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







The Truman Show [Blu-ray]


(Peter Weir, 1998)



Review by Gary Tooze


Studio: Paramount



Region: FREE

Feature Runtime: 1:42:56.920

Chapters: 24

Disc Size: 39,846,975,699 bytes

Feature Size: 35,441,018,880 bytes

Average Bitrate: 45.90 Mbps

One dual-layered Blu-ray

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: December 30th, 2008



Aspect ratio: 1.78

Resolution: 1080p

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC


Dolby TrueHD Audio English 3672 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3672 kbps / 24-bit (AC3 Core: 5.1 / 48
kHz / 640 kbps)
Dolby Digital Audio French 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps

Feature: English (SDH), French, Portuguese, Spanish and none


How’s It Going To End? The Making of The Truman Show (Two parts - 23:24 + 18:22)
Faux Finishing: The Visual Effects of The Truman Show (13:16)
Four Deleted Scenes (13:09)
-Product Placement
-Truman Suspicious
-The Future Cast Meeting
-Truman Missing
Photo Gallery (40images)
Teaser Trailer (1:54)
Theatrical Trailer (2:35)
2 TV Spots


Bitrate Graph:



Product Description: He's the star of the show--but he doesn't know. Jim Carrey wowed critics and audiences alike as unwitting Truman Burbank in this marvel of a movie from director Peter Weir (Witness, Dead Poets Society) about a man whose life is a nonstop TV show. Truman doesn't realize that his quaint hometown is a giant studio set run by a visionary producer/director/creator (Ed Harris), that folks living and working there are Hollywood actors, that even his incessantly bubbly wife is a contract player. Gradually, Truman gets wise. And what he does about his discovery will have you laughing, crying and cheering like few film stories ever have...




The Film:

Truman's world is controlled by a TV producer named Christof (Ed Harris), whose control room is high in the artificial dome that provides the sky and horizon of Seahaven. He discusses his programming on talk shows, and dismisses the protests of those (including Sylvia) who believe Truman is the victim of a cruel deception. Meanwhile, the whole world watches Truman's every move, and some viewers even leave the TV on all night, as he sleeps.



The trajectory of the screenplay is more or less inevitable: Truman must gradually realize the truth of his environment, and try to escape from it. It's clever the way he's kept on his island by implanted traumas about travel and water. As the story unfolds, however, we're not simply expected to follow it: We're invited to think about the implications. About a world in which modern communications make celebrity possible, and inhuman...

Excerpt from Roger Ebert's review at the Chicago Sun-Times located HERE


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

Surprisingly impressive 1080P image on this 10-year old film. I'm beginning to think that Paramount are producing the best Blu-rays in terms of image quality - certainly lately I've noted their dominance. Although I've seen over 250 high-definition discs I'm still feeling inadequate to critique. This image here seems basically flawless to me. Detail on The Truman Show is outstanding, colors are vibrant and true while noise/artefacts are seemingly non-existent through the majority of the film. I can't see that there is anything that Paramount, or anyone else, could have done to dramatically improve the visual quality of this Blu-ray transfer.  I think simply viewing the captures below should support my feelings. It is presented in 1.78: 1 aspect ratio - the disc takes up just shy of 40 Gig with a towering bitrate of 45.90 Mbps! (Wow). It's expectantly damage-free and exhibits some depth at times. The dual-layered disc is consistent after the first few minutes that seem slightly below par. The MPEG4 encode comes through again with a fabulous image which, even considering the film's age, approaches awesome.
















Audio & Music:  
Standard recently for Paramount, a
TrueHD is the only English language option and it sounds pretty crisp. There isn't a lot going on with excessive effects or aggression in the track but the dialogue is crystal clear and there is some minor separations noted. There is an interesting original score from Burkhard Dallwitz - a sporadic composer for film - that while doesn't shine through as memorable - is quite competent and suitable to the narrative of the film. There are French and Spanish 5.1 DUBs and optional subtitles offered in
English (SDH), French, Portuguese or Spanish.


All ported over the the last SE DVD - another typical production standard for Paramount
Blu-ray discs. There is a 40 minute 'Making...' featurette that tends to meander from discussing the filming location, Andrew Nicol's writing and soundbites from the cast who generally support the unique nature of the film. I enjoyed Ed Harris and the discussion of how prophetic the film has become with reality-based TV dominating much further than even the film project had imagined. There are some deleted scenes and a wasted photo gallery. Nothing really exciting and the film probably warrants a commentary.



Bottom line:
Easy-sneezy - great film - great transfer
. What more can you want? It had probably been almost 10 years since I had seen The Truman Show and it still holds up very well in my opinion. I admit to focusing my attention more on the impressive image than the content - but this tends to happen a lot with films I have already seen before. This is easily one the better crop of worthy Blu-rays in the year 2008. Absolutely Recommended! 


Gary Tooze

December 13th, 2008





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