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This is a joke, I take it


Yesterday, New Line’s US Blu-ray release of Dark City arrived from DVD Pacific, hot on the heels of my discovery that it had been molested by invasive digital tampering procedures. This is despite it receiving largely positive praise from most reviewers, but, as always, the pictures tell the truth that the words themselves do not.

Watching the disc tonight was a very unpleasant experience. This is not because I didn’t like the film: on the contrary, I thought it was excellent, and have now added it to my “movies I can’t believe I waited this long to see” list. My reason for not enjoying the experience was that, while virtually every shot in this film is an amazing, innovative piece of art, every single one of them is ruined by some form of digital meddling, whether that’s grain removal, sharpening or softening. This film should look amazingly atmospheric and film-like, and all of that is removed by this shoddy, amateurish transfer. Whoever was responsible for it should be ashamed of themselves.

New Line’s high definition output that I’ve seen has, so far, been problematic, to put it politely. That’s three out of four discs (Dark City, The Golden Compass, Pan’s Labyrinth) that have been ruined by utterly ridiculously levels of digital tampering, and another (The Orphanage) that has been taken from a source with a resolution lower than 1920x1080. The latter is not necessarily New Line’s fault - it may simply have been what the Spanish production company delivered to them - but it does mean that I have yet to purchase a single disc from them that is anything more than deeply flawed. While Sony are doing everything they can to preserve the integrity of the films under their jurisdiction, New Line seem to be intent on fucking up the heritage of the medium by systematically mangling their catalogue of titles. I sincerely hope that the recent acquisition of the company by Warner Bros. means that any future releases are removed from the hands of the incompetent clowns responsible for this desecration of Dark City.

Posted: Friday, August 01, 2008 at 9:24 PM | Comments: 3
Categories: Blu-ray | Cinema | Technology



I just watched this new (though SD) version last night - shame about the poor HD transfer (which I haven't had a chance to see yet), but yes, very much a "can't believe I waited this long" film for many. A masterfully edited movie which, even with its IMDB trivia'ed "shortest Average Shot Length of a narrative film", never leaves me confused about on what or where I'm supposed to be focusing. At times it feels like a hybridized "La Jetée" with classically framed / slight-motion snippets whose rapid pace manages a languid feel, but sharing that photo montage's breathless forward pull. Pulsative, in a weirdly special way.

Posted by: , August 2, 2008 5:17 AM


but it does mean that I have yet to purchase a single disc from them that is anything more than deeply flawed.
-> Try "Shoot em up".

Posted by: Michel Hafner, August 3, 2008 4:55 PM


Yeah, I’ve heard (and seen) good things about Shoot ‘em Up. I might pick it up at some point, but I’d probably wait for a sale as I’m not particularly interested in the film itself.

Posted by: Whiggles, August 3, 2008 4:57 PM

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