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12 Years a Slave [Blu-ray]
(Steve McQueen, 2013)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: New Regency Pictures
Video: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 47,203,374,955 bytes
Feature Size: 36,409,024,512 bytes
Video Bitrate: 28.99 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case inside cardboard slipcase
Release date: March 4th, 2014
Aspect ratio: 2.4:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 3880 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3880 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio English 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio French 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps
English (SDH), Spanish, none
•12 Years a Slave: Historical Portrait (2-part 41:21)
• The Team (7:43)
• The Score (3:55)
• Trailer (2:23)
Description: Chiwetel Ejiofor stars in the true story of Solomon Northup, a free man in 1800s New York State, who was kidnapped and forced into slavery on a plantation near New Orleans, and his subsequent fight for freedom with the help of a Canadian abolitionist (Brad Pitt). Steve McQueen (Hunger) directed from a script he co-wrote with John Ridley, based in part on Northup's memoir. Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, Sarah Paulson, and Paul Giamatti co-star.
The film 12 Years a Slave, British director Steve McQueen’s
antebellum Southern drama, sets a new standard in realistically
depicting American slavery. With slavery at the heart of the paradox –
the United States’ existence was founded on the principle of liberty – a
mainstream film that depicts that bleak part of history is exceptional.
Based on the 19th-century memoir of Solomon Northup (adapted here by
screenwriter John Ridley), 12 Years a Slave follows the
tribulations of an educated carpenter, musician and family man from New
York state who, in 1841, was kidnapped and sold into slavery in the
south – a shockingly common phenomenon. Stripped of his past, his
identity and even (in the eyes of the law) his humanity, the renamed
"Platt" becomes the property of plantation owner Ford (Benedict
Cumberbatch), whose comparatively benign and sympathetic demeanour
belies his slaver status. But after incurring the ire of sadistic
farmhand Tibeats (Paul Dano), "Platt" is sold down the river to Epps
(Michael Fassbender), a broiling cauldron of psychotic rage whose desire
for slave girl Patsey (Lupita Nyong'o) appears to be pushing him ever
further into an abyss of uncontrollable cruelty.
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
12 Years a Slave looks absolutely brilliant on Blu-ray from 20th Century Fox. The image quality is crisp and the 1080P showcases Sean Bobbitt's beautiful cinematography to impressive heights. I should also credit the amazing art direction which defines the surroundings and atmosphere to such a professional standard. This is dual-layered with a high bitrate. Colors seem vibrant (especially the outdoor scenes of lush landscapes) but true with advancing beyond the boundaries of realism. Skin tones are true and contrast exhibits healthy, rich black levels. Details is crisp in the few close-ups and there isn't a hint of noise. By any standards this is 1080P image is stunning in its clarity and scope. This Blu-ray looks about as good as I have seen in a long while - exporting fabulously impressive visuals.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
The audio doesn't take a backseat to the stupendous video. We get a tight DTS-HD Master 5.1 at very healthy 3880 kbps. Separations are punchy and bass response intimidating with its power potential - though rarely is it released. Hans Zimmer (The Thin Red Line, Broadcast News, Angels and Demons etc.) is the go-to guy and his score is effective rising and falling with the screen moods. The closing harmonica theme music seems absolutely perfect and sounds crisp enough without range or depth.My Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.
Supplements include the 40-minute, 2-part, documentary entitled 12 Years a Slave: Historical Portrait. It includes Chiwetel Ejiofor reading of Solomon Northup's 1841 autobiography of which the film is based. It details how the film came together with discussing with director Steve McQueen. It is excellent. We also get 7-minutes of "The Team" highlighting creative partners in the film. We also get the, brief, "The Score" where Hans Zimmer talks of his composition of the film's score. There is also a theatrical trailer.
February 26th, 2013
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.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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