H D - S E N S E I

A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze


BIG [Blu-ray]


(Penny Marshall, 1988)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: 20th Century Fox

Video: 20th Century Fox



Region: 'A'-locked (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Extended Runtime: 2:10:25

Theatrical Runtime: 1:44:12

Disc Size: 40,303,549,981 bytes

Extended Feature Size: 25,989,869,568 bytes

Theatrical Feature Size: 20,766,609,408 bytes

Average Bitrate: 26.57 Mbps

Chapters: 32

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: May 12th, 2009



Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 3654 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3654 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps
DUBs: Dolby Digital Audio French 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Portuguese 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps



English, English (SDH), French, Chinese (traditional and simplified), Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, none



• Theatrical and Extended Cuts

Big Brainwashing Audio documentary with DVD producer Pete Vantrella with contributors Anne Spielberg and Gary Ross (theatrical version only)

• 8 Deleted Scenes including 5 with introduction by director Penny Marshall (12:00)

• Exclusive featurettes: Big Beginnings (16:31), Chemistry of a Classic (23:45), The Work of Play (10:00)

• AMC Backstory - BIG (21:16)

• Carnival Party Newswrap (1:32)

• Trailers





Description: Twelve-year-old Josh yearns to be "big," and when he makes that wish at a carnival, his dream becomes reality: He awakens the next morning as a 30-year-old man! Josh (Tom Hanks) heads for Manhattan, where he lands a job at a toy company and draws the attention of a beautiful co-worker (Elizabeth Perkins). His child's-eye view helps Josh climb the ranks, but despite his corporate-world coup, he finds himself pining for all he left behind.



The Film:

''Big'' is also less coy than its fellows about the adolescent sexuality of its hero. At 13, Josh is old enough to experience sexual curiosity and even romantic stirrings about the women he meets in his newly grownup form. And ''Big'' handles this possibility gracefully instead of dodging it, as some of the earlier films have taken pains to do. On the other hand, ''Big'' is also true to a 13-year-old boy's potential for indifference to the opposite sex, so that a woman who asks to spend the night with Josh may be invited, but only halfheartedly, to sleep over in the adjoining bunk bed.

As written by Gary Ross and Anne Spielberg and directed by Penny Marshall, ''Big'' also has a warmer, more engaging personality than its predecessors. Its success as a buoyant summer comedy will owe a lot to the cleverness with which the small details have been selected, from the opening shot of a video game (which tells the player he is in a cave surrounded by ''the carcasses of slain ice dwarfs,'' thus nicely encapsulating the 13-year-old's sense of adventure) to the means by which the newly transformed Josh makes his first appearance. As Josh wakes up, the morning after having made a wish to an exotic-looking contraption at an amusement park, a pair of hairy legs emerge from his bed and a loud thud is heard as he drops to the floor. The next thing seen is Mr. Hanks, running frantically through Josh's room wearing too-small underwear with cartoon pictures on the back.

Excerpt from Janet Maslin at the NY Times located HERE



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

Big makes it's debut on Blu-ray offering both the theatrical and, 20-minute longer, extended cut of the film seamlessly branched on one dual-layered Blu-ray disc. I didn't find the image particularly stellar although compression artifacts that existed on the SD-DVD edition don't surface in hi-def. But the softness and lack of color vibrancy are more a product of the way it was shot probably coupled with its late 80's production foibles. It's certainly not that it looks poor but fans expecting a more modern hi-def experience may be left wanting. Grain exists to a moderate-to-heavier level and depending on which 'version' you choose the feature takes up over 20 Gig to 25 Gig of space. Colors, while not demonstrative or even brilliant, seem brighter and truer than the older SD could relate although it can tend to look a bit blocky at times. Skin tones seem reasonably warm.  By modern standards this Blu-ray is fairly tame visually but as a representation of the original - I doubt much more could be done. The grain is quite appealing but detail is never as crisp as you may anticipate.














Audio :

We get a DTS-HD Master 5.1 track at 3654 kbps. It's pretty solid but never truly tested although Howard Shore's original score shines through quite well. There 's some Huey Lewis and rift samples of Billy Idol in there giving a solid footing for the 80's time frame. Dialogue is clear and crisp and while it doesn't exhibit a lot of depth and range - it is representing the, less aggressive, soundtrack adeptly. There are some foreign language DUBs and subtitles in a half-a-dozen options although the disc is locked to region 'A' as verified by my Momitsu.




Extras :

The supplements appear to duplicate the SE DVD with quasi-commentary from with DVD producer Pete Vantrella with contributors Anne Spielberg and Gary Ross. This is only available on the theatrical version and deviates from standard commentaries with taped audio segments of collaborations between the writers. I think it's worthwhile giving a spin but it probably depends on how much you appreciated the film.  There are 12-minutes worth of 8 deleted scenes including 5 with introduction by director Penny Marshall. Of these I thought the sequences was good that had Susan (Elizabeth Perkins), finding Josh's Carnival card in his wallet and, with an air of suspicion, leads her to request him to pick her up some gum at the local news kiosk - he chooses Bubbleiscious from a choice of 2 dozen. There are three fairly standard SD featurettes entitled Big Beginnings (16:31), Chemistry of a Classic (23:45) and The Work of Play (10:00). AMC's "Backstory" on BIG runs just over 20-minutes and the Carnival Party Newswrap is only a minute and a half. There are also some trailers that exhibit the same paleness as the feature transfer.


I quite enjoyed revisiting this film in 1080P. It's still plenty of fun with some intelligent and creative conventions used to perpetuate the fantasy element. While the Blu-ray doesn't replicate The Dark Knight in visual areas - it still looks better than I have seen before - in fact I doubt we're going to see the charming BIG looking any better. For an amusing family night in the home theater - you be hard pressed to do extravagantly better. 

Gary Tooze

April 29th, 2009





About the Reviewer: 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








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