H D - S E N S E I

A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

 

Waltz With Bashir aka Vals Im Bashir [Blu-ray]

 

(Ari Folman, 2008)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze + Brian Montgomery

 

Production:

Theatrical: Bridgit Folman Film Gang

Video: Sony Pictures vs. Artificial Eye Spine # 003

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:30:22.417 / 1:30:19.041

Disc Size: 30,771,908,995 bytes / 24,222,843,312 bytes

Feature Size: 24,104,140,800 bytes / 23,466,217,920 bytes

Video Bitrate: 27.92 Mbps / 28.47 Mbps

Chapters: 16 / 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: June 23rd, 2009  /  March 30th, 2010

 

Video (both):

Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

Dolby TrueHD Audio English 1540 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1540 kbps / 16-bit (AC3 Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps)
Dolby TrueHD Audio Hebrew 1573 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1573 kbps / 16-bit (AC3 Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps)
Commentary: Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / Dolby Surround

 

Hebrew (DTS-HD Master Audio 3930 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3930 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit / DN -4dB))
Hebrew (Dolby Digital Audio 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps / DN -4dB)

 

 

Subtitles (both):

English, none

 

Extras:

• Commentary track with Director Ari Folman
Q&A With Director Ari Folman (9:20 SD)
Surreal Soldiers: Making 'Waltz With Bashir' (12:03 SD - letterboxed widescreen)
Trailer for Waltz With Bashir and other films in HD!

 

• Making of Documentary (1:09:40)

• Interview with Ari Folman (12:49)

• Trailers

• Deleted Scenes (12:21)

 

Bitrate:

Sony Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP vs. Artificial Eye - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Description: Documents the filmmaker's journey toward discovering the truth about an Israeli Army mission he participated in during the first Lebanon War of the early 1980s that left him with a loss of memory about the events. The long-forgotten images begin to resurface as the director interviews old friends and comrades around the world.

 

 

The Film:

'Waltz With Bashir" is a devastating animated film that tries to reconstruct how and why thousands of innocent civilians were massacred because those with the power to stop them took no action. Why they did not act is hard to say. Did they not see? Not realize? Not draw fateful conclusions? In any event, at the film's end, the animation gives way to newsreel footage of the dead, whose death is inescapable.

The massacre, well documented, took place during Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon. The victims were in Palestinian refugee camps. They were killed by a Christian militia. Israelis were in nominal control of the militia, but did not stop the massacre. Blame has never been clearly assigned. Certainly the Christians pulling the triggers were guilty. Were the Israelis enablers?

In war, they say, no one sees the big picture, the men at the top least of all. "Waltz With Bashir" opens with a recurring nightmare had by a friend of Ari Folman, who wrote and directed the film. It is described to Folman in the course of his attempt to reconstruct what actually happened during days when he was present; he has the confused impression that the truth of those days was just outside his grasp. He sets out to interview Israeli army friends who were also there, and his film resembles "Rashomon" in the way truth depends not on facts but on who witnessed them, and why.

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

 


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

It's fairly hard to find flaw with digital animation in 1080P resolution. It looks as exactly intended by the filmmakers so it becomes subjective on how much you enjoy the animation style. The lack of smooth transitions don't seem to hinder the expression on Blu-ray - Waltz With Bashir looks quite beautiful with deft contrast and rich black levels. Colors are tight and support the film's filter-shifts. There are obviously no artifacts and the image is super clean. Visuals are quite impressive at times and almost hypnotic to watch. This Blu-ray does it's job perfectly on this dual-layered disc supporting almost 25 Gig for the feature.  I don't know that it could look any better and hopefully the screen captures will give a strong representation on how it will look on your system.

 

The image on the Artificial Eye release stacks up very well against the Sony edition. I can see no significant difference between the two, as both have excellent colors, clarity, and grain structure. Although the Sony disc has a slightly higher disc size (which is due to the fact that the extras appear on a second DVD instead of the BD), the feature sizes and bitrates are roughly equivalent. The image is absolutely gorgeous in motion and should please any fan of the film.

 

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

 

Sony Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP vs. Artificial Eye - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Sony Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP vs. Artificial Eye - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Sony Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP vs. Artificial Eye - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Sony Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP vs. Artificial Eye - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Sony Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP vs. Artificial Eye - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Sony Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP vs. Artificial Eye - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Sony Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP vs. Artificial Eye - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Sony Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP vs. Artificial Eye - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Sony Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP vs. Artificial Eye - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Audio :

The Sony Blu-ray has both English and Hebrew language versions in TrueHD with over 1500 kbps. Dialogue and effects are supported very well if not demonstratively dynamic. Expectantly clean and crisp the score never overcomes the visuals. It's a competent track with optional English subtitles. My Momitsu tells me this edition is region FREE!

 

Like the Sony, the AE release sports a HD track, but also gives you the option of stereo surround sound. The DTS-HD Master Audio sounds very, very good without any background noises or interference. The disc also comes with optional English subtitles and is region free.

 

 

Extras :

The director commentary is in English and Folman relates his extensive creative efforts in bringing this project to completion. It's definitely worth indulging in. There are also two short pieces with an interview - Q&A - and a 12-minute 'making of' that covers and immense amount of ground - considering its length. There are also a stack of preview trailers in HD including one for Waltz With Bashir. Although supplements seem limited - they round out an appreciation of the film especially the commentary.

 

The first difference to note between the North American and UK releases is the loss of the commentary track. While I haven't heard the track (as I don't have the Sony release) , I can only assume that it is a major loss. However, that's the only advantage that the Sony disc has. The AE disc boasts the same director's interview, but has a much more extensive "making of..." documentary, with about 50 minutes of more material! What's more, the AE disc also comes with a little over 12 minutes of deleted scenes. Like the Sony release, the only extras in HD are a series of trailers.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
The diverse style of the film's visuals maintain a high level of interest beyond the narrative. You could watch it first time simply for the intriguing 'look' in 1080P. The messages are impacting and relevant and, surely, the Blu-ray is the ultimate way to see it in your home theater. Both the film and transfer are impressive enough to recommend and the extras are the icing on the cake. Watch this one!

 

While both releases are viable options, I personally lean toward the Artificial Eye edition which is significantly cheaper at the writing of this review (less than 1/2 the price). Although it lacks a commentary track, it more than makes up for it with the addition of a superb making of documentary and deleted scenes. That being said, you won't go wrong with either edition. Either way, I give this a very high recommendation. 

Gary Tooze

June 21st, 2009

Brian Montgomery

August 2010

 

 

 


 

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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