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Blu-ray Reviews

HTF Blu-ray Review: THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE (revised)



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#1 of 15 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

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Posted October 29 2010 - 02:01 PM


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#2 of 15 ONLINE   Adam Lenhardt

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Posted October 30 2010 - 01:01 PM

Disappointing to hear about the video, but after catching this one in theaters I had no intention to revisit it anyway. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was a film that in many ways improved on the source material while catching that same Gothic atmosphere and sense that something very wrong was going on just under the surface. If it shifted the balance too far toward Salander's character, it was still very much a partnership.


The Girl Who Played With Fire is acutely aware of what a worldwide phenomenon Larsson's trilogy has become, and makes no attempt to tell a self-contained story. It covers the distance between Dragon Tattoo and Hornet's Nest, but it doesn't provide its own reason for an audience to care. And everything not directly involving Lisbeth Salander has been drastically dumbed down. The whole affair feels like a paint-by-numbers job lacking real energy and conviction. The overall impression by the end is, "So what?"



#3 of 15 OFFLINE   Steve Tannehill

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Posted October 30 2010 - 01:11 PM

I watched this via Netflix streaming on the PS3 and noticed no anomalies with the video. Then again, I was not looking for them.

#4 of 15 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

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Posted October 30 2010 - 03:14 PM


Originally Posted by Steve Tannehill 

I watched this via Netflix streaming on the PS3 and noticed no anomalies with the video. Then again, I was not looking for them.


Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't Netflix stream at 720p?

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#5 of 15 OFFLINE   Ernest

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Posted October 31 2010 - 09:44 AM

I watched the BluRay the other night and found both the video and audio quality excellent.

#6 of 15 OFFLINE   Steve Tannehill

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Posted October 31 2010 - 10:16 AM



Originally Posted by Michael Reuben 



Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't Netflix stream at 720p?


Apparently, 1080p was coming this year, but Netflix backed down and only delivered 5.1 sound to the Xbox and PS3.  When I looked at the audio options for Fire, sure enough both DD stereo and DD 5.1 were available options.  By the way, this is with the new PS3 software that no longer requires a disc to be inserted for the content to play.


If they bring out the 3-hour cuts of the Millennium Trilogy on blu-ray, I'll bite.  Meanwhile, it's the books, streaming or rental for me.

Thanks for the review!



#7 of 15 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

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Posted October 31 2010 - 10:49 AM

Appreciate the update, Steve. At the lower resolution, I'm not surprised the video noise wasn't noticeable. It was significantly reduced just switching from HDMI to component connections, but then again sharpness and image detail suffered significantly. So you have to pick your poison. Like you, I don't actively look for these issues. But I report them when they jump out and smack me in the face.
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#8 of 15 OFFLINE   Roger_R

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Posted October 31 2010 - 11:28 PM

The trilogy was originally planned as one theatrical film and two mini-series to be shown on TV. Because of the success of the first film, the minis were cut down from their original 3 hours versions and turned into films as well. Since they were originally TV productions, perhaps they were recorded directly to tape instead of film? It'd explain the video noise in the image and the lack of any DI credits.

#9 of 15 OFFLINE   Magnus_M

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Posted November 01 2010 - 03:44 PM



Originally Posted by Roger_R 

The trilogy was originally planned as one theatrical film and two mini-series to be shown on TV. Because of the success of the first film, the minis were cut down from their original 3 hours versions and turned into films as well. Since they were originally TV productions, perhaps they were recorded directly to tape instead of film? It'd explain the video noise in the image and the lack of any DI credits.



The first movie was shot in 35mm, the two sequels was shot in 16mm (Super 16).



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Posted November 04 2010 - 09:02 AM

Hi. I'm the digital colourist for these two last films in the trilogy (Fire and Hornet's nest). The DI process was carried out at Nordisk Film Post Production in Stockholm. The original thought from the producers was just get the "Dragon tattoo" out to the big screen. The second and the third was just thought just for television. "Dragon tattoo" was shot on 35mm. Since the intention was to get the other features to television, they geared down and ended up shooting it on 16mm film stock. This is a big factor for these two last features to get a much rougher look. Originally we did all the postproduction for the TV-series. When we did the rushes, we also made a technical scan down HDCAM-SR. In the conform we then just used the HD-tapes as sourse. Using the negative only once. Then I did a linear grading on the 4x90min series (two episodes/book). The grading were done in Baselight and mastered out to HDSR-tape. For the features we scanned the 16mm neg in logarithmic 3K resolution in our Arri-scan. The DI-grading was carried out in a Baselight 8 in log space using our calibrated 3D LUT. The DI neg was printed in our Arrilaser. And the print was copied onto Premiere Kodak film stock. I did the linear HD-master directly from Baselight onto a HDCAM-SR. I haven't seen the Blu-ray but I've heard that many viewers have had some toughts about "artifacts and video noise". I think this "problem" is called - 16mm film grain. Maybe we all have got used to see crystal clear RED or Phantom images without any grain or digital noise. Maybe the Blu-ray codec went berserk calculating all this grain. Thanks for the review! Ola Bäccman http://www.baccman.se

#11 of 15 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

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Posted November 04 2010 - 09:27 AM

Mr. Bäccman, thank you so much for joining us and for providing such detailed information about the post-production process. Also, please accept my compliments on your work on both Fire and Hornet's Nest (which I just saw in its U.S. release). However, I beg to differ on one point:


I think this "problem" is called - 16mm film grain. 


As noted, I saw Fire theatrically, projected on film. The problems I have described on the Blu-ray are so pervasive and noteworthy that I would have made note of them had they been present in the projected image.


In addition, I am no stranger to the look of 16mm on Blu-ray. I recently reviewed the Blu-ray of the Canadian TV show, Slings and Arrows, which was originated on 16mm, as well as the Red Riding trilogy on Blu-ray, the first chapter of which was shot on 16mm. Though each has its issues, neither exhibits the kind of video noise present on the Fire Blu-ray.


In light of the information you've so generously provided, I'm inclined to lay the blame on Music Box for attempting to squeeze this film onto a BD-25. Let's hope they don't repeat the same mistake with Hornet's Nest, which is almost half an hour longer.


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Posted November 05 2010 - 08:23 AM

Hi.

Thanks for the compliments.

Now I have to buy the swedish blu-ray version. Just to see the quality of it...


By the way, I saw the "Hornet´s nest" trailer on apple and it looks terrible. The black are to light and the trailer looks all green. Just a reflection...


Here's a link to the swedish TV-version release

Here's the feature version


Ola Bäccman



#13 of 15 OFFLINE   Steve Tannehill

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Posted November 05 2010 - 09:16 AM



Originally Posted by Ola Bäccman 



Here's a link to the swedish TV-version release

Here's the feature version



Ola Bäccman




Thanks for the links, Mr. Bäccman!

I see a Complete Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy there on blu-ray. Will that play on Region A players? Does it have English subtitles? I'd love to see the complete miniseries.

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Posted November 11 2010 - 06:06 AM

Hi Steve. The DVD/Blu-ray only have Swedish/Norwegian/Danish/Finnish subtitles. The region, I don't know. But it's in PAL. /Ola

#15 of 15 OFFLINE   theonemacduff

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Posted November 12 2010 - 05:07 AM

I don't know if the Canadian blu ray is differently encoded, but it does have some "extra features" unlike the disc Michael Reuben saw, so it might be either a different encode (seems unlikely though, eh?) or a different type of BD disc. I noticed right away that the image was different from the first movie, less sharp, and rougher, but it seemed acceptable as a viewing experience. I must say too, I didn't notice a lot of noise, but when I get caught up in a film, I don't usually pay much attention to the technical presentation, unless it's really and obviously bad. I will take a second look and see if the noise declares itself. And thank you Mr Baccman for providing such detailed information; very cool to have the Man Responsible join in. If only Swedish disc producers could be persuaded to put English subs on as a default. Then I could see trying to get hold of the original TV iterations (and some copies of Arn: Knight Templar also!).





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