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HTF BLU-RAY REVIEW: The Green Mile



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#1 of 9 Cameron Yee

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Posted December 09 2009 - 05:48 PM

http://static.hometh..._green_mile.jpg">    THE FEATURE SPECIAL FEATURES Video 1080p high definition 16x9 1.85:1 480i or 480p standard definition Audio Dolby TrueHD: English 5.1 / Dolby Digital: English 5.1, French 5.1, Spanish 5.1, German 5.1, Italian 5.1, Portuguese 2.0, Turkish 2.0 Stereo Subtitles English SDH, French, Spanish, Chinese, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, German SDH, Greek, Italian, Korean, Norwegian, Portuguese, Swedish, Thai and Turkish English SDH, French, Spanish, Chinese, Dutch, German SDH, Italian, Korean, Portuguese and Thai (on select bonus material)

The Feature: 4.5/5

In 1935 the Cold Mountain Penitentiary gets a most unusual addition to its death row cell block (nicknamed the Green Mile for its lime-colored corridor to the execution room). John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan), convicted for the rape and murder of two little girls, would be the epitome of evil if he weren't so obviously innocent - in respect to the crime that has imprisoned him and to his very being. Though a giant of a man, he has the sensibilities of a child - scared by the dark and delighted by things that most have come to take for granted in their age. But a personality that belies his appearance and supposed misdeeds is not what makes him different; Coffey also has a gift. The first to experience it is block supervisor Paul Edgecomb (Tom Hanks), but eventually, to varying degrees, so do the other guards on the block. Though knowing Coffey will unequivocally change their lives - Paul's in particular - it will also remind them of the one thing that can never change. Even for a soul like Coffey, everyone has a Green Mile to walk eventually.

Coming five years after the success of "The Shawshank Redemption" it's easy to categorize "The Green Mile" as yet another prison-set, adaptation of a Stephen King work by writer-director Frank Darabont. But in actually watching the film, it's immediately clear those similarities are just circumstantial, as the film strikes a noticeably sobering tone, particularly in its epilogue. At the same time it is no less touching or hopeful, presenting both sides of the human condition in a way that reminds us of what we are capable of, but also of what we can choose to be. Though "Shawshank" is probably still the better film, trading less in heavy metaphors and abstract spirituality, "The Green Mile" is an impressive follow-up that rightly cements Darabont as a writer-director to count on.

Video Quality: 4/5

Presented in 1080p with the VC-1 codec, the film's image fills the entirety of my 16:9 display despite the package labeling it as 1.85:1. The picture is blemish-free and exhibits solid and inky black levels, though contrast usually looks compressed, perhaps a byproduct of the deep saturation of the color palette. Though colors can skew quite warm at times, the color grading is appropriate for the sentimental elements of the story. Overall sharpness and detail are good - textures in fabrics and skin in particular; however, many wide shots show a noticeable drop in detail. Though some instances seem related to the use of motion control (e.g. the pan across the execution room with dissolves into various stages of its preparation), others don't have such technical complications to explain their appearance. Fortunately there seems to be no attempts to compensate with excessive sharpening measures. Likewise the image shows no signs of noise or grain reduction. Overall, it's a very good transfer with the majority of issues appearing to be source related.

Audio Quality: 4/5

The surround channels in the 5.1 Dolby TrueHD audio track provide balanced and detailed support for the score with mostly mild, though enveloping, environmental effects. In the most dramatic moments the entire array perks up and includes some impressively clean and strong LFE. Dialogue is consistently clear and detailed with no moments of strain or edginess to the vocals. Overall it's a strong and effective audio presentation. Worth noting is I had to raise my receiver volume level about 10 clicks above my standard setting.

Special Features: 4/5

The special features package, which includes all the items from the 2006 special edition DVD release, features a nice balance of behind-the-scenes content and promotional artifacts.

Audio Commentary by Writer/Director Frank Darabont: Darabont turns in an engaging and anecdote-filled commentary, covering subjects like adapting the novel and various directing challenges.

Walking the Mile: The Making of the Green Mile (25:30, SD): Behind-the-scenes documentary covers standard topics like Stephen King's original novel, adapting the novel for the screen, casting the actors, production design, training mice for the role of Mr. Jingles, and memorable moments from production.

Miracles and Mystery: Creating the Green Mile (1:42:54, SD): Divided into six sections, "Miracles and Mystery" is essentially a longer version of the preceding piece, hitting on the same general topics. "Stephen King Storyteller" (23:56) looks at King and his work; "The Art of Adaptation" (14:04) looks at Darabont's adaptation of "The Green Mile" novel; "Acting on the Mile" (21:04) looks at casting and characters; "Designing on the Mile" (14:19) looks at the sets and production design; "The Magic of the Mile" (15:11) looks at visual, makeup and special effects; and "The Tail of Mr. Jingles" (14:16) looks at training and working with mice.

Deleted Scenes (3:38, SD): Two scenes with optional commentary from Darabont.

Michael Clarke Duncan Screen Test (8:26, SD): Duncan's fully realized performance of Coffey is as impressive as everyone has said.

Tom Hanks Makeup Tests (5:30, SD): Before the filmmakers opted to use actor Dabbs Greer as "Old Paul," they tried out old age makeup on Hanks, with varying degrees of success.

The Teaser Trailer: A Case Study (4:47, SD): The filmmakers wanted a trailer to sell the heartwarming, "miracle" aspects of the film, but the final product didn't turn out like what they were envisioning.

Teaser Trailer (1:58, SD): The notorious final product (abandoning it was a smart move).

Theatrical Trailer (2:23, SD)

Collectible Book: The nicely produced book-that-is-the-packaging includes cast and crew biographies and numerous photographs.

Recap

The Feature: 4.5/5
Video Quality: 4/5
Audio Quality: 4/5
Special Features: 4/5
Overall Score (not an average): 4/5


It's hard to imagine outdoing "The Shawshank Redemption" but Darabont comes close with another fine adaptation of written source material by Stephen King. No longer a Best Buy exclusive, "The Green Mile" on Blu-ray gets a very good audio and video presentation and a fine set of special features.

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#2 of 9 Cees Alons

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Posted December 10 2009 - 05:44 AM

Thanks Cameron.

Mine arrived today, because I ordered it from Amazon/UK (£ 8 = roughly $ 13 and less shipping costs for me). Given the other languages and subtitles you listed, the disc must be the same. And, it being Warner, the European version will be region-free (as I can confirm now).

Remarkable movie. Strong supporting parts too. David Morse is splendid and subtle. (After seeing this movie, I decided to buy some of his earliest movies, The Crossing Guard and The Indian Runner).

The film has a wonderful atmosphere. One gruesome scene takes very long, perhaps longer than necessary even, although the prolonged time is the essence of that particular ordeal, of course.

I'm happy to read your judgment of the disc, the DVD can be retired! /img/vbsmilies/htf/smile.gif

Cees

#3 of 9 Mike Frezon

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Posted December 10 2009 - 05:57 AM



Quote:
Originally Posted by Cees Alons 

Remarkable movie. Strong supporting parts too. David Morse is splendid and subtle. (After seeing this movie, I decided to buy some of his earliest movies, The Crossing Guard and The Indian Runner).
 
David Morse has always been very good...even going back to his earlier roles.  St. Elsewhere comes particularly to mind.  A shame that only the first season of that program has been released.    He also had a brief, but compelling, story arc in House a couple of seasons ago.  And, his George Washington in the John Adams mini-series was also quite good.  He's an under-recognized actor. 

I hope to add The Green Mile to my shelf sometime soon...but am slowing down on my "upgrades " of DVDs to concentrate on newer material for awhile.  When I see a "can't beat this" deal maybe...  /img/vbsmilies/htf/smile.gif

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#4 of 9 ManW_TheUncool

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Posted December 10 2009 - 06:06 PM


Quote:
Originally Posted by Cees Alons View Post

Mine arrived today, because I ordered it from Amazon/UK (£ 8 = roughly $ 13 and less shipping costs for me). Given the other languages and subtitles you listed, the disc must be the same. And, it being Warner, the European version will be region-free (as I can confirm now).
 
Hmmm...  Maybe I should just import this title from Amazon/UK along w/ some others like Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon (finally).  There seems to be some decent prices there right now.  Will need to doublecheck region coding, etc. for them though.

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#5 of 9 Cees Alons

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Posted December 11 2009 - 12:25 AM

What's interesting: I haven't checked this yet, but on the backside (of the UK version) it says that the Special Features are "480i or 480p Standard Definition". That would mean it's not PAL.


Cees

#6 of 9 Brett_B

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Posted December 11 2009 - 04:11 AM


Quote:
One gruesome scene takes very long, perhaps longer than necessary even, although the prolonged time is the essence of that particular ordeal, of course.


Cees,

I don't know if you had read the book, but the title of the chapter that includes the scene you mention is:

 The Bad Death of Eduard Delacroix
Darabont definitely remained true to the source with his screenplay.



#7 of 9 Stephen_J_H

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Posted December 11 2009 - 08:48 AM



Quote:
The picture is blemish-free and exhibits solid and inky black levels, though contrast usually looks compressed, perhaps a byproduct of the deep saturation of the color palette. Though colors can skew quite warm at times, the color grading is appropriate for the sentimental elements of the story.

This leads me to believe that this is an early DI film. Anybody know for sure?

"My opinion is that (a) anyone who actually works in a video store and does not understand letterboxing has given up on life, and (b) any customer who prefers to have the sides of a movie hacked off should not be licensed to operate a video player."-- Roger Ebert

#8 of 9 Brian Borst

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Posted December 11 2009 - 08:50 AM



Quote:
Originally Posted by Brett_B 




Cees,

I don't know if you had read the book, but the title of the chapter that includes the scene you mention is:

 The Bad Death of Eduard Delacroix
Darabont definitely remained true to the source with his screenplay.
 
Technically, it was the name of the book (or volume) that had that title. The Green Mile was released in serial novel, consisting six volumes.

And Cees, Warner always puts the extras on their Blu-rays in 480p. Makes it easier for American customers who want to import, since most (if not all) European televisions can handle 480p without a problem.


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#9 of 9 Robert Crawford

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Posted December 11 2009 - 09:02 AM

Yes, I was the lone sucker!  It won't happen again.;)





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