HTF REVIEW: "Legends of the Fall" SUPERBIT (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED) (with screenshots)

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ronald Epstein, Feb 23, 2003.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    [​IMG]

    Legends of the Fall: Superbit





    Studio: Columbia
    Year: 1994
    Rated: R
    Film Length: 133 minutes
    Aspect Ratio: 16X9 Enhanced Widescreen (1.85:1)
    Subtitles: English, Chinese, French, Korean, Portugese,Spanish, Thai




    After the Fall from Innocence the Legend begins


    For quite some time, I had ceased doing reviews for
    Columbia's Superbit line, mainly for the fact
    that I was having a difficult time determining if
    the DVDs really offered superior image quality over
    their original counterparts. For every Superbits
    title I reviewed, arguments sparked over my unfavorable
    opinions. I finally decided it best to stop reviewing
    these titles.

    So what am I doing here reviewing a Superbit
    title? I chose to review Legends of the Fall
    for the mere fact that it was a film I have never
    seen, and thus, don't already own it on DVD. For that
    reason, I am finally enjoying a Superbit title
    without any predetermined notion. I can sit back,
    enjoy a DVD for what it offers, without having to
    compare it to an original release.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Right off the bat, I have to confess how much I
    loved Legends of the Fall, a brilliantly
    beautiful movie filled with fiercely passionate
    performances. It certainly wasn't the sort of thing
    I expected from a Brad Pitt film, and perhaps that
    element of surprise helped me appreciate this film
    even more.

    Through opening and closing narration by One Stab,
    an ancient Cree (Gordon Tootoosis), we learn that
    Col. Ludlow (Anthony Hopkins) was thoroughly disgusted
    by the Army's "Indian policy" and thus resigned
    from service vowing to keep himself and his family
    insulated from the world on his Montana ranch. It
    is there that he resides with his three sons, Alfred
    (Aidan Quinn), Tristan (Brad Pitt) and Samuel (Henry
    Thomas).

    Arriving back from college, Samuel introduces his
    new bride-to-be, Susannah (Julia Ormand), a young
    beautiful woman who soon finds herself thrown in a
    triangle with disastrous results. All four men stumble
    over themselves trying to woo the girl, but her heart
    is with Samuel, until the outbreak of WWI pulls him
    in a different direction.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    For those that have never seen Legends of the Fall,
    I won't discuss anything more about the plot other to
    say that this was the one of the most remarkable films
    I have seen. It's a story of love, lust, dreams and
    desires. It's a story about sibling rivalries and a
    family divided. The film is filled with breathtaking
    cinematography from its with sweeping vistas of the
    surrounding countryside to its arousing images of
    of war. The film went on to win the 1995 Oscar
    for Best Cinematography[/b].



    How is the transfer?

    [​IMG]

    If any film deserves the Superbit treatment,
    it is Legends of the Fall. The transfer here
    gives us absolutely stunning crisp detailed images
    of the mountain vistas with their wooded areas and
    streams. Colors are rich and natural, looking well
    saturated and bold. Black levels are nice and deep
    giving the film beautiful texture. There are times
    you look at the images before you and you can almost
    sense that you are looking out of a picture window.
    I was extremely impressed with the detail in the
    images I was watching. The only complaint is that
    there are noticeable blemishes scattered throughout
    the film that suddenly pop up and make you wonder
    what the hell they are doing there. Otherwise, this
    is an outstanding transfer.

    [​IMG]

    As I had expected, the 5.1 DTS mix sounds wide open
    here not sounding the least compressed. This is a
    very aggressive mix with excellent sound direction
    that is best represented in the WWI sequences that
    deliver outstanding bass level and directional effects.
    During the quiter moments of the film, the rears seem
    to always remind us of the ongoing farm life. Of
    course, the most rewarding element of this mix is
    James Horner's typical lush string score that envelopes
    the entire listening area.

    Once again, I am really impressed with the video
    and audio presentation of this Superbit title.
    It certainly ranks up there with the very best DVD
    presentations I have seen over the years.


    Final Thoughts

    [​IMG]

    Legends of the Fall took me totally by
    surprise. It was not a film I was expecting to like,
    but after watching it, I now regard it as a classic.
    The scope of this film is enormous, and though it
    tries to cover a vast amount of ground, it seems to
    pull itself together very well. The acting is
    top-notch -- especially from Anthony Hopkins in yet
    another memorable role.

    If you don't yet own this DVD you have no excuse
    not to buy it now. This Superbit presentation
    will sweetly tantalize your senses. Don't hesitate
    to go out and pick this one up for your collection.


    Release Date: March 4, 2003


    All screen captures have been further compressed.
    They are for illustrative purposes only and do not
    represent actual picture quality
     
  2. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Maybe, the third time is the charm for me.[​IMG]






    Crawdaddy
     
  3. Adam_S

    Adam_S Producer

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    The James Horner score for this is one of his best ever, and my personal favorite, I got the special edition because it has an isolated 5.1 score. I think I'll rent this though for the DTS, it's been a while since I actually watched the movie and not just listened to the score. The cinematography is indeed breathtaking! And this film cinches the fact that Anthony Hopkins HAS to play Mad Eye Moody in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

    Adam
     
  4. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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    This is probably my favorite film ever. I've been in love with it ever since seeing it in theaters...the cinematography, the score, the story.

    I may have to purchase my first "Superbit" title. [​IMG]
     
  5. Justin Doring

    Justin Doring Screenwriter

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    I will not be purchasing this title, because I already own the SE and prefer the extra features over slightly better audio and video quality. The film, however, is a favorite of mine. The cinematography is breathtaking, and the score is easily one of Horner's very best, even though he does owe a debt to John Barry for it.
     
  6. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    Ack! I also have the SE from last year, but this is a good engrossing film (from the guys who brought your "ThirtySomething" and "Once and Again"). Plus I enjoyed Julia Ormond's presence in the film.
     
  7. David Coleman

    David Coleman Supporting Actor

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    I am so over this release on the 4th! This is my favorite film and the one title I wanted to be a SUPERBIT so badly!! Though this is a triple dip (the intial version is my first DVD and own the SE) I don't mind!! To see the additional detail in an already beautiful picture along with James Horner's best score in DTS, I'll be in heaven that day!!!

    Can't wait!!!
     
  8. Kai Zas

    Kai Zas Second Unit

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    Never seen the movie, havn't bought any previous releases. Lucky me! [​IMG]

    Will get it immediately.
     
  9. Richard Michael Clark

    Richard Michael Clark Second Unit

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    "The only complaint is that there are noticeable blemishes scattered throughout the film that suddenly pop up and make you wonder what the hell they are doing there. Otherwise, this is an outstanding transfer."

    These "blemishes" are present on the other dvd releases and imho go a long way to ruining the presentation of one of the best looking films ever shot!

    I think Sony could and should have re-mastered the film from scratch with a brand new print for this Superbit release. Instead they have obviously re-transferred from the existing master (which is far from truely representative of the film's beauty).
     
  10. Paul Arnette

    Paul Arnette Cinematographer

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    Going through the posts here, I just had a sort of "DVD epiphany" concerning Superbit releases of movies I already own on DVD. It's quite simply really, I'm not going to buy them.

    I'm close to seventy DVDs behind, and by the time I get around to watching them again on DVD, Columbia will have released them on HD-DVD, and probably for the second time given their "dipping" practices. The "improvement" these titles offer, in most cases, is suspect at best. I think it's safer to wait for the next format.
     
  11. David Coleman

    David Coleman Supporting Actor

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    Of the SUPERBIT titles i've seen the improvement is noticable, hardly suspect. However I wouldn't replace every title you have with a SUPERBIT. Some titles look fine on their own. As for me I'm buyin this one because this is the one I want most! However I do respect your reasons for not buying.

    David
     
  12. Paul Arnette

    Paul Arnette Cinematographer

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  13. Ron-P

    Ron-P Producer

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    A must re-purchase for me. One of my absolute favorite film's.


    Peace Out~[​IMG]
     
  14. MichaelPe

    MichaelPe Screenwriter

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  15. Joshua Moran

    Joshua Moran Supporting Actor

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    Considering I have the orginal release of the film, I will pick this one up. The orginal was highly compressed in my opinion.
     
  16. Jeff Kohn

    Jeff Kohn Supporting Actor

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    My wife loves this movie, I thought it was somewhat overrated the one time I saw it. We haven't purchased this on DVD yet so I'll pick up the Superbit and score some points with the wife. [​IMG] Who knows, maybe I'll feel differently if I give the movie another chance after all these years.
     
  17. Alex S

    Alex S Second Unit

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    I don't own any version of this film nor have I ever seen it.

    I can get the SE, loaded with extras, for $9.90 shipped, why should I get the Superbit version ?

    Is it that much better ?
     
  18. Howie A

    Howie A Second Unit

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    Great review Ron! I am just wondering if anyone has the original release and whether
    or not it has any good extras that I might miss out on if I was to go with the superbit?
    I am a bit of a stickler for extras. If done right extras are one of the features of DVD that I
    really enjoy, other then the obvious DD or DTS along with great video.
     
  19. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    This movie has some incredible cinematography.....

    But other than that it is one of the worst movies I've ever seen in my life. Hopkins puts in by the his worst performance I've ever seen from him, an embarrasingly ham-handed overacting nightmare. If you're on the fence about this film I urge you to read more reviews before deciding to waste the hours it takes watching it. This is one of the few movies that was so bad that I wanted my time back. And I like some pretty darned bad movies.

    However, the cinematography is fantastic, it is definitely beautiful. It may be worth it just for this if you really appreciate great cinematography.
     
  20. Howie A

    Howie A Second Unit

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    This is not a dig, although it might come off that way.
    Philip where can I check your reviewing credentials?
    I am just looking for some other reviews so I can
    just feel out the type of movie that impresses you.
    I feel you have been a bit harsh.
     

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