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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Grand Budapest Hotel [Blu-ray]

 

(Wes Anderson, 2014)

 

  

  

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Scott Rudin Productions

Video: 20th Century Fox

 

Disc:

Region: FREE (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:39:54.990

Disc Size: 39,302,059,263 bytes

Feature Size: 24,715,739,136 bytes

Video Bitrate: 32.97 Mbps

Chapters: 33

Case: Standard Blu-ray case inside cardboard slipcase

Release date: June 17th, 2014

 

Video:

Aspect ratios: 1.85:1, 2.35:1, 1.37:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 3312 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3312 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Descriptive Audio:

Dolby Digital Audio English 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps
DUBs:

Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps
DTS Audio French 768 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit
Dolby Digital Audio Portuguese 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps
DTS Audio Russian 768 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit
Dolby Digital Audio Czech 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Hungarian 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Polish 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Turkish 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), Spanish, French, Dutch, Portuguese, Russian , Arabic, Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Estonian, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Icelandic, Latvian, Lithuanian, Chinese, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Turkish, Ukrainian, none

 

Extras:

• Bill Murray Tours the Town (4:17)
Vignettes (9:00)
The Making of The Grand Budapest Hotel (18:08)
Cast (3:24)
Wes Anderson (3:46)
Stills Gallery (3:25)
Theatrical Trailer (2:26)

Sneak Peeks and Cod for Digital Download

 

Bitrate:

 

 

 

Description: Wes Anderson heads to Europe for the first time with this Indian Paintbrush production starring Saoirse Ronan, Ralph Fiennes, Bill Murray, and Jude Law. The famous concierge at a legendary hotel situated in the Alps becomes the center of a farcical whirlwind of suspicion when one of his institution's oldest and richest patrons turns up dead, and she suspiciously leaves him her most priceless work of art -- a Renaissance painting of a boy with an apple.

 

 

The Film:

The Grand Budapest Hotel,” Mr. Anderson’s eighth feature, will delight his fans, but even those inclined to grumble that it’s just more of the same patented whimsy might want to look again. As a sometime grumbler and longtime fan, I found myself not only charmed and touched but also moved to a new level of respect.

There is no doubt that Mr. Anderson possesses a distinctive sensibility and a consistent visual style, and that instead of striking out in new directions, he tends to embroider and elaborate on familiar themes and pictorial habits. You will see many of them here: static, densely packed, fussily composed frames; traveling shots in which the camera glides alongside the characters like a low-flying bird; action sequences that refuse the usual digital hocus-pocus in favor of the older, artisanal magic of stop-motion animation, matte paintings and rear projection. You will also meet eccentric characters possessed by a kind of madcap melancholy, soulful and silly in equal measure. Some of them are played by actors you have seen elsewhere in the Anderson oeuvre, including Bob Balaban, Tilda Swinton and of course (albeit briefly) Owen Wilson and Bill Murray.

Excerpt from A.O. Scott at the NY Times located HERE

 

Anderson is a miniaturist whose films often seem inspired by the novelty shop and the confectioner’s counter, and fans of his work, from Rushmore to Moonrise Kingdom, will find the usual pop-up-book visual style and precision humour, but The Grand Budapest Hotel, his eighth feature, takes us somewhere new: into literary and historical territory.

From the start, it’s clear Anderson is working with a new sophistication both in the vocabulary and structure of the film’s voiceover narrations. We begin within a nested series of stories. A young woman visits the grave of a favourite writer. The writer (Tom Wilkinson) appears, circa mid-eighties, offering a video memoir. The memoir takes us to 1968, where the same man (now played by Jude Law) describes how he was suffering from “Scribe’s disease” and sought a restorative stay at a rundown Alpine spa, the Grand Budapest Hotel.

Excerpt from The Globe and Mail located HERE

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

Firstly, Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel is mostly presented in the Academy ratio, 1.37:1 (representing the 30's) with the opening and closing presented in the 2.35:1 (the 60's?), and sequence with the title and beginning (Tom Wilkinson) time period representing of the mid-80s to the present, all pictureboxed, in-and-around 1.85:1. So the ratio is, essentially, used to inform the viewer of the period. Wes Anderson always wanted to do a film in 1.37:1 but had not until now - although there was talk of The Royal Tenebaums being filmed in the 'Academy' ratio. Of course these are all matted to the 1.78:1 frame of the Blu-ray.  The quality is excellent, beautifully colorful - kudos to the art direction - tight details - notable in the, many, close-ups. This is transferred to a dual-layered disc with a very high bitrate and looks pristine in 1080P - a real visual treat. They are frequent examples of depth. This Blu-ray has no discernable flaws and supplies a wonderful HD presentation.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Audio is transferred via a robust DTS-HD Master 5,1 track at a healthy 3312 kbps. Aside from effects and the score by Alexandre Desplat (Moonrise Kingdom, The Ghost Writer, The King's Speech) it is filled with Anderson's usual cornucopia selections including s'Rothe-Zšuerli performed by ÷se Schuppel, Concerto for Lute and Plucked Strings I. Moderato by Antonio Vivaldi, The Linden Tree written by Pavel Vasilevich Kulikov, some Straus on a Wurlitzer and further eclectic choices - all sounding rich and crisp in lossless. There is a descriptive audio track (in English) and many foreign-language DUBs and optional subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being region FREE - playable on Blu-ray machines around the globe.

 

NOTE: On my Oppo, I couldn't put on subtitles 'on the fly' (via remote activation), I had to return to the main menu to enable them, but pressing 'play' returns you to the same spot in the film.

 

Extras :

Unfortunately, no director commentary which would have been the icing on the cake for the film presentation but we still get some reasonable supplements. Bill Murray Tours the Town has the actor (M. Ivan in the film) briefly visits some of the locations of the film Vignettes (Kunstermuweum Zubrowka Lecture, The Society of the Crossed Keys, Medl's Secret Recipe) offer 9-minutes of amusement associated with clandestine aspects of the story The Making of The Grand Budapest Hotel is a total of 18-minutes divided into 4 parts, on various aspects of the production with snippets from the cast, filmmakers and director. The 'Cast' is discussing the extensive variety of actors involved in the film. As Tilda Swinton says "It's an honor to be in one frame... or just on the set!". There is about 4-minutes extolling Anderson's wonderful eccentricities and endearing qualities, a Stills Gallery, theatrical trailer and the disc offers a paper with the code for a Digital Download of the feature playable on your portable device.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Wes Anderson films are so... unique, fun, and the detailed, complex, visuals and rich art direction transport you, comfortably into his, intricate, and civilized fantasy world. The Grand Budapest Hotel is filled with wild, almost screwball-like, adventure, endlessly amusing and peculiar but endearing characters - comfortable in their own worlds (not unlike how I presume Wes Anderson, himself, to be), subtly humorous dialogue... and questions. Namely - how do you make a film that has so much? This is close to a masterpiece, if not one outright, and the has immense revisitation value. The Blu-ray offers a great a/v presentation and we give it a very strong recommendation! 

Gary Tooze

June 11th, 2014

  

  


 

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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