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Blu-ray Review HTF BLU-RAY REVIEW: Contact

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Cameron Yee, Oct 8, 2009.

  1. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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    XenForo Template Contact Blu-Ray

    Contact

    Release Date: Available now
    Studio: Warner Brothers
    Packaging/Materials: Single-disc Blu-ray case
    Year: 1997
    Rating: PG
    Running Time: 2:29:00
    MSRP: $28.99

      THE FEATURE SPECIAL FEATURES
    Video 1080p high definition 16x9 2.40:1 480i or 480p standard definition
    Audio Dolby TrueHD: English 5.1 / Dolby Digital: English 5.1, French 5.1, Spanish 5.1, German 5.1, Italian 5.1, Portuguese 2.0 Stereo (5.1, 2.0, and 2S)
    Subtitles English SDH, Spanish, French, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, German SDH, Italian SDH, Norwegian, Portuguese and Swedish None

     
  2. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Cameron,

    Nice to hear that all the pre-release speculation based on
    a few early screenshots about how bad this transfer was going
    to look all turned out to be false.

    People are now able to come out of their homes, feel safe,
    and buy this Blu-ray which sounds like a real winner.

    Love this film. Have bought the Blu-ray. Just trying to find
    time to sit and watch it.

    Thanks for the review.
     
  3. Southpaw

    Southpaw Supporting Actor

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    Me too, Ron. I noted in another thread that I believed all the complaints about DNR and color being way off were completely blown out of proportion. I have never taken in a commentary on this movie so the prospect of listening to all 3 of them is a little daunting.
     
  4. Steve Tannehill

    Steve Tannehill Ambassador

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    Good review, Cameron.

    I had problems with the sound. I was getting audio through an older Denon receiver and Sony BDP-S1 via analog outs. The resulting sound was so anemic that I moved to a different viewing environment with lesser speakers, an even older Yamaha receiver but sufficient sound. In the anemic environment, I had turned the receiver up as far as it would go and still did not get good sound out. In the other environment, I did not have to turn the sound up at all. Strange. And disappointing, because the only surround environment I've got is the one that did not put out good sound. The other environment is a Polk SurroundBar, which sounds good, but is not the same.

    I've not had performance problems like this before.

    - Steve
     
  5. Ron-P

    Ron-P Producer

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    Very impressive picture quality, and sound quality! Watched this last night and found it nothing short of impressive. Add to that, it's just flat out one of the best sci-fi films to date. If you're a fan of this film, pay no attention to those screen caps. I watched this on my 96" DIY screen from 6' away with an Epson 1080UB and a PS3. Most impressed!
     
  6. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Whatever I am about to write is not going to give proper
    justice to CONTACT the movie or Blu-ray -- even by saying
    it is probably the best title on Blu-ray at this very moment.

    It has been about 10 years since I originally watched this
    film on DVD. I always knew this was a great film, but
    watching it a decade later, I am surprised how good it is
    today.

    The film itself is remarkable. It's a child of Robert Zemeckis,
    who I think is one of the best Directors of our generation. Here
    he has created a science fiction film that is not only
    intelligent, but fascinating to watch. Visually, from camera
    work through special effects, this film is a feast for the
    eyes and soul.

    Despite all the false negative reports about this transfer
    weeks prior to its release, it seems that Warner had the last
    laugh. What lies herein is one of the best Blu-ray transfers
    I have seen to date. If there was a film destined to be watched
    in high definition, it was CONTACT. It looks pristine and
    sounds magnificent!

    There is one scene that needs to be experienced -- LOUD.
    It is the scene where Ellie is being escorted by two Asian
    guards across the platform to the space pod. That shot
    of her stopping, looking down through the rotating circular
    structure at the waves crashing beneath is breathtaking. It's
    the perfect combination of CGI and sound. With a transfer
    this pristine, it is the epitome of what I consider to be the
    perfect home theater experience.

    I lost a few DVDs off my shelving today during that very
    scene. My shelf sits right next to my SV Subwoofer,
    one of the original circular models that stands nearly 5' high.
    The amount of LFE activity coming off of that subwoofer was
    strong enough to shake my floor, and obviously, my wall shelves.

    The only thing I was disappointed with was missing the
    infamous Zemeckis shot early on in the film. I have talked
    about it for years, but for some reason -- perhaps because I
    was waiting for it -- I seem to have missed it or was not fooled
    by it. Those who know what I am talking about will chime in.
    On the other hand, I was reminded of the use of footage
    involving President Clinton in this film and how much his people
    were not happy of its inclusion.

    ...but I am getting a bit off point here.

    Warner should be applauded for this transfer. It is the
    perfect example of how a transfer should look and sound.
     
  7. Scott Merryfield

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    Thanks for the review, Cameron, and to Ron for the additional comments. I am so glad to read that the early reports about this transfer were not correct. My copy arrived while I was out of town, and I am really looking forward to seeing this film again. It's probably been 8-10 years since I last watched this movie.
     
  8. BillyFeldman

    BillyFeldman Supporting Actor

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    As I stated in another thread (and being one of the first to actually watch the thing), it is an exemplary disc, both in sound and image. I don't find the film as brilliant as others, in fact, I have real problems with it dramatically, but it's always well-meaning and its heart is in the right place - I just could have lived without the cliched stuff with James Woods and Tom Sellick - the film didn't need it - it's more interesting than that stuff, but I know that everyone thinks you need to have villains and obstacles - I don't mind the latter but just not when they're so tritely drawn as here.

    As to the screencaps, I've said for ages that one cannot trust them, especially on certain sites - other than for this particular film, there has always been a surprising amount of disagreement with that attitude (that you cannot trust them) - now people are finally catching on. As I stated earlier, for people who love this film I cannot imagine them being happier than with this Blu-Ray.

    As to this review, good job, but when did all these terms come into play and what exactly do they mean? Everyone uses them but their proliferation in every review I read, here and elsewhere, as if these were the only descriptive words available, borders on being satiric. Crushed blacks? What exactly are they? Over saturated color - exactly what do you mean in regards to this disc where I saw absolutely no color that was over saturated.
     
  9. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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    Crushed blacks Reduction of the detail in the black regions of an image by compressing the lower section of the contrast range. Going from memory, an example would be Arecibo outdoor scenes.
     
  10. cafink

    cafink Producer

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    What is the "infamous Zemeckis shot"? I've seen Contact many times, the most recent of which was only a couple of months ago, and I confess I am not sure what shot Ron is referring to.
     
  11. Southpaw

    Southpaw Supporting Actor

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    I'm not sure what he's referring to either. He's known for long and complicated opening shots and Contact certainly has that so I don't know what else it could be.
     
  12. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    I think the shots he's referring to are: When cameras seeming start outside a structure (say the Arroway house) and then smoothly track into the structure (moving through closed windows, etc.) to focus on the people inside...Zemeckis does this a couple of times I think in Contact.

    Or the scene where Ellie's father dies and it shows her running up the stairs in dreamy slow motion and then pans back to reveal it had been shooting her reflection from the mirror (which is an impossibility since the mirror can't have reflected her from downstairs).
    All instances are still in the movie, and all caught my eye as a still-cool trick. :)
     
  13. cafink

    cafink Producer

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    Those are indeed a couple of impressive shots. I've always liked the "mirror" one, in particular.
     
  14. Jason Charlton

    Jason Charlton Ambassador

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    The mirror shot is undoubtedly one of the most impressive, but I also liked how one of the commentary tracks reveals:

    how the shot that follows Ellie from her car (after just discovering the transmission) into the building and up the stairs to the control room was shot in two parts - one outdoors on location and the other indoors on a soundstage. They very creatively and effectively hid the cut at the moment she opens the doors.

    Zemeckis and David Fincher are two directors that excel at finding creative and subtle ways to use CGI to enhance a shot.
     
  15. Paul_Warren

    Paul_Warren Second Unit

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    To me Zemeckis is probably the top director in the world today. He can blend stunning CGI with a warm human interest story like no-one else. Its a shame he has been sidetracked with 3D CG motion capture movies as I would love to see him tackle another big budget live action movie like the When Worlds Collide remake Spielberg owns the rights to and has been prepping for years now (Stephen Summers was due to direct). Zemeckis would be perfect for that!

    Look carefully at both Cast Away & What Lies Beneath as both contain several stunning CGI shots similar to some in Contact which need a couple of viewings to fully appreciate the amazing technical design & execution.

    In Contact SPI built a CGI window & door for the shot where the camera appears to pass through it!
     
  16. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    Ron,

    You're not talking about the final split second (foreshadowing) reveal in the transition from the impressive opening, history of (analog) radio/TV broadcast signal, space sequence into Ellie's eye bringing us to the present story context, are you?

    That's the one shot early in the film that nobody has mentioned yet -- and would be something easily missed if one's not paying enough attention.

    BTW, I haven't purchased my copy just yet, but I just sold off my DVD in a stoop sale yesterday (along w/ a sizeable batch of other DVDs). Can't wait to get the BD and watch it again (after quite some time now)...

    _Man_
     
  17. Parker Clack

    Parker Clack Schizophrenic Man
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    I finally got around to watching my Blu-ray copy of Contact and I agree that this is one of the best Blu-ray DVDs I own to date.

    Ron I am not sure what you are talking about either. All the opening sequence is there as it always has been.

    Man:

    That scene is still in this transfer.
     
  18. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Sorry for all the speculation. Was hoping someone could
    explain the shot better than I.

    No, the opening scene with Ellie'e eye is too obvious. The
    shot I am talking about is less, but just as impresssive.

    Jason Charlton explains it best in the other Contact thread
    located within this forum area:


    It's a very famous shot. Talked about endlessly at the
    time. Funny thing is, I missed it in this viewing probably
    for the fact that subliminally I knew it was being done.
     
  19. Brian Borst

    Brian Borst Screenwriter

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    I've been calling Robert Zemeckis the 'Invisible FX Wizard' for years, he's just one of those directors who knows how to use CGI. Not overdoing it, and using it on instances where you don't expect it (like the many shots already discussed here) are prime examples of very good CG. I'm glad the disc turned out to be great after all, I was a bit worried Warner wouldn't get one of my favorite (and underrated, too) sci-fi movies right. Glad to know this is not the case, and I can order it without hesitation.
     
  20. Sam Davatchi

    Sam Davatchi Producer

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    I love this movie and it was one of my first DVD purchases. It was released in the first year of the DVD launch if I remember correctly.
     

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