H D - S E N S E I

A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze


Introduction: 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 5600 DVDs and have reviewed over 3000 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:

Samsung HPR4272 42" Plasma HDTV
Toshiba HD-A2 HD-DVD player (firmware upgraded)

Sony BDP-S300 1080p Blu-ray Disc Player (firmware upgraded)
Sony DVP NS5ODH SD-DVD player (region-free and HDMI)

Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

Gary W. Tooze







Thinking of buying from YesAsia? CLICK HERE and use THIS UPDATED BEAVER PAGE to source their very best...


Tristan + Isolde [Blu-ray]


(Kevin Reynolds, 2006)

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment (Japan)

Blu-ray Region Code: A - Americas (North, Central and South except French Guiana), Korea, Japan, South East Asia (including Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan). NOTE: We strongly suspect the disc is REGION FREE!
Review by Gary W. Tooze

1.85:1 1080p - VC-1 encode

Audio: English Dolby Digital DTS HD Master, DUB: Japanese DTS 5.1
Subtitles: English Japanese, none


• Trailer for Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (2:20)

• Trailer for The Day After Tomorrow (1:43)

• Trailer for Tristan + Isolde (2:24)


Disc - Single-layered 25Gig

Feature - 21.9 Gig - 2:05:28

Released: July 23rd, 2008
Standard Blu-ray case
24 chapters

Product Description: From executive producer Ridley Scott (Gladiator) comes a sweeping, action-packed saga of epic battles, political intrigue and forbidden passion, set in a time when the lines between heroism and savagery were etched in fire and carved out with broadswords. After the fall of Rome, visionary warlord Marke (Rufus Sewell) seeks to unite the squabbling English tribes to form one strong nation and defeat brutal Irish King Donnchadh. But when Lord Marke?s greatest and most loyal knight, Tristan (James Franco), falls in love with Isolde (Sophia Myles), a beautiful Irish woman, it threatens to destroy the fragile truce and ignite a war. In the spirit of Braveheart and A Knight's Tale, TRISTAN + ISOLDE is a rousing tale of trust and treachery that will leave you breathless!


The Film:



Dashing and romantic, "Tristan and Isolde" provides a pleasantly old-fashioned spectacle of doomed passion.


"Tristan and Isolde" is not all love; in fact, it features large chunks of professionally done action, including fierce attacks, clandestine ambushes and copious amounts of smiting enemies with mighty swords. And the convincing look of the film, the success of cinematographer Arthur Reinhart and production designer Mark Geraghty in making us feel we're in a reasonable fantasy facsimile of Britain circa AD 500 is also a plus.

Excerpt from Kenneth Turan's review at the L.A. Times located HERE



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

Secondary NOTE: This is not yet available in North America BUT this Japanese disc will play on 'Region A' Blu-ray equipment which includes the Americas (North, Central and South except French Guiana), Korea, Japan, South East Asia (including Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan). I actually think the disc is region-free (but cannot yet verify) but when I can confirm we will publish that here.


This has Japanese menus but, like a typical 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment' Blu-ray - preceding the film are some trailers (in HD) - Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (2:20) and The Day After Tomorrow (1:43) - there is also a trailer for Tristan + Isolde (2:24). It's fairly simple with only 2 options for both audio and subtitles and aside from the trailers there are no supplements. I strongly suspect that the transfer will be the same as the eventual U.S. release.




This Blu-ray is single-layered with the feature taking up 21.9 Gig  of the 2+ hour film in 1.85 aspect ratio. It doesn't look exceptionally strong for a Blu-ray, as evidenced by the large resolution screen captures (clickable below.) Detail and colors all definitely outshine the an SD edition and background noise would be the only major flaw although, dependant on your sensitivity to it, not enough to mar a home theater presentation. Colors are not demonstratively intense and detail shines rather infrequently.  It may have been shot in this 'soft' manner but I found Tristan + Isolde didn't impressive me in 1080P. To be fair - it appears consistent (no edge-enhancement or DNR) and some outdoor scenes are striking but in comparison to other Blu-ray's it seemed markedly weak, although, obviously, towering over its SD counterpart.        




Screen Captures













Audio: A decent HD track that comes to life in some of the dramatic fighting scenes. Nothing overly buoyant and separated... but still fairly even and consistent in the interim with dialogue audio supported by English or Japanese subtitle options. No strong complaints but like the image - a bit unremarkable. There is also a Japanese surround DUB if necessary.



Extras: We don't get the bona-fide extras found on the SD HERE and we don't get anything aside from the above mentioned trailers.


BOTTOM LINE: Great film - really - I was very pleasantly surprised and genuinely impressed. Tristan + Isolde seems to have been swiftly swept under the rug. It's great to see it looking as good as it can even if that falls short of high-definition expectations. It's a shame that this Blu-ray presentation is not more exceptional - to match the film - which truly deserves an audience. I'm content to own this Blu-ray and do strongly recommend seeing Tristan + Isolde - in this, the best, home theater presentation format, or even on SD.  


Thinking of buying from YesAsia? CLICK HERE and use THIS UPDATED BEAVER PAGE to source their very best...


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