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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Contagion [Blu-ray]

 

(Steven Soderbergh, 2011)

 

  

  

  

Also available in a 2-disc Blu-ray version:

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Warner

Video: Warner Home Video

Disc:

Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:46:25.045

Disc Size: 22,478,463,004 bytes

Feature Size: 20,059,619,328 bytes

Video Bitrate: 16.84 Mbps

Chapters: 35

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: January 3rd, 2012

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 3633 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3633 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
Dolby Digital Audio Portuguese 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Thai 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB / Dolby Surround

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), Chinese (traditional and simplified), French, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, Thai, none

 

Extras:

• The Reality of Contagion (11:29)

• The Contagion Detectives (4:57)

• Contagion: How a Virus Changes the World (2:01)

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law, Laurence Fishburne and Bryan Cranston, along with medical journalist Sanjay Gupta, explore the real science of global viruses and what they mean to the human race. The world is preparing for the next biological disaster...but is it too late?

***

"Contagion" follows the rapid progress of a lethal airborne virus that kills within days. As the fast-moving epidemic... grows, the worldwide medical community races to find a cure and control the panic that spreads faster than the virus itself. At the same time, ordinary people struggle to survive in a society coming apart.

 

 

The Film:

"Contagion," the new thriller by Steven Soderbergh, tells a story for our time, a story of raging menace and out of control fear. It offers us thirtysomething days in the life of a global pandemic, a lethal virus that travels like the wind and kills without a trace of mercy. This may not fit any conventional definition of entertainment, but it certainly keeps your eyes on the screen.

Excerpt from Kenneth Turan at the LA Times located HERE

Contagion,” Steven Soderbergh’s smart, spooky thriller about a thicket of contemporary plagues — a killer virus, rampaging fear, an unscrupulous blogger — is as ruthlessly effective as the malady at its cool, cool center. Set in the world-is-flat now, the movie tracks a mystery pathogen after it catches a ride on a flight from Hong Kong to Chicago, an early hop for a globe-sprinting pandemic that cuts across borders and through bodies as effortlessly as Mr. Soderbergh moves among genres, styles and eras, this time by updating 1970s paranoia freakouts like “All the President’s Men” for the anti-government, Tea Party age.

Excerpt from Manohla Dargis at the NY Times located HERE

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

Contagion appears decent but not stellar on Blu-ray from Warner. This is only single-layered but gives a reasonable HD image. Contagion is not a film filled with dynamic visuals. There are some but this is more the evolution of an epidemic with strong emphasis on the storyline. We are never distracted by superfluous eye-candy, hence the modest bitrate is not detrimental to the 1.78:1 presentation.  There appear to be some yellowish/gold filters used and a slight, intentional, haze around the edges when separating sequences in the past. The contrast appears adept and the film has some style which the Blu-ray adequately supports. There is some minor depth but it is not a key attribute - nor are the colors but they seem accurate without digital manipulation.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

As well as some foreign language DUBs we get a DTS-HD Master 5.1 at a robust 3633 kbps. There aren't too many effect separations in the film but Contagion has this rhythmic pulsating score by Cliff Martinez. It can be very haunting and sounds awesome in lossless. There are optional subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.

 

Extras :

The Reality of Contagion looks like a 'Making of...' but has the cast and crew discussing the concerns of a virus epidemic. There are are doctors supplying information interspersed with clips from the film. Essentially it is a scary look at our changing, globalized, world and our inability to handle those changes. It lasts 11.5 minutes. The Contagion Detectives is a 5-minute video continuing from the first supplement talking to the serious medical advisors on details presented in the film. Contagion: How a Virus Changes the World is a 2-minute animated feature explaining the pathogenesis of a travelling virus - explaining terms like 'pandemic' and the value of washing your hands regularly (could save 1 million lives annually!).

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
I liked Contagion - then  watched it a second time and really liked it. Soderbergh has uniquely pieced the film together producing a very compelling and dramatic story. Even in the subsequent viewing my eyes were glued to the screen. This is an educational experience prompting post-discussion. The Blu-ray isn't top-shelf but the price seems right for a vey entertaining night in the Home theater. Recommended!

Gary Tooze

January 1st, 2012

 

  

  

  

Also available in a 2-disc Blu-ray version:


 

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.

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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