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DVD Reviews

HTF REVIEW: The Karate Kid Collection (RECOMMENDED)



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#1 of 78 OFFLINE   Aaron Silverman

Aaron Silverman

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Posted February 02 2005 - 03:47 AM

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The Karate Kid Collection Posted Image

US Theatrical Release: The Karate Kid: June 22, 1984; The Karate Kid Part II: June 19, 1986; The Karate Kid Part III: June 30, 1989; The Next Karate Kid: August 12, 1994 (Columbia - TriStar)
US DVD Release: February 1, 2005
Running Time: The Karate Kid: 2:06:48 (28 chapters); The Karate Kid Part II: 1:53:08 (28 chapters); The Karate Kid Part III: 1:52:17 (28 chapters); The Next Karate Kid: 1:47:17 (28 chapters)
Rating: All four films are PG (mild Violence and some mild language)
Video: All four films are 1.85:1 Anamorphic (Extra Features: some are 1.77:1 anamorphic and some are 1.33:1)
Audio: The Karate Kid: English DD2.0, French DD2.0 (Extra features: English DD2.0); The Karate Kid Part II, The Karate Kid Part III, The Next Karate Kid: English DD2.0, French DD2.0, Portuguese DD2.0, Spanish DD2.0
Subtitles: The Karate Kid: English, French, Spanish, Chinese, Thai (extra features: Spanish; Life Of Bonsai featurette has English and Spanish); The Karate Kid Part II, The Karate Kid Part III, The Next Karate Kid: English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, Thai (extra features: none)
TV-Generated Closed Captions: English (Extra Features: None)
Menus: Not animated.
Packaging: Three half-thickness single-disc keepcases with a cardboard outer slipcover; no inserts. The Karate Kid Part III and The Next Karate Kid are both included on a single double-sided disc.
MSRP: $36.95

The Karate Kid

THE WAY I FEEL ABOUT IT: 4/5

“Wax on. Wax off. Breathe in. Breathe out.”

“After when?” “After after.”

“Karate here. Karate here. Karate never here.”

"Sweep The Leg!"

Every now and then a film comes along that is so iconic that its best lines enter into the vernacular. Most often, it is a comedy that hits the mark with a series of clever one-liners. The Karate Kid is that rare specimen, a drama (not without its moments of inspired humor) that has given us a collection of instantly recognizable quotes. Twenty years after the film’s initial release, “wax on, wax off” will still evoke a smile from just about anyone. The Karate Kid is one of the true gems of the ‘80s teen flick era.

As the film opens, teenager Daniel Larusso (22-year-old Ralph Macchio, sporting the body of a 15-year-old) and his mom Lucille (Randee Heller) leave dull Newark, New Jersey for the excitement of a new home in southern California. Although their new apartment is not much of a step up, Daniel soon meets some local kids his age and gets invited to an end-of-summer beach party. At the beach, he is smitten with a cutie pie from the upscale side of the tracks, Ali (19-year-old Elizabeth Shue, inspiring innumerable teenage crushes). Shortly thereafter, he meets Ali’s baggage, namely, her ex-boyfriend -- and local bully -- Johnny (William Zabka). Johnny and his posse of toadies study karate at the Cobra Kai dojo, a school that is run like a Marine boot camp. Daniel discovers the hard way that the Cobra Kai’s motto is “Strike first, strike hard, no mercy!”

Daniel, unlike most scrawny teens who have run-ins with gangs of bigger, tougher, kids, can’t seem to stop himself from pushing his luck, even going so far as to play a nasty prank on the dangerous Johnny. A couple of severe beatings later, Daniel is rescued by the cavalry in the form of Mr. Miyagi (Noriyuki “Pat” Morita), the elderly handyman at his apartment building. He convinces Mr. Miyagi to teach him karate, which starts him down the official sports-movie path of attitude adjustment followed by intense training and culmination in a final confrontation with his nemesis. Along the way, Mr. Miyagi and Daniel (referred to forever after as “Daniel-san” by Mr. Miyagi as well as by moviegoers the world over) develop a relationship that is part teacher-student, part father-son, and, perhaps most importantly, part friendship. This relationship is the heart of the film, and elevates it above the level of a standard sports flick or teen movie.

The action and drama are enhanced by the sweet romance between Reseda Daniel and Encino Ali, as well as by the comedy of Martin Kove’s cartoonishly intense performance as sensei of the Cobra Kai dojo and Daniel’s habit of ending conversations with others by starting conversations with himself. The Karate Kid has something to appeal to pretty much everyone.

Another nice feature of the film is the calm editing style and director John Avildsen’s use of wide tracking and crane shots. This movie would look very different if it were produced today, especially the fight scenes. There is no reliance on quick cuts to create an artificial (and ineffective) sense of chaos. For example, one key scene involving a conversation between Daniel and Mr. Miyagi consists of a single medium shot of both actors. Following a brief pullback at the start of the scene, the camera remains almost completely stationary for nearly four and a half minutes before zooming in slightly as the characters move to a different part of the room. The viewer is left to focus on the dialogue. A lot of filmmakers could take a lesson from this movie in letting good material speak for itself.


THE WAY I SEE IT: 3/5

The image displays varying amounts of grain, from relatively sharp sunlit scenes on the beach to thoroughly noisy nighttime interiors. The grain tends to hide the compression artifacts that are sometimes visible due to a generally low bitrate. Some scenes suffer from a fair amount of film damage, but not enough to be more than a little distracting. Picture detail is pretty good, all things considered (for a chuckle, watch for the famous scene in which Daniel and Mr. Miyagi try to catch a fly using chopsticks -- the fake fly’s wire is sometimes clearly visible). Colors are just a bit oversaturated, making faces pink against the mostly dry, washed-out colors that dominate the production. It’s a look that fits the literal and figurative story of Daniel’s move to the desert. Edge enhancement is noticeable in some scenes, but for the most part it’s not too bad. Those with smaller monitors likely won’t be bothered by it. Those who are sensitive to it can expect it to be on par with most recent Sony releases.


THE WAY I HEAR IT: 2.5/5

The passable but uninspiring Dolby Surround soundtrack is a veritable cornucopia of generic-sounding ‘80s teen movie pop rock. Zamfir, Master of the Pan Flute, provides the film’s signature faux-oriental musical atmosphere when it’s not rockin’ out. Extreme high and low frequencies are essentially AWOL, and there is not a lot of dynamic range. It’s a little tinny sounding. The mix of music, dialogue, and what little effects there are works alright.


THE SWAG: 4/5 (rating combines quality and quantity)

Commentary:

Director John Avildsen, writer Robert Kamen, and stars Ralph Macchio and Pat Morita giggle their way through a Mystery Science Theater-style commentary. A piece of trivia about the production or cast will trigger a minute or two of lively banter and good-natured ribbing. They keep the energy level up, so it’s fairly entertaining, but those looking for technical details or in-depth information will be disappointed.

Featurettes:

Five good newly produced featurettes are included, running well over an hour. All are anamorphic and have Spanish subtitles. Life Of Bonsai also includes English subtitles. There is very little dead space (i.e., interspersed film clips) breaking up the real content.

The Way Of The Karate Kid: Part 1 (23:59)

Writer Robert Kamen, director John Avildsen, and cast members Ralph Macchio, Pat Morita, William Zabka, and Martin Kove talk about the story and the characters, with a few clips and some behind-the-scenes home movies of the production. They don’t talk much about the technical end of things, but they go into a fair amount of depth on the acting and story development. It’s a step up from the common fluff pieces.

The Way Of The Karate Kid: Part 2 (21:24)

This featurette continues where the first one left off, with the same participants. They talk more about the script and the actual production in this one. My understanding is that featurettes running over 30 minutes involve a higher pay scale, and this would seem to fit that mold. It essentially breaks a single 45-minute piece into two parts.

Beyond The Form (13:02)

Martial Arts consultant Pat Johnson, who has also worked on films with such stars as Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris, and Jackie Chan, relates his experience working on The Karate Kid and his general approach to and feelings about the martial arts. Some behind-the-scenes stills and footage are included.

East Meets West: A Composer’s Notebook (8:17)

Composer Bill Conti talks about his methodology and his work on this film.

Life Of Bonsai (10:00)

Bonsai master Ben Oki presents his art in a piece that isn’t directly related to the feature, but is a nice inclusion for the disc. It’s pretty interesting stuff. Many of his trees are several feet tall and hundreds of years old, as opposed to the small tabletop plants featured in the movie.

Previews:

Three vintage trailers are included. All are 1.33:1 aspect ratio.
  • The Karate Kid (2:06)
  • The Karate Kid Part II (1:28)
  • Three Ninjas High Noon At Mega Mountain (1:04)
The Karate Kid Part II

THE WAY I FEEL ABOUT IT: 3/5

While it’s not up to the high standard of the original, The Karate Kid Part II earns a respectable ranking on the sequel-o-meter. It takes Daniel and Mr. Miyagi to an interesting setting and develops its own plot despite a few scenes that rehash ideas from the first movie.

The film picks up right where The Karate Kid left off, outside the karate tournament (following a quick detour to a montage of scenes from the original that recaps the action thus far). John Kreese gets his comeuppance in what appears to be the end of the Cobra Kai as we know them. Next comes an explanation of why Elizabeth Shue’s character is nowhere to be found (although we aren’t treated to any explanation of Daniel-san’s baby blue prom tuxedo), and then we’re off and running with the new story.

A letter from Okinawa informs Mr. Miyagi that his aged father is very ill. He and Daniel-san (whose mother has conveniently been written into a summer job in Fresno) hop the next 747 to the beautiful (yet deadly!) Japanese island. There, they meet the lost love of Miyagi’s youth, Yukie (Nobu McCarthy), and the soon-to-be-lost (pending sequel #2) love of Daniel-san’s youth, Kumiko (Tamlyn Tomita, carrying just a touch of the baby fat made famous by Shue in the original film). It turns out that Mr. Miyagi left Okinawa decades before because of his love for Yukie, who was promised to another man in an arranged marriage. That man was Sato (Danny Kamekona), who was of course Miyagi’s best friend. (I can’t say for sure whether this was the first use of “Sato” as the name of a Japanese villain in an American production, but it certainly wasn’t the last – 128 (and counting) character hits on the IMDB speak for themselves!)

Our intrepid heroes have barely stepped off the plane when Sato and his uberpunk nephew Chozen (Yuji Okumoto) inform Miyagi that they still have an old score to settle. Keep in mind when the Okinawans speak English to each other that there is now a US military base in the vicinity of the village, which seems a reasonable excuse. At least they bothered to come up with one.

Given the mix of characters, it’s pretty obvious where the plot is headed. Nothing in this story is going to surprise anyone, but the filmmakers are still on their game and the cast turns in a solid performance. Both deserve some credit for not laying it on too thickly with the Okinawan villagers – they aren’t portrayed as mysterious and inscrutable Asians so much as regular folks who simply live in a different culture. On the other hand, Daniel-san seems to have outgrown the habit of talking to himself, detracting from the comedy angle. All in all, the film is well-paced and accomplishes what it sets out to do; that is, stick its popular protagonists into a reasonably entertaining new storyline.

Fun Fact! Watch out for the debut appearance of youthful “That Guy” B. D. Wong, billed as “Bradd Wong.”

THE WAY I SEE IT: 3.5/5

The Karate Kid Part II looks somewhat better than its predecessor. The colors are not quite as saturated, but the production design and locations display a brighter palette. Daniel-san looks a little green sometimes, but the other skin tones are fairly realistic. Overall, the colors have a look not far removed from that of a ‘60s film. The level of film grain is much more consistent, and is generally lower than that of the original. Although the film is only two years younger than the first, the print has aged better, with fewer nicks and scratches. The video bitrate runs about 1-2 Mbps higher than the original, which reduces the amount of visible compression artifacts. I didn’t notice much at all. Edge enhancement is applied in basically the same amount; perhaps a bit more in some places.


THE WAY I HEAR IT: 3/5

The audio track is also an improvement over that of the original film. Both the frequency and dynamic ranges are wider, making for a more pleasant experience. The soundtrack uses far less generic ‘80s rock than the first movie, featuring only the classic Peter Cetera cheese “Glory Of Love.” On the other hand, the pan flute of Zamfir returns with a vengeance.


THE SWAG: 1.5/5 (rating combines quality and quantity)

Note that the case lists an “interactive DVD-ROM game,” but that is actually on The Next Karate Kid, not this disc.

Original Featurette (6:18)

This non-anamorphic fluff piece is of interest mainly due to its age. Producer Jerry Weintraub, director John Avildsen, and stars Pat Morita and Ralph Macchio provide a few comments to accompany film clips and brief behind-the-scenes footage.

Filmographies

Selected filmographies are included for John Avildsen, Ralph Macchio, and Pat Morita. Only titles and dates are listed.

Previews:

Four vintage trailers are included. All are 1.33:1 aspect ratio except for Godzilla 2000, which is 1.85:1 anamorphic and has DD5.1 audio.
  • The Karate Kid (2:06)
  • The Karate Kid Part II (1:28)
  • Roughnecks: Starship Trooper Chronicles – the Pluto Campaign (1:03)
  • Godzilla 2000 (1:34)
The Karate Kid Part III

THE WAY I FEEL ABOUT IT: 1.5/5

The Karate Kid filmmakers, up for a third go-round, started off on the right foot. They decided to bring back Martin Kove’s lunatic (and highly entertaining) villain from the first film. Despite this bonsai’s strong roots, however, things went awry from there. Instead of focusing on Kreese, they pushed him to the background in favor of a new antagonist, Terry Silver (Thomas Ian Griffith). Griffith’s performance makes Kove seem downright understated. This fella has cornered the market on diabolical snickers (and I ain’t talkin’ candy bars). Just to make sure nobody misses what a badass he is, he’s borrowed Steven Seagal’s ponytail. And being a super-wealthy yet shady (“I’m lucky if I make one deal a year without being indicted”) businessman isn’t evil enough for this guy – his business is dumping industrial waste. It just doesn’t get any more dastardly than that.

Following in the footsteps of the second entry in the series, The Karate Kid Part III writes off Daniel-san’s mother and previous-script girlfriend right off the bat. This time, however, Randee Heller gets to put in a token appearance before stepping aside to let the plot progress without her. No sign of romantic interest here, though – Daniel meets a girl (Robyn Lively, in a last gasp of ‘80s leg-warmer fashion), but she turns out to be unavailable. If he didn’t have to make use of her particular skill (rappelling down a cliff face) later in the story, she wouldn’t have a place in the script at all. In fact, once the cliff is out of the way, she leaves for Ohio, never to be seen again. And poor Mr. Miyagi doesn’t appear to have any prospects at all.

Anyway, Kreese and Silver, intent on revenge, forego simply trying to beat up Daniel-san in favor of a ludicrously complicated scheme that involves tricking him into letting Silver train him in the Way of the Dark Side and bringing in a ringer to beat him when he tries to defend the title he won in the first film. Stir in a subplot involving a wild bonsai tree (possibly the most-developed character in this movie) and its -- metaphor alert! -- “strong roots,” simmer for just under two hours, and you have the sort of flick that gets randomly watched while flipping around basic cable on a rainy afternoon.


THE WAY I SEE IT: 4/5

The transfer is pretty decent. Colors are less saturated than in the first two films, giving it a more realistic look. Grain is moderate, and there are no major compression artifacts to speak of. The print is in pretty good shape. I noticed very little edge enhancement; a definite step up from most of the discs I’ve looked at recently. The picture didn’t have a great amount of detail, but the otherwise film-like image was easy on the eyes.


THE WAY I HEAR IT: 3/5

The DD2.0 audio track is basically on par with that of Karate Kid Part II. It’s passable, but not too exciting. The music isn’t very memorable this time around, but the sound mix does what it needs to do.


THE SWAG: 0.5/5 (rating combines quality and quantity)

Filmographies

Selected filmographies are included for John Avildsen, Ralph Macchio, and Pat Morita. Only titles and dates are listed.

Previews:

Five vintage trailers are included. All are 1.33:1 aspect ratio except for Godzilla 2000, which is 1.85:1 anamorphic and has DD5.1 audio.
  • The Karate Kid (2:06)
  • The Karate Kid Part II (1:28)
  • Godzilla 2000 (1:34)
  • Roughnecks: Starship Trooper Chronicles – the Pluto Campaign (1:03)
  • Beverly Hills Ninja(2:22)
The Next Karate Kid

THE WAY I FEEL ABOUT IT: 1.5/5

Of the major players on the first three films, only producer Jerry Weintraub, composer Bill Conti, and Pat Morita hung around for one final entry in the series. Without writer Robert Kamen, director John Avildsen, or even Ralph Macchio, The Next Karate Kid goes through the motions in a somewhat juvenile way. Multisyllabic words are kept to a minimum, and the plot is quite simple. Nerf ball fights and “zen bowling” are the order of the day. Still, it’s fun to watch an actress only a couple of years away from a Best Actress Oscar wax on and wax off (and she doesn’t look half bad in her Marilyn Monroe-style prom dress, either).

Daniel-san is out of the picture this time, and it’s never made clear why. Mr. Miyagi travels to Boston all by his lonesome, where he meets the widow of an old war buddy and her teenage granddaughter Julie (Hilary Swank). Julie’s parents have been killed in an accident, and she is, to put it mildly, full of anger. Good thing for her Mr. Miyagi’s in town! Nothing’s wrong with her that a few karate lessons and Miyagi-isms can’t set straight. The trend of shuffling characters in and out of these scripts continues, as Miyagi arbitrarily sends Julie’s grandmother to California while he sticks around to keep an eye on the young lass.

Michael Ironside, as “Colonel Dugan,” leads a mean gang of students at Julie’s school in a sad imitation of the Cobra Kai. They appear to be some sort of semi-official paramilitary goon squad, but as with nearly every other aspect of the story, the film doesn’t bother to explain them very much. And who the heck is this Dugan character, anyway? School bullies I can buy; but these guys are more like refugees from Pink Floyd’s The Wall. My first thought upon seeing them was that the school was a military academy, but that wasn’t actually the case. The setup of the final showdown with them is beyond bizarre, involving bungee-jumping and a monster jeep.

While this film is probably a step above its predecessor in entertainment value, in an after-school special sort of way, it’s clear that not a lot of thought was put into it. It’s only good for a few chuckles. At best, it has novelty value as a before-she-was-famous piece for Hilary Swank fans.


THE WAY I SEE IT: 3.5/5

The transfer is very similar to that of Part II. Colors are just a tiny bit oversaturated, grain is lightweight, and there are no major compression artifacts to speak of. The print is in very good shape. There is a bit more edge enhancement than in the third film, about the same amount as in part II. The image shows a decent amount of detail.


THE WAY I HEAR IT: 3.5/5

The DD2.0 audio track is similar to that of the second and third installments in the series, with a touch wider dynamic range. The music is perhaps a step up from Part III’s score, although there’s a bit less Zamfir this time.


THE SWAG: 1/5 (rating combines quality and quantity)

Filmographies

Selected filmographies are included for Hilary Swank and Pat Morita. Only titles and dates are listed.

Previews:

The same five vintage trailers that are included with The Karate Kid Part III are also on this side of the disc. All are 1.33:1 aspect ratio except for Godzilla 2000, which is 1.85:1 anamorphic and has DD5.1 audio.
  • The Karate Kid (2:06)
  • The Karate Kid Part II (1:28)
  • Godzilla 2000 (1:34)
  • Beverly Hills Ninja(2:22)
  • Roughnecks: Starship Trooper Chronicles – the Pluto Campaign (1:03)
DVD-ROM Content

Three silly little PC games are included. They’re kinda funny for a while, but won’t hold anyone’s interest for very long. Here’s your chance to catch a fly with a pair of chopsticks.


SUMMING IT ALL UP

The Karate Kid

The Way I Feel About It: 4/5
The Way I See It: 3/5
The Way I Hear It: 2.5/5
The Swag: 4/5

The Karate Kid Part II

The Way I Feel About It: 3/5
The Way I See It: 3.5/5
The Way I Hear It: 3/5
The Swag: 1.5/5

The Karate Kid Part III

The Way I Feel About It: 1.5/5
The Way I See It: 4/5
The Way I Hear It: 3/5
The Swag: 0.5/5

The Next Karate Kid

The Way I Feel About It: 1.5/5
The Way I See It: 3.5/5
The Way I Hear It: 3.5/5
The Swag: 1/5


A lot of people have been waiting a long time for The Karate Kid to get the home video treatment that it deserves. While the new edition isn’t perfect, it isn’t lousy either, and it includes an unexpectedly generous helping of newly produced extra features. Many folks are not happy about the fact that the only way to get the original film in its proper aspect ratio is to purchase the set of all four movies, and one can’t really blame them. On the other hand, with a street price of under $25 for the whole collection, it really isn’t that big of an issue. Essentially, it’s one great film, one decent film, and two fillers for less than the price of two new releases. All things considered, despite the inclusion of the less-than-stellar entries in the series, and the less-than-perfect (but not bad) A/V quality, the classic first film and reasonable price tag earn The Karate Kid Collection my badge of RECOMMENDATION.

Three final notes: The labels on the third disc of my screener were reversed – the side labeled Karate Kid Part III actually has The Next Karate Kid, and vice versa. Others have reported the same mislabeling. Also, as noted previously, the case for The Karate Kid Part II lists DVD-ROM content, when that content is actually on the disc for The Next Karate Kid. Finally, when viewing these discs on a PC, the menus are sometimes a little funky in that the target zones for the mouse do not always include the actual menu items. Instead of clicking directly on the text of the desired menu item, one sometimes has to put the mouse to the side of the text, where a menu symbol will appear. This can be a little annoying until one gets used to it, but it’s not a huge deal.
"How wonderful it will be to have a leader unburdened by the twin horrors of knowledge and experience." -- Mr. Wick

#2 of 78 OFFLINE   Scott Kimball

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Posted February 02 2005 - 04:11 AM

Thanks for the review.

Quote:
Stir in a subplot involving a wild bonsai tree (possibly the most-developed character in this movie)

Funny. I almost fell out of my chair!

Alas, I only have an interest in the original. I reluctantly pass until I can purchase that one separately.

-Scott

#3 of 78 OFFLINE   Aaron Silverman

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Posted February 02 2005 - 04:14 AM

Quote:
Alas, I only have an interest in the original. I reluctantly pass until I can purchase that one separately.

Judging from other sets that were released this way, you may be waiting for Blu-Ray.

If it makes any difference, I found Part II to be better than I remembered it. It's really not bad at all.
"How wonderful it will be to have a leader unburdened by the twin horrors of knowledge and experience." -- Mr. Wick

#4 of 78 OFFLINE   Scott Kimball

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Posted February 02 2005 - 04:21 AM

Welll... I'll think about it. It's possible it'll be in my next round of purchases at Best Buy.

The second film isn't too bad, but it really has none of the magic of the first.

I remember when the first film came out, I was working at a theater that was screening it. On a dead weeknight, half the staff was in the theater watching the film instead of doing their jobs. It was definitely a surprise sleeper hit of the year.

-Scott

#5 of 78 OFFLINE   Carlo Medina

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Posted February 02 2005 - 04:30 AM

Quote:
If it makes any difference, I found Part II to be better than I remembered it. It's really not bad at all.
I saw this again a few years back on one of the premium channels, and my thoughts were the same. When I realized it was #2 I said to myself "this won't hold up well, you were like 14 when it came out which is why you liked it". Surprisingly it isn't a bad movie (though not quite up to the standards of the first one).

My love of #1 and my like for #2, coupled with the decent review above re: quality (I had feared it was still only MAR) will be enough to justify a purchase.

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#6 of 78 OFFLINE   Aaron Silverman

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Posted February 02 2005 - 04:34 AM

Quote:
My love of #1 and my like for #2, coupled with the decent review above re: quality (I had feared it was still only MAR) will be enough to justify a purchase.


Glad to be of service! Posted Image The original was the very first (and, come to think of it, possibly the only) movie I ever saw in the theater 3 times.
"How wonderful it will be to have a leader unburdened by the twin horrors of knowledge and experience." -- Mr. Wick

#7 of 78 OFFLINE   CraigL

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Posted February 02 2005 - 04:39 AM

single-layered or dual?

#8 of 78 OFFLINE   ArthurMy

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Posted February 02 2005 - 05:28 AM

The grain was part of the photography and has nothing to do with the transfer. Look at any John Avildsen film and you will see the same thing - grain in the dark scenes. That's what he likes, and it also has to do with the film stocks of the time. This transfer, as I stated in another thread, replicates the look of the theatrical presentation perfectly, as does the sound. I don't know from bit rates, so I leave that to you experts. All I know is I couldn't be happier with the transfer on this DVD.

Re the "documentaries" or "featurettes" or whatever you call them. While the interview material has interesting things in it, I found these programs maddening - too many bloody clips - I just want to hear the people. I've seen the movie, I don't need to see long sections of clips. They really need to get some interesting new blood in to make these featurettes. I've gotten to the point where I just shut them off - most recently on the WB gangster set. I am just not interested in hearing a bunch of film professors pontificate and tell me things like "Cagney was great casting in this role."

Nice thorough review, Aaron.

#9 of 78 OFFLINE   MikeEckman

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Posted February 02 2005 - 06:17 AM

As I said in my rant on the other thread, this set really is worth it if you are a fan of the original. Personally, I have no problem forking over $20 for a single title I really want. Considering this is $25, you get all the sequels, plus a very decent transfer and some great extras. This was a no brainer for me!
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#10 of 78 OFFLINE   Steven Good

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Posted February 02 2005 - 07:07 AM

a note about Part II:

"Glory of Love" was Peter Cetera's first hit single release after he left as Chicago's lead singer for a solo career. Yes, teh cheese sounded the same, but without the rest of Chicago backing Cetera...
Roger Ebert--"This is one more pathetic example of the dumbing of America--to show the films in the wrong aspect ratio to placate the stupid, instead of in the right aspect ratio to reward the knowledgeable."

#11 of 78 OFFLINE   Aaron Silverman

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Posted February 02 2005 - 07:46 AM

Quote:
The grain was part of the photography and has nothing to do with the transfer. Look at any John Avildsen film and you will see the same thing - grain in the dark scenes. That's what he likes, and it also has to do with the film stocks of the time. This transfer, as I stated in another thread, replicates the look of the theatrical presentation perfectly, as does the sound. I don't know from bit rates, so I leave that to you experts. All I know is I couldn't be happier with the transfer on this DVD.

I understand that the grain is an attribute of the original film, not a result of the transfer -- I didn't mean to imply otherwise. In my "The Way I See It" section, I am discussing the overall image, not just the technical quality of the transfer (which is hard to judge when I haven't seen the actual film in 20 years! Posted Image ). That said, I don't consider grain to be inherently bad, and don't deduct points for having it. I gave this one a '3' due to things like digital artifacts, edge enhancement, and film damage. (As for other Avildsen films, however -- take a look at the rest of the set. The first film has significantly more grain than the others. Not a knock; just an observation. Posted Image )

Same with the soundtrack -- if it wasn't a great soundtrack to begin with, then my opinion of it will suffer. This one may have been an exact replica, but it still wasn't that great. Hopefully my explanations will make clear to people how I arrived at my ratings.

Quote:
Re the "documentaries" or "featurettes" or whatever you call them. While the interview material has interesting things in it, I found these programs maddening - too many bloody clips - I just want to hear the people. I've seen the movie, I don't need to see long sections of clips. They really need to get some interesting new blood in to make these featurettes. I've gotten to the point where I just shut them off - most recently on the WB gangster set. I am just not interested in hearing a bunch of film professors pontificate and tell me things like "Cagney was great casting in this role."

Personally, I thought that the featurettes on this set (with the exception of the vintage piece on Part II) had *fewer* wasteful clips than the standard stuff included on most discs. Of course, your mileage may vary. Posted Image

Quote:
Nice thorough review, Aaron.

Thanks, Arthur! I appreciate all the feedback.
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#12 of 78 OFFLINE   Aaron Silverman

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Posted February 02 2005 - 07:46 AM

Quote:
"Glory of Love" was Peter Cetera's first hit single release after he left as Chicago's lead singer for a solo career. Yes, teh cheese sounded the same, but without the rest of Chicago backing Cetera...


Thanks. . .I've verified that and updated the review.
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#13 of 78 OFFLINE   Aaron Silverman

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Posted February 02 2005 - 07:55 AM

As a tribute to my buddy Peter, I've added his favorite quote to the beginning of the review.

Sweep the leg!
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#14 of 78 OFFLINE   Anthony Wolfe

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Posted February 02 2005 - 08:12 AM

Great review. As I said in the other thread, I picked up the set and think it's well worth the $25-30 that is going to be paid for it. 80's nostalga at it's finest. I found it hard to not pause the movie and think just that whole era. *sigh*...

#15 of 78 OFFLINE   ArthurMy

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Posted February 02 2005 - 08:21 AM

I am curious about one thing, Aaron. Can you point me to this "film damage" so I can see what you're talking about? I saw none, so I really am curious. Thanks.

#16 of 78 OFFLINE   Aaron Silverman

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Posted February 02 2005 - 08:48 AM

Quote:
I am curious about one thing, Aaron. Can you point me to this "film damage" so I can see what you're talking about? I saw none, so I really am curious. Thanks.

I noticed a few scratches and marks in the picture. It wasn't a major issue, but I thought it worth noting.
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#17 of 78 OFFLINE   Cameron Yee

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Posted February 02 2005 - 09:19 AM

Nice review Aaron. I usually skim the plot synopses, but felt like reading an opinion on how things have held up. I'll probably put this off to purchase until next month, seeing that Costco has the lowest BM price as a constant price, not first week sale. I'm also curious if Lucy had seen the movies before and what she thought of them, since she was new to the Star Wars saga back in September. Not quite apples and apples Posted Image but you're right about the first film being iconic (at least for those of us who grew up in the 80s). Few people don't know the origins of "wax on wax off."
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#18 of 78 OFFLINE   Aaron Silverman

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Posted February 02 2005 - 09:27 AM

Thanks, Cam. I'm pretty sure that Lucy had seen the first one before, and she watched I-III with me over the last couple of days. She hasn't watched the last one yet, although she's curious since it has Hilary Swank. Posted Image Of the ones she's seen, she really liked all three -- yes, even the third one! Posted Image
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#19 of 78 OFFLINE   Scott Thomas

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Posted February 02 2005 - 10:23 AM

You know, My Karate teacher says that "Wax on, Wax Off" actually has some truth to it.

Anyway, I always liked Karate Kid 2, I thought it was a worthy sequel. I think that buying the boxset would be a great purchace for the collection.

#20 of 78 OFFLINE   Bryan Tuck

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Posted February 02 2005 - 06:58 PM

When I first heard about this set, I too was disappointed that you'd have to buy them all, but I'm inclined to agree that the first 2 films are probably worth $25 together. I know that Part II has its detractors, but I've always liked it, and since I've never owned any of the films on DVD, I'm considering getting this.

Thanks for the review, Aaron. Posted Image
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