H D - S E N S E I

A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

 

Ghost Ship [Blu-ray]

 

(Steven Beck, 2002)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Warner

Video: Warner Home Video

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:30:43.438

Disc Size: 21,231,367,112 bytes

Feature Size: 18,366,044,160 bytes

Video Bitrate: 17.25 Mbps

Chapters: 28

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: October 6th, 2009

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: VC-1 Video

 

Audio:

Dolby TrueHD Audio English 3847 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3847 kbps / 24-bit (AC3 Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps)
DUBs: Dolby Digital Audio French 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio German 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Japanese 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Portuguese 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / Dolby Surround

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), English, Chinese, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Japanese, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, none

 

Extras:

Max on Set: Ghost Ship (15:04)

3 Featurettes - A Closer Look at Gore, Designing the Ghost Ship, and Visual Effects

Music Video

Theatrical Trailer

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: While it offers nothing new for horror buffs, Ghost Ship relocates its haunted house clichés to an eerily effective setting. The Italian luxury liner Antonia Graza, its fate a mystery for 40 years, has suddenly reappeared in the chilly Bering Sea. Lured by a seemingly harmless proposition, Gabriel Byrne and Julianna Margulies lead a salvage crew (including Ron Eldard, Margulies's offscreen partner and fellow ER alumnus) to claim the wreck. But a grisly prologue--in which we witness the horrific fate of the ship's crew and passengers--makes it clear that bad things are going to happen. And they do... with the predictability of tomorrow's sunrise. The supporting cast is routinely dispatched, but their fates are determined amid outstanding art direction, slick cinematography, and judicious digital trickery, all primed to maximize the doom-laden atmosphere. Director Steve Beck (who remade 13 Ghosts a year earlier) won't win any awards for ingenuity, but Ghost Ship offers a few good chills for a dark and stormy night.

 

 

The Film:

"Ghost Ship" is another one of those Dark Castle horror movies, which are usually good for a crappy good time.

Dark Castle is the production house set up by Joel Silver and Robert Zemeckis, who produced HBO's Tales from the Crypt and obviously enjoy doing their bit to perpetuate the time-honored tradition of the medium-to-low-budget horror film. The movie has few surprises for lifelong horror fans, but it'll keep them (or us -- I count myself in their number) happily diverted for just under 90 minutes.

Things start off promisingly: a mishap aboard the Italian cruise liner Antonia Graza, which went missing in 1962. Proving that Silver or, more likely, Zemeckis has a bit of clout with the MPAA, the opening scene gives us dozens of bloodily dismembered bodies without getting slapped with an NC-17 rebuke. I found the scene as wildly implausible -- if you see it, ask yourself if all the bodies would remain standing -- as it was fun to watch; horror fans are always on the lookout for new ways to affront the human body, and Ghost Ship introduces the dreaded Runaway Cable. Okay, you've seen that before, but as an instrument of mass murder?

A weather spotter (Desmond Harrington) has caught sight of Antonia Graza apparently floating out in the nowhere of international waters; he brings this info to a salvage crew, headed by Gabriel Byrne as a tough Irish captain named Murphy. This is excellent news for Byrne, who gets to retain his accent while downing hard liquor and tersely issuing unquestionable commands. Murphy decides to take his crew -- including the fearless welder Epps (Julianna Margulies), first mate Greer (Isaiah Washington), engineer Santos (Alex Dimitriades), and scruffy crewmen Dodge (Ron Eldard) and Munder (Karl Urban) -- to see if the ship contains anything worth salvaging.

Excerpt from Rob Gonsalves' review at eFilmCritic located HERE

 

 


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

This is a reasonably successful single-layered Blu-ray transfer by Warner. It is easily identifiable as HD - a demonstrative leap over SD-DVD.  The image quality shows some grit and minor grain and there is no abusive DNR or edge-enhancement as the title probably wasn't considered worthy of too much transfer effort. All the better I say. It's clean with some surprising sharpness. There is enough grain to produce a solid texture that also exhibits some desirable depth. Colors are used sparingly in the film with a lot of shadowy creepiness below deck - but when they do surface (no pun) they appear even brighter after the past us of dark grays.  It probably looked quite similar to this for its limited theatrical run. This is only 18Gig used for the feature but noise and blockiness are very limited. Skin tones seem a little warm - for the non-ghouls that is. This Blu-ray produced a strong visual presentation. It's no demo disc but the improvement in video brings out more of the adventure aspects of the film - while the horror effects remains quite bloody and gruesome.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 at 3847 kbps seems to kick in at it's most authoritative during Ghost Ship's soundtrack music including some heavy rock and "Superhoney" by Edwin and The Pressure + "Not Falling" by Mudvayne (also on a Music video in the extras) plus Paul Williams' 'Love Boat' theme sneaks in for nostalgia. Some creepy subtleties on the ship sneak to the rear channel speakers for added effect. There are subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.

 

 

 

Extras :

The supplements are nothing to write home about. A standard group of featurettes with cast and crew on effects and discussion of the plot like it's more than it is. I suspect they have moved over from the last DVD edition but don't own it to verify. A music video and trailer are also included.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
This is a pretty good schmatzy horror/adventure if you are in the mood. I was... and I enjoyed it myself. I don't have any complaints about the Blu-ray A/V. It seems pretty solid on that front if not stellar. Save this for a late Friday night when you are in the mood for a modern 'B' picture - pure entertainment without obtrusive thought. 

Gary Tooze

September 30th, 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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