H D - S E N S E I

A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

 

Frankenstein aka Mary Shelley's Frankenstein [Blu-ray]

 

(Kenneth Branagh, 1994)

 

 

Wolf / Dracula / Frankenstein are available together at a significant savings in the Horror Classics Collection out on Blu-ray October 6th, 2009.

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Columbia Tri-Star

Video: Sony Pictures

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 2:03:10.424

Disc Size: 38,965,767,617 bytes

Feature Size: 37,196,507,136 bytes

Video Bitrate: 29.71 Mbps

Chapters: 16

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: October 6th, 2009

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 3774 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3774 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DUBs: DTS-HD Master Audio French 2005 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2005 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio Portuguese 2151 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2151 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), English, Chinese (Traditional and Simplified), French, Indonesian, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, Thai, none

 

Extras:

Trailer

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Robert De Niro, Kenneth Branagh, Tom Hulce, Helena Bonham Carter, Aidan Quinn, Ian Holm and John Cleese star in Branagh's acclaimed adaptation of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. True to the original, here is the story of a young doctor whose obsession with death leads him to create a life. But his "creature" crafted from the bodies of convicts and the brain of a brilliant scientist, is a hideous mockery of humanity. And when the creature realizes he will never be accepted by men, he seeks revenge on Dr. Frankenstein and his family. An inspired adaptation that's emotionally complex and truly terrifying.

 

 

The Film:

"In the last 20, 30 years, [Frankenstein has] been claimed by a whole generation of academics and scholars as a seminal piece of literature of that time. [It's] something which now, post-Freud, they feel reveals so many observations about family life, and incest, father-and-son relationships, and husband and wife relationships. [Frankenstein] speaks loudly to people, partly because it's so elusive. There's no definitive interpretation of it - it's certainly more than just a monster story." - Kenneth Branagh, director of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.

During the course of more than thirty adaptations, sequels, spin-offs, rip-offs, and spoofs, the name of "Frankenstein" has become associated with one of the world's most recognizable movie monsters. The creature, as typified by Boris Karloff with outstretched arms, flat-topped head, and ubiquitous neck bolts, has met the likes of Dracula, the Wolfman, and even Abbott and Costello. It has been played by (among others) Charles Ogle, Karloff, Lon Chaney, Bela Lugosi, Glenn Strange, Christopher Lee, Fred Gwynne (as Herman Munster), and now, Robert De Niro. Rarely, however, has a cinematic interpretation of "the daemon" approached the level of three-dimensionality with which it is portrayed in the novel.

Excerpt from James Berardinelli and ReelViews located HERE

 

 


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

I liked the image on Frankenstein but it has not benefitted as many other films on the move to HD. It's very rough and gritty with a textured and less detailed look to the majority of the film. Grain is heavy is apparent and there is no gloss to be found anywhere. This look is probably intentional to support the a nostalgic intent on the subject. Whether it achieves it or not is subjective. This Blu-ray does have a nice 'true' feel with the less-than-smooth presentation, that avoids keen detail, looking consistent and meaningful - just like a vintage genre film. Effects kind of suffer as they don't appear very realistic in the expanded resolution.  It almost seems like certain scenes are filtered with greens, grays, blues and reds being prominent dependant on which part of the film is being presented. It's another unfortunate grouping of visuals to sell via screen captures but I do feel the dual-layering and high bitrate extends to an accurate appearance of Branagh's Frankenstein. It certainly doesn't resemble more modern films to Blu-ray but this is more a factor of production than weakness of the transfer.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

It's a very healthy DTS-HD Master 5.1 at 3774 kbps that easily handles what this film exports. Aside from some meaningful grunts and thunderous crashes it's up to the score to bring out the surround functionality - but it's not an overly aggressive mix. There area  couple of foreign language DUBs and plenty of subtitle options and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.

 

 

 

Extras :

No supplements save some trailer Blu-ray adverts.

 

BOTTOM LINE:
I think this is a much better film than most critics give it credit for. It certainly feels more literary and less Hollywood exploiting the creature-feature theme. Performances are strong and Helena Bonham carter shouldn't be overlooked for her, less-major, role. The Blu-ray looks imperfect but reflects more of the production roots than any DVD has previously. 

Gary Tooze

September 30th, 2009

 

 

Wolf / Dracula / Frankenstein are available together at a significant savings in the Horror Classics Collection out on Blu-ray October 6th, 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 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 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:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
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)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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