A Few Words About A few words about... Walk the Line

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Robert Harris, Mar 8, 2006.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Waiting for final production DVDs to hit the streets, and what the quality of those discs may be, has always been a bit of crap shoot.

    Comparing Academy screeners to final product, can also lead one in the wrong direction. A recent example of a superb film, which had a quality screener and poor final product was Gangs of New York, which deserves far better.

    My personal favorite film of 2005 was Walk the Line, and by that I don't necessarily mean "Best Film," which can be something entirely different.

    James Mangold's direction, linked with superb performances by Mr. Phoenix and Ms. Witherspoon, and an image provided by Phedon Papamichael (who also photographed Sideways) were the basis of a must see film.

    This is where it gets interesting, and where, potentially a bit of misinformation may come into play.

    The Academy screener, which was a watermarked DVD5, had an overall beautiful image and great audio, all at a bit rate which never went above 4 or thereabouts.

    The review screener which was provided by Fox, was likewise, a DVD5, with an image quality quite acceptable even in 2006, and all at a bit rate allowing the film to be compressed to a single layer.

    And yet playing this disc back on a quality system at around 100 inches, there were visible signs that things could be better.

    To be fair to the film and to Fox, I purchased the two-disc set on line from Tower, and was able to sample it this morning, which allowed a number of interesting comparisons.

    Most important, the bit rate is far higher than either of the other discs, peaking at one point at 8.7, and with a lower transfer rate never less than the two screeners, even with DTS audio available in addition to the standard Dolby 5.1. But this is a dual layer disc.

    What I discovered, was that Walk the Line falls into that finite category which HTF has appropriately labeled "Reference Quality," which in reality is an ever-changing thing.

    Walk the Line looks and sounds as perfect as our current technology will allow. The second disc has material that will be of real interest to both fans of the film as well as Mr. Cash, and is worth the extra charge, especially if you can find the set on sale in the low to mid $20 range.

    I also did a test comparing the audio on Walk the Line with the original recordings on CD of Folsom, and while the near 40 year old recording was fine, the film's audio exhibits just how audio has changed in the intervening decades. The Folsom show is one of the great CD in print.

    In the end we have a sad commentary by which the studios must work within a self-imposed structure that does not allow them to distribute product far in advance, as it may well be pirated.

    This is just one more example illuminating the myriad of problems caused by the rampant piracy within our industry.

    Fox has created a system which works, but with a single downside.

    That being the possibility of a reviewer assuming that the disc they've viewed is up to the quality of the final product, which in this case, would be false.

    Walk the Line is a terrific film, and a beautifully crafted DVD. Something that still happens all too seldom.

    It comes Very Highly Recommned.

    RAH
     
  2. Randy B A

    Randy B A Supporting Actor

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    I just watched this last friday and loved it. I only bought the single disc as the extras on the two disc did not interest me. The only problem I had was with the audio. I was constantly adjusting the volume as the music scenes were way louder than the non-musical scenes.

    I also thought that maybe Joaquin Phoenix may have deserved the Oscar for his performance. Although I did not see Capote, so I don't want to disrespect Hoffman because I like him also. However with Jamie Fox winning last year for Ray I did not think the academy would go that route two years in a row.
     
  3. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    There have been ties for Academy Awards, and this year may welll have been the right time for one.

    RAH
     
  4. Cees Alons

    Cees Alons Moderator
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    Just received the CE. Can hardly wait to watch this one, this evening.

    Perhaps one could say that Joaquin Phoenix was robbed - but certainly not by Philip Seymour Hoffman or the Academy. He was robbed by chance: just bad luck when a film containing such an excellent performance is released next to yours in the same year.


    Cees
     
  5. Kyle_D

    Kyle_D Second Unit

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    Heath Ledger, Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Terrence Howard...they all deserved Oscars this year in my book [​IMG]

    Great movie, great DVD [​IMG]
     
  6. ZacharyTait

    ZacharyTait Cinematographer

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    I agree, however I would say between Heath Ledger and Phillip Seymour Hoffman. The other three were right behind them. Best group of nominees in years.

    Anyway, back to the topic on hand. Interesting to hear that the single disc and the 1st disc of the 2-disc set are different. I would think it would have been cheaper to make the same 1st disc for either one and just have to maunfacture 2 different discs instead of 3. If I'm wrong in this, feel free to let me know.

    I want to get the 2-disc set. However, the current need for a car makes that impossible. Maybe for my birthday or something.
     
  7. Dave Mack

    Dave Mack Producer

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    I think Mr. Harris meant that the other 2 versions he watched were the academy screener for academy members and an advance review copy.
    Then he purchased the 2 disc set. No mention of the commercially available one disc copy so I believe no comparison was made to that disc.

    I think...

    [​IMG]

    Nice review and reccomendation Mr. Harris!
     
  8. Inspector Hammer!

    Inspector Hammer! Executive Producer

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    I just can't stop championing this outstanding film, it's got everything, great music, romance, music, drama, music and tragedy, oh, did I mention the great music? [​IMG]

    It's consequently become my new demo disc for showing off my HT, no explosion or space battle can quite compare to my entire theater room coming to life with the roar of the crowd and Pheonix's and Witherspoon's great voices taking you right there. [​IMG]
     
  9. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Producer

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    Fox sent me the DVD-R and I refused to review it; unlike DOOM, this movie deserves better than to be ripped based on seeing it in over-compressed fashion. They've thus far, however, neglected to send a proper one, despite requests to do so, and it's now well after street date.
     
  10. RobertSiegel

    RobertSiegel Screenwriter
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    I must go out and get this one. It's strange that sometimes certain movies look and sound so good, and sometimes many of the discs, even though they are newer movies, look just "fair."

    Last night, I watched the movie RACING STRIPES, and the transfer on that movie was one of the best I have ever seen on dvd. I had no idea Woopie Goldberg and Dustin Hoffman were voices for some of the animals. It was really an enjoyable movie, and the transfer was stunning. I almost felt as if I were watching close to high-def. This was on a Sony VPL-11ht at 120"
     

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