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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

 

The Karate Kid [Blu-ray]

 

(John G. Avildsen, 1984)

 

Also available in a package with part 2:

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Columbia Pictures Corporation

Video: Sony

 

Disc:

Region: A (B + C untested)

Runtime: 2:06:54.607

Disc Size: 46,605,457,915 bytes

Feature Size: 39,689,121,792 bytes

Video Bitrate: 26.94 Mbps

Chapters: 16

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: May 11th, 2010

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 3795 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3795 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio French 2176 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2176 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio Portuguese 2785 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2785 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
* DTS Express English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / 24-bit

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), English, French, Portuguese, Spanish, none

 

Extras:

• Commentary with director John Avildsen, writer Robert Mark Kamen and actors Ralph Macchio and Pat Morita
Beyond the Form featurette
East Meets West: A Composer's Notebook featurette
Life of Bonsai featurette
The Way of Life: Making Of featurette
Blu-Pop

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: A fatherless teenager faces his moment of truth in The Karate Kid. Daniel (Ralph Macchio) arrives in Los Angeles from the east coast and faces the difficult task of making new friends. However, he becomes the object of bullying by the Cobras, a menacing gang of karate students, when he strikes up a relationship with Ali (Elisabeth Shue), the Cobra leader's ex-girlfriend. Eager to fight back and impress his new girlfriend but afraid to confront the dangerous gang, Daniel asks his handyman Miyagi (Noriyuki 'Pat' Morita), whom he learns is a master of the martial arts, to teach him karate. Miyagi teaches Daniel that karate is a mastery over the self, mind, and body and that fighting is always the last answer to a problem. Under Miyagi's guidance, Daniel develops not only physical skills but also the faith and self-confidence to compete despite tremendous odds as he encounters the fight of his life in the exciting finale to this entertaining film.

 

 

The Film:

"The Karate Kid" was one of the nice surprises of 1984 -- an exciting, sweet-tempered, heart-warming story with one of the most interesting friendships in a long time. The friends come from different worlds. A kid named Daniel (Ralph Macchio) is a New Jersey teenager who moves with his mother to Los Angeles. An old guy named Miyagi (Pat Morita) is the Japanese janitor in their apartment building. When Daniel starts to date the former girlfriend of the toughest kid in the senior class, the kid starts pounding on Daniel's head on a regular basis. Daniel tries to fight back, but this is a Southern California kid, and so of course he has a black belt in karate. Enter Mr. Miyagi, who seems to be a harmless old eccentric with a curious hobby: He tries to catch flies with chopsticks. It turns out that Miyagi is a karate master, a student not only of karate fighting but of the total philosophy of the martial arts. He agrees to take Daniel as his student.

And then begins the wonderful center section of "The Karate Kid," as the old man and the kid from Jersey become friends. Miyagi's system of karate instruction is offbeat, to say the least. He puts Daniel to work shining cars, painting fences, scrubbing the bottoms of pools. Daniel complains that he isn't learning karate, he's acting as free labor. But there is a system to Mr. Miyagi's training.

"The Karate Kid" was directed by John G. Avildsen, who made "Rocky." It ends with the same sort of climactic fight scene; Daniel faces his enemies in a championship karate tournament. But the heart of this movie isn't in the fight sequences, it's in the relationships. And in addition to Daniel's friendship with Miyagi, there's also a sweet romantic liaison with Ali (Elisabeth Shue), who is your standard girl from the right side of town and has the usual snobbish parents.

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.
 

The Karate Kid doesn't excel dramatically in terms of detail on the new Blu-ray. I recall discussing how there were some frequently weak film stocks utilized in the mid-80's and this would be a reasonable conclusion in assessing the image quality. It looks fairly good but never stellar. The transfer itself can't be blamed as it's dual-layered with the feature taking up almost 40 Gig of disc space. I don't see the waxiness of DNR - things just look very flat. Colors seem brighter and truer than the previously released SD could relate although it can tend to look blocky at times. In general, Blu-ray expectations-wise this would be considered fairly tame visually but as a representation of the original - I doubt much more could be done. This Blu-ray gave me a decent presentation but purchasers should adjust their image expectations towards the more modest end of the spectrum.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Audio seems solid with a DTS-HD Master 5.1 at a healthy 3795 kbps. As with Avildsen's Rocky, Bill Conti provides a great, memorable score that sounds crisp and uplifting. Effect noises and separations are at quite a minimum but crowd sounds at the final do extend to the rear speakers. Aurally the film is fairly basic but the track supports it well. There are optional subtitles available.

 

 

Extras :

The supplements appear to duplicate the SE DVD with the frequent 'interruption' chatter of the commentary with John Avildsen, writer Robert Mark Kamen and actors Macchio and Morita. It's nice to hear the enthusiasm but it's a little disorganized and should have had a helmsman asking questions of the rest as things do tend to get crowded sometimes making it hard to tell who is talking. Other than that it's some short featurette on production, the music, Bonsai trees and Karate. Exclusive to the Blu-ray is the newly named 'Blu-Pop' feature to reveal pop up trivia, interviews and more secrets from the film.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
I have to admit The Karate Kid's charms are not wasted on this reviewer. I really enjoyed revisiting this film (it's probably been close to 20-years for me). Everyone in it is so good from Macchio and Morita - right down to the one dimensional baddies, supportive Mom (Randee Heller) and cute-as-a-bug's-ear Shue as the love interest. This is solid filmmaking and wonderful entertainment with an adolescent setting. The Blu-ray may not perform the miracle Daniel did but I doubt we're going to see it looking any better. I suspect fans will indulge regardless. 

Gary Tooze

April 30th, 2010

 

Also available in a package with part 2:


 

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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