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Blu-ray Review Scarface Blu-ray Review (1 Viewer)

Ronald Epstein

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If you want to grab this Steel Book Edition for under $20

Amazon is offering it at that price, but probably for a very

short period.


 

42nd Street Freak

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Well I bought it, and I have to say I think the picture is pretty damn good. Much better than the DVD in every single way (sure as hell beats the very disappointing BD release of "Once upon a Time in the West" which is only a bit better in long shots and has no real improvement at all in medium/close-up and seems to have slightly muted colours compared to the DVD) So my worry about the transfer was thankfully a wasted one. Not sure if it's because my TV is only 40", but I had no problems with noise. It was dark, but not too dark (and it was much better than the really dark "dirty harry" transfer fro example) and the detail and general quality was well worth the upgrade. BUT...what I was not expected to be let down by was the audio! First off, let me say I have only heard the original mix not the later re-done for it's theatrical re-release with the added/deleted/changed sound effects and mix. So it seems that my initial confusion (a very distinctive scream missing when Tony shots the wounded men outside the exploded door) was lessened when I searched and found info about the later sound mix which seems to be the one used here for the 7:1. And it has to be said the new gun sounds (which are also more distinctive for each different weapon now I notice) are fine and the surround effects during the finale were wonderful. So what's my problem? Well.... Although good at certain action moments, the general bass level (and yes I did turn shit up from my standard amp settings) is very low indeed and this really hurts the songs in particular. In fact all the songs now severely lack bass, have VERY low volume vocals and a nasty echo effect to them. They're BAD. Listen to the famous montage "Take it to the Limit" song and the "She's on Fire" song when Tony is dancing with Elvira on the 7:1 track and then again on the stereo track provided to see the massive difference. I assume this is because of the later re-mix of the sound? Or is it indeed the new HD audio? Does anyone know? Whatever...What the fuck has happened to my damn songs! The 7:1 is great in action scenes, pretty damn feeble in general though and screws the songs big time.
 

Brisby

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I'm glad the option for the original 2.0 audio has been retained...I HATE gimmicky 5.1 remixed version of mono or basic stereo track on 30+ year old movies (Jaws being a notorious example).
 

Kevin EK

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I may have been unclear about the sound mix in the review - I buried my note about its origin.


I believe the 7.1 mix is based on the newer mix done for the 2006 Platinum Edition DVD, which enhanced the gunfire, etc.

I didn't have the same experience of problems with the songs - I was able to hear the lyrics clearly, and enjoyed the added bass performance from the subwoofer. I'll be happy to go back and re-listen to the referenced tracks to see if anything sounds amiss there.


I can also check about the missing scream from the moment when Tony introduces everyone to his little friend, and right afterward when he's giving them the rest of the business.


Part of my scoring for the audio was based on the retention of the 2.0 track, specifically because it would allow you to hear the older mix and make the comparison. And you can still hear the songs the old way.


I'm still mad that they didn't give me the humidor, though. That point is NEVER going back on the extras.
 

SD_Brian

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Kevin EK said:
I'm still mad that they didn't give me the humidor, though. That point is NEVER going back on the extras.
I bet the reviewers who gave the disc those 5/5 scores got free humidors... :laugh:
 

vnisanian2001

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One thing missing from most recent home video releases are the versions of the deleted scenes as seen on the TV versions. The versions featured here are only the rough cut versions, not the finished products as seen on ABC TV. One of them is an extended Tony at Gina's house scene where Tony makes a toast to America.
 

TheHutt

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Interestingly, the US and UK BluRay versions are superior compared to other European versions (German et al) in the following aspect: The Euro versions of the BluRay use a clean picture master without all the stylish intertitles (intro text scroll, location names, Spanish translations) with the titles overimposed by neutral player-generated subtitles. The US and UK keep the original title cards.
 

42nd Street Freak

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TheHutt said:
Interestingly, the US and UK BluRay versions are superior compared to other European versions (German et al) in the following aspect: The Euro versions of the BluRay use a clean picture master without all the stylish intertitles (intro text scroll, location names, Spanish translations) with the titles overimposed by neutral player-generated subtitles. The US and UK keep the original title cards.
Very true. Thank God. My old Uk DVD (2000) had the proper titles, but the (worse transfer) DVD pointlessly included with the Blu-Ray has those awful play generated subs for all inter-titles and even the opening scrawl is gone, with only those rubbish subs instead! I think they put this shit awful DVD in to show how good the Blu-Ray looks!
 

Christian Preischl

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TheHutt said:
Interestingly, the US and UK BluRay versions are superior compared to other European versions (German et al) in the following aspect: The Euro versions of the BluRay use a clean picture master without all the stylish intertitles (intro text scroll, location names, Spanish translations) with the titles overimposed by neutral player-generated subtitles. The US and UK keep the original title cards.
I KNEW it! I usually steer clear of Euro Universal titles for that very reason! Several of the Mummy and Bourne Identity Blu-rays (oddly enough, in both cases only parts 1 and 3, not part 2) suffer the same fate and it's quite annoying. Glad I ordered the US version of Scarface.
 

Dave H

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I watched this the other night (Oppo 93 and 60" ISF'd SXRD) and I was fairly impressed...especially coming from Universal and their horrid track record. While the image is a bit over-sharpened (which probably accentuates the grain a bit more), I thought detail was solid even if inconsistent. The worst EE was in the beginning of the movie when Pacino was getting questioned as after that it improved although some scenes could look a bit digital while others more natural. Some scenes had very little if any EE. A lot of shots varied and I think this was because of how it was filmed. All in all, this is by FAR the best I have ever seen this movie and it completely blows away the previous DVD. I think the DTS-MA track was very solid, as well.
 

Kevin EK

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Dave, I think we're agreeing on the PQ here.

I have to admit, part of what is happening for me is that the 65" VT is really, really showing me details like the digital look, the EE and things like oversharpening. And I'm not used to seeing that, not in such detail, so to speak. So it's really throwing me - I'll get more used to it with time.


That said, I don't believe this is a new transfer and I have issues with its uneven nature. But we agree there are some shots and scenes that look much better.

There are some shots in the movie that have a naturally grainy look - particularly the iconic shot of Pacino looking out the window to the Blimp. But I always thought the rest of the movie had a fairly consistent look, particularly given that they filmed some in Miami, some in Los Angeles and some in Montecito, all to be "Miami" in the movie - and they always looked consistent.
 

Cinescott

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I finally received "Scarface" (with a slightly 'dinged' steel case; oh well) and with a 55" LED display, I am impressed with the PQ. There are issues, no doubt, but the good far outweighs the bad IMO.


While I agree that the source material is likely not from a new source, this is way better than the 2-disc DVD edition from a couple years ago. Colors are nice and rich, there's a layer of grain that doesn't appear artificial (it changes based on the light conditions), and there is a lot more detail than I have ever seen before and I've seen Scarface a lot.


DNR appears to be light, if used at all. Some might mistake the "wet" appearance of some actors in direct light to be DNR, but the detail in those shots doesn't make that possible. It's probably a condition of a very hot work environment. EE is there, however, especially in the first 30 minutes or so. Some details like clothing and objects "pop" a little too much and there is a slight "ringing" around some border areas in the beginning especially. Also, there are times when only a certain area of the frame will shift out of focus even when not panning and I attribute this directly to the source material.


There's also a slight "noisiness" to parts I find hard to describe. Maybe a slight "digital" appearance that I am attributing to the film's running length plus extras on one disc. This is a 3 hour movie, after all.

While I take no issue with the review, I feel that Scarface is getting an unwarranted slamming in some circles. The 7.1 DTS MA track is fantastic. Nice and clear with good separation. Apart from a complete restoration, this is about as good as this film will likely ever get. Rest assured that this is no "Out of Africa." Universal messed up big time with that one, but I am not displeased with Scarface. If it were me, I'd push it to 3/3.5 out of 5, maybe higher if I got the humidor.

Oh, the port of the "F Bomb" counter and "Bullet" tracker is a great addition for a party...............................
 

Dave H

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Kevin EK said:
Dave, I think we're agreeing on the PQ here.

I have to admit, part of what is happening for me is that the 65" VT is really, really showing me details like the digital look, the EE and things like oversharpening. And I'm not used to seeing that, not in such detail, so to speak. So it's really throwing me - I'll get more used to it with time.


That said, I don't believe this is a new transfer and I have issues with its uneven nature. But we agree there are some shots and scenes that look much better.

There are some shots in the movie that have a naturally grainy look - particularly the iconic shot of Pacino looking out the window to the Blimp. But I always thought the rest of the movie had a fairly consistent look, particularly given that they filmed some in Miami, some in Los Angeles and some in Montecito, all to be "Miami" in the movie - and they always looked consistent.
Yes, to me, it seemed a lot of the outdoor scenes looked more consistent; some (not all) of the darker scenes often looked softer and more natural (despite some black crushing). I will be watching this movie again either this weekend or next and I'll take a closer look. I kind of wish I would have gone to the recent theatrical viewing to get a better idea of the how the scenes and overall movie is supposed to look. As you said, I too don't believe this is a new transfer as most new transfers are 4K and there is really no need to increase sharpness and further processing. This release just didn't have the organic "look" of a new scan, however, I was still pretty happy with it and it looks so much better than the DVD. Realistically, this will probably be the best it will ever look on BD and 1080p as I cannot imagine Universal ever doing a true restoration to it.
 

Felix Martinez

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Overall pleased with the release although I would also say it's been unfortunately processed for a digital (not waxy) sheen. Nonetheless, good outweighs the bad IMHO and viewed on my 92in FP set-up it was quite a good experience. But it did not look like film; rather some reasonable facsimile thereof. And this might be a deal-breaker for some. I saw a "new" film print with the remixed soundtrack 3 years ago, and while the black crush was (and always was) there, grain was also visible. On the Blu-ray, the grain appears to have been mitigated somewhat - perhaps not with a heavy, Patton-like hand, but fiddled with nonetheless and sharpened, creating an electronic look. I would probably rate it a 3 or 3.5 out of 5. If one has some additional sharpening or noise-reduction settings on their TVs, this may compound the digital look. As has been said in this thread, I still feel the good outweighs the bad overall. On my Panny 42in plasma with THX setting and the larger screen, I thought it looked pretty good...but different than the theatrical look I saw fairly recently... The audio mixes are both very flawed. As a purist, I prefer the 2.0 orig Dolby Surround mix, but if one ignores the ridiculous delay and levels on the new re-mix, there are some interesting things going on there as well. They did seem to have access to the multitrack stems (and of course introduced new sounds), so it was interesting to hear it. Will probably stick with the flat and dull orig mix in any case for future viewings... I can also confirm that the Panny DMP-BDT100 with latest firmware also freezes up during the Lopez begging scene, right where Tony says, "Manolo, shoot this piece of shit." The steelbook was purchased at Best Buy on release date. I would have not noticed this had I not read some posts online with folks having probs with Samsung players, as my go-to player for my FP set-up is the Oppo BDP-95 and it plays the disc without a hitch. Also, tested on my PS3 with latest firmware and no probs there as well. So hopefully Panny, Samsung, et al are working on a firmware update. So frustrating that disc compatibility/firmware issues are still around in 2011. Unless this is a pressing error and some players are able to barrel thru it. I did notice seeking/reading sounds emanating from the Panny during this scene. Sounded like the player was trying to traverse a bad layer change.
 

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