if I recall correctly) had a number of what I assume were source flaws. Specks, dust, grit, etc. that just seemed a bit too prominent and numerous or heavy for a title of this stature and vintage. While they never just dominated the presentation their frequency and persistence in the transfer called attention to their presence.

    Does the Blu-ray exhibit this same phenomena? (A preponderance of grit and white specks?) Of course, I am not talking about the stock footage, rather the footage that was obviously shot for the film. Thanks.

    - Walter.
     
  3. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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    I didn't notice any specks of dust or dirt. The image is very clean.
     
  4. Everett Stallings

    Everett Stallings Supporting Actor

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    A must buy!.
     
  5. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    As Walter says the source used for the DVD was not very good. In addition to the specks and dirt I recall one scene where something blipped by and gave me a WTH was that? moment. I rewound and did frame by frame and there was a rather large tear in the film print used that was only there for like a frame or two but really was noticeable even in normal motion. Today's technology would allow that to be fixed without spending for a full on film restoration (i.e. cutting and pasting from the frames before and after to correct for the flaw. I'm hoping they at least did that level of cleanup. My copy is in the mail so I look forward to screening it soon!
     
  6. KPmusmag

    KPmusmag Supporting Actor
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    Does this have an intermission?
     
  7. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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    No intermission.
     
  8. moovtune

    moovtune Stunt Coordinator

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    FYI:

    Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has become aware of and confirmed that The Right Stuff 30th Anniversary Blu-ray Book released on Nov. 5, 2013 went to market without the 96K upsampling feature enabled. Steps are being taken to resolve the issue at the current time.

    And not one reviewer raised a question about this. Here or anywhere else that I've seen on-line. Audio on a 96K up-sampled title should be at 96K.
     
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  9. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    Im going to guess that because it's a 1983 film that was in stereo, and didn't get the star restoration treatment that other more high-profile titles get, that most people just didn't notice because TBH I'm not sure how much this movie would benefit from 96k upsampling. The limit of sound quality at this point is likely the original source material.
     
  10. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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    I'll won't deny that's an oversight, but the only place I've ever seen the 96K mentioned is on the WHV press release, and press releases often change between the time they are written and when product hits the market. The fact 96K is not listed anywhere on the packaging nor in the BD menu doesn't really help matters.

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  11. moovtune

    moovtune Stunt Coordinator

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    There was a sticker on the plastic wrap on my copy that had the 96K logo on it. But once thrown away, you'd never know - except for the fact the audio would have (should have) been at 96K. As far as whether an older title can benefit from 96K ... that depends on how you feel about digitizing analog audio at different sample rates. For me, when they transfer 35mm magnetic film and digitize it, I'd rather they do it at 96K than 48K to be sure to capture everything on the mag element. Same as doing a 4K video capture rather than a 2K. Although, coming from analog sources, I think 192K would be overkill. Some studios do digitize all their mag audio at 96K, even when the final release is 48K on Blu-Ray.
     
  12. CraigF

    CraigF Cinematographer

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    Some people wouldn't have noticed because their copies didn't have the 96k sticker, not all copies did.
     
  13. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    Finally got my copy tonight. It had the 96k sticker.

    Does the sticker mean I got a copy of the title with the correct audio?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  14. Steve Tannehill

    Steve Tannehill Ambassador

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    My copy had the sticker but was first pressing, so I just assumed it had the error.
     
  15. Charles Smith

    Charles Smith Extremely Talented Member
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    Mine didn't have the sticker, which contributed to my forgetting all about that when I picked it up at the store. Just checked, and the Oppo reports it as 96k.
     
  16. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    Just put my disc in my Pioneer player (Elite 62-FD)...but I can't see any way to find the bit rate.

    Oh well.
     
  17. Charles Smith

    Charles Smith Extremely Talented Member
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    Don't know the Pioneer players, but look for an "info" or "display" button?
     
  18. Charles Smith

    Charles Smith Extremely Talented Member
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    Found your manual. "DISPLAY" button on the remote. It doesn't list what info will be displayed, so I hope it's there! :)

    EDIT: Do it during playback of the film.
     
  19. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    Thanks for the time and effort, Charles.

    Unfortunately, it just tells me that it is audio track "1/7 English Dolby True HD Multi." And if I advance through the various audio tracks it changes to "2/7 French Dolby Digital 5.1"
     
  20. Charles Smith

    Charles Smith Extremely Talented Member
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    Oy.

    Mine will give that same kind of description, but ending with the 48k, 96k, etc.
     

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