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Norwegian Wood aka Noruwei no mori [Blu-ray]
(Anh Hung Tran, 2010)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Asmik Ace Entertainment
Video: Soda Pictures Ltd.
Region: 'B'-locked (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 44,836,641,963 bytes
Feature Size: 30,998,925,312 bytes
Video Bitrate: 25.99 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: July 4th, 2011
Aspect ratio: 2.35:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio Japanese 3326 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3326 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
English (SDH), none
•The Making of Norwegian Wood (52:13 in 1080i)
•Japanese Premiere (7:58 in 1080i)
• Japanese Opening Day (8:24 in 1080i)
• Venice Featurette (8:09 in 1080i)
• Trailer (1:47 in 1080P)
•Poster Gallery (:53 in 1080P)
Description: Published in 1987 and since translated into 33
languages, Norwegian Wood is a story of loss and heartbreak
in a time of global instability. Haruki Murakami’s
bestselling novel is brought to the screen by Tran Anh Hung
(Golden Lion winner for
Cyclo and Academy Award
The Scent of Green Papaya) and features
Japanese rising star Kenichi Matsuyama (Death Note,
Detroit Metal City) and Oscar nominee Rinko Kikuchi (Babel)
alongside newcomer Kiko Mizuhara.
Brave is the director who seeks to bring Haruki Murakami’s 1987 novel
Norwegian Wood to the big screen. It’s one of those rare books: a 13
million-plus bestseller that, such is the very personal pull it exerts
on its readers, still feels like a cult fiction.
Directed by Vietnamese filmmaker Anh Hung Tran, Norwegian Wood is based on the best-selling novel by Haruki Murakami. Set in Kobe, Japan in 1967, the film stars Kenichi Matsuyama as Watanabe, a 19-year-old Japanese student who falls for his friend Naoko (Rinko Kikuchi, from The Brothers Bloom) after the suicide of their mutual friend (and Naoko's boyfriend) Kizuki (Kengo Kora); despite their mutual attraction, this only makes things worse for Naoko and she flees to a remote sanatorium in the country.
The film is beautifully shot, with Mark Lee Ping Bin's stunning cinematography making full use of the Japanese countryside throughout the various seasons: the scenes in the snow are particularly striking. There's also a superb score by Jonny Greenwood (Radiohead’s lead guitarist) and a welcome appearance from the titular Beatles song (sung by one of the characters) at around the halfway point.Excerpt from Matthew Turner at ViewLondon located HERE
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Tran's Norwegian Wood is a gorgeous film filled with luscious scenes of hilly countrysides, waterfalls, swimming pools and winterscapes. The dual-layered Blu-ray transfer supports the film's beauty extremely well. The image quality shows some less-even grain or noise that I can't really place but it seems consistent and in-line with the process (maybe shot digitally and moved to 35mm?). Regardless, in-motion this looks awesome (be it the art direction or the solid transfer - probably both!) with true colors and the contrast exhibits healthy, rich black levels. It's a delightful film to watch in 1080P. Textures are not overwhelming but I'd say that most fans will greatly appreciate the HD visuals. Thumbs up!
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
The DTS-HD Master at 5.1 in original Japanese at around 3300 kbps has no notable flaws. It exports a crisp even sound with gentle and subtle intonations and as described by Matthew Turner '...superb score by Jonny Greenwood (Radiohead’s lead guitarist) and a welcome appearance from the titular Beatles song (sung by one of the characters) at around the halfway point.'The lossless track is excellent and we can presume a wonderfully authentic replication of the theatrical. There are English subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region B-locked.
Supplements look to be taken, or prepared for a Japanese release (the film's original language) - but having English subtitles. We get The Making of Norwegian Wood running 53-minutes in HD covering much of the expected - but enlightening in some senses. There is footage of the Japanese Premiere for 8-minuites in HD as well as the Japanese Opening Day for 8.5 minutes with speeches and interviews, plus a Venice Film Festival of similar length as well as a trailer and minute-long Poster Gallery with some very cool art.
July 25th, 2011
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.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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