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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Spawn [Blu-ray]

 

(Mark A.Z. Dippé, 1997)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Todd McFarlane Entertainment

Video: Warner

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:38:33.365

Disc Size: 33,827,686,883 bytes

Feature Size: 28,647,985,152 bytes

Video Bitrate: 29.95 Mbps

Chapters: 24

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: July 10th, 2012

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 4780 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 4780 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio German 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 Digital Audio Italian 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB / Dolby Surround
* Dolby Digital Audio Japanese 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB / Dolby Surround
Dolby Digital Audio Polish 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB / Dolby Surround
Dolby Digital Audio Portuguese 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB / Dolby Surround

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish, none

 

Extras:

• Commentary by Creator Todd McFarlane, Director Mark A.Z. Dippe, Producer Clint Goldman and Visual Effects Supervisor Steve Williams

Behind the Story (The Making of Spawn - 21:57, Todd MacFarlane Chapter and Verse - 19:36, 5 Scene to Storyboard Comparisons - , Original Todd MacFarlane Sketches - , Spawn Concept / Sketch Galleries, Todd McFarlane's Spawn the Animated Movie Preview - 1:43)

• 2 Music Videos

Theatrical Trailer (1:46)

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: A government assassin is brought back to life as an entity with supernatural powers. How can you avenge betrayal and murder? How can you fight for right in a world so steeped in evil? How can you protect those you love most from all that can do them harm? No man living - or dead - can tell you. But one trapped between both is struggling for an answer that can save the lives of his most beloved, or plunge the world into eternal darkness. The cloak and chains of Spawn explode onto the screen in a deadly tornado of untapped, unwrapped, merciless power.

 

 

The Film:

Finally, a comic book movie that gets it right. Now, I've never been a big fan of the comic book incarnation of Spawn. Not because I didn't like the character, he just came along after I'd put aside comics for the most part. So, this movie was really my introduction to him and what an introduction it was.

Al Simmons (Michael Jai White) is a government assassin, working for a division known simply as A-6. He hunts and kills international criminals for Jason Wynn (Martin Sheen), the head of A-6. Over the years, it seems that Simmons has developed a conscience and decides that he no longer wants to kill as a profession. Wynn, who has secretly agreed with the devil to provide a suitable candidate to lead Satan's army in exchange for world domination, chides Simmons to take one final mission -- a mission that proves fatal to Simmons.

Excerpt from RMedia-assault located HERE

"Spawn'' is best seen as an experimental art film. It walks and talks like a big budget horror film, heavy on special effects and pitched at the teenage audience, and maybe that's how it will be received. But it's more impressive if you ignore the genre and just look at what's on the screen. What we have here are creators in several different areas doing their best to push the envelope. The subject is simply an excuse for their art--just as it always is with serious artists.

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.

Spawn appears reasonably strong on Blu-ray from Warner. With the dual-layering and high bitrate I expect this is the best that the film will look for Home Theater appreciation. Most of the effects are seamless in 1080P although a few sneak into transparency. There isn't any strong positives to extol but it's clean, consistent and has a semblance of depth.  You gotta think the art direction is comic-oriented and, to tell you the truth, I think it works well. Details and colors tighten beyond SD capability and contrast produces decent black levels. Solid but not stellar.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

The DTS-HD Master 5.1 at a massive 4780 kbps is a barn-burner with pounding effects scattered into every corner. The depth is pulsating and nothing is subtle. Those who like their soundstage ultra-aggressive should appreciate Spawn in lossless - it's quite impacting in the presentation. There are optional DUBs and subtitles signifying it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.

 

Extras :

We get a very light commentary by creator Todd McFarlane (recorded separately), director Mark A.Z. Dippe, producer Clint Goldman and Visual Effects Supervisor Steve Williams. It's fun, informative and is a decent supplement for those keen on the film. There is a 'Behind the Story' segment with close to an hour's worth of 6 video pieces (The Making of Spawn - 21:57, Todd MacFarlane Chapter and Verse - 19:36, Todd McFarlane's Spawn the Animated Movie Preview - 1:43) as well as 5 Scene to Storyboard Comparisons, original Todd MacFarlane Sketches and Spawn Concept / Sketch Galleries. All are from the 98's SD DVD and remain in 480i. There are also 2 Music Videos - "Trip Like I Do" by Filter & The Crystal Method + "Long Hard Road Out of Hell" by Marilyn Manson & the Sneaker Pimps - and a theatrical trailer.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
I'd seen Spawn once before and despite all its imperfections - can still be a fun ride if you approach it as the flawed offering it is. The intent is certainly there and is achieved in many areas including the desperate atmosphere and funky effects. The improved a/v adds some dynamic gusto via the Blu-ray. If schmaltz doesn't offend you - then you might be right at home with Spawn. It's bad (no where near as bad as some make out) but often 'bad in a good way'. Enjoy! 

Gary Tooze

July 7th, 2012


 

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 5000 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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