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A view from the Blu (-ray) on DVDBeaver by Leonard Norwitz


The Canadian Alliance Blu-ray is compared to the US

Lionsgate Miramax Blu-ray HERE


Trainspotting [Blu-ray]


(Danny Boyle, 1996)



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Review by Leonard Norwitz




Blu-ray: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (Japan)



Region: A (North + South America, parts of Asia)

Runtime: 93:50 m

Chapters: 12

Size: 50 GB

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: April 23, 2008



Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC



English True HD 5.1, Japanese DD 2.0



Feature: English, Japanese. Extras: English, Japanese



• Audio Commentary with Actor Ewan MacGregor, Director Danny Boyle, Producer Andrew Macdonald, Screenwriter John Hodge (recorded for Criterion in 1996).

• Deleted Scenes with optional commentary

• Music track index

• featurette on the adaptation process and making-of (9.5 min. 4:3)

• 2 brief interviews with the filmmakers on making of.

• 2 brief interviews with the filmmakers on the music and sound mixing.

• interviews with the novelist, screenwriter, director and producer (37 min.)

• 2 featurettes on injection effects (13 min.)

• Cannes snapshot (7 min.)

• 4:3 preview (2 min. with PAL speed-up)



The Film:

The Movie : 9
(see DVDBeaver SD comparisons HERE)

Let's get the cut thing out of the way right off: Yes, this is the Director's Cut. (By the way, note the Universal rather than the Miramax logo at the beginning of the film.)

There are so many things I love about this movie: the language for starters, certainly: I would not hesitate placing Ewan McGregor's bloggish voiceover narration among the greats: Michael Holdern (Barry Lyndon), Martin Sheen (Apocalypse NowI), Irving Pichel (How Green Is My Valley), Michel Subor (Jules et Jim), Art Gilmore (The Killing), Morgan Freeman (The Shawshank Redemption), Edward Norton (Fight Club), Dick Powell (The Bad & the Beautiful) and Joanne Woodward, even though I still think it's redundant, (The Age of Innocence). Then there's Robert Carlyle's scene chewing performance and the reason God gave us subtitles; Kelly Macdonald for her freshness; Irvine Welsh's novel and John Hodge's adaptation that connects us at more levels than we can keep track of. And not least, for its compelling, vicarious experience of one of the most seductive and destructive chemicals known to man.



Image : 8.5 (8~9/9+)
The score of 8.5 indicates a relative level of excellence compared to other Blu-ray DVDs. The score in parentheses represents: first, a value on a ten-point scale for the image in absolute terms; and, second, how that image compares to what I believe is the current best we can expect in the theatre.

The image is subtly, but definitely better than the already pretty darn good 2-disc Region 1 Miramax. It also has a little more information at the top and bottom of the frame. The color is richer, the image has more dynamic punch with more solid blacks and more tangible skin tones. But don't expect too much. Trainspotting still shows its Indie roots from time to time. All the same, the longer I looked at it the better it seemed, rather than the more critical I became.


 Burned-in Subtitle Sample



Selectable Subtitle sample



SD - TOP vs. Blu-ray BOTTOM



SD - TOP vs. Blu-ray BOTTOM



SD - TOP vs. Blu-ray BOTTOM







Audio & Music:

Audio & Music : 7/10
Just one of this movie's delights is its brilliantly contrived score made up of some of the best in the over- and underground scene, and which fixes the time squarely into the 1980's. There's Lou Reed, Iggy Pop and Brian Eno on the one hand and Underworld and Damon Albarn on the other. This was one of the few compilation soundtrack albums I ever purchased, and was lucky enough to find an LP in a UK pressing. Under the circumstances, the score is whackingly well executed in the True HD or 2-channel mixdown. Ewan McGregor's brilliant narration is clear and engaging. Robert Carlyle's Begbie is just as unintelligible as he ever was and just as scary.



Operations : 6
For the non-Japanese reading visitor, the Extra Features menu is like a video game quest, but it's laid out in a sensible and familiar manner. Everything else is a piece of cake. I do wish that none of the subtitles were burned in – but they're here just as they were on the SD.


Extras : 7
Unless your Japanese is a whole lot better than mine, I predict you will have a bit of a chore in front of you sorting out the Extras, but they make a certain sense once you get the hang of it. Almost all of the extras found on the 2-disc Miramax Collector's Series is ported over. Looks like we're missing a French audio track, and maybe the biographies of the cast & crew. HD presentations would have been nice, but hardly necessary. The image quality varied considerably, but most often it was pretty good.



Bottom line:

Recommendation : 9
Not cheap, certainly, but as of this writing, this Japanese edition is the only high definition presentation of Trainspotting available. (Amazon/Japan's current price shipped to North America is about 4500 Yen or roughly US$43.) The image is more solid than the best SD incarnation of the movie, though I have seen more impressive differences compared to 480i editions of other films. In any case, I doubt it will bettered with a new try; so for fans of the film, and until a local edition is forthcoming (and that might not even be as good), this Blu-ray is not to be missed.

Leonard Norwitz
May 3, 2008




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