Perfume: The Story of Rampant Filtering
About a week ago, I ordered a copy of the recent German HD DVD release of Perfume: The Story of a Murderer from Amazon.de. It’s the latest film from Tom Tykwer, and it tells the story of a young man who, driven to create the perfect perfume, starts knocking off young ladies. As you can probably guess, it’s somewhat different from Run Lola Run, the film for which Tykwer is best known. For one, it’s a period drama set in 1700s France, and as such doesn’t have any insane video game/music video editing and visual styling (although it does have some pretty whacked out moments). Anyway, it arrived today, and it’s basically a watchable enough film, although heavily flawed. It’s both over-long and tonally very inconsistent, and suffers from a rather underwhelming performance by the lead, Ben Whishaw. I wouldn’t call it a must-have by any means, but I found it rather intriguing, and it certainly makes a change from the Men & Guns type of films that tend to be released on both high definition formats.
Unfortunately, despite some positive advance word, I have to report that the transfer is rather disappointing. While I was watching it, I thought it looked rather soft and underwhelming, but fairly watchable. Some distracting noise reduction artefacts are apparent, but no problems with the compression. Then, I switched to the extras menu and selected the theatrical trailer, which is presented in full 1080p high definition (a feature that more HD DVD titles need to have). One word: wow. The trailer looks so much better - so much crisper and better defined - that it blows away the transfer of the film itself. I’m really getting sick of this. It happened all the time with standard definition DVDs (The Lord of the Rings films being particularly egregious examples), but I really would have expected better from studios producing high definition content. There’s no excuse for it apart from plain old stupidity. Seriously, if the transfer of the film had looked like that of the trailer, it would have been a 10/10 easily, perhaps even knocking Casino Royale and Corpse Bride off their respective thrones. As it is, though, this is a very low 6/10 and a very high disappointment.