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A magnificent classic film, with a Blu-Ray transfer almost worse than Gladiator...,
on April 30, 2010
Film: ***** | Blu-Ray: ** What a travesty! "Out Of Africa" is such a beautiful film, in so many ways. It has been eagerly awaited by fans of the film, who have looked forward to enjoying it in high definition. Now, unfortunately, it has arrived on one of the detested Universal Studios "flipper" discs (DVD on one side, Blu-Ray on the other, no label art). The results could not be more disappointing.
The image is cleaner, sharper and "better" than the past DVD versions. But that is due entirely to the vastly better bandwidth, 1080p resolution and improved codecs used for Blu-Ray. There is unfortunately excessive edge sharpening, and overwhelming contrast boost. In fact, the over intense contrast levels accentuate the excessive sharpening, calling attention to ringing and halo effects. Surface detail and skin tones frequently have a smeared and over DNRed quality.
The only other major film that has proved as disappointing on Blu-Ray, and for the same reasons (too much sharpening, too much DNR, too much contrast boost), is the much vilified release of "Gladiator". This has led to a rumored re-release and remasterring of "Gladiator". We can only hope that Universal will wake up and do the same with "Out Of Africa".
Universal ought to be ashamed of themselves for not taking more care with the Blu-Ray release of such a major catalog title. It really needed to be remastered for Blu-Ray. But if they were going to use the old transfer then someone should have at least done some adjustments. As it is, it looks like they just pulled the file off the shelf and shoved it out the door, and in a plain case with cheesy looking artwork, no booklet, etc. Shame on you Universal!