B L U - N O T E


A view on the Blu-ray format by Enrique Michaels 


I've been a loyal DVDBeaver patron for many years and am proud to now contribute in this manner as I am passionate about film quality in my home theatre. For my screenshots, I grab directly from the Blu-ray while playing it, with a software like VLC (I am actually using another software, more advanced for AVC playing), like a screenshot. The originals are all saved as PNGs then converted as per Gary's methodology to 90% jpegs (totally suitable for his bandwidth and download-ability for surfers.) The only thing I do to them is change the color profile to sRGB so it doesn't become messed-up for web viewing. The colorimetry is the same, whether the Blu-ray is 4:2:0 or 4:2:2. The problem will happen if the Blu-ray is 4:4:4 and requires a beyond TrueColor or x.v.YCC compatible monitor (I don't know any to date that is 4:4:4, but it may happen in future). In this case some dithering will be applied to the screenshot since only a full 48-bit system (monitor and graphic card) can process a beyond True Color (24-bit) depth correctly.

English is not my first language so please excuse any spelling or grammar errors that I will, frequently, make. I trust Gary to do editing where necessary.  


Enrique's Home Theatre:

Runco CinemaWall SP-60/SP-60xa
Panasonic DMP-BD55 Blu-ray player Multizone + Multiregion (firmware upgraded)

Malata PDVD-N996 with incremental zoom

Paradigm Signature ADP1 speakers

Enrique T. Michaels







Hancock [Blu-ray]


(Peter Berg, 2008)



Review by Enrique Michaels



Studio: Columbia

Video: Sony



Region: 'A'

Feature Runtime: 94 min.

One dual-layered Blu-ray

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: November 25th, 2008



Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC


English Dolby TrueHD 5.1, DUBs: French: Dolby TrueHD 5.1, Portuguese: Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1 and Thai: Dolby Digital 5.1

Feature: Chinese / English / French / Korean / Spanish, and none

EXTRAS: On-Set Video Diary (BD Picture-in-Picture Exclusive) / Superhumans: Making Hancock (12:52) / Seeing the Future (16:00)/ Building a Better Hero (8:17)/ Bumps and Bruises (10:30)/ Suiting Up (8:30) / Home Life (10:50)/ Mere Mortals: Behind the Scenes with Dirty Pete (4:00).


Product Description: Academy Award nominee Will Smith (Best Actor, The Pursuit of Happyness, 2006) stars in this action-packed comedy as Hancock, a sarcastic, hard-living and misunderstood superhero who has fallen out of favor with the public. When Hancock grudgingly agrees to an extreme makeover from idealistic publicist Ray Embrey (Jason Bateman, Juno), his life and reputation rise from the ashes and all seems right again--until he meets a woman (2003 Academy Award winner Charlize Theron, Best Actress, Monster) with similar powers to his and the key to his secret past...




The Film:

I have been waiting for this for years: a superhero movie where the actions of the superheroes have consequences in the real world. They always leave a wake of crashed cars, bursting fire hydrants, exploding gas stations and toppling bridges behind them and never go back to clean up. But John Hancock, the hero of “Hancock,” doesn’t get away with anything. One heroic stunt ran up a cost price tag of $7 million, he’s got hundreds of lawsuits pending, and when he saves a stranded whale by throwing it back into the sea, you can bet he gets billed for the yacht it lands on.



“Hancock,” the latest star showcase for Will Smith, has him playing a SkidRow drunk with superpowers and a super hangover. He does well, but there are always consequences, like when he saves a man whose car is about to be struck by a train, but causes a train wreck. What he needs is a good PR man. Luckily, the man whose life he saved is exactly that. He’s Ray Embrey (Jason Bateman, the adoptive father in “Juno”), and Ray has a brainstorm: He’ll repay Hancock by giving him a complete image makeover. If this sounds like a slapstick comedy, strangely enough, it isn’t. The movie has a lot of laughs, but Smith avoids playing Hancock as a goofball and shapes him as serious, thoughtful and depressed...

Excerpt from Roger Ebert at the Chicago Sun Times located HERE


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

I found the Blu-ray transfer produced an image that is darker than others that I have seen. Detail was not of demonstration quality standard but I believe it to be indicative of what the film really looks like. Contrast is fair, colors are a little flat, although probably true to the source, and if I had to state a Blu-ray that it reminded me of it might be excellent Transformers, with the same nicely blended-down contrast 'look' - just certainly not as pristine as that reference disc. As you may expect it is immaculately clean. There is more background noise than I tend to like (surprising for a dual-layered modern film on Blu), but it won't bother most people's viewing although I did find it noticeable. Overall, although far from perfect, I'd say I give a thumb pointing up for the image. 
















Audio & Music:  
TrueHD remains my favorite audio mix track choice. This is a very good one. It has some aggressive moments and humorous ones as well with John Hancock throwing people and cars about with ease. Blocking the train by just standing there made me jump right out of my seat. Separation exists for both action scenes and quieter moments later in the film.  I was impressed with the audio on Hancock and there are some DUBs for those who require it. Optional subtitles offered in
English, French, Chinese, Korean or Spanish.


There is no commentary but for BD-specific we get an On-Set Video Diary (Picture-in-Picture). There are 7 featurettes with the director and some of the cast giving opinions (including Smith and Theron). Superhumans: Making Hancock runs almost 13 minutes and has the standard material included but it is mostly surface stuff. The rest are more of less descriptive my their titles - Seeing the Future (16:00) is about the effects used, Building a Better Hero (8:17) includes some of the use of humor in the character development of Hancock, Bumps and Bruises (10:30) - stunts and more effects, Suiting Up (8:30) - costumes, Home Life (10:50) - the set, and finally Mere Mortals: Behind the Scenes with Dirty Pete (4:00).



Bottom line:
If this sounds like your type of film then the
Blu-ray will do a good job of presenting it in a very pleasing display. Not a 'arrow up' by Gary and Leonard's standard though. I'll assume this is vastly better than the DVD edition. Audio will also give you some jumps, setting a nice mood, and the film is itself is entertaining - taking a different track near the end that may surprise you. It doesn't really know whether to be a comedy or drama and that can keep you guessing as to what direction it is moving. I, myself, like Will Smith and Charlize Theron so there are two more reasons that some may wish to buy.

Enrique Michaels

November 9th, 2008





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