|S E A R C H D V D B e a v e r|
(Noel Marshall, 1981)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: American Filmworks
Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 48,798,858,501 bytes
Feature Size: 29,214,916,608 bytes
Video Bitrate: 35.00 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: November 3rd, 2015
Aspect ratio: 2.29:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 2097 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2097 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 /
48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1905 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1905
kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 /
• English, None
• Feature Audio Commentary with John Marshall and Tim League
Produced over the course of ten years, Roar is an audacious
cinematic experiment: a thriller showcasing the majesty and
ferocity of African lions, filmed on location amidst dozens
of actual untrained cats. Photographed by Jan De Bont (d.p.
of Die Hard and director of Speed), the result
is a spectacular achievement—though often terrifying to
watch—as actors (not stunt men) flee, wrestle, and come
face-to-face with the massive hunters.
Wildlife activist and actress Tippi Hedren starred in this comic family adventure written, directed by, and costarring her producer husband Noel Marshall and inspired by the surprise success of Born Free (1966). Hedren is Madeleine, a woman who brings her children (including real-life daughter and future movie star Melanie Griffith) to the African jungle for a visit with her long-estranged husband Hank (Marshall). An eccentric scientist, Hank has dedicated the past several years of his life to fighting for the preservation of endangered species. A snafu results in the family being met not by the environmentalist, however, but a pride of ferocious felines. Roar (1981) was a box-office disaster that not only fell far short of recouping its $17 million budget -- Hedren and family reportedly had to mortgage their assets to finance it. The production was also known for its accident-prone, behind-the-scenes drama, which included a fire, a flood, and a disease that took the lives of several big cat performers. Resulting schedule delays turned the motion picture into an 11-year labor of love for Hedren, whose off-camera commitment to protection of big cats extended to the establishment of her own California game preserve called Shambala, later to be the subject of a book by Hedren and a television documentary.Excerpt from MRQE located HERE
Come into Roar expecting an oddity rather than the typical movie
experience, though, and all of those things can become pluses as one
sits, mouth agape, at people doing really dangerous things with animals
who can not give one single damn whether the human beings are hurt or
not. The action seems like an endless string of potential maulings, a
ridiculously tight circle of "aw, big kitty... hey, an animal that large
may not know how fragile humans are... holy crap his arm's in the lion's
mouth somebody do something!", and while it doesn't exactly manage to
surprise each time, the human instinct to not be eaten by large wild
animals is pretty powerful, and the movie doesn't quite go on long
enough to override it. That roller coaster rise of adrenaline means that
Marshall's movie draws a real emotional reaction that few films with
much more well-executed acting, direction, and the like can manage.
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Roar arrives on Blu-ray from Olive and Drafthouse Films. This is dual-layered with a max'ed out bitrate. The 1080P image, shot on 35mm, doesn't export much grain and looks more like it was shot on HD. I didn't find this waxy appearance to be bothersome in-motion but it is noticeable - so I am mentioning it. Colors appear solid and true if funky in a few scenes. The camera, and animals, are always moving and there weren't a lot of crisp static captures - but when there were it is definitely very sharp. Depth in the 2.29:1 frame (listed as being 2.35:1) is also apparent but I can't discount some possible digitization. The Blu-ray certainly improved the presentation over an SD rendering and the film's beauty and detail often makes it look like an wildlife documentary.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Audio is transferred by Olive to a DTS-HD Master mono (original) track at 2097 kbps (24-bit). Big cat sounds are deep (growls and roars) and often unnerving considering the interaction with the cast. American composer, Terrence P. Minogue (his only film credit) has done the score and it has orchestral, religious, and choral overtones. I started to appreciate it more in multiple viewings but I don't think it was a perfect fit for this mixed-genre film. There are optional English subtitles (and burned-in English for the brief non-English dialogue) and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.
There is an informative audio commentary with John Marshall and Tim League. Marshall explains much of the project's evolution and the many injuries, raising the lions from cubs, the dangers etc. It definitely enhances the viewing presentation to get this background information. There is also a 1/2 hour Making of ROAR with principals (Tippi, John Marshall, Richard Rush etc.) discussing the production and how it was made by The Birds star's whole family, the animals they rescued, the financing hurdles (Tippi sold the coat she wore in The Birds), difficulties getting shots with the animals etc. and there is also a new Q&A with cast and crew (but neither Tippi - who would be 85 - nor Melanie were involved) at ROAR re-Premiere at The CineFamily, Los Angeles in July of 2015. The Grandeur of ROAR - is a text essay by Tim League presented to be read over 7 screens and there is a trailer and interesting photo gallery.
October 31st, 2015
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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