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HTF BLU-RAY REVIEW: Back to the Future 25th Anniversary Trilogy Blu-ray - Recommended



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#21 of 45 Kevin EK

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Posted November 02 2010 - 02:22 AM

Man, I can only request that you actually see the transfers yourself, and not rely on posted screencaps or online opinions.  You could rent the discs for very little and settle the doubt once and for all.


I stand by my review here - I did not see a mess of DNR at all.  And on BTTF3, I went through various sequences looking for it - like the DeLorean/Train sequence, and I saw both grain and additional detail in the shots.  Things certainly varied, depending on the amount of VFX work used in the shots, but I was never taken out of the sequence because of PQ.  The closing shot of Doc and Clara floating off on the hoverboard doesn't hold up that well, but this is due to it being an obvious bluescreen shot that the Blu-ray mercilessly reveals.


#22 of 45 ManW_TheUncool

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Posted November 02 2010 - 08:11 AM

Fair enough.  I may give them a rent in succession when my Blockbuster Online subscription reactivates -- and depending on what I see in each case, will then decide whether to bother renting the rest.  But because of that, I will probably also count the cost of rental against their purchase price as I often do, especially since this would otherwise not have been a normal blind-buy and it's pretty clear that the set is by no means reference quality or anything remotely like that (and that Universal deserves no extra $ for their generally mediocre-to-poor efforts) and thus not deserving of being cut any slack in that aspect.


One thing.  I *WAS* going to say I don't understand why nobody has provided some good screencaps to prove that the set is worth owning at all under the circumstance.  And before posting this reply, I decided to check out DVDBeaver for their screencaps -- don't recall actually checking them before -- and their screencaps for the original movie do look better and decent enough, but unfortunately, they didn't provide any for the sequels.


Upon closer examination, it looks like the bad screencaps at that DoBlu site's review are probably partially degraded by JPEG compression issues.  Almost none of their screencaps for the first movie exceed 300KB in size, which is quite low for image fidelity at 2MP res, and the closest directly comparable screencap(s) to those at DVDBeaver (ie. the closeup of Marty and the principal getting close-up facetime) does look like there may be JPEG compression issues at the small file size used after accounting for the diffs.  And none of the other screencaps at DoBlu show comparable quality to DVDBeaver's screencaps of the first movie either.  So looks like the DoBlu screencaps probably are not accurate enough for determining actual PQ.


Hmmm...  Maybe I should just try renting the last movie to see whether the PQ on that is acceptable enough for when the set lands in a low enough price point for me...


Thanks, Kevin.


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#23 of 45 Zack Gibbs

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Posted November 02 2010 - 08:40 AM

^I can tell you that DVDBeaver seems to have picked the least offending scenes for all of their screencaps. Notice how almost every one is a closeup?


"Because he's the hero that Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now... and so we'll hunt him... because he can take it... because he's not a hero... he's a silent guardian, a watchful protector... a DARK KNIGHT."

#24 of 45 Stephen_J_H

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Posted November 02 2010 - 09:05 AM

Still, the fact that DoBlu's caps are JPEGs suggests less than true fidelity to the actual image, especially if they average around 300Kb apiece.


"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

#25 of 45 Jeff F.

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Posted November 04 2010 - 07:13 AM

I thought BTTF looked excellent on my 52" Sony.  BTTF 2 was a bit softer but still looked great.  BTTF 3 wasn't as good, at least in the opening scenes.  Colors were murky, and the picture just seemed muddy to me.  It improved a bit during the western scenes, but overall, not really thrilled with the transfer on this one.  Sound was great on all of them, but I noticed some minor distortion in dialogue during the opening scens of BTTF 3. It's as if the dialogue and the rain sound effects weren't mixed properly.  And don't get me started about the horrible packaging...  Posted Image



#26 of 45 Kevin EK

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Posted November 04 2010 - 08:17 AM

Jeff, I'm going to go back and listen to the opening 1955 section of Part III and I'll report back about it tonight.  I hadn't noticed distortion before, but I'm always happy to check.


#27 of 45 Kevin EK

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Posted November 04 2010 - 07:51 PM

Okay, I have re-watched the entire opening section of Back to the Future Part III, up to the point where Marty and Doc Brown are discussing their situation in Brown's blacksmith shop in 1885 Hill Valley.  I did not hear any crackles or distortion, but I did hear some pronounced directionality from my surrounds when the Indians and then the Cavalry passed Marty by.  The dialogue between Marty and the Doc both at his house and at the Monument Valley Drive-in was clear to my ears.


I'm using a Denon receiver with an HDMI connection to my PS3, with the output set to PCM.


What equipment and connections are you using - could there be an issue with them, or with your player?  (I realize you've probably already checked this, but it never hurts to ask.)



#28 of 45 Jeff F.

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Posted November 05 2010 - 05:24 AM

Thank you for checking it out, Kevin.  I'm using a Denon receiver (AVR 888) with a Sony KDL-52W3000 HDTV and a fat PS3 for the Blu-Ray player - all HDMI and PCM.  I also popped in my old DVD copy of the film last night.  I can hear the audio issues on that disc, as well, and finally figured out what it was I was hearing (I must have really sensitive hearing!).  During the opening scene of the film when Doc wakes up to find Marty in his house, it's raining outside.  Rain sound effects were added to the scene, but if you look in the background window of the house, you can see that rain is falling outside of it.  Since this is a practical effect done on set, what I now think I'm hearing is the muffled sounds of the actual water falling in the background, mixed with the added rain sound effect.  Whenever there's dialogue, I hear both the water sound effect and practical on-set water noise, which makes the dialogue sound kind of distorted. But when there's no dialogue, the practical water noise is eliminated, which makes the ambient sound much more crisp.  It's kind of hard to explain, and I hope this makes sense to you.  At least it's not an issue with the BD.



#29 of 45 Nelson Au

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Posted November 07 2010 - 05:45 AM

I had a chance to sit down with Back to the Future this weekend and saw the first and second film.


I really enjoyed the first film again, I had not seen it on purpose for a few years. Sorry to hear so many people will not buy this set because of the transfer reviews and comments about how it wasn't a full out full restoration like they did with the Alien set.


On my plasma, which is 50 inches, I thought the first film looked great. I wasn't looking at the transfer, I was watching the movie. The only time I looked at the transfer, was when Mr. Strickland had his nose up to Marty's when he caught him and Jennifer late for school and I could really see the skin tones and wrinkles in the neck on Mr. Strickland. It stood out!

The optical effects worked well and looked fine on the first film.

The second film I could really see how the optical effects were showing. But they always showed on past releases too. it was always a dead give-away when multiple versions of Marty or the Doc were on screen. Especially noticeable for me this time was the old Biff in the 80's Cafe when he first see's the real Marty who he thinks is Marty's son. I never noticed that before that old Biff was an optical next to Marty while young Griff is seen outside arriving in his BMW and comes into the Cafe. But I could see a few cool things when Marty first walks onto the town square and looks around. I never noticed the flying Mustang on the right come in for a landing, go past a pole and then you see the real car drive by. Pretty seamless. And on the upper left, I never noticed so clearly the highway up in the sky.


And then the shot of the DeLorean landing on the street by Larty's house in the alternate 1985 looked very good too. It was seamless between optical and the real car.


The new actress playing Jennifer, Elisabeth Shue, she had such a thankless role trying to look like Claudia Wells. Her wig in every video release looked fake! But at least she had something to do in this film.

On the whole, the second film I thought was a fine looking blu-ray. Sure, it won't look like the new Alien release, but I suspect these 3 films never could. The first film, sure, it could have. I'm not going to loose sleep over it.


I look forward to the third film which I expect to look better because there are less optical effects they had to do with muliple Martys. I'm guessing the worst part will be when Marty stays with Seamus Mcfly and family and we see Seamus handing the baby over to Marty. I'm guessing the outdoor sequences will look pretty good. And I look forward to see how the train sequence looks.

Oh yeah, I don't have a 7.1 system, I prefer to keep my 5.1 for now. Eventhough I don't have a system with the newest ability to decode the new audio tracks, I thought it sounded great! The lightening hitting the clock tower sounded great! Funny how in the second movie when they repeat the clock tower sequence, the lightening is not as punchy. It was pretty lackluster! It was a very enveloping sound track.


#30 of 45 robert w

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Posted November 09 2010 - 07:52 AM

There are a couple reviews on Amazon about the new set that I'd like to question here.  One said:


"If you don't already know they messed up the matte cut on 2 and 3. They are not the full theatrical version of the movie. They are a cheap fast cut of these movies so that they could push these blue rays out as soon as they could."


And another:


"Discs 2 and 3 or not actually wide screen. I was told Universal will replace the discs for customers early next year. (That was a bit disappointing)"


These reviews were from the past couple of days.  Is there any truth to this?  I know on the DVD boxset there was this issue.  Are these people misinformed...or am I missing something here?

Thanks.



#31 of 45 Brandon Conway

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Posted November 09 2010 - 08:20 AM

The Blu-rays are just fine in terms of framing.


"And now the reprimand, from an American critic. He reproaches me for using film as a sacred & lasting medium, like a painting or a book. He does not believe that filmmaking is an inferior art, but he believes, and quite rightly, that a reel goes quickly, that the public are looking above all for relaxation, that film is fragile and that it is pretentious to express the power of one's soul by such ephemeral and delicate means, that Charlie Chaplin's or Buster Keaton's first films can only be seen on very rare and badly spoiled prints. I add that the cinema is making daily progress and that eventually films that we consider marvelous today will soon be forgotten because of new dimensions & colour. This is true. But for 4 weeks this film [The Blood of a Poet] has been shown to audiences that have been so attentive, so eager & so warm, that I wonder after all there is not an anonymous public who are looking for more than relaxation in the cinema." - Jean Cocteau, 1932


#32 of 45 Zack Gibbs

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Posted November 09 2010 - 08:51 AM

It sounds like they're either trolling, or reading the old reviews and are too dumb to realize it.


I hate the way Amazon pools their reviews for multiple releases like this, could that be more worthless?


"Because he's the hero that Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now... and so we'll hunt him... because he can take it... because he's not a hero... he's a silent guardian, a watchful protector... a DARK KNIGHT."

#33 of 45 robert w

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Posted November 09 2010 - 09:15 AM

Thanks for putting my mind at ease.  I didn't think what was mentioned by those people was correct, but I wanted to be double-dog sure.


I agree that Amazon's pooling of reviews makes them virtually useless, misleading, etc.  No idea why they can't apply the proper reviews to EACH product.  Ridiculous.


Thanks again.



#34 of 45 ManW_TheUncool

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Posted November 09 2010 - 10:06 AM


Originally Posted by robert w 
I agree that Amazon's pooling of reviews makes them virtually useless, misleading, etc.  No idea why they can't apply the proper reviews to EACH product.  Ridiculous.



They probably do that believing (whether rightly or wrongly) that it'll help sales and their bottomline.


If there are too few reviews, which tends to be the case for BDs, it'd probably be better to combine them for the average consumer, especially for a movie title, at least from the seller's perspective anyway -- most people also care more about the story, etc. than the PQ/AQ anyway, and those who *really* want trustworthy PQ/AQ reviews probably know better than to trust Amazon customer reviews for that. Posted Image


_Man_


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#35 of 45 TravisR

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Posted November 09 2010 - 10:48 AM

Robert, the first quote sounds like an internet troll post and the second sounds like someone who read a review of the DVD from 2002 and doesn't realize that it's referring to an old set. With all the problems with framing on the first DVD set, I'd be flabbergasted if someone hadn't caught framing errors on the Blu-ray set by now.



#36 of 45 robert w

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Posted November 09 2010 - 12:42 PM


LOL.  I was a 'victim' of that framing fiasco back then.  I guess those 2 reviews gave me flashbacks Posted Image  Yeah, like I said, I was just making sure it wasn't screwed up a second time.  Nothing surprises me anymore.

Originally Posted by TravisR 

Robert, the first quote sounds like an internet troll post and the second sounds like someone who read a review of the DVD from 2002 and doesn't realize that it's referring to an old set. With all the problems with framing on the first DVD set, I'd be flabbergasted if someone hadn't caught framing errors on the Blu-ray set by now.





#37 of 45 Christian Preischl

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Posted November 09 2010 - 08:52 PM



Originally Posted by TravisR 

Robert, the first quote sounds like an internet troll post


Or he has only ever seen the TV versions which featured additional footage not present in the theatrical cuts (and obviously doesn't have a clue).



#38 of 45 Kevin EK

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Posted November 11 2010 - 01:39 AM

Just noticed the comments about the framing.

Just under 8 years ago, I participated in the trade-in program and got the revised DVDs to address the framing issue that had come up on the DVD set from 2002.


There is no such issue with the Blu-ray set - and I'm honestly shocked if anyone is seriously trying to get people to think that this is a problem.


#39 of 45 Paul_Warren

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Posted November 13 2010 - 11:28 AM

Nothing wrong with the framing & the PQ has the same grain which was present when these were in theatres. I remember BTTF2 was really grainy at the cinema especially anything which involved a multi layer optical composite in the daytime like the opening flying DeLorean shot. It was only just finished ontime & the ILM optical composites for the many different layers to construct the complex visual effects (even today the effects complexity still holds up) caused the film to obviously have several generations of print struck so what you are actually seeing is probably the 2nd or 3rd generation print here. Same with BTTF3 but as it has less effects shots so not as obvious.


Back in those days the post production schedules were often 18-24 months as optical effects were very time consuming to do & even then the excessive grain was a byproduct of this photo chemical process.


BTTF2 is almost to the day 21 years old & to me its still an amazing film its no wonder Zemeckis says in the 2010 doc he thinks its his most complex work as some of it is mind boggling & the attention to detail is 2nd to none its probably one of the most complex movie's ever made & by far the most interesting of the 3 although to me they are all perfect for different reasons this is one of the best trilogies ever made!!



#40 of 45 Kevin EK

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Posted November 13 2010 - 07:25 PM

I just went back and looked at the "Earth Angel"/"Johnny B. Goode" sequence and noticed something I thought I had misheard on my first viewing.


The audio of Michael J. Fox and the actor playing "Marvin Berry" is dialed really low compared to the noise of the crowd in the gym when Marvin asks Marty to play another number, one that really cooks.  I'm using a Denon receiver that normally has no issues - so I'm wondering if anyone else noticed this as well.  It's minor but it's a little weird.







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