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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Bram Stoker's Dracula [Blu-ray US version]

 

(Francis Ford Coppola, 1992)

 

Wolf / Dracula / Frankenstein are available together at a significant savings in the Horror Classics Collection out on Blu-ray October 6th, 2009.

 

Studio: Sony Pictures

Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)
Runtime: 2:07:22.635

Disc Size: 47,199,227,687 bytes

Feature Size: 32,794,558,464 bytes

Video Bitrate: 22.94 Mbps

Chapters: 16

Case: Standard Blu-Ray case + case cover

Release date: October 2nd, 2007

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

LPCM Audio English 4608 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 4608 kbps / 16-bit
Dolby Digital Audio English 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Czech 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio French 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Hungarian 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Polish 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Russian 640 kbps 4.0 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / Dolby Surround

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), English, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Swedish, Thai, Turkish, Romanian, Icelandic, Bulgarian, none

 

Extras:
Deleted Scenes
Audio Commentary and Introduction by the Director
The Blood is the Life - The Making Of Dracula
The Costumes Are The Sets - The Design of Eiko Ishioka
In-Camera - The Naive Visual Effects of Dracula
Method and Madness - Visualizing Dracula

 

Bitrate:


Synopsis:
Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder and Academy Award Winner Anthony Hopkins (1991 Best Actor in a Leading Role, Silence of the Lambs) star in Oscar winning director Francis Ford Coppola's (1974 Best Director, The Godfather: Part II) visually stunning, passionately seductive version of the classic Dracula legend. In Bram Stoker's Dracula, Coppola return to the original source of the Dracula myth, and from that gothic romance, he creates a modern masterpiece. Gary Oldman's metamorphosis as Dracula - who grows from old to young, from man to beast - is nothing short of amazing. Wynona Ryder brings equal intensity to the role of a young beauty who becomes the object of Dracula's devastating desire. Anthony Hopkins co-stars as the famed doctor who dares to believe in Dracula, and then dares to confront him. Opulent, dazzling and utterly irresistible, this is Dracula as you've never seen him. And once you've seen Bram Stoker's Dracula, you'll never forget it.

****

 

 

This is it, the quintessential vampire movie. Based on Bram Stoker's 1897 gothic masterpiece "Dracula." There are many arguments as to who was Stoker's influence for The Count, and the most rabid purists insist that it is NOT Vlad the Impaler. However, this movie forms it's basis around the Vlad story, and I'm obliged to agree that this is the most familiar of all the various versions of the tale of Count Dracula, and whether or not this is where Stoker got his influence is a moot point and does not make this film any less of a masterpiece.
 

[...]

 


Casting for the movie is fantastic. I don't care much for Winona Ryder or Keanu Reeves, but the performances of Gary Oldman, Tom Waits, and Anthony Hopkins' masterful portrayal of Van Helsing more than make up for this oversight. The sets were epic, the use of shadowing was amazing. Basically this movie does a lot of what other vampire movies fail to do and that is to explain Dracula's aversion to mirrors (vanity disgusts him), crucifixes (he renounced Christ remember?), why he has to sleep in his native soil, etc. Dracula also keeps a pretty impressive stable of half-naked vampi-concubines (one played by the beautiful Monica Bellucci.) The three of which alone satisfy this movies nudity quota.


Gary Oldman is by far the best Dracula ever. Showing the Count in all of his guises, wolves, bats, rats, old, young. He turns women's tears into diamonds (I hate when guys do that, how can we lesser mortals even compete with that?) More simply put, he's charming as hell, or slicker than whale shit in an ice flow if you will.... Waits' insect chomping Renfield is also one of the more notable performances of the film.
 

Excerpt from Horrorwatch.com located HERE
 

The Video:   NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.


This looks like the same master source from the latest SD DVDs (some compared HERE), but here improved/adjusted for High-Def. The shadows and dark areas here are stronger than in the DVD, I didn't find the result bad since this is supposed to be a dark movie and the intention behind this enhancement of dark areas maybe be related to the special effects, too much brightness in High-Def could be revealing. After watching the extras I noticed that the hi-def images of the movie (I am not referring to the "behind the scenes" recording) used in the Making-Of are indeed less contrasted and more bright with more details available, also making the artificial environment perceivable.

 


By watching the movie itself I already noted the miniatures and the settings a lot more in this Blu-Ray than on the SD DVD. But since there is a theater feeling behind the whole movie and the acting, I didn't find this overly distracting. The special effects here are just a detail anyway, and I don't believe they were meant to fool the audience but rather in a 'minimalist old-school style', way to transmit this gothic environment without deviating too much attention from the superb acting and narrative.

 


So, having this belief in mind, I find the upgrades from the SD DVD are quite considerable. I couldn't actually find any disturbing flaws - the red cast that surrounds the movie is supposed to be there, the high contrast as well. This high exposure that sometimes hides details is also supposed to be there, but here it is more noticeable than before, but still I wouldn't consider it a problem.

The movie cinematography makes the background difficult to be seen and analyzed, not only by the intentional blurriness but by the exposure as well. On the other hand, everybody in the foreground is detached, the a possibly living dead appearance in the faces of the characters is now evident. I have to confess that watching this Blu- ray was the first time I noticed Anthony Hopkins plays two roles here, the priest who announces the death of the Dracula's wife, and Van Helsing. Many more details made me appreciate this movie a bit further with this Blu-Ray release.

Luiz R.

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Screen Captures

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio:
Most of the scenes are conversations in a quiet environment. However, when present, the surround environment(s) make their presence known. The best audio option is the PCM 5.1 uncompressed, although I couldn't find much difference regarding the voices compared with the 5.1 option. The whistling wind sounds superior - ditto for the rest of the background and soundtrack. It resembles  CD quality. I mean a real CD like sound not that crazy propaganda most DVDs carry over. Other than that nothing much is left to evaluate the sound, but I feel this is an above-average mix for a Blu- Ray disc.

All the other languages seemed to have the same quality as the English Dolby Digital 5.1, the only differences are regarding the volume adjustment and the dubbing. The Russian comes in a 4.0 option instead of 5.1 but sounded quite similar to the others.

 

EXTRAS:
This is one of the standard released Blu-rays with more supplements available. I believe they are the same release in the "Collector's Edition DVD", but some are now in high definition and the pleasant part is that all of them are subtitled, even the audio commentary, in English and some other languages like Portuguese and even Korean.

All the documentaries have their value, and actually I don't know if anything more interesting could be added to make this package more worthy. You have many features that range from the making of to the costume design. Two good short documentaries about the visual effects, that will give you an insight of the good and original ideas used to make this film.

The the amount of deleted scenes included is impressive, more than 30 minutes, including an alternative ending. IMO, they should stay as deleted scenes, but I still found this raw collection of cuts interesting to watch.

This is probably the best kit of extra I found in a single disc release and I am satisfied, even more considering the price.

SUBTITLES:
There are plenty of subtitles available, I'll just comment about the Portuguese subtitle which is another language I think I understand. It is a bit different from a Brazilian edition I have previously seen, it is better at times but doesn't seem to keep with the classic English style spoken. Actually this style also varies during the film as the English accent quality osculates from actor to actor... in general I would say it is a good translation - certainly not worse than the previous one available.
  

Menus

BOTTOM LINE: Well, this one is famous - this is that puritan love story about a Dracula who left Monica Belluci plus 2 bonus girlfriends behind to go after Wynona Ryder. And save for some casting discrepancies I consider this movie a great accomplishment in a chamber environment with theater like performances. This Blu-Ray was a pleasant surprise, and if I am not mistaken this is the first Coppola release in High-Def.  I am happy with the result considering the stylistic intent. I think this a good addition to any Blu-Ray collection and makes this film experience even more enchanting.

Luiz R.

Wolf / Dracula / Frankenstein are available together at a significant savings in the Horror Classics Collection out on Blu-ray October 6th, 2009.

 

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About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction. So be it, but film will always be my first love and I list my favorites on the old YMdb site now accessible HERE.  

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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