H D - S E N S E I

A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze


The Beast - aka Peter Benchley's The Beast [Blu-ray]


(Jeff Bleckner, 1996)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: MCA Television Entertainment (MTE)

Video: Timeless Media Group



Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 2:53:38.991

Disc Size: 21,316,627,764 bytes

Feature Size: 21,245,300,736 bytes

Video Bitrate: 15.30 Mbps

Chapters: 16

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: August 4th, 2009



Aspect ratio: 1.33:1 matted to 1.78

Resolution: 720p (Both of my software programs identify this as being 720 X 1280 resolution NOT 1080 X 1920)

Video codec: MPEG-2 Video



Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps











Description: SPECIAL EXTENDED EDITION! Peter Benchley, the master of sea terror, returns with another tale of aquatic mayhem in this three hour uncut version. With almost 80 minutes of restored scenes previously edited from earlier release, this is the original version, nominated for two Prime Time Emmys. Stars William L. Petersen (CSI).



The Film:

The Beast is, like most television miniseries, engineered to be watchable without being compelling. It's like a McDonald's milkshake (are they still called milkshakes or are they back to shakes?)--you're in the mood for a milkshake, so you figure it can't be too bad and order one... only to finish it and discover you should have waited for a real one. The Beast is never real--it's incredible how many opportunities the movie misses, mostly out of laziness, but also out of disinterest. It's a TV miniseries about a giant squid, which is--according to wikipedia--a real thing. So I guess it's a little real, anyway.

But it's never too terrible, just like most event miniseries. There are sturdy, recognizable cast members. William Petersen does his TV leading man thing here, the working class guy--just look at his beard, but he's well-groomed enough for the viewer to know he's not any working class guy... he's the soulful, quietly intelligent working class guy who's going to get the job done.

Excerpt from Andrew Wickliffe at The Stop Button located HERE



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

STOP THE PRESSES! My software is identifying this as being 720 resolution - in fact, as opposed to the Blu-ray standard of 1080 X 1920 this is 720 X 1280. Technically I don't even think it's Blu-ray. This wouldn't concern me as much if the image was stellar - but it's not. The visuals are riddled with artifacts that make me believe this was just blown up from 480 (the DVD). The encode is MPEG-2.  This looks horrible - don't buy it.












Audio :

Only a 2.0 channel (DVD-level) Dolby track, at 192 kbps, is available. No HD sound quality. It exhibits none of the depth or range that many have come to expect from Blu-ray. There aren't even any subtitles. My Momitsu is identifying this as region FREE!




Extras :

There are no extras. Nada, zilch, nil. The pop-up menu just has a chapter search.


As many are aware I LOVE bad sci-fi films - especially of the 'creature-feature' variety. Mostly though, I lean to the 1950-60's style of innocent monster flic's as highlighted in Joe Dante's Matinee. This disc is a double whammy - not only a bad film with no extras - it has an exceedingly weak Blu-ray transfer (if you can actually call it Blu-ray) - both audio and video. If you are keen on seeing this, almost 3-hour, film that mimics so much of Jaws (and quite poorly - I might add) - then get the 2-disc DVD HERE. It's cheaper and probably looks quite similar. Despite the film itself - in my opinion, this Blu-ray is a deceiving rip-off. 

Gary Tooze

August 1st, 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
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
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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