I’ll put this out there, so that I’m clear about what I’m saying.

I’m not an Eddie Murphy fan.

I believe he’s a very talented gentleman, who can be very funny in the proper vehicle, but generally I come away unamused. Possibly it’s a matter of the studios allowing him to use his “star” persona, presuming that all will be well, or maybe it’s simply a matter of control. I don’t have the answer.

That noted, I am a fan of the wonderfully funny and charming Trading Places via John Landis.

It’s a terrifically entertaining film, that imho, stands the test of time.

It’s also the number 12 spine in the new Paramount Presents series, and I was hopeful that I’d love this incarnation.

I don’t.

I like it, but am unhappy with the imagery.

Not that it matters, as Mr. Landis is very happy.

I’d just prefer to see an image with a bit more a lot more shadow detail. To my eyes, there’s a black problem with this Blu-ray, and I’m not making inappropriate puns. The blacks remind me of ye olde and erley days of HDR, via which that bloody knob was always turned to 11.

Shadow detail seems to be missing from the entire film.

But again, I don’t get a vote here, so we’re going to presume that this is way that DP Robert Paynter exposed his negative, or wished it to be printed.

Other than that, this disc is a treat, with wonderful color, nice grain, and a full and rich 5.1 Dolby TrueHD track.

Image – My 3.5
Image – Their 5.0

Audio – 5

Pass / Fail – Pass

Upgrade from earlier Blu-ray – Can’t answer that one

Highly Recommended

RAH

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Josh Steinberg

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I haven’t seen this disc but there are some other new regime Paramount releases where I also felt shadow detail was lacking and blacks were overemphasized to the detriment of the overall image. I wonder if that’s their new “house look” or if one of their vendors responsible for authoring the discs has a settings issue.
 

Malcolm R

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The back of the case claims this is how the director wants it, from a new master supervised by John Landis himself.

1606107544242.png
 

Josh Steinberg

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The back of the case claims this is how the director wants it, from a new master supervised by John Landis himself.

View attachment 82289

The question I always have in these cases is, are the people signing off on a finished check disc, or on an approved digital master prior to disc authoring? A lot can happen on the way from approved master to finished disc.
 

Malcolm R

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The question I always have in these cases is, are the people signing off on a finished check disc, or on an approved digital master prior to disc authoring? A lot can happen on the way from approved master to finished disc.
Definitely, as this would not be the first time a supposedly "director-approved" transfer looked decidedly unimpressive.
 

Dave H

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Some of these SDR "remasters" don't look great...and look dramatically better on UHD BD (if this one is ever released on the format). I cannot help but think the studios are using some sort of automated or cheap & easy conversion from 4K HDR (which maybe is what Landis truly supervised) to 2K SDR 709. I've seen it where crushed shadow detail happens many times. Just my speculation.
 

Mark-P

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I’m wondering if this is going to be a repeat of the To Catch a Thief scenario where the Blu-ray looked like crap but the 4K digital incarnation with HDR was just fine.
 

Josh Steinberg

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The 2019 Blu-ray of Its A Wonderful Life looked terrible to me. It was perfectly clean and stable, but the detail was just gone. There was black, there was white, and nothing in between.
 

Robert Crawford

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I’m wondering if this is going to be a repeat of the To Catch a Thief scenario where the Blu-ray looked like crap but the 4K digital incarnation with HDR was just fine.
Some people even had issues with that 4K digital. Frankly, I think the detail issue is more of a problem with some people than others.
 

Colin Jacobson

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I think the movie always looked a bit too dark at times - especially in scenes with Murphy, as they didn't seem to understand they needed different lighting for Black actors.

I watched the new BD today and thought it looked very good. Nice, natural appearance.

Yeah, it can be dark... but it looked the way I expected based on watching it like 10 times over the decades...
 

Robert Harris

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I think the movie always looked a bit too dark at times - especially in scenes with Murphy, as they didn't seem to understand they needed different lighting for Black actors.

I watched the new BD today and thought it looked very good. Nice, natural appearance.

Yeah, it can be dark... but it looked the way I expected based on watching it like 10 times over the decades...
I doubt that there was a problem understanding how to photograph an actor with a different skin tonality.

The biggest problem was with orthochromatic film, which didn't read blue eyes, among other negative attributes. I believe it was James Howe who figured that one out.
 

Colin Jacobson

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I doubt that there was a problem understanding how to photograph an actor with a different skin tonality.

Not in the abstract, but more than a few movies that mix white and Black actors tend to relegate the latter to the shadows. They light for the white actors and don't compensate for the Black actors.

Heck, a comedian even had a routine about this - I think it might've been Murphy! Talking about how in movies with white and Black actors, the Black performer would end up with only his eyes visible! :lol:
 

dshultz

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For me, the idea of supporting John Landis is just not on, owing to the unforgivable arrogance that led to the unfathomable tragedy of his segment in "The Twilight Zone" film.

Personal preference as we all grapple with that with which we may morally abide. A long and untenable topic as we weigh the depravity not at all uncommon with massively talented artists, across all genres.

Landis clearly was a talented director - I particularly enjoyed his "Into The Night," despite the bigoted tropes. However, supporting him via royalties for purchasing product, lies beyond the pale for me.

To be clear, no judgement implied or otherwise, for those who do. Simply put, this is horses for courses...