H D - S E N S E I

A view on Hi-def discs 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 7500 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







Superman Returns [Blu-ray]


(Bryan Singer, 2006)



Review by Gary Tooze



Video: Warner



Region: FREE

Feature Runtime: 2:34:19

Chapters: 34

Feature film disc size: 20.14 Gig

One dual-layered Blu-ray

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: November 28th, 2008



Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p

Video codec: VC-1


English: Dolby Digital 5.1, DUBs: French: Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1

Feature: English, French, Spanish and none


Requiem for Krypton: Making Superman Returns ( 7 -parts 3 hours total - SD)
Resurrecting Jor-El (4:00 - SD)
11 Deleted Scenes (16:02 - SD)
Teaser Trailer (2:52 - SD)
Theatrical Trailer (2:42 - SD)
EA Game Trailer (1:10 - SD)


Product Description: He's back. A hero for our millennium. And not a moment too soon, because during the five years (much longer in movie-fan years!) Superman sought his home planet, things changed on his adopted planet. Nations moved on without him. Lois Lane now has a son, a fiancÚ and a Pulitzer for "Why the World Doesn't Need Superman." And Lex Luthor has a plan that will destroy millions - no, billions - of lives. Filmmaker Bryan Singer (X-Men) gives the world the Superman it needs, honoring the legend everyone loves while taking it in a powerful new direction. Brandon Routh proves a perfect choice to wear the hero's cape, leading a top cast that includes Kate Bosworth as Lois and Kevin Spacey as Lex. And the thrills - from a sky-grapple with a tumbling jumbo jet to a continent-convulsing showdown - redefine Wow. "I'm always around," Superman tells Lois. You'll be glad he is...




The Film:

With the inspired appropriation of John Williams’ majestic 1978 theme music raising acres of gooseflesh, Superman flies again, bringing mankind what Marlon Brando’s Jor-El called "the light to show the way". Like the flag-waving hero of Richard Donner’s Superman movies, the boy from Krypton comes bathed in nostalgia, reverence and oodles of religious symbolism. The result is that most beatific of superhero’s most magnificent screen incarnation yet.



Bryan Singer is a besotted man, with a determination that Superman belongs to the movies. Amongst the visual razzmatazz, those dreamy effects and gilded edges, he references Casablanca, Close Encounters, Citizen Kane and Titanic, films in the widest possible sense. If Steven Spielberg were to have made a Superman movie, it would surely have this sense of wonder, exaltation and romance...

Excerpt from Empire Magazine reviews located HERE


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

I thought this was a very good transfer. Against other Blu-ray it might go as high s 8.5/10 and other modern Blu-ray-film renderings - perhaps 7/10. The image itself is flawless and I'd only say that it might lack a bit of, expected, depth. Colors are true and detail very high end. It's spotless and sometimes flat but I'll wager the dual-layered disc (feature taking up 20.14 Gig) replicates the darkish theatrical about as good as the naked eye could detect. I often prefer the damped look to an overly glossy one - it looks more film-like to me that way. There is no intrusive noise and similarly not much (any) grain. It is of consistent quality and the 1080P brings up a crispness that many have come to expect from this new format. The Blu-ray image transfer shouldn't deter anyone from indulging.

















Audio & Music:  
The old HD received a TrueHD where this Blu-ray offers only a very competent Dolby Surround 5.1. The True HD was supposed to be very good but I didn't have any complaints with this 5.1 track. The film has plenty of sequences that utilize the surround option and your rear speakers get a decent workout. John Williams score is even more stirring here than in the original - most likely due to a varied arrangements - anyway, it sounds brilliant. There are optional subtitles offered in
English, French, or Spanish.

NOTE: Josh tells us in email: "I just wanted to let you know that the Superman Returns Blu-ray (re- released version) does have both a True HD a PCM track." Thanks Josh!


Aside from some deleted scenes and trailers - the highlight is the, almost 3 hour,
Requiem for Krypton: Making Superman Returns in SD. Director Singer is very involved and we get more information on the evolution of Superman Returns than most would care to know. It is, however, great to see the passion involved in such a project. It does spark appreciation. No unique Blu-ray bells or whistles that I would determine...



Bottom line:
I was always very high on Singer's X-men films but wasn't as keen to see this as I'm not a fan of the Donner original 'man of steel' flick. But this? I liked it very much. Singer is a great story teller and brings some real charm and emotion to the obviousness of the legend. It's filled with nostalgia and the characterizations are brilliant with spot-on performances from Brandon Routh as Kent/Superman, Kate Bosworth as Lois Lane and Spacey as the chromedome Luthor.  Once again
Blu-ray has encouraged me to watch a film that I wouldn't have bothered to before. I'm so glad I did. It works pretty well on all levels. The
Blu-ray transfer, audio and video, are strong if not penultimate. We recommend this film and Blu-ray.

Gary Tooze

October 31st, 2008





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