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HTF BLU-RAY REVIEW: PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN'S CHEST HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION

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#1 of 36 OFFLINE   Ben_Williams

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Posted May 20 2007 - 07:44 AM

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Studio: Disney
Year: 2006
Rated: PG-13
Film Length: 150 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 High Definition 1080p
Disc Type: 2 Disc set: BD-50 Dual Layer / BD-25 Single Layer
Codec: AVC Mpeg-4
Audio: Uncompressed 5.1 PCM (48kHz, 24-Bit), Dolby Digital English, Spanish & French 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish & French


Release Date: May 22, 2007


The Movie:
(****/*****) 4/5


NOTE: The non Blu-ray-specific portions of this review have been taken from my December 1st, 2006 review of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest on standard definition DVD.


When the original Pirates of the Caribbean arrived in theaters in 2003, very few people could honestly have predicted that a movie based upon a ride from Disney Land would end up as both a critically and popularly acclaimed film, much less an Oscar nominated film. I was particularly sceptical myself, but was won over by the original story-telling and the fantastic acting antics of Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow. So, in a complete reversal from my lack of initial interest in the first film, I was very excited to see the sequel, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest as it arrived in theaters this past summer. Obviously I wasn't alone. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest has since become the box office smash of 2006, one of the highest grossing films of all-time and one of, if not THE most anticipated Blu-ray releases of the year.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest begins shortly after the events of the first film have concluded. Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth Swann (Keira Kinghtley) are supposed to be marrying, yet both have been taken into custody by British Magistrates. In exchange for his and Elizabeth's freedom, Will is sent on an adventure to locate Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) in order to gain posession of his mysterious compass. However, the elusive Davy Jones also wants a piece of Captain Jack and his fellow adventurers. We are treated to island natives, the Kraken and loads of high seas adventure as Jack attempts to locate the dead man's chest in an attempt to save his own life.

While not quite as much fun as the original, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest is still a heck of a good time. Most of the original players from the first film have returned and it is clear that they all enjoy working together. Johnny Depp, of course, is the star of the show. His Captain Jack Sparrow never ceases to entertain and is one of Depp's finest cinematic creations. The film does seem a bit long in places and some of the more slapstick elements can become tiresome. However, this is still a great bit of action / adventure / comedy and it is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

The Video:
(*****/*****) 5/5


Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest is banner release for the Blu-ray format. Not only is the film portion of this release given its very own BD-50, the AVC encode has been maxed out with the highest possible bit rates for maximum quality. The results are nothing short of stunning and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest sports the finest HD transfer I have ever seen, regardless of format. Make no mistake, the results of this extra bandwidth are visible in every scene in the film. Colors are stunningly rendered with an absolutely astonishing amount of detail. Black levels are rock solid with an amazing sense of depth and the artifact-free picture literally pops off the screen throughout the film. There is never a weak moment or a scene that doesn’t hold up to the rest of the film. This transfer is completely consistent in its excellence.

Disney has set the new standard in high definition quality with Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. This disc should be at the top of your list for reference and demo material.

HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION!


The Audio:
(*****/*****) 5/5


The audio portion of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest is every bit as amazing as the video. Disney continues their support of 24-bit PCM audio and delivers what is arguably the finest home theater soundtrack that has ever been made available to the public. This one pretty much has it all with outstanding clarity, sheer bass power and amazingly active surround activity. The really amazing thing with this PCM track is how it can jump from a scene of subtle elegance to a scene of raw energy and thundering action effortlessly. If you haven’t made the leap to next-gen audio formats, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest should be your excuse to do so.

HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION!

The Supplements:
(*****/*****) 5/5


Here’s what’s included:
-Audio Commentary with Writers Ted Elliott & Terry Rossio
-Bloopers of the Caribbean
-Charting the Return (Pre-Production Documentary)
-According to Plan: The Harrowing and True Story of Dead Man's Chest
-Captain Jack: From Head to Toe
-Mastering the Blade: Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, Jack Davenport
-Meet Davy Jones: Anatomy of a Legend
-Creating the Kraken
-Dead Men Tell New Tales: Re-Imagineering the Attraction
-Jerry Bruckheimer: A Producers Photo Diary
-Fly on the Set: The Bone Cage
-Pirates on Main Street: The Dead Man's Chest Premiere
-Liar’s Dice – BD Java Game
-1080p trailers
-Animated Java Menus featuring Jolly Roger

This might just be the most comprehensive set of extras yet available on a Blu-ray disc. Every feature from the DVD is here along with a few new extras created especially for this BD presentation. I was very impressed with the cool Jolly Roger menus on this disc. Essentially, an animated skull narrates as you make your menu selections. This is a cool addition and adds to the interactive nature of this disc. Also, the “Liar’s Dice” Blu-ray Java game is pretty well executed. It’s fun, if not a bit simplistic, but definitely shows that the Java platform can deliver some interesting applications on the Blu-ray format. We are also treated to a bevy of 1080p trailers including the upcoming Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End.


The Final Analysis:
(*****/*****) 5/5


Disney has set a new standard with Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. The picture and sound quality are the best I’ve ever experienced on home video and the extras will keep you busy for hours. This is a film that has to be seen to believed on Blu-ray!

HIGHEST RECOMMENDED!


Equipment used for this review:
Panasonic DMP-BD10 Blu-Ray Player
JVC DLA-RS1 Front Projector – 1080p
Carada 93” diagonal 16x9 Criterion Series/Brilliant White Screen – www.carada.com
Rotel RSX-1056 Surround Receiver
Rotel RB-1080 Amplifier
B&W Speakers
M&K MX-125 Subwoofer
Interconnects: www.catcables.com

#2 of 36 OFFLINE   Paul Arnette

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Posted May 20 2007 - 08:14 AM

Ben,

How were the load times onthe Pirates BD in your Panasonic DMP-BD10? I've heard they're awful slow in the Pioneer Elite BDP-HD1, which has me a little bummed out.

Universal Blu-ray Discs I will not be buying while they're offered only as Blu-ray + DVD 'flipper' discs:

The Jackal
, Out of Africa, and Traffic.

#3 of 36 OFFLINE   Ben_Williams

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Posted May 20 2007 - 08:25 AM

Paul, the Java features take about 15 seconds to load on the Panny... not too bad. If you play the feature without Java interactivity, it starts up just as quickly as any other movie. the latest firmware update for the Panny has made it an incredibly quick machine. So, maybe that's helping...

#4 of 36 OFFLINE   Neil Joseph

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Posted May 20 2007 - 08:28 AM

I have the Panasonic dmp-bd10. It took the same load time as other disks where A coin spins on the screen and then an additional 11 seconds (approx) after that before the skull came up. Everything after that was pretty much the same as with other disks as per my experience.
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#5 of 36 OFFLINE   Southpaw

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Posted May 20 2007 - 09:22 AM

I am so excited to get this one and CotBP on Wednesday. I haven't been this excited since....well....Casino Royale.

#6 of 36 OFFLINE   Paul Arnette

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Posted May 20 2007 - 10:03 AM

Thanks, guys. Sounds like Pioneer is lagging behind on their updates. Posted Image
Universal Blu-ray Discs I will not be buying while they're offered only as Blu-ray + DVD 'flipper' discs:

The Jackal
, Out of Africa, and Traffic.

#7 of 36 OFFLINE   Chris Will

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Posted May 20 2007 - 10:57 AM

Nice review, I can't wait to pick up both Pirates films Tuesday!

Ben, do you realize that the cover image in your review is for Curse Of The Black Pearl and not Dead Man's Chest.

#8 of 36 OFFLINE   Neil Joseph

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Posted May 20 2007 - 12:35 PM

Did anyone, while looking at the pre-movie previews, notice just how damned good Cars looked?

Anyway, both films are a home run. I was wondering if anyone has tried the java stuff yet. I tried the Scoundrels Of The Sea for the first film, ok. Have not done it for the second film yet. Do all players support it?
Click and enter " T H E . H O L O D E C K "
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My Home Theatre "The Holodeck"

 


#9 of 36 OFFLINE   Ben_Williams

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Posted May 20 2007 - 02:38 PM

Cars looked amazing Neil.

Chris... we are getting the cover straightened out ASAP. Thanks!

#10 of 36 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted May 20 2007 - 08:38 PM

The cover art mistake was my fault. Has been corrected!

Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner

 

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#11 of 36 OFFLINE   Todd H

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Posted May 20 2007 - 11:11 PM

Mine are on the way. Man I can't wait! Hopefully I'll be able to watch both before I see the third one this weekend.

#12 of 36 OFFLINE   DaViD Boulet

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Posted May 21 2007 - 01:59 AM

Ben,

as usual a first-rate review befitting the high-standard we've come to expect from HTF. Bravo!

Quote:
the really amazing thing with this PCM track is how it can jump from a scene of subtle elegance to a scene of raw energy and thundering action effortlessly.

Ahhh. That's my take EXACTLY with lossless audio... espeicially 24-bit PCM. That increase in dynamic range gives the low-level acoustics a silky-smooth, refined character that leaves you in awe as the sound moves effortlessly from subtle, delicate information to explosive dynamics.

And even for soundtracks that lack the wiz-bang dynamics of these kind of action films, the increase in *realism* in the spoken dialogue is reason-enough to demand lossless on EVERY HD release... regardless of format or title.
Be an Original Aspect Ratio Advocate

Supporter of 1080p24 video and lossless 24 bit audio.

#13 of 36 OFFLINE   BrettB

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Posted May 21 2007 - 04:28 AM

Thanks for the review. Can't wait to get this ****! Posted Image The only thing they could have done better would be to have the extras in hd. Has anyone watched it on the PS3 with the meter? I saw some pics where the meter was hitting ~46 mbps. Posted Image

What Cars video is on there? Is it a promo for the BD or is the trailer?

#14 of 36 OFFLINE   Ben_Williams

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Posted May 21 2007 - 08:39 AM

David... you are absolutely right. It is certainly true that lossless audio benefits the loud and aggressive soundtracks like Pirates of the Caribbean, but the benefit to a smaller, dialogue driven film like Donnie Brasco is equally impressive.

The quiet passages from these films are extremely impressive in just how much more intelligible they are over their Dolby Digital and DTS counterparts. PCM has completely eliminated my need to occasionally rewind a flick to make out what is being said.

#15 of 36 OFFLINE   Todd H

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Posted May 21 2007 - 12:15 PM

Mine shipped today. Whooo hooooo!!

#16 of 36 OFFLINE   Ben_Williams

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Posted May 22 2007 - 04:01 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrettB
Thanks for the review. Can't wait to get this ****! Posted Image The only thing they could have done better would be to have the extras in hd. Has anyone watched it on the PS3 with the meter? I saw some pics where the meter was hitting ~46 mbps. Posted Image

What Cars video is on there? Is it a promo for the BD or is the trailer?

I haven't been able to watch the film with a bitrate meter, but I can only imagine from the quality of the video that the bitrates must be absolutely maxed out. It's truly spectacular.

The Cars trailer is a promo for the BD release. Short but VERY sweet!

#17 of 36 OFFLINE   Rob Young

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Posted May 22 2007 - 06:40 AM

Sweet review Ben. Thanks for this.

#18 of 36 OFFLINE   Adam_R

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Posted May 22 2007 - 08:17 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben_Williams
Back levels are rock solid with an amazing sense of depth and the artifact-fee picture literally pops off the screen throughout the film.


Back Levels? Isn't that for the audio portion of the review?

Artifact-fee? How much is it? I think with a $29.99 price tag, fee's should be pretty low.






















j/k - I couldn't help myself!

Thanks for the great write up! I am heading out tonight to pick these up!
Guess what...

#19 of 36 OFFLINE   Ben_Williams

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Posted May 22 2007 - 08:23 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam_R
Back Levels? Isn't that for the audio portion of the review?
Artifact-fee? How much is it? I think with a $29.99 price tag, fee's should be pretty low.

Eesh! Thanks for pointing that out! Sorry for the typos... embarrassing! Of course, I completely blame my Microsoft keyboard for that... Posted Image

#20 of 36 OFFLINE   Dave_P.

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Posted May 23 2007 - 01:42 AM

Sounds awesome, can't wait to throw this baby in tonight!





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