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Robert Harris

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Robert Harris
Paul Verhoeven's Basic Instinct, from a screenplay by Joe Eszterhas, is one of the finest thriller / police procedurals of its era that one is apt to find.

It's been available in many different flavors and two cuts of home video products, and now makes its way, via Studio Canal to 4k UHD Blu-ray.

The results, promoted as a difficult restoration make a suitable case for treatment.

As an overriding question, one might ask "Is this a restoration?"

or, "Was this a restoration initially?"

Having not seen data files, I'm unable to answer that question.

Much has been made of the fact that the company performing that work discovered that the element - presumably the OCN - from which they were working, was not the un-cut version, which had opened as such in the U.S., but was cut to an R shortly thereafter. About a minute of material had been deleted, which is actually odd, as it could have just as easily been deleted from the printing dupe or IP, leaving the OCN intact.

Presuming that the trims were derived from an IP or dupe, they appear seamless in the new 4k release, and that's a plus.

If one presumes that this was a true restoration, and I have no doubt that it was, the 4k UHD Blu-ray does not exhibit it as such.

Whether dumbed down during compression, or authoring, grain structure is not always original. There are instances of frozen grain, what some may call DNR, and when it comes to HDR, while it's generally fine and plays nicely with projectors, daylight backgrounds occasionally tend to blow out. Color is generally pleasant and almost natural, although there are times when it rises a bit too far. Whites are also generally clean, but not always.

I’m wondering how many fingers might have touched this project, and if there was one single set of eyes on it throughout, managing the project.

All of this is said to have been overseen and approved by the director, and if that's the case, there's nothing wrong with anything we see on screen.

It just isn't original, and therefore not a restoration, even if the original data files are a true restoration.

But then, there's always the possibility that the filmmaker saw and approved the original 4k files, and they were massaged afterwards.

What should all of this mean to the average viewer?

Absolutely nothing.

In the end, viewed from a nominal seating distance, any problems with grain structure, and massaging of the image won't be noticeable.

If one does, however, take a close look at many outdoor long shots, you’ll see detail pop, almost as if someone is attempting to make the shots look like Midsommar, and with zero visible grain.

Were parts of Basic Instinct shot with the Panavision Millenium in 8k?

A superb entertainment, presented in 4k UHD Blu-ray in a perfectly acceptable manner, as long as one isn't too close to the screen.

As an aside, I was attending a Vertigo event in Los Angeles, and had arrived with Miss Novak. Shortly thereafter, Miss Stone approached me, and asked that I introduce her to her counterpart from an earlier Hollywood era.

Standing silently with them as they shared stories, was a highlight of the evening.

Two magnificent and very intelligent woman just chatting about their careers.

Image – 4

Audio – 5

Pass / Fail – Pass

Upgrade from Blu-ray - Yes

Plays nicely with Projectors - Yes

Highly Recommended


RAH
 
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JoshZ

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Much has been made of the fact that the company performing that work discovered that the element - presumably the OCN - from which they were working, was not the un-cut version, which had opened as such in the U.S., but was cut to an R shortly thereafter. About a minute of material had been deleted, which is actually odd, as it could have just as easily been deleted from the printing dupe or IP, leaving the OCN intact.

I don't believe the uncut version of the movie ever played in U.S. theaters. The movie was edited multiple times to appease the MPAA and score an R rating before release.

The uncut version did play in Europe, however.
 

Powell&Pressburger

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While I can live with this transfer, teal is pushed heavily in this transfer. No way it ever was supposed to look that way.

The color of the ocean to the stylized interrogation room scenes that should not be that saturated with blue/teal. I really don’t understand how come these companies believe that alteration color is correct.

I have a setting saved for just these issues and thankfully it helps a great deal. While not optimal, it is far better than what Studio Canal is forcing on consumers.

Most believe when it comes to the encoding and compression issues Hiventy is to blame but also Studio Canal for handing off their work to a facility not up to the task.

Sadly Blue Underground made a disaster of a couple of their 4K titles. New York Ripper and the House by the Cemetery. NY Ripper’s teal push is Insane. I still can’t believe Lustig let it be released that way.
 
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sbjork

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Stephen
How come this is already sold out? :(
I've waited for reviews before purchase..
I pre-ordered, and mine shipped last week but I haven't received it yet. I actually don't usually pre-order very much, or at least I haven't in the past. But this is the second or third movie in the last couple of months that went out of stock immediately and I wouldn't have gotten it otherwise. I like waiting for reviews as well, but that just may not be much of an option anymore. The twilight era of physical media has become a cutthroat business.
 

Dave H

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I've read on another forum, JB HiFi (Australia-based) will have this for sale in August. As of now, the pre-order price is $21 USD and shipping should be near or around $10 to U.S. Sometimes they even do %20 off sales or BOGO. Of course, with exchange rates this can always change but it should be a much better price compared to what's available today....if you can hold off. I've ordered in the past before from JB HiFi and had no issues.
 

roxy1927

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What exactly is in that 1 minute that changes it from an R to an X? I thought it opened in the US with an R rating. Doesn't a film have to in order to open in all the multiplexes?
 

sbjork

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What exactly is in that 1 minute that changes it from an R to an X? I thought it opened in the US with an R rating. Doesn't a film have to in order to open in all the multiplexes?
It opened with an R rating. There was only the one theatrical cut of Basic Instinct in North America. It was edited prior to release during the process with the Ratings Board to avoid an NC-17 rating. The uncut version has only been released on home video here.

More sex & violence during the opening murder, more brutality in the rough sex between Michael Douglas & Jeanne Tripplehorn, more sex during the epic scene between Douglas & Sharon Stone, and a tiny bit of more violence when *spoiler* is murdered later in the movie:

https://www.movie-censorship.com/report.php?ID=1595620
 

UHDvision

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I don't get why the UHD doesn't offer both cuts.
Also, I agree that it looks weird. I saw this in theaters multiple times, and it feels like a re-interpretation of the movie to me.
I probably will stick in the future to the original dual sided DVD, which has the feel and the atmosphere I remember. (Plus, it is the R rated version which I think is superior, just like Robocop).
 

Chewbabka

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I don't get why the UHD doesn't offer both cuts.
Also, I agree that it looks weird. I saw this in theaters multiple times, and it feels like a re-interpretation of the movie to me.
I probably will stick in the future to the original dual sided DVD, which has the feel and the atmosphere I remember. (Plus, it is the R rated version which I think is superior, just like Robocop).
My understanding is the US “cut” was not a creative choice but basically appeasement to MPAA censors. Makes sense on home video that the studio/director, and frankly most of the audience, wouldn’t be interested in the effort.
 

JoshZ

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My understanding is the US “cut” was not a creative choice but basically appeasement to MPAA censors. Makes sense on home video that the studio/director, and frankly most of the audience, wouldn’t be interested in the effort.

Also, this disc is a UK release, and Verhoeven's preferred "uncut" version of the movie played theatrically in that country.
 

UHDvision

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Theatrical cuts are usually the result of choices dictated by the ratings. However I think the over the top, excessive gore, all violence and sex pushed in the red style of Verhoeven diminished the film in the uncut version, whereas the cutting out of some stuff make it more classy and efficient and disturbing. Just like Robocop in fact.

Of course one don't mind the uncut version to be released, I just wish they went with the theatrical US too, as they reconstructed the uncut from several sources, and the negative looks like is the US version. I think the US UHD release will be the same, only with the documentary at 24fps.
 

titch

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Kevin Oppegaard
As an overriding question, one might ask "Is this a restoration?"

or, "Was this a restoration initially?"

Having not seen data files, I'm unable to answer that question.

If one presumes that this was a true restoration, and I have no doubt that it was, the 4k UHD Blu-ray does not exhibit it as such.

Whether dumbed down during compression, or authoring, grain structure is not always original. There are instances of frozen grain, what some may call DNR, and when it comes to HDR, while it's generally fine and plays nicely with projectors, daylight backgrounds occasionally tend to blow out. Color is generally pleasant and almost natural, although there are times when it rises a bit too far. Whites are also generally clean, but not always.

I’m wondering how many fingers might have touched this project, and if there was one single set of eyes on it throughout, managing the project.

All of this is said to have been overseen and approved by the director, and if that's the case, there's nothing wrong with anything we see on screen.

It just isn't original, and therefore not a restoration, even if the original data files are a true restoration.

But then, there's always the possibility that the filmmaker saw and approved the original 4k files, and they were massaged afterwards.
I don't know if the copy you reviewed contained the booklet that was in the UK box? There is a comprehensive explanation of the restoration process. It has a commendable amount of technical detail - a rarity from publishers.
IMG_4590.jpg
 

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