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Once Were Warriors [Blu-ray]
(Lee Tamahori, 1994)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: New Zealand Film Commission
Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 34,558,342,729 bytes
Feature Size: 31,356,813,312 bytes
Video Bitrate: 34.00 Mbps
Case: Transparent Blu-ray case
Release date: September 6th, 2016
Aspect ratio: 1.78:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
Dolby Digital Audio English 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps
DTS-HD Master Audio English 4152 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 4152 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
English (SDH), none
•Behind-the-Scenes featurette (11:42)
Warriors Theatrical Trailer (2:08)
Description: Jake Heke lives with his family in a tenement house for native Maori in the slums of Auckland. Despite his love and devotion, Jake's battle with alcoholism frequently results in terrifyingly erratic outbursts in front of his children and violent beatings of his wife Beth. After Jake loses his job, each member of the Heke family is forced to face their own personal demons and the societal constraints that shackle native New Zealanders.
The Film:An unemployed Maori living in the Auckland slums, Jake Heke (Temuera Morrison) has a terrible temper that he takes out on family and strangers alike. His wife, Beth (Rena Owen), takes regular beatings after he's been at the pub, and his kids do what they can to sidestep trouble. Nig (Julian Arahanga), the eldest, is joining a street gang; Boogie (Taungaroa Emile) has been placed in a foster home; and Grace increasingly retreats to the pages of her journal Excerpt from MRQE located HERE
An emotionally raw, visually stylish first feature, with the intensity of the best social melodrama, about the indomitable spirit of battered Maori wife Beth Heke (Owen) as she struggles to hold together her disintegrating family. Husband Jake (Morrison) is a violent yet charismatic bully, the sullen eldest son is already a gang member, the youngest is in care, and only gifted daughter Grace (Kerr-Bell) offers hope for the future. A gritty human drama evoking the residual vibrancy of a threatened culture.Excerpt from the TimeOut located HERE
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Once Were Warriors is transferred to a dual-layered Blu-ray from Film Movement. The 1-hour 42-minute feature has a max'ed out bitrate. It is in the 1.78:1 aspect ratio (presumably opened-up from the original 1.85:1), and looks reasonably clean. Depth wavers a bit and it can look occasionally soft but I don't know that this isn't a factor of the original production. This Blu-ray while not dynamic is pleasing in its appearance despite the, occasional, inconsistencies. Without being too picky, I think most will be very appreciative of the image quality. It's miles ahead of the old SDs.
NOTE: The opening and closing credits have been slightly letterboxed (see first capture - large - after subtitle sample) which is common for some releases (ex. Warner do it frequently with older films).
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Film Movement give the option of a lossy and lossless track - both in 5.1 surround. In comparing the two - the DTS-HD Master obvious has more, discreet, range and depth. Dialogue is clean and audible - but background sounds can be exported with a high volume - I seem to recall the same thing on the DVD. The score is by two Murrays - Murray Grindlay and Murray McNabb - who also worked together on Broken English. There are optional English (SDH) subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A' disc.
Extras consist of a 12-minute Behind-the-Scenes featurette with interviews of the cast and crew as well as a trailer for the film and other Film Movement titles. The package contains a collector's Booklet with film essay by New Zealand leading cinema expert, Peter Calder.
September 26th, 2016
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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