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Blu-ray Reviews

Chocolat Blu-ray Review



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#1 of 5 OFFLINE   mattCR

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Posted July 16 2011 - 01:33 PM


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Chocolat

121 Minutes, PG-13

Presented in AVC-1 @ AWBR of 35.4Mbps, DTS-HD 5.1 Audio

Studio: Miramax

Distributed through Liongate

Dual Layer BD


Overview


There is just something alluring about Chocolate.   Whether you prefer white chocolate, dark chocolate, mixed in cream, ice cream, or in any other form, Chocolate has been one of those few foods that inspires an immediate emotional connection in people.   Love it or hate it, there is something about Chocolate. 

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Chocolat, the 2000 film based in 1950s France uses the food effectively as a metaphor for a change in culture and freedom.  Set post World War II, a sense of austerity, humility and denial has swept through a small French community that lives to show that it has moved to seek a new morality in a changing world.   While Elvis Presley may be making moves in America (highlighted early), the town itself moves to embrace their own humility.


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Chocolat is a very straightforward morality play, but it’s done so well you can’t help but enjoy it.   The cast is well rounded, with a great looking BInochet, and a great set of supporting actors who fill out the small town and act as more than simple stand up cardboard cutouts.   That’s part of what makes this film so well – that the characters are easy to relate to and believable.

Chocolat is a lot like the food itself, at times it can be bitter and too much, and times a bit thick, but by the end, the aftertaste is still quite good, and you feel hungry for another bite.


Picture Quality 3.5/5


Chocolat is presented in 1.78 AR from a theatrical 1.85.  Some scenes are not quite as good as they should be, where black has some digital artifacts, but not enough that I was really taken by it.  It is considerably better than previous versions of this film.

Chocolat is offered in AVC at an Average Weighted Bit Rate of 35.4 (overall bitrate w/audio is 38.1).   The picture at times is everything I could want from this film.    The film pulls back all of my memories; as characters who are outside  in the world move in a very soft, malleable setting – when they move into the chocolate shop, their views and the views of our character become razor sharp, drawing our eyes to the food being presented, to the vision of the actors.   It’s a great trick that I admired when I first saw this and still think it’s a great way to pull the audience into the story and give us visual cues as to the shift of the mindset of our patrons.


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Audio Quality 4.5/5


The audio here is presented in DTS-HD 5.1, and the mix is quite effective.   The sound effects are minor, but notable and help set up each location the actors are present in.  The soundtrack is a beautiful, light track that makes very effective use of the rears to at times propel us forward into the screen.   We can feel the urgency in walking scenes as music starts behind us and moves like a march toward the front, giving us the feeling of real movement within the film.


Extras 3 / 5


  • The Making of Chocolat Is presented in SD 480I.   This covers a lot of the adaptation of the novel.  

  • The Costumes of Chocolat  presented in 480.   The background of costumes.
  • Production Design Featurette Presented in 480.   They discuss set and layout designs for the film.
  • Deleted Scenes 480P.   There are several scenes presented here not present in the film, but I could instantly see why almost all of them were cut.   While a few were interesting, none of them really fed into the story well enough to stand on their own or wthin the film.
There is also a full film audio commentary present which features the director and the producers.   It was surprisingly effective.

Trailers present:  Everything Must Go,   The Switch (1080P. Dolby Stereo AC3), Biutiful (1080P, 6 Channel AC3),  The Conspirator (1080P, 6 Channel AC3),  Rabbit Hole (1080P, Dolby Stereo AC3),


Also present is the DTS soundcheck.   This is something that I wish was present on more discs.  It’s a simple walk through to calibrate your 5.1 and 7.1 setup, and it does  a great job of walking people through how to setup their home theater for the best audio that their receiver will provide.   It takes up minimal space on a disc, but it’s the kind of tool that I always think: wow, if you’ve got space, why not give the customer something like this?


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Conclusion:  Worth a Bite


Chocolat is a movie that I enjoyed originally and enjoyed more as presented on Bluray.   It’s a great story well told.  At times, like the candy confection, it’s a little bit too strong, but revisiting the characters made me remember why I enjoyed this film so much the first time.   The audio is very good, and the picture is good.   I am a little bothered by the change in aspect ratio from the theatrical as well as  some artifacting, but it’s minor in comparison to any prior released version.   For the price, it’s a great buy.     I will say: don’t watch before dinner; it will make you all too eager for desert.


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#2 of 5 OFFLINE   Peter McM

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Posted July 16 2011 - 02:50 PM

One of my favorite Miramax films. Wish the video quality could've received a better rating. Still--no doubt worth the upgrade from the DVD. Now--how about a proper restoration of Sirens?
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#3 of 5 OFFLINE   AnthonyP

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Posted July 16 2011 - 09:36 PM

Now--how about a proper restoration of Sirens?

Given that Echo Bridge owns the rights to it, I'll be content with a respectable transfer. At least that is a title that one doesn't have to worry about a modified aspect ratio, down mixed 2.0 audio (I believe Sirens is a native 2.0 surround track), missing previous notable extras or an edited version of the film. Thanks for the Chocolat review Matt.

#4 of 5 OFFLINE   Andy_MT

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Posted July 17 2011 - 04:34 AM

ahhh, the "10 year old HD master edition" ! nice work. yesterdays technology, today !!! awesome. i'll pass. i stick with canadian "equally so-so" edition. studios/distributors, i hate 'em all !!!!

#5 of 5 OFFLINE   mattCR

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Posted July 17 2011 - 02:15 PM



Originally Posted by Peter McM 

One of my favorite Miramax films. Wish the video quality could've received a better rating. Still--no doubt worth the upgrade from the DVD.

Now--how about a proper restoration of Sirens?



I think the biggest let down for me is that all of the extras are 480 interlaced, and they look it.   I had hoped for some updated extras.   Still, it's a value title you can find at many places cheap, and for that, it's an upgrade over the DVD...


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