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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

 

Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire [Blu-ray]

 

(Lee Daniels, 2009)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Smokewood Entertainment Group

Video: Lionsgate

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:49:49.791

Disc Size: 46,888,963,760 bytes

Feature Size: 33,817,675,776 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.80 Mbps

Chapters: 16

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: March 9th, 2010

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 3198 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3198 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio French 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -4dB
Commentary: Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps / DN -4dB / Dolby Surround

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), English, Spanish, none

 

Extras:

• Commentary with Director Lee Daniels
“From Push to Precious” (15:23 in HD!)
“A Precious Ensemble” (18:33)

“Audition: Gabourey Sidibe” (2:33)
“Oprah and Tyler: A Project of Passion” (9:30)
“A Conversation with Author Sapphire and Director Lee Daniels” (8:27)
“Deleted Scene: The Incest Survivor Meeting” (1:45 in HD!)
“Reflections on Precious (Lee Daniels - :19, Gabby Sidibe - :19, Paul Patton - :12)” ( total -:50 in HD!)
Theatrical Trailer (2:32)

Also from Lionsgate

Disc production Credits

Bookmarks

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Precious Jones, an inner-city high school girl, is illiterate, overweight, and pregnant…again. Naïve and abused, Precious responds to a glimmer of hope when a door is opened by an alternative-school teacher. She is faced with the choice to follow opportunity and test her own boundaries. Prepare for shock, revelation and celebration.

 

Set in Harlem in 1987, it is the story of Claireece "Precious" Jones, a sixteen-year-old African-American girl born into a life no one would want. She's pregnant for the second time by her absent father; at home, she must wait hand and foot on her mother, a poisonously angry woman who abuses her emotionally and physically. School is a place of chaos, and Precious has reached the ninth grade with good marks and an awful secret: she can neither read nor write. Beneath her impassive expression is a watchful, curious young woman with an inchoate but unshakeable sense that other possibilities exist for her. Threatened with expulsion, Precious is offered the chance to transfer to an alternative school, Each One/Teach One. Precious doesn't know the meaning of "alternative," but her instincts tell her this is the chance she has been waiting for. In the literacy workshop taught by the patient yet firm Ms. Rain, Precious begins a journey that will lead her from darkness, pain and powerlessness to light, love and self-determination.

 

 

The Film:

Precious has shut down. She avoids looking at people, she hardly ever speaks, she's nearly illiterate. Inside her lives a great hurt, and also her child, conceived in a rape. She is fat. Her clothes are too tight. School is an ordeal of mocking cruelty. Home is worse. Her mother, defeated by life, takes it out on her daughter. After Precious is raped by her father, her mother, is angry not at the man, but at the child for "stealing" him.

There's one element in the film that redeems this landscape of despair. That element is hope. Not the hope of Precious, but that of two women who want better for her. It's not that Precious "shows promise." I think it's that these women, having in their jobs seen a great deal, can hardly imagine a girl more obviously in pain.

That is the starting point for "Precious," a great American film that somehow finds an authentic way to move from these beginnings to an inspiring ending. Gabourey "Gabby" Sidibe, a young actress in her debut performance as Precious, says, "I know this girl. I know her in my family, I know her in my friends, I've seen her, I've lived beside this girl."

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

 


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

Like all films, the image is at the mercy of the limitations inwhich it was shot and Precious shows grit and occasional poor lighting that adds to its vérité effect. Colors display brilliance beyond the capabilities of SD and there is some notable depth but overall the visuals presentation is a more modest one. This is dual-layered with a strong bitrate suggesting that the rendition is a faithful one. Daylight scenes are more impressive but nothing is overly dark. This uncompromised Blu-ray has a nice realistic intent with decent support for the 'fantasy' sequences. The 'Indie' feel can only benefit the film's narrative and I have no reason to suggest it is not accurate to its source. It is exceptionally clean and unfettered with no extravagant effects in the film to compromise the look or pacing. This is most probably the best it will ever look for your home theater viewing.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

The 5.1 DTS-HD Master audio track at 3198 kbps is more than capable of handling all the film has to offer in terms of separations and range. It's not a demonstratively mixed work with limited action with the film not relying heavily on effects of any kind. There is sparingly utilized original music by Mario Grigorov and some other songs like Just a Closer Walk with Thee by Mahalia Jackson - that are memorable. It all sounds responsively crisp. There are optional English and Spanish subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked Blu-ray.

 

Extras :

Supplements are extensive including a fine director's commentary from Lee Daniels. There are about 45-minutes of featurettes dealing with production, casting, a deleted scene and Gabourey Sidibe's audition. A lot of information is covered with input from author Sapphire, Oprah and other producers, the cast including Mariah, more from director Daniels and many others involved. There is a fine line to skate for this marketing-wise with so much exposure initially especially with some larger names attached to the project. Luckily, these don't effect the final presentation but the extras do touch on those perceptions. These are strong extras for those willing to indulge.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
We are initially shown that there is not a lot that is particularly precious about the character 'Precious' - excepting she, like you and I, is a human being. To say she has received the short-end-of-the-stick in life is the world's greatest understatement. Perhaps her most endearing quality is that despite the horrors that have been thrown at her (incest, rape, physical and emotional abuse, fatal disease etc.) - she has not totally surrendered. A miracle indeed. The film is not to everyone's tastes - it is bold, unsentimental and unforgiving in it's bleak portrayal. It left me drained - even a day later. Performances are exceptional with special note to Mariah Carey shedding her Diva skin - adding another layer to her talents and whetting our appetites for more.

 

The Blu-ray? It seems to do a perfect job for the powerful film presentation with plenty of supplemental material to peruse after your viewing. This may be a hard film for some to sit through, but I can't deny it's impact. To those willing to venture there - this Blu-ray is absolutely recommended!    

Gary Tooze

March 3rd, 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 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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