Directed by Nick Cassavetes
USA 2004

 

Ryan Gosling has already been identified as one of the best actors of his generation, although usually in more hard-edged material. Rachel McAdams, who just a few months ago was the bitchy high school queen in "Mean Girls," here shows such beauty and clarity that we realize once again how actors are blessed by good material. As for Gena Rowlands and James Garner: They are completely at ease in their roles, never striving for effect, never wanting us to be sure we get the message. Garner is an actor so confident and sure that he makes the difficult look easy, and loses credit for his skill. Consider how simply and sincerely he tells their children: "Look, guys, that's my sweetheart in there." Rowlands, best-known for high-strung, even manic characters, especially in films by her late husband, here finds a quiet vulnerability that is luminous.

The photography by Robert Fraisse is striking in its rich, saturated effects, from sea birds at sunset to a dilapidated mansion by candlelight to the texture of Southern summer streets. It makes the story seem more idealized; certainly the retirement home at the end seems more of heaven than of earth.
  

Except from Roger Ebert at the Chicago Sun-Times located HERE

 

Posters

Theatrical Release: May 20th, 2004

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DVD Comparison:

New Line Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC vs. New Line Home Video (Limited Edition Gift Set) - Region FREE - Blu-ray

DVD Box Cover

Distribution New Line Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC New Line Home Video - Region FREE - Blu-ray
Runtime 2:03:36  2:03:48.963
Video 2.35:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.27 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

Disc Size: 33,230,058,708 bytes

Feature Size: 26,816,864,256 bytes

Average Bitrate: 28.88 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray VC-1

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

 DVD

Bitrate:

 Blu-ray

Audio English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (Dolby Digital 2.01)  Dolby TrueHD Audio English 1378 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1378 kbps / 16-bit (AC3 Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps)
Dolby Digital Audio English 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio German 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Russian 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / Dolby Surround
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / Dolby Surround
Subtitles English, Spanish, None English, German, Russian, Spanish, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: New Line Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1

Edition Details:

• Option for 4:3 version and widescreen

• Audio commentary with the director Nick Cassavetes
• Audio commentary with the writer Nicholas Sparks
• All in the Family - Nick Cassavetes (11:37)
• Nicholas Sparks: A Simple Story, Well Told (6:37)
• Southern Exposure: Locating “The Notebook” (11:32)

Casting
• Casting Ryan and Rachel (4:05)
• Audition tape of Rachel Adams (3:36)
• Soundtrack Availability Advert/Info
• Theatrical trailer (2:19)
10 deleted scenes / 2 alternate scenes (2.35 / Dolby 5.1 - optional commentary by editor Alan Heim):
• Allie Confronts Noah in Bathtub (1:11)
• Alternate 1st Love Scene (6:19)
• Fin Consoles a Drunken Noah (2:34)
• No Letters (0:23)
• New Couple (0:51)
• Dad Visits Noah on Roof (2:31)
• Allie’s Return to Seabrook (2:13)
• Catching & Preparing Dinner (2:09)
• Duke Gives House to Kids (1:17)
• Allie Tries to Phone Noah (0:36)
• Alternate Second Love Scene (4:36)
• Story of the Notebook (3:19)


DVD Release Date: February 8th, 200
5
Standard Keep Case

Chapters: 20

Release Information:
Studio: New Line Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1

Disc Size: 33,230,058,708 bytes

Feature Size: 26,816,864,256 bytes

Average Bitrate: 28.88 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray VC-1

Edition Details:

• Audio commentary with the director Nick Cassavetes
• Audio commentary with the writer Nicholas Sparks
• All in the Family - Nick Cassavetes (11:37)
• Nicholas Sparks: A Simple Story, Well Told (6:37)
• Southern Exposure: Locating “The Notebook” (11:32)

Casting
• Casting Ryan and Rachel (4:05)
• Audition tape of Rachel Adams (3:36)
• Soundtrack Availability Advert/Info
• Theatrical trailer (2:19)
10 deleted scenes / 2 alternate scenes (2.35 / Dolby 5.1 - optional commentary by editor Alan Heim):
• Allie Confronts Noah in Bathtub (1:11)
• Alternate 1st Love Scene (6:19)
• Fin Consoles a Drunken Noah (2:34)
• No Letters (0:23)
• New Couple (0:51)
• Dad Visits Noah on Roof (2:31)
• Allie’s Return to Seabrook (2:13)
• Catching & Preparing Dinner (2:09)
• Duke Gives House to Kids (1:17)
• Allie Tries to Phone Noah (0:36)
• Alternate Second Love Scene (4:36)
• Story of the Notebook (3:19)

Extras

• Envelope of stickers and two laminated bookmarks

• 16 small Envelopes and Note cards

• Handsomely bound photo notebook (46-pages) with character descriptions, color photos and blank pages

Blu-ray  Release Date: January 20th, 2009
Custom
Blu-ray  package Case
Chapters: 20

 

Comments:

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

NOTE: We are making an educated guess that the New Line Blu-ray is Region FREE - especially with the German and Russian language options but we don't know positively yet.

Stacked releases or what? Wow. Looking at the image discrepancy - we surely have seen greater variance in quality between SD and HD - and where the Blu-ray is more subtle in its visual superiority - that improvement certainly exists. Depending on the scene it can range from mild to extravagant. While both transfers appear slightly imperfect - with a possibility of mild manipulation - I thought they both represented the film adequately. The DVD is fairly strong considering the limitations of the format's dual-layering with so much space taken  up by the extensive supplements.  The Blu-ray - also dual-layered - has so much more space (more than 5 times) that this doesn't appear to be an issue.  Improvements are noted in the usual areas but detail may be the most prominent. The DVD image in The Notebook can appear hazier at times and the 1080P sharpens it up - perhaps not to perfection but reasonable enough to enjoy the presentation. There isn't a lot of difference in the color scheme of each format representation - skin tones lose the pasty orange appearance. Contrast is improved and easily noticeable on the Blu-ray release with a larger system identifying it more to much higher degree.

Audio-wise the Blu-ray again advances upon the 5.1 with a TrueHD mix. The film has a mostly passive, dialogue-driven track so it's not an obvious superiority but the TrueHD sets a cleaner mood/aura especially with Aaron Zigman's original score. There are poignant classical pieces used in the film from Chopin to Beethoven and some period pieces like I'll Be Seeing You and Alabamy Home that sound dynamite in HD. Overall - very competent and clean. 

 

Digital supplements are duplicated on both releases. Two commentaries - one with Cassavetes taking full advantage of the format by expanding upon multiple production details with his usual high energy. I'm not through with Sparks but he sounds comfortable and intelligent.  We get three decent featurettes - All in the Family - Nick Cassavetes (11:37), Nicholas Sparks: A Simple Story, Well Told (6:37) and Southern Exposure: Locating “The Notebook” (11:32.) Two pieces on casting with "Casting Ryan and Rachel" (4:05) and an audition tape of Rachel Adams (3:36.) There are 10 deleted scenes / 2 alternate scenes (2.35 / Dolby 5.1 - optional commentary by editor Alan Heim): Allie Confronts Noah in Bathtub (1:11), Alternate 1st Love Scene (6:19), Fin Consoles a Drunken Noah (2:34), No Letters (0:23), New Couple (0:51), Dad Visits Noah on Roof (2:31), Allie’s Return to Seabrook (2:13), Catching & Preparing Dinner (2:09), Duke Gives House to Kids (1:17), Allie Tries to Phone Noah (0:36), Alternate Second Love Scene (4:36) and Story of the Notebook (3:19). Digitally speaking there is also a theatrical trailer (2:19.) The Blu-ray package gives you some trinkets in, what resembles, a cigar/keepsake box (see image below) with an envelope of stickers and two laminated bookmarks, 16 small Envelopes and Note cards and a handsomely bound photo notebook (46-pages) with character descriptions, color photos and blank pages. I'm usually not keen on these type of additions as they generally of inferior quality but here everything is both practical and potentially functional.  

This is such a likeable film - making it easy to succumb to all its performance charms and to also want to see it in the best possible presentation. The Blu-ray is not perfect but does the superior job of the two - both visually and aurally. We are talking about double the cost but most will agree that it is worth it in the long run. The film is a rare love story - one that reflects cinema of the past - certainly worthy of any digital library. The Notebook is one of the best of its kind, that I've seen, in the past many years - approaching the level of Atonement - so, in my opinion, that means it is very highly recommended.     

Gary W. Tooze

 



Blu-ray Package

 

 

DVD Menus/ Extras


 


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

 

New Line Home Video  - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. New Line Home Video - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


 

Screen Captures

 

New Line Home Video  - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. New Line Home Video - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


 

New Line Home Video  - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. New Line Home Video - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


 

New Line Home Video  - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. New Line Home Video - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


New Line Home Video  - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. New Line Home Video - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


New Line Home Video  - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. New Line Home Video - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


New Line Home Video  - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. New Line Home Video - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM
 

 


New Line Home Video  - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. New Line Home Video - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM
 

 


New Line Home Video  - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. New Line Home Video - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM
 

 


New Line Home Video  - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. New Line Home Video - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM
 

 


New Line Home Video  - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. New Line Home Video - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM
 

 


DVD Box Cover

Distribution New Line Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC New Line Home Video - Region FREE - Blu-ray




 

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