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Blu-ray Reviews

HTF Blu-Ray Review: The Truman Show



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#1 of 5 OFFLINE   PatWahlquist

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Posted December 17 2008 - 09:45 AM


The Truman Show (Blu-Ray)

Studio: Paramount Home Video
Rated: PG (for thematic elements and mild language)
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
HD Encoding: 1080p
HD Video Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Audio: English Dolby TrueHD 5.1; Spanish, French 5.1 Dolby Digital
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish, Portuguese; English SDH+
Time: 102 minutes
Disc Format: 1 SS/DL BD
Case Style: Keep case
Theatrical Release Date: 1998
Blu-Ray Release Date: December 30, 2008


Truman Burbank’s (Jim Carrey) life has been filmed since he was born. His every action has been televised around the world for over 10,000 days, and the ratings keep going up and up. Truman’s life has been the construct of the megalomaniacal overseer of the show, Christos (Ed Harris), who controls every aspect of the show, from camera movement, weather effects, music, blocking and more. Truman has been provided with all the trappings of a good life- a job, a beautiful wife (played by Laura Linney), a caring mother and a best friend who keeps Truman and the storyline on track when Truman starts to question his world. His questions lead to actions as technical problems seek to show the flaws in the set and the “world”. Truman eventually finds he must break through his own barriers if he is ever to break through those of the world that keeps him.

Carrey took one of his first stabs at a more dramatic role in The Truman Show and he carries it out quite well. While he simply cannot suppress the jokester inside him, he infuses Truman with a warmth and believability that really doesn’t show up in his comedic roles. Harris seems to do at least two pictures a year anymore, yet this is one his roles that always stuck with me, even after ten years. His depiction of Christos, while controlled and refined, barely allows us to have any sympathy for Christos or his project. The story itself suffers from being just a bit too thin all the way around. The plot concerns itself with Truman first and foremost, but we never see much development in anyone else. The concept is even more intriguing now since we have a proliferation of reality shows, and I’d love to see a sequel to The Truman Show where it turns out it was Christos whole plan to have Truman leave the show. I would also have liked to have some discussion on the moral and theological questions such a project would prompt.


Video:
Note: I am watching this title using a Marantz VP 11-S1 DLP projector, which has a native resolution of 1080p. I am using a Sony Playstation 3 Blu-Ray player while a Denon 3808CI does the switching and pass through of the video signal. I am utilizing the HDMI capabilities of each piece of equipment.

The Blu-Ray disc is encoded in the MPEG-4 AVC codec at 1080p with an aspect ratio of 1.85:1. The picture maintains a very “real world” feel with none of the colors coming off as over-saturated or garish. Flesh tones are good and natural. Detail and sharpness are good, but remain a little soft, and some DNR may have been applied. Black levels are good but they could be a little better as I did not notice a lot of shadow detail. The picture consistently shows print dirt and debris, and edge enhancement was present.


Audio:
The 5.1 Dolby TrueHD soundtrack was attained by the HDMI connection of the PS3 to the Denon 3808CI.

The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track is just okay, as there is not a lot to go with from the soundtrack itself. A majority of the picture is vocals, with some weather effects and sparse music cues contributing. What is here is clear and concise and it provides an adequate soundstage. Panning effects are fine. LFE’s rarely engage and don’t provide much when they do.


Bonus Material: all items are in SD unless otherwise noted.

How’s It Going to End? The Making of The Truman Show (41:47): the cast and crew discuss the making of the picture and comment on how the movie was a progenitor to all of the reality shows we watch today. Weir, Carrey and Linney remain enthused about the project and are very forthcoming with their thoughts on it.

Faux Finishing: The Visual Effects of The Truman Show (13:16): VFX and environment are discussed here, talking more about the look and aesthetic of Truman’s world.

Deleted Scenes (13:09): four different scenes that were not finished. The scenes only show ideas already explored in the feature. Still, you get to see some more funny Carrey scenes that may have played well in quick cuts throughout the picture to show more of “The Truman Show” itself.

Two trailers (both in HD), two TV Spots and a photo gallery round out the bonus material.


Conclusions:
A prescient look at our fascination with reality based programming that leaves me wanting more to the story, Paramount basically cranks out a mediocre disc.
ISO "Lost" ARG prints from Kevin Tong, Olly Moss, Eric Tan and Methane Studios.  PM me if you want to sell!

All reviews done on a Marantz VP11S1 1080p DLP projector.

Displays professionally calibrated by Gregg Loewen of Lion AV.

#2 of 5 OFFLINE   JulianK

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Posted December 18 2008 - 04:57 AM

Nice review, thanks!

I'll be getting this, since I didn't pick up the Special Edition DVD version.

#3 of 5 Guest__*

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Posted September 25 2009 - 09:58 PM

Interesting that this omits the major issue of the aspect ratio, which follows the  other anamorphic DVDs in stretching a 1:66.1 image to fit a 1:78.1 screen: surely one of the worst crimes possible in home video production. More people should care about this, and the official HTF review shouldn't fail to mention it.

#4 of 5 OFFLINE   JediFonger

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Posted November 16 2009 - 04:12 PM

what Ben said =).


#5 of 5 OFFLINE   Bruce Morrison

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Posted November 19 2009 - 10:13 AM

Apparently Paramount have refused to acknowledge that the SE DVD and the Blu-ray editions have a distorted stretched image as described above.  They obviously don't intend to correct the problem and reissue the Blu-ray.  Unfortunately, many people will have bought it and not even noticed that all the actors look fatter than they should and the moon and the golf ball appear to be oval-shaped rather than circular.  It's just one more example of the cynical and contemptuous attitude that some of the large studios (Paramount included) have for their customers.

I'm wondering whether Peter Weir is aware of how his film has been butchered on this Blu-ray edition.  If he is, I would hope he would care enough to complain to Paramount and get them to correct it.
Bruce Morrison