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The Last Emperor on Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Mike Frezon, Aug 15, 2008.

  1. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    Well it should come as no surprise to anyone who has followed the saga of Criterion's release of The Last Emperor on DVD that their announcement of their new Blu-ray release of TLE also carried the controversial 2:1 aspect ratio--approved by Director Bernardo Bertolucci and Director of Photography Vittorio Storaro.

    THIS HTF thread in the SD Software section carries a spirited debate on the issue of Bertolucci and Storaro re-cropping a film that was originally presented 2.35:1.

    As I said in that other thread...The Last Emperor probably contains some of the most strikingly beautiful images I've ever seen in a film. I think it's a shame that the Director & DP have allowed this film to be cropped down to a smaller version of it's original size. While I realize "it's their film," I wish the original ratio could have been presented as well somehow. Upon learning Storaro's theories in the information provided in that other thread, I can't say I go along with someone who is an acknowledged film genius. But, that's me.
     
  2. Brandon Conway

    Brandon Conway captveg

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    It is what it is. You always have the choice to not purchase the release.
     
  3. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Very true and since the filmmakers signed off on it, I'll probably buy it.





    Crawdaddy
     
  4. Shawn.F

    Shawn.F Supporting Actor

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    As will I. God only knows when and if an edition of the film in its full 2.35:1 ratio will hit Blu-ray. I love the film far too much not to have it in the collection.
     
  5. Jim_K

    Jim_K Executive Producer

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    While I had no intention of picking this up either way (TLE is a quality film but not one I need to own) it's unfortunate that Storaro is continuing to crop his films for home video.

    This squashes my hope that I'll ever get a proper theatrical AR release of Apocalypse Now when it comes to Blu-ray. [​IMG]
     
  6. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    Strike the word probably.
     
  7. Jeff Adkins

    Jeff Adkins Screenwriter

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    I only wish they would have included the longer version just as a bonusDVD. I would be happy with SD on that one rather than none at all. I held off on the DVD set because I knew a BD version would come eventually.
     
  8. Peter Neski

    Peter Neski Supporting Actor

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    While it was years ago,I remember the print of the Film I saw looking
    better than the Print of "Reds" I saw.This is not the case in Home Video
    "Reds" is much closer to the Storaro "perfect" Presention I got use to
    seeing in the Theatre,
    The Pal version is 2.35:1 so you don't have
    to get the Criteron one ,if you want to see the film without the cropping.

    But all versions aren't what I aspect from a newly remastered "Storaro"Flim,"Reds" ,"Tucker",Agatha,The Sheltering Sky,Luna,and even the cropped A.N. all have better transfers

    Maybe I am remebering it wrong,But I don't remember it looking like
    The Criteron Standard DVD
     
  9. Reagan

    Reagan Supporting Actor

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    I could understand this practice (but didn't like it) in laserdisc days. I could also understand it for a non-anamorphic DVD. But I detest it in the era of the anamorphic DVD and HD where the vertical resolution is designed for a 16:9 TV.

    -R
     
  10. RobertR

    RobertR Lead Actor

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    Just to be clear: Does Storaro favor the 2:1 ratio because he thinks video resolution is too limited, or has he decided he now prefers that ratio for ALL showings of his "scope" films?
     
  11. Vincent_P

    Vincent_P Screenwriter

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    It can't be ALL of his 'Scope films, because Blue Underground version of THE BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE was supposed to have been supervised by Storaro and it's 2.35:1.

    Vincent
     
  12. RobertR

    RobertR Lead Actor

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    Well, that just makes his attitude that much more mystifying and frustrating. [​IMG]
     
  13. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    Robert: Here, in Storaro's own words, are his thoughts on the subject. It is an interesting but frustrating read. I see it as his own determined push to create a new "standard" in aspect ratio of 2:1. So he now posits that The Last Emperor was actually composed with a 2:1 aspect ratio in mind.

    Here is more on Univision from Wikipedia.

    I'm a little surprised that some here are okay with the change simply because the filmmakers have signed off on it. The cropping would seem to be a real case of revisionism in order to prove a point (or maybe sell a concept).
     
  14. Brandon Conway

    Brandon Conway captveg

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    The creator is king in my book. Sometimes it bothers me more than other times, but it's a consistent principle. Obviously, if a film has multiple versions I'd love to have all available for the consumer. When such isn't the case I simply evaluate whether I'll make the purchase on a case by case basis. In this case it simply doesn't bother me enough to no purchase the disc and enjoy the film.
     
  15. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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  16. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?

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    that's striking to see that again.

    an entire portion of the left side of the image is lost.
    including an entire building.

    while the right side is mostly unscathed.
     
  17. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    It's even more problematic when people get sawed in two on the left side of the screen, and I remember those jarring compositions a couple of times in the film when I reviewed it some months ago.
     
  18. RobertR

    RobertR Lead Actor

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    Ugh. That's a substantial difference. I think you're right. He's simply pushing for a unified 2:1 standard, which he thinks is "ideal".
     
  19. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    Yet there are those who will say "that's fine" because two of the filmmakers say it's okay.

    And yet, as one example, I don't know of too many people who are happy when the Disney company edits its material to eliminate scenes of smoking or racism.

    It may be a bit of a stretch of a comparison, yet it seems to all head down the same path--changes made to the originally-presented material to fit a new agenda of the filmmakers.
     
  20. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    And don't just go by those two images. The others from Gary Tooze demonstrate similar dramatic shifts in composition.

    The colors look sooooooo much nicer...it would be great to have them across the entire image.
     

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