Arthur & Arthur 2: On the Rocks [Blu-ray] (Sous-titres français) [Import]
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Dudley does right! Dudley Moore is Arthur, the irrepressible, irresponsible playboy who faces marriage to a woman he detests to keep his fortune…and then meets the right woman (Liza Minnelli) from the wrong side of the tracks. John Gielgud won an Academy Award® (1981's Best Supporting Actor) as Arthur's acerbic valet. "I'll alert the media," he says when Arthur announces his intention to take a bath. The title tune also won Oscar® gold for Original Song. A business deal bilks Arthur out of his fortune and he must (egad!) get a job in the sequel Arthur 2 on the Rocks. But laughs are still the common currency as Moore, Minnelli and Gielgud return. Enjoy!
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With that said, this review will focus on the actual video and sound quality rather than the film itself so you the reader can decide whether this Blu Ray disc is a good upgrade from your standard VHS or DVD versions.
This release of both the original 1981 'Arthur' and it's 1988 sequel 'Arthur 2-On The Rocks' is presented on one 50GB BD housed in yet another el-cheapo "eco case" with no real artwork on the disc itself other than the film's titles. No extras other than the original film trailers are included.
So how does 'Arthur' fare on Blu ray? Is it worth your hard earned cash and what should you expect? This movie is one of my all time favorites and I have to admit to being disappointed somewhat in this BD presentation.
For starters, both films have been cropped slightly from their original aspect ratios to fill our HDTV screens. It is nothing too drastic but I always prefer seeing films the way they were shot, not minding a bit of black border here and there.
Bottom line is this: For now, this is the BEST 'Arthur' has looked (or probably ever WILL look) on home video. Nevertheless, the original film sports a slightly troubled transfer. With a relative low bit rate and an apparent lack of caring on the Blu Ray authors part, 'Arthur' has trouble with both image stability (telecine wobble) and contrast issues, namely some major blooming with bright light sources. The wobble is nothing that should worry the casual viewer, but videophiles will notice it each time it happens. Check out the headlights on Arthur's limo as it is parked in front of the restaurant he has taken "Princess Gloria" to. The limo is parked, but the lights keep shifting position. And notice the massive blooming from any indoor scene that includes outside windows. YIKES! My display is properly calibrated so what you see is what you get here.
Fine detail is frequently obscured by something appearing to be an overzealous application of DNR, but it doesn't introduce any other negative artifacts into the picture such as smearing or blurring. It is obvious to me that this film was basically run thru the scanner set on "Auto" and no human being sat and watched the finished results because the blooming alone would have been reason enough to ADJUST the relative Bright/Contrast levels for a much better and pleasing result. As it is, at times the transfer looks pretty darn good (Arthur, Hobson and Linda at the City bus stop is a good example) and alternately pretty bad (Arthur in his father's office whenever the outside window is in the frame)
On the positive side, the colors are solid and the color timing is beautiful.
'Arthur 2- On The Rocks' fares much better picture wise. The image is stable, the contrast levels are much better, for both day and night scenes and the color timing mimics that of the previous release.
If you LOVE the original 'Arthur' like I do, while being slightly disappointed with the original films treatment from this rather shoddy transfer, you will have to admit it is the best it has ever looked in your living room or home theater. If only it could have been brought up to the visual level of the 2nd film, I would have nothing to complain about regarding the picture quality.
How about the sound? 'Arthur' is presented in it's original mono, albeit in uncompressed DTS-HD Master Audio. While not demo material for your surround system, the sound is good with nice, crisp dialogue and decent sounding music. The audio is actually better than the visual. On the other hand with 'Arthur 2' , the picture is much better but the audio is NOT. In fact if you watch and listen carefully you will notice the entire first reel of 'Arthur-2' has been 'looped' in post production and sounds like it is coming out of a cardboard tube. This improves as the film progresses and the sound on this one is at least presented in it's original stereo mix and again using DTS-HD.
Even with a less than stellar transfer and shoddy sound on the 2nd film I still have given this product FIVE STARS and the reason is because of the content (2 films with one being a classic) and because of the current very low asking price.
To sum it up, if you are a fan of this film or it's sequel, then this purchase is a must have and should be a no brainer. While this is far from the ideal presentation and falls somewhat short of my expectations and what could have been achieved with even the slightest amount of human involvement in this transfer, it is pleasure to finally watch and enjoy 'Arthur' in High Definition.
Recommended for fans and the curious alike, just don't get your hopes up too high for a great transfer as it isn't there.
I put in the second movie (Arthur 2) and immediately noticed grain. I didn't think it looked as good as the first movie. I skipped through it, and there was grain throughout the movie. But still, probably better than a standard DVD, which I have never seen. Grain just bothers me. I don't think you should see it on a Blu-Ray disc. The second movie had stereo sound at least, which was still a disappointment, but better than the original Arthur (first movie).
Still a good deal at this price, unless you are a big fan of the "Arthur" movies.
Dudley Moore plays the drunken Arthur to perfection making him fun and sympathetic rather than an obnoxious bore. John Gielgud is superb as Arthur's acid tongued butler who won an Oscar (and deservingly so) for his performance. Liza Minnelli's comic timing with Moore and Gielgud is priceless. Geraldine Fitzgerald and the rest of the cast are all in top form in this delightfully comedy. The new Blu Ray release isn't going to blow anyone away, but it looks better than it ever has on home video and probably better than it ever will. The same goes for the sound, this film never had a blistering soundtrack and the Blu Ray is simple and clear.
Part of the problem is that films from the 80's seem to have a soft look to them to begin with. The film does look very good though and I think it's worth upgrading because the film is a classic. There are no extras, but we do get the disappointing sequel. Lightning was caught in a bottle the first time and things would have been better off left alone. A classic comedy that is smart insightful and totally hilarious!
Since when do RECENT Blu-ray releases of a MULTIPLE OSCAR WINNING FILM get released with 1.0 (yes, you read that right) audio on the Blu-ray? How is this acceptable??
Truly a shame for such a great film. It deserved a better release, and has for years now.
This "2-Movie Collection" hits the pavement as a "1-Blu-Ray Disc" in extended play mode. That is, both movies are on 1-side of a single blu-ray disc and in doing so, the 1080p resolution is significantly diminished. In fact, when I compared it to a DVD from the "Three Stooges Ultimate Collection," the Three Stooges DVD looked as good as Arthur. That's a huge compliment for the Stooges, but an unfortunate blow to Dudley Moore fans who, like me, love this film. I hate to say it, but this is the worst looking blu-ray from the many I have seen. The resolution just isn't there.
Conclusion: 1 star because the blu-ray did function (the audio was ok); 1 star for value, but zero stars for the presentation of the material.
As a postscript, it is troubling that value-minded marketeers are now diminishing the excellent quality of the blu-ray format. Blu-ray as a format has had a relatively slow rate of household penetration compared to DVD. The blu-ray format is finally beginning to take hold, but it is a giant step backward to release films in a blu-ray of only moderate resolution. If this becomes a trend, buyers may decide blu-ray does not really hold a meaningful advantage over DVD (many commercial DVDs are recorded in 480p), and this will slow the popularity of blu-rays.