Blu-ray Disc REVIEW MEMENTO Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment Film Year: 2000 Film Length: 113 minutes Genre: Drama/Thriller Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Theatrical Ratio Colour/B&W: Colour Audio: English Uncompressed Linear PCM 5.1 Surround English 5.1 Surround French 5.1 Surround Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, Chinese, Thai Film Rating: Release Date: August 15, 2006 Film Rating: / Starring: Guy Pearce (Leonard), Carrie-Anne Moss (Natalie), Joe Pantoliano (Teddy Gammell) Screenplay by: Christopher Nolan Directed by: Christopher Nolan Some memories are best forgotten. Life is hectic. It’s easy to forget what you do over the past week; may times I don’t even remember what I did the previous day. One could lose their short-term memory by age, disease, alcoholism, or accidents. It could even be a psychological disorder. Thus, Memento begins its story at the end: it’s a thriller that walks the viewer back through a story by the use of flashbacks. It is in these flashbacks that we learn about the life of the man Leonard, who suffers from short-term memory loss from a blow to the head while trying to protect his wife from being assaulted. We also learn of all the people around him who try to help him and use him. The problem is he can’t remember these new people in his life so he doesn’t know who is helping and who is using. He tries to overcome this disability by taking pictures of people on a Polaroid camera. The picture spits out and he writes a note on the back of it so he can learn everything all over again just to keep his life moving forward. He also tattoos notes to his body so he can never forget important facts. The most important facts of all: clues to finding the man who raped and murdered his wife. By not being able to remember these clues from one minute to the next and relying only on his notes and Polaroids, is it possible for Leonard to find the killer? Will it be the right man? VIDEO QUALITY 7/10 I’ve decided to rank the video quality of these discs on a 1-10 scale. A Blu-Ray score of 5 will mean that it is similar to the best-looking DVD I can think of and the remaining 5-10 will be based on the extended resolution of Blu-Ray disc. I think this is the best way to rank these titles for now so I hope this will help you to determine what a reference HD disc is. Please note that I’m currently viewing this on a 1280x720 projector and I’m not even able to see half of the 1920x1080 information on this disc. In other words, instead of seeing 6x the resolution of DVD I’m only seeing 2.6x the improvement. Our display devices have a long way to go before we can see all of the resolution contained on these discs. This disc was reviewed on the Samsung BD-P1000 on a 35-foot Monster M1000HDMI to a calibrated PT-AE700 (D6500/D5400B&W). The screen is a D110" (8-foot wide) Da-Lite Cinema Contour (w.Pro-Trim finish) and Da-Mat fabric. This Blu-ray disc isn’t as impressive as the other titles I’ve reviewed. It does look much better than the DVD proving it does belong in the high-definition group but it doesn’t dazzle me. It’s gritty and grainy looking although a lot of the graininess is intentional. On this high definition disc you can clearly discern real film grain and the added film grain (for stylization) during the black and white scenes. This grain looks like it has been added on top of the image much like film credits over full motion scenes – definitely a post-production effect. When watching SD-DVD you cannot perceive this as much and it looks more meshed with the image. The film relies on various levels of contrast to keep a consistent mood. Some scenes are dark and a lot of them are in dimmer environments. It’s not a vibrant looking film even in the daylight. Skin tones look accurate and never lean to too saturated or too desaturated. Resolution is good and depth perception is improved because of high definition, but I somehow think it could be a bit better. Then again, it could be the stylized picture that makes it less attractive…it’s a fine line with this film when judging the image quality. No edge enhancement or compression artefacts are noticed. Fans of this film will be pleased with the improved resolution offered by Blu-ray. PCM AUDIO EXPERIENCE: 6.5/10 DOLBY DIGITAL AUDIO EXPERIENCE: 5.5/10 For the sake of consistency with the video, I’m going to rate uncompressed PCM (and eventually the lossless audio compression formats when available), as well as lossy Dolby Digital and DTS on a scale from 1-10. Be aware though - it doesn’t mean that if the audio scores a 7 on Blu-Ray and a 3.5 on DVD your surround experience will be that much better because of the wide gap in score. I’d honestly prefer to leave the score at 1-5 but I’m choosing not to. This is going to be a “satisfaction grid” – the highest score delivering the greatest amount of satisfaction and the lowest delivering the least. When defining satisfaction, I mean both the resolution of the audio as well as the sound design for the film. There are some very intense audio moments in this film that break the silence of this soundtrack. It successfully jolts the viewer into shock with the rapid visuals on screen and it does so only momentarily. The remainder of the film is mostly dialogue and narration. Voices are ADR and very forward sounding. This film has the most forward-sounding dialogue I can remember and what’s worse; it’s very heavy and is obviously not re-equalized for home theatre playback. I’m using a Mirage LFX-3 crossover to take all of my center channel’s bass less than 65Hz to my left and right subwoofers – and those subwoofers were woofing with dialogue. Terrible! It almost gave me a headache. There isn’t much more to note about the soundtrack. It is front-soundstage heavy and there is the odd bit of music that bleeds to the rear channels. A lot of the music is recorded nicely to give the “wrap around” surround just from the main two channels. While not as dramatic as the other Blu-ray titles I’ve reviewed, the uncompressed PCM soundtrack (compared to lossy Dolby Digital) is more detailed by allowing the quieter sounds to come through more detailed, having balanced frequencies for all sounds, and in this case, a noticeably lower noise floor. (Note: you must have the 6-channel output of your Blu-Ray player connected to an EXT-IN on your receiver/preamp to take advantage of uncompressed PCM or with the use of HDMI and supporting devices). TACTILE FUN!! / TRANSDUCER ON/OFF?: ON A few instances of LFE channel comes though during the most dramatically powerful moments in the film; when wired with a tactile transducer, the vibrations through the sofa enhance the experience. I liked the use of the transducer in this film and didn’t find it distracting at all. SPECIAL FEATURES / Two special features are included on this disc; an audio commentary by writer/director Christopher Nolan and an anatomy of a scene featurette (approx. 25min, SD-1.33:1). Like virtually all Blu-ray titles the special features are slim and not all are carried over from the DVD. It is speculated this was done to keep the video quality high using high bitrates for MPEG-2 video and of course the uncompressed PCM 5.1 audio (a very welcomed addition over lossless compression!) IN THE END... Memento is a different kind of film…for those of you who like putting the pieces together when watching movies I’m sure you’ll like this one. The high definition experience makes it all the better. Michael Osadciw July 25, 2006.