-

Jump to content



Photo
- - - - -

HTF Blu-Ray Review: Monsters Ball

Blu-ray Reviews

This topic has been archived. This means that you cannot reply to this topic.
12 replies to this topic

#1 of 13 OFFLINE   Gary Murrell

Gary Murrell

    Supporting Actor

  • 675 posts
  • Join Date: Oct 20 2000

Posted October 28 2008 - 08:59 PM

http://static.hometh...s_monsterbd.jpg">

Studio: Lionsgate
Video Release Date/Film Release Date
: 2008 - 2001
Rating: R (uncut)
Film Length: approx. 113 minutes
Video/Aspect Ratio: 1920x1080p/24 - 2.35:1
English Audio Track/s: DTS HD Master 5.1
Video Quality: 3.5
Audio Quality: 3.5

Player & Output used for review: Pioneer Elite BDP-05FD (Video: HDMI 1080p/24 4:2:2 - Audio: HDMI 1.3 Bitstream)
My Review System

Overview and Film Information

Monsters Ball was a pretty big success from what seems like ages ago in 2001. MB includes some pretty darn good acting chops from everyone involved (save for P. Diddy or whatever he is called this week), eventually landing Berry the top Oscar that year. This blu-ray version is the longer uncut version which includes a lot more "oo la la" if you know what I mean. It has been re-rated and received a "R" rating for this video uncut release which is puzzling since the MPAA said that in this form a NC17 was needed before theatrical release, anyway MB is a engaging drama for those that enjoy serious films with adult themes.

Video Quality ***.5  out of *****

Monsters Ball is presented in it's original aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and is encoded as 1080p/24 with Mpeg4 AVC. Monsters Ball is sort of a mixed bag here, the main problem I see is a pinch of DNR being used, in addition to the use of edge enhancement, which in combination makes for a image that is no nearly what it could be had they just left well enough alone. Colors are slightly muted in this film which seems to be intended. I would not call this a vibrant display of 3Dness or rich popping colors, nor do I think it should be. Black levels are spot on and contrast ratio is great albeit a slight milkiness which could be a small gamma issue with the master. Detail is not bursting out at you due to the slight amount of DNR and the EE just hides it even more. I don't want to make anyone think this is a POS transfer and release, it is not, but it does have some slight flaws that put it a decent 3.5 out of 5 in my opinion. (This player was reviewed on a Pioneer Elite BDP-05FD player that is currently under my review, look for that soon!)

Audio Quality ***.5  out of *****

Monsters Ball includes a lossless 5.1 DTS HD Master audio track. This is what every BD release should have as standard, lossless audio makes the presentation that much better. The DTS Master track here is standard fair in regards to drama films, nothing that is going to excite or thrill. Dialog (which is the most important aspect of this film) comes thru with stunning clarity and detail. The films ambient and dreary score also shines with the lossless format. Surrounds are rarely there save for some rain effects etc. Nothing special here, but nothing wrong either, dialog is perfect on this sound track and that is all that matters.

Extra Features and Menus ** out of *****

This disc features a simple static DVD quality menu, nothing fancy or attention grabbing. Extra features includes pretty standard stuff like deleted scenes, trailers, behind the scenes and multiple commentary tracks.

Overall ***.5 out of *****

PQ could have been better, AQ was certainly up to the job with DTS Master, there are a few extras there for those that enjoy them. Not too bad of a release all around



#2 of 13 OFFLINE   Robert Crawford

Robert Crawford

    Studio Mogul

  • 24,690 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 09 1998
  • Real Name:Robert
  • LocationMichigan

Posted October 28 2008 - 10:25 PM

Gary,
In your opinion, knowing the look of this movie and how it was filmed, how much better could this video presentation really be on a scale from 1 to 5? Maybe, a 4 if a 5 is the very best a video presentation can be?





Crawdaddy

Crawdaddy

 

Blu-ray Preorder Schedule

 


#3 of 13 OFFLINE   Gary Murrell

Gary Murrell

    Supporting Actor

  • 675 posts
  • Join Date: Oct 20 2000

Posted October 28 2008 - 11:09 PM

Crawdad, I think this would have been a lot better looking release with a better treated master, it is just missing that last extra bit of detail that the best releases have and has a slight DNR look too it, this is very slight, also of course no EE would be great

I don't think this will ever look like the Fifth Element remaster(apples to oranges of course) but it could do without these small issues

this seems to be most likely a older master that looks slightly mushy when compared to fresh pieces like the 4k Blade Runner/Dirty Harry etc.

-Gary

#4 of 13 OFFLINE   Mike Williams

Mike Williams

    Screenwriter

  • 1,020 posts
  • Join Date: Mar 03 2003

Posted October 29 2008 - 03:15 AM

I have the Director's Cut on DVD, but held on to the original DVD release as well, because it contained a commentary with Billy Bob Thornton that wasn't carried over to the Director's Cut.

When your review says "Standard stuff like . . . multiple commentaries," some of us would actually like to know what those commentaries are.

#5 of 13 OFFLINE   Mike Frezon

Mike Frezon

    Studio Mogul

  • 29,489 posts
  • Join Date: Oct 09 2001
  • LocationRensselaer, NY

Posted October 29 2008 - 04:44 AM

Gary:

Thanks for the review! While I believe the info on the feature presentation is of prime importance, I agree that some kind of information on the extras that are included would really be helpful and a nice addition to your review.

There's Jessie the yodeling cowgirl. Bullseye, he's Woody's horse. Pete the old prospector. And, Woody, the man himself.Of course, it's time for Woody's RoundUp. He's the very best! He's the rootinest, tootinest cowboy in the wild, wild west!


HTF Rules | HTF Mission Statement | Father of the Bride

Dieting with my Dog & Heart to Heart/Hand in Paw by Peggy Frezon


#6 of 13 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

Michael Reuben

    Studio Mogul

  • 21,769 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 12 1998

Posted October 29 2008 - 09:07 AM

Gary, do you have any sense of how much DNR has been applied? It's an important issue for this film, because the standard DVDs (both of them) were poster children for the excessive use of DNR.

I saw the film during its 2001 Oscar-qualifying release, and I was instantly struck by the graininess -- obviously deliberate -- of the cinematography, especially in the early night scenes with Thornton's character, where that look is particularly suited to the fuzzy and somnolent emotional state of the leads. The image gradually stabilizes as their lives clarify, although it's a subtle transition.

The image for DVD was scrubbed clean of grain, and the image was all but turned into video. The story and performances remained compelling, but a lot of the mood was gone. I was hoping that the Blu-ray would rectify this, but your review suggests otherwise. Could you elaborate on the extent of the DNR?

For an example, you might take a look at the first scene when Thornton is driving to the diner. In the theater, there was never an area of solidly black night; every part of the screen was slightly alive, as if sharing his insomniac funk.

(Just as an aside: Heath Ledger has a small part in this film, and it's one of the performances that Daniel Day-Lewis singled out in his tribute to Ledger at this year's SAG Awards. With good reason.)
COMPLETE list of my disc reviews.       HTF Rules / 200920102011 Film Lists

#7 of 13 OFFLINE   Gary Murrell

Gary Murrell

    Supporting Actor

  • 675 posts
  • Join Date: Oct 20 2000

Posted October 29 2008 - 09:39 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Frezon
Gary:

Thanks for the review! While I believe the info on the feature presentation is of prime importance, I agree that some kind of information on the extras that are included would really be helpful and a nice addition to your review.

sorry guys, I am not big on extras as you can see, I focus more on technical A/V quality Posted Image

I will check that in a jiffy and let you know

-Gary

#8 of 13 OFFLINE   Gary Murrell

Gary Murrell

    Supporting Actor

  • 675 posts
  • Join Date: Oct 20 2000

Posted October 29 2008 - 09:44 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Reuben

The image for DVD was scrubbed clean of grain, and the image was all but turned into video. The story and performances remained compelling, but a lot of the mood was gone. I was hoping that the Blu-ray would rectify this, but your review suggests otherwise. Could you elaborate on the extent of the DNR?

you are pretty much right on the money there, the BD is using the same master that the DVD was obviously minted from, DNR is there and grain is not to the level of norm

it is not to the magnitude of something like Face/Off or Untouchables or etc., but it has been degrained and then EE'd

I struggled with the rating, had the DNR been just a pinch more I would have went to 3 or under

-Gary

#9 of 13 OFFLINE   Gary Murrell

Gary Murrell

    Supporting Actor

  • 675 posts
  • Join Date: Oct 20 2000

Posted October 29 2008 - 09:52 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Williams
I have the Director's Cut on DVD, but held on to the original DVD release as well, because it contained a commentary with Billy Bob Thornton that wasn't carried over to the Director's Cut.

When your review says "Standard stuff like . . . multiple commentaries," some of us would actually like to know what those commentaries are.

audio commentarys are only those of the director and the 2 writers, no Thornton on this release

-Gary

#10 of 13 OFFLINE   Robert Crawford

Robert Crawford

    Studio Mogul

  • 24,690 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 09 1998
  • Real Name:Robert
  • LocationMichigan

Posted October 29 2008 - 10:19 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Murrell
you are pretty much right on the money there, the BD is using the same master that the DVD was obviously minted from, DNR is there and grain is not to the level of norm

it is not to the magnitude of something like Face/Off or Untouchables or etc., but it has been degrained and then EE'd

I struggled with the rating, had the DNR been just a pinch more I would have went to 3 or under

-Gary
There are too many of these masters in the pipeline and people are best waiting until these titles are revisited some time down the road.

Crawdaddy

 

Blu-ray Preorder Schedule

 


#11 of 13 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

Michael Reuben

    Studio Mogul

  • 21,769 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 12 1998

Posted October 29 2008 - 11:09 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Crawford
There are too many of these masters in the pipeline and people are best waiting until these titles are revisited some time down the road.
Agreed.

Thanks for the additional report, Gary. I can't say I'm surprised, but it's still a disappointment.
COMPLETE list of my disc reviews.       HTF Rules / 200920102011 Film Lists

#12 of 13 OFFLINE   Gary Murrell

Gary Murrell

    Supporting Actor

  • 675 posts
  • Join Date: Oct 20 2000

Posted October 29 2008 - 11:23 AM

I agree totally

these new masters from stuff like the Bonds, Blade Runner, Dirty Harry and other 4k jobs just walk all over the older masters from years back

-Gary

#13 of 13 OFFLINE   Mike Williams

Mike Williams

    Screenwriter

  • 1,020 posts
  • Join Date: Mar 03 2003

Posted October 30 2008 - 02:11 PM

Disappointed the Billy Bob commentary wasn't carried over to the Blu-ray. In fact, it was Billy Bob AND Halle Berry that did the commentary on the original theatrical version release. It sounds like they just duplicated the follow-up Director's Cut DVD, which contained different -- and fewer -- extras than the original. It seems like they could have have taken the time and used the space to put everything on this Blu-ray. Why do the studios continue to play these silly games?





Forum Nav Content I Follow