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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze


The Eclipse [Blu-ray]


(Conor McPherson, 2009)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Irish Film Board

Video: Magnolia Home Entertainment



Region: A (B + C untested)

Runtime: 1:27:36.251

Disc Size: 17,525,596,675 bytes

Feature Size: 13,887,789,120 bytes

Video Bitrate: 17.99 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: June 29th, 2010



Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 1881 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1881 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)



English (SDH), Spanish, none



• The Making of the Eclipse (27:32)

HDNet Looks at the Eclipse (4:39)

• Magnolia Trailers





Description: Michael Farr (Ciarán Hinds), a teacher raising his two kids alone since his wife died two years earlier, has been seeing and hearing strange things late at night. He isn't sure if he is having nightmares, or if he's experiencing a haunting. Working as a volunteer for an international literary festival, he is assigned to Lena Morelle (Iben Hjejle), an author of books about ghosts and the supernatural. Establishing a rapport with one another, Michael opens up and shares his terrifying experiences with her. However, Lena's attention is distracted by another novelist, Nicholas Holden (Aidan Quinn), with whom she had a brief affair. The trajectories of these three people lead them into a life-altering collision where the challenges of love, fear of the unknown, and release from the burden of grief are explored.



The Film:

Conor McPherson’s “The Eclipse” is a gem: a smart, deliberately paced tale of mourning and renewal, a ghost story with a few moments of terror and well-observed emotional truths.

Based on a short story by Billy Roche (and cowritten by Roche and McPherson), “The Eclipse” is about Michael Farr (Ciaran Hinds), a widower in the Irish town of Cobh, where he lives with his two pre-teen children He teaches woodworking at the local school and, on the weekend in which the film is set, is serving as a volunteer driver for the local literary festival.

But Michael is troubled in ways he can’t define. He hears and sees things in the drafty old townhouse where he lives, though he isn’t sure whether they’re ghosts or something else. The fact that the first one he sees looks like his father-in-law, Malachy (Jim Norton), who is alive if not all that well at a local nursing home, is particularly troubling.

Excerpt from Hollywood and Fine located HERE


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

The Eclipse was given a limited transfer on Blu-ray from Magnolia. Statistically, it may only be a smaller-than-usual step above SD-DVD but I thought the 1080P rendering supported the film in fine fashion.  This is only single-layered and there is some noise but detail has a few strong moments and the contrast does a solid job of creating atmosphere with shadows and light. Colors seem tighter and truer than SD could relate, but heavy on the blue-greens, and nothing ever looks overly blocky - in fact the presentation is quite smooth. The Blu-ray has some areas that it could improve but they are not in abundance. In short, I thought it looked okay - but no one would be using this to demo the quality of their system.

















Audio :

It's a modest lossless DTS-HD Master 5.1 at 1881 kbps. The track is fairly passive but can jump alive in the 'shock' sequences. The penetrating and punching bass can jump you out of your seat but it's not quite at the level of some larger film budget sound transfers. What I really enjoyed was the music - a lot of haunting solo piano and the like. It really established some scenes very well. There are optional subtitles.



Extras :

Not much in the way supplements with a decent Making of for under a 1/2 hour with some soundbytes from the principles and the better-than-usual HDNet pice for five minutes with Ciarán Hinds giving input plus Magnolia Trailers. I think the film deserved more - but what can we do?



Well, just another film that I thoroughly enjoyed and shake my head at the lackluster critical response. Maybe I am just not discerning enough. What I suspect is that people have become so jaded with over-the-top horror films that they seem to think the norm is supercilious excess. This is the opposite of those cheesy and exploitive genre films that tend to rake in all the money. This is classy, intelligent and the 'scare-factor' is at a sufficient minimum. What I will say is to adjust your expectations to something that stylishly explores its own narrative as opposed to pushing the envelope of your fear buttons. The Blu-ray is limited technically - for both a/v and extras - but I still enjoyed the presentation. The price may seem high to some but it is probably dependant on your ability to receive pleasure from this unique film. I did but, as I say, many may be expecting something... different. 

Gary Tooze

June 23rd, 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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