A Few Words About A few words about... Passion of the Christ

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Robert Harris, Aug 31, 2004.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Mr. Gibson's film is one more that I missed theatrically, hoping for a superb presentation DVD.

    I viewed this film with no political precognitions.

    What I found was as follows:

    In many ways this is a film more about the politics of the ancient world than about religion.

    Make no mistake, this is not a film for the weak of heart (or stomach). Passion of the Christ is a film which can make the religious viewer weep, and the less than religious viewer positioned more against religion in general.

    A couple of weeks ago, as a small form of preparation for screening Passion, I viewed Jim Caviezel in The Count of Monte Cristo. While he gave a superb performance in Count, I was unprepared for the strength of his work in Passion.

    But those comments are not what are expected in one of my short “few words about” pieces, so I’ll get to the heart of the matter.

    Short and not too sweet.

    The Passion of the Christ is an important film which deserved better treatment on DVD.

    While the audio tracks are of the highest quality, the image suffers.

    In a situation similar to the discussions now occurring in the pinned column on HTF, I’m finding an overall soft image, devoid of detail especially in long shots, and much too high a level of digitius, to a point of distraction.

    I was expecting and hopeful of a superb translation of Mr. Gibson’s work to DVD.

    It isn’t there.

    RAH
     
  2. Michael St. Clair

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    IMDB reports this disc is single-layered (DVD-5). Do we really need full-bitrate DTS on a single-layered disc? Should a 127 minute film be on a single-layered disc? Perhaps that has something to do with the 'digitius'.

    EDIT: I now see in the other thread that at least one HTF member reports this as DVD-9. Wouldn't be the first time for IMDB to be wrong. If anything, that makes the 'digitius' even more inexcusable.

    One argument of anti-semitism is the depiction of Pilate as hamstrung and not eager to crucify Christ, allowing more blame to be placed on Jews for Christ's ultimate fate. History suggests this would be out of character for Pilate. Those who literally believe the canonical bible exclusively will disagree. I do not have a dog in this fight, neither pretending to know or caring who was 'behind' the reported crucifixion.
     
  3. greg_t

    greg_t Screenwriter

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    The U.S. version (Fox) is only half rate DTS. The canadian version has full bitrate DTS.
     
  4. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    The disc appears to be dual layer. I may be incorrect, but I noted a slight hesitation about 71 minutes in.
     
  5. CraigF

    CraigF Cinematographer

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    FWIW, the Canadian WS one is dual layer.
     
  6. DustinPizarro

    DustinPizarro Stunt Coordinator

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    Today I almost bought the single edition but now I'm glad I hesitated. Hopefully the new special edition that I'm hearing about will correct some of the image quality issues Mr. Harris pointed out. Until then this movie will be a rental until a better translation to DVD comes out.
     
  7. Julian Lalor

    Julian Lalor Supporting Actor

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    I'd be horrified if this was a single layer disc. The film runs for 127 minutes which would make for some terrible compression when you add a DD 5.1 and DTS track.
     
  8. Joshua_W

    Joshua_W Second Unit

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    I don't have much interest in this movie, but it's really disappointing that the image quality suffers.

    At this point in the medium, there's no excuse whatsoever for a shoddy transfer on a new film.
     
  9. Michael Osadciw

    Michael Osadciw Screenwriter

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    Gentlemen,

    This is NOT a single layer disc. It's amazing how one written error can cause so much stirr.

    As I wrote in the other post regarding bitrates:

    The answer I received directly from FOX:

    The US release does in fact have:
    [*] An average video bit rate on layer 0 of 6.1 Mbps
    [*] An average video bit rate on layer 1 of 7.3 Mbps
    [*] DTS streamed at 754.5 kbps


    On the Canadian release, the layer change is at 1.03.23.

    The image quality isn't bad on this disc. I'm not sure how all of you are so disappointed. When criticizing DVD, I think too many people are suffering from digititus and it seems very contagious amongst this forum, not the disc.

    The harsh words on this forum about this transfer are quite appalling, actually.

    Mike
     
  10. Tim Glover

    Tim Glover Lead Actor

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    I certainly respect you Robert Harris and always look forward to your thoughts on film in general. I've learned alot from reading your stuff.

    But watched the dvd tonight and found it to be mostly stellar. At times it is soft as you point out, but not distractingly so.

    And this was viewed on my large front projection system.

    It is the movie only with no other options, but this has been known from the beginning that a special edition would surface next year.
     
  11. Sean Patrick

    Sean Patrick Supporting Actor

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    for the few of us who have dvhs decks, i think Passion of the Christ is going to be one of the final D-Theater tapes released for the format.

    i was planning on renting the dvd but i might just pick up the dvhs version....i haven't seen the film yet but i have a feeling i want it in my collection.
     
  12. Chris Wagner

    Chris Wagner Stunt Coordinator

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    The Passion of the Christ - "isn't bad" [​IMG] Michael Osadciw
    HTF DVD Reviewer

    Wow, "isn't bad" just doesn't cut it sometimes.
    I would much rather hear some constructive criticism.
    This is a high profile bare-bones release, no excuses.
    I guess I'll see for myself, if I get around to renting it.

    Thanks, as always, for your insight Mr. Harris.
     
  13. Dennis Pagoulatos

    Dennis Pagoulatos Supporting Actor

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    Is it too late to say "I told you so"? [​IMG]

    For the last time, stop putting multiple surround formats on DVD's. I LOVE DTS, love it, but unfortunately, it's not the standard DVD audio format, so I'd prefer a single DD track, a tiny commentary track audio or two, and that's about it....even half bitrate DTS takes up a lot more space than DD5.1, forget about full bitrate...so for the love of Pete, stop it already! Just release separate DTS versions for those so inclined, but maximize the video quality available on mainstream DVD releases.

    No new film should be released with the following specs in Region 1 AFAIC: (obviously this isn't the Passion's specs, but I'm listing it to make a point)

    DD5.1 English
    DD5.1 Spanish
    DD5.1 French
    DTS 5.1 English
    DD2.0 Surround English
    Commentary 1
    Commentary 2

    Oh yeah, and then some VIDEO too. [​IMG]

    EE is a bad enough thing on so many major studio DVD transfers these days (actually it seems to be getting improperly/ poorly used much more with newer transfers for some stupid reason) but cutting these movies off at the knees by stuffing all the extra audio overhead on the disk practically makes me long for my old LD collection again. Yeesh.

    So much for a "maturing" format. Looks like DVD is slowly going into the mainstream toilet instead. Bring on HD-DVD for the niche market consumers and F*** DVD's, F*** them up their stupid asses already!

    -Dennis
     
  14. Michael Osadciw

    Michael Osadciw Screenwriter

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    Chris, I think you are looking a little too much into my words' meaning on this thread. "Isn't bad" means there is nothing wrong, not that its just "ok" as you seem to be taking it. I think avoiding this disc based on the picture quality. There is nothing wrong with it.

    I think the problem is that too many people actually want to believe there is something wrong when there really isn't.

    If you want to see some constructive criticism I saved it for my very extensive review on PQ and AQ. If anything, I have nothing but praise. Each DVD release doesn't need to be torn apart all of time. There was no need to repeat myself on other posts.

    Mike
     
  15. Jason^G

    Jason^G Auditioning

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    I noticed relentless edge enhancement (vertical and horizontal), contrast boosting and the inevitable flickering and shimmering. Also, the DVD suffers from improperly flagged frames (I’ve checked, they are ALL wrong), chroma bug, red-shifting, color bleeding... let see what else... Before my eyes melted out of my skull I saw horrific micro and macro blockiness exacerbated by arbitrary lossy compression, other artifacts included blooming followed by withering, irreversible image decrepitude caused by a reversion mutation that gave rise to revertant colony of dot crawl agents infected with digititus.

    and most shocking of all I discovered the Gibbs effect had mutated with a virulent mosquito banshee-yell that resulted in image break-up and ultimately led to player failure. Both disc and player had to be thrown away.

    More: for some reason the idiots recklessly encoded this DVD with a varying bit rate with blatant disregard for disc-space. Noticeable layer change.

    Audio is worse. LFE is anemic, while the 2 and 4 channels are guttural, channel 1 and 3 are flat, and the center channel is sharp. The sound is undistinguishable and suffers from field crashes and echo-modulation caused by faulty matrix coding.
     
  16. Jon B NY

    Jon B NY Stunt Coordinator

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    Even the DVD is causing arguments and controversy [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  17. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    The problem really is that in viewing this film on DVD, one should not be thinking about mosquito noise.

    RAH
     
  18. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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  19. David_SG

    David_SG Stunt Coordinator

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    I know this has been debated to no end, and that this isn't the forum to continue the debate, but since you bring it up, I have to respond - just tired of another attempt to dismiss/explain away the controversial nature of the film. There is a difference between a film being "anti-semitic", and a film that can easily inspire anti-semitism. I don't believe Gibson's film is inherently anti-semitic, but if you can't recognize how it can be used to fuel anti-semitism, then, well, you don't understand the historical roots of anti-semitism.

    Gibson made a clear choice to make Pilate the sympathetic character and the Jewish priests a pack of faceless caricatures. In my view, an irresponsible decision (albeit one that Gibson had every right to make) that diminished the overall impact of the film.
     
  20. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Guys,
    If you want to debate this film then please do so in the proper forum. Thank you.









    Crawdaddy
     

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