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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

MicMacs a Tire-Larigot [Blu-ray]

 

(Jean-Pierre Jeunet, 2009)

 

Paradox/Seville (Canada) - Region FREE - Blu-ray LEFT vs. Sony - Region 'A' - Blu-ray RIGHT

 

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Epithète Films

Video: Paradox/Seville Canada vs. Sony (stats in green)

 

Disc:

Paradox/Seville is Region: FREE - Sony is Region 'A'-locked (as verified by the Momitsu Region 'A' Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:44:14.289 / 1:44:21.255

Disc Size: 20,978,226,457 bytes / 31,928,917,721 bytes

Feature Size: 18,416,013,312 bytes / 23,978,287,104 bytes

Video Bitrate: 17.70 Mbps / 24.93 Mbps

Chapters: 18 / 16

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: September 7th, 2010 / December 14th, 2010

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 2.40:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio French 3825 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3825 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit / DN -4dB)
Dolby Digital Audio French 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -4dB

 

DTS-HD Master Audio French 3856 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3856 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / Dolby Surround

 

Subtitles:

English, French, None / English, English (SDH), none

 

Extras:

• Interview with Jean-Pierre Jeunet (8:54 - French with English subtitles - 1080i)

 

Extras:

• Commentary by director Jean-Pierre Jeunet

The Making of MicMacs (47:22 in French with English subtitles - in HD!)

Q+A with Jean-Pierre Jeunet and actress Julie Ferrier at the Tribeca Film Festival (10:39 in English - in HD!)

• Animations: Absurd Deaths (2:14)

• Theatrical Trailer (2:10)

 

Bitrate:

Paradox/Seville (Canada) - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP vs. Sony - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

 

Description: First it was a mine that exploded in the middle of the Moroccan desert. Years later, it was a stray bullet that lodged in his brain... Bazil doesn't have much luck with weapons. The first made him an orphan, the second holds him on the brink of sudden, instant death. Released from the hospital after his accident, Bazil is homeless. Luckily, our inspired and gentle-natured dreamer is quickly taken in by a motley crew of junkyard dealers living in a veritable Ali Baba's cave. The group's talents and aspirations are as surprising as they are diverse: Remington, Calculator, Buster, Slammer, Elastic Girl, Tiny Pete, and Mama Chow. Then one day, walking by two huge buildings, Bazil recognizes the logos of the weapons manufacturers that caused all of his misfortune. He sets out to take revenge, with the help of his faithful gang of wacky friends. Underdogs battling heartless industrial giants, our gang relive the battle of David and Goliath, with all the imagination and fantasy of Buster Keaton...

 

 

The Film:

An underground lair serves as the point of inspiration for this deeply whimsical fantasy comedy (with echoes of Jodorowsky's RAINBOW THIEF) from French cause celebre Jean-Pierre Jeunet (AMELIE). The locale is post-9/11 Europe. As arms dealers go head to head with one another in a series of violent skirmishes -- suggesting that an apocalyptic cataclysm may be lingering on the horizon -- the unfortunate Bazil (Dany Boon) still reels from the long-ago death of his father from a roadside bomb, an event that left him orphaned as a boy. Now employed in a low-paying job as a video-store clerk, and still trying to determine how he fits into the scheme of things, he gets hit by a stray bullet from a drive-by shooting and promptly lands in the hospital.

 

Upon release, he finds himself broke and unemployed. Hope soon crops up, however, in the form of Placard (Jean-Pierre Marielle), an ex-convict living in a scrap dump with a motley group of social outcasts -- all of whom welcome Bazil with warmth, compassion, and hospitality. Sure of his place for the first time in his life, Bazil joins forces with them to turn the dump into a lovely underground home, filled to the rafters with extraordinary inventions and sculptures. Soon after, the possibility of revenge against the munitions manufacturers responsible for Bazil's dad's death presents itself.


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

Like Jean-Pierre Jeunet's 1991 feature Delicatessen, the image on MicMacs is thick, dark and richly saturated. Both Blu-rays transfers bring that out exceptionally well. Like that earlier lauded work by Jeunet + Marc Caro this is also bathed in green and gold hues. There isn't much between the two discs - both are transferred via MPEG-4 / 1080P in the 2.40:1 aspect ratio. The Sony is dual-layered while the Canadian edition is single. The Sony has higher feature file size and bitrate - but I couldn't find any dominant instances of difference aside from the Paradox/Seville is brighter and the US video, which, the darker, is probably more accurate. I did some toggling back and forth using separate machines and I don't find the slightly lighter transfer to be a problem with more noise or artefacts. This is such a good looking film - characteristic of the director's style - that the visuals were highly pleasing on both editions. Actually the darker Sony may remove a smidgeon of detail - but this would be more dependant on the contrast level of the system it is reviewed on. So, bottom line is that the Sony is technically better and may be a more accurate image compared to theatrical but both supply a strong, highly pleasing, presentation.

 

NOTE: I suspect the Region-B locked UK E1 Entertainment Blu-ray HERE is the exact same as the Canuck edition (where it's logo appears) and at the writing of this review is 70% OFF!!

 

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

 

Paradox/Seville (Canada) - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP vs. Sony - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Paradox/Seville (Canada) - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP vs. Sony - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Paradox/Seville (Canada) - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP vs. Sony - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Paradox/Seville (Canada) - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP vs. Sony - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Paradox/Seville (Canada) - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP vs. Sony - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Paradox/Seville (Canada) - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP vs. Sony - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Paradox/Seville (Canada) - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP vs. Sony - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Paradox/Seville (Canada) - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP vs. Sony - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Paradox/Seville (Canada) - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP vs. Sony - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Paradox/Seville (Canada) - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP vs. Sony - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Paradox/Seville (Canada) - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP vs. Sony - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Paradox/Seville (Canada) - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP vs. Sony - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Paradox/Seville (Canada) - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP vs. Sony - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Audio :

I couldn't detect any differences in the strong DTS-HD Master 5.1 tracks - both at at over 3000 kbps. There isn't an abundance of aggressive effects - most separations are very subtle and help establish the scene's atmosphere. Both lossless tracks are in original French and seem flawless. There is healthy depth and a supportive, and memorable, score by Raphaël Beau. A difference would be that the Canadian edition's subtitles are yellow while the Sony are white (see sample below). Subtitle translations seem duplicate and my Momitsu has identified the Seville as being region FREE and the Sony as region 'A'-locked - which is a bit of a surprise.

 

 

Extras :

In the supplements Sony makes a more definitive case for being the superior package. While the Canadian edition only has a lone 9-minute interview with director Jean-Pierre Jeunet (in French with English subtitles), the Sony includes a commentary by Jeunet. His French accent is charming but not always easily discernable. I LOVED hearing him talk though about his film as he has abundant passion. There is also an extensive The Making of MicMacs running more than 3/4 of an hour. It seems to have been a French production - in that language but with subtitles and has the usual roving camera information - but cutely laid out. The Sony also contributes a 10-minute Q + A with Jean-Pierre Jeunet and actress/comedienne Julie Ferrier (it's her face, digitally enhanced, on to the body of a real contortionist - described; “She’s a Russian girl who works in Germany and who does erotic shows” says Jean-Pierre) - she looks quite striking here. They are at at the Tribeca Film Festival and it is a pleasant interaction. There are some brief animations ('Absurd Deaths') as, partially, shown in the film - a theatrical trailer and where would we be without some 'Previews'.

 

Paradox/Seville (Canada) - Region FREE - Blu-ray LEFT vs. Sony - Region 'A' - Blu-ray RIGHT

 

 
 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
This is a typical film from the director - essentially meaning that it is a ton of fun. You kind of wish the first hour would play forever. It is stylistically all eclectic characters and amusing and precise art direction with some inventive gimmicks. Jeunet creates a wonderful child-like world that is more than just simple amusement. My only complaint was that the second half seemed a shade long. I've owned the Canadian Paradox/Seville Blu-ray for a while and it gave me an impressive presentation. I suspected that the Sony would be comparable but with more extras. This is exactly the case - so we absolutely recommend the film and suggest making your disc purchases accordingly based on desirability of supplements and geographic location (shipping). This is certainly worth a few spins.

Gary Tooze

December 10th, 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 'A' Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region 'A' 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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