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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Colossus: The Forbin Project [Blu-ray]

 

(Joseph Sargent, 1970)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Universal Pictures

Video: Ostalgica (Alive AG) / Medium Rare

 

Disc:

Region: 'B'-locked (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:40:10.629 / 1:40:02.329

Disc Size: 12,858,950,698 bytes / 26,783,619,040 bytes

Feature Size: 11,457,189,888 bytes / 25,203,329,280 bytes

Video Bitrate: 10.21 Mbps / 27.99 Mbps

Chapters: 8 / 13

Case: Standard Blu-ray case / Transparent Blu-ray Case

Release date: April 29th, 2016 / March 27th, 2017

 

Video (both):

Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 2009 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2009 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 /
48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

DUB:

DTS-HD Master Audio German 1840 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1840 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0
/ 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

 

LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
Commentary:

LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit

 

Subtitles:

German, none

None

 

Extras:

 

• Bildershau (4:00)
• Trailers from Hell with John Landis (4:00)
• Gallery - The Real Colossus (0:47)
The Real Colossus (1:01)
• Ausschitt aus der 4:3 (4:45)
• Media Info (0:40)

DVD of the Feature

 

Commentary by director Joseph Sargent

Photo Gallery (1:59)

Info Gallery (Promotional Advertising - click-thru)

 

Bitrate:

1) Ostalgica - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Medium Rare - Region 'B'  - Blu-ray RIGHT

 

 

Description: Tucked away in a secret location in the Rockies, Dr. Charles Forbin (Eric Braeden) has developed a massive computer system, dubbed "Colossus," that is supposed to ensure the nation's safety against nuclear attack. But when Colossus connects to a similar Russian computer, "Guardian," the intelligent machines begin conducting a private dialog. Nervous as to what they might be plotting, Forbin severs the connection, only to have Colossus threaten a nuclear attack if the link isn't restored.

 

 

The Film:

Early in "The Forbin Project," Colossus, a supercomputer that controls the United States's military defense system, goes into an unprogrammed rage and launches a missile toward the Soviet Union. The President of the United States turns to Forbin, the man who invented Colossus, and gives him a petulant look that seems to say: "There goes the stock market . . . . the urban vote . . . . my golf game . . . .my image. You've made a fool out of me."

It's one of the appealing things about "The Forbin Project," an unpretentious science fiction film with a satiric point of view, that when the world is about to blow up, the President of the United States can only bring to the occasion something akin to embarrassment.

Excerpt from the NY Times located HERE

Machines Gone Wild, post-A Space Odyssey but still deep within the Cold War -- the computer-as-pyramid is christened Colossus, built in the Rocky Mountains and activated over the credits by electronic genius Forbin (Eric Braeden), its creator. The President, vaguely Kennedyesque Gordon Pinsent, waits outside to inaugurate this new mecha-brain, a high-tech national security system about to put "the Pentagon in mothballs," until the White House bash is interrupted by news of similar super-duper hardware in Russkie soil. Colossus hooks up with Guardian, the Soviet counterpart, and the befuddled governments are left to wait it out; the two behemoths bond over calculus and world-domination, and orders start being noisily cranked across Colossus' oversized LED display, with missiles to back them up.

Excerpt from CinePassion.org located HERE

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

Colossus: The Forbin Project appears to have many weaknesses on Blu-ray from Alive AG out of Germany.  The transfer is flawed - a very low bitrate, - only marginally higher than SD - thin, frail and plenty of compression artifacts and edge-enhancement are noticeable in the visuals. This Blu-ray is either trying to mask a poor source or has been authored as an error. It may even be a straight 720 bump. Watchable? - it depends on your acceptance of the image quality limitations. On the positive - it is fairly consistent and some may get used to the image in-motion - colors show some richness. In short - it's 1080P but far from ideal - and below standard for the medium with constant hints of compassion artifacts.

 

Now that's more like it. Medium Rare's new 1080P has almost triple the bitrate of the clunky Alive AG. This shows up in a richer, darker image with tighter colors, more layered contrast and superior visuals in-motion. Skin tones slightly warm, but all primary colors gain depth. This is a substantially superior HD image.     

 

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

 

1) Ostalgica - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Medium Rare - Region 'B'  - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Ostalgica - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Medium Rare - Region 'B'  - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Ostalgica - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Medium Rare - Region 'B'  - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Ostalgica - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Medium Rare - Region 'B'  - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Ostalgica - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Medium Rare - Region 'B'  - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Ostalgica - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Medium Rare - Region 'B'  - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Ostalgica - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Medium Rare - Region 'B'  - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Ostalgica - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Medium Rare - Region 'B'  - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Ostalgica - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Medium Rare - Region 'B'  - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Ostalgica - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Medium Rare - Region 'B'  - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Ostalgica - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Medium Rare - Region 'B'  - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Ostalgica - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Medium Rare - Region 'B'  - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

More Medium Rare - Region 'B'  - Blu-ray Captures

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Alive AG offer the audio in a better transfer than the video with a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel at 2009 kbps (24-bit) with a similarly robust German DUB. It sounds quite impressive via the lossless. There are optional German subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked.

 

Medium Rare go linear PCM, also 2.0 channel and also 24-bit. Sounds very clean especially the Michel Colombier (Une Chambre en Ville. Against All Odds) score which is somewhat reminiscent of Gil Melle's electronic score for The Andromeda Strain - made only a year later. The Medium Rare offers no subtitles and their Blu-ray is also region B'-locked.

 

 

 

Extras :

While it looks like a reasonable list of supplements - they don't amount to much - some galleries including a peek at the 'real' Colossus, a Trailers from Hell segment with John Landis, the media manual in images and a second disc PAL DVD of the Feature. In a word 'hollow'.

 

Substantial upgrade over the German Blu-ray with a commentary by director Joseph Sargent exporting details of production and adherence to the story etc. There are also galleries for 'stills' and 'promotional advertising'. No booklet or second disc DVD.

 

Ostalgica - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 

 

Medium Rare - Region 'B'  - Blu-ray

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Colossus - The Forbin Project is a pretty cool film - a unique historical science-fiction experiment from the 70s. I think it's a very good choice to release on Blu-ray, but this Alive (AG) edition appears flawed - the transfer is both limited and undeniably weak.  It is probably only of value for seeing the film in 1080P... without a discerning eye. I don't think it's available elsewhere on Blu-ray - but I would recommend patience over indulgence in this case.

 

This film has a huge following and the Medium Rare UK Blu-ray is a dramatic step up - superior (proper) video transfer and the commentary. Hopefully those who were patient can now indulge. Certainly recommended! 

Gary Tooze

June 2nd, 2016

April 22nd, 2017

 


 

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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