The Messengers Blu-ray impressions
The thing about buying a movie blind, having never seen it before and knowing next to nothing about it, is that you’re taking a risk. It might turn out to be great and it might turn out to be awful, but it you don’t take the plunge, you’ll never know. That may be stating the obvious, but the notion of risk-taking is something that doesn’t seem to ever have occurred to the makers of The Messengers, a “scary house” movie so bland and innocuous that it feels like a 90-minute void rather than a film. The first English-language feature directed by the legendary Pang brothers (The Eye, Bangkok Dangerous), I’m tempted to assume that the language barrier is the reason for them failing to extract anything that might be classed as performances from the cast (which includes Kristen Stewart, she of Panic Room and the current smash hit, Twilight), but then again the script they’re working from is so anaemic and riddled with implausibilities that I don’t think anyone could have made something worthwhile out of it.
My advice? Watch The Orphanage instead.
In what seems like a sick joke on the part of the authoring team, Momentum’s BD (UK, all regions) is very nice indeed. In addition to an impressive Dolby Digital 5.1 (640 Kbps) track, which does a fine job of highlighting the fact that lossless audio is not the be all and end all of HD sound, the transfer is very nice indeed, particularly given that it is an MPEG-2 encode on a single-layer BD25. Are there any imperfections? Well, there is some block noise in the shadows at times, as well as a small number of instances of banding on gradients, and some minor quantisation that really shouldn’t be visible during “normal” playback. Otherwise, I didn’t notice any major issues when watching the film on a 123” display, so, barring these niggles, there’s nothing to complain about at all. Except the film, that is. 9/10
studio: Momentum; country: UK; region code: ABC;
codec: MPEG-2; file size: 18.6 GB; average bit rate: 29.56 Mbit/sec
Posted: Monday, January 05, 2009 at 2:03 PM
| Comments: 13
Categories: BD Impressions
You say it's an MPEG2 transfer....Why are they still using this outdated inefficient codec.
It may well be that it looks fine but consider this....How much better could it look with an AVC encode....How much detail might be missing or filtered out because they decided to use MPEG2 ?
I too watch on a 100+ inch screen and prefer they use modern codecs for HD.
Posted by: FoxyMulder, January 5, 2009 2:35 PM
>> You say it's an MPEG2 transfer....Why are they still using this outdated inefficient codec.
Because it's nice and cheap I guess is the answer to that.
Looking at the screen grabs, it looks filtered slightly which is probably a result of using MPEG-2 and/or a BD25. A comparison with the Sony AVC version would be very interesting.
Posted by: David Mackenzie, January 5, 2009 3:54 PM
A comparison with the Sony AVC version would be very interesting.
You volunteering to cough up the cash for it? ;) :D
Posted by: Michael Mackenzie
, January 5, 2009 4:07 PM
At least William B. Davis seems to be in it. I haven't seen him in anything after the X-Files. Taking a look at the IMDb doesn't show anything that appears to be worthwhile though..
Posted by: BobaFett, January 5, 2009 4:11 PM
Mpeg-2 can still kick ass. It just needs a whole lot of bitrate to do it.
Posted by: Kram Sacul, January 8, 2009 4:35 AM
Guess the linked screenshots from The Messengers weren't very useful as they weren't approved. Looked like they came from a higher quality source than the BD release so thought they might be worth sharing.
Posted by: n/a, January 9, 2009 11:42 PM
Weren’t approved? Did you try to post another comment earlier? There’s nothing in my Junk folder so it looks like Movable Type may have eaten your post completely. Sorry about that. Would you be willing to post them again?
Posted by: Michael Mackenzie
, January 10, 2009 7:13 AM
Apologies. Thought it meant the link wasn't approved as, upon posting, it said an admin/mod had to approve it due to spam concerns.
Not sure what the source of this is (screenshot or just a publicity photo) but it looked film based to my layperson eyes due to the grain.. https://e.imagehost.org/view/0602/The_Messengers
Posted by: n/a, January 10, 2009 8:25 PM
Got the same message again so it looks like any link is going to go into the abyss.
"Thank you for commenting.
For some reason, your comment has been flagged as potential spam and must therefore be approved by the webmaster before it appears. This usually happens if your message contains too many URLs."
Posted by: n/a, January 10, 2009 8:26 PM
Hate to deliberately try to get around that spam block but in case it is worth sharing.
Not sure what the source of this is (screenshot or just a publicity photo) but it looked film based to my layperson eyes due to the grain.
e imagehost org view 0602 The_Messengers
Posted by: n/a, January 10, 2009 8:30 PM
Crap. Huge apologies. Now the original post is appearing.
Posted by: n/a, January 10, 2009 8:31 PM
Found it in the “Junk” section this time. I’m not sure what the system has against that link, but thanks for posting it. Yeah, you’re right - considerably more grain in that frame than on the BD, albeit with added compression issues. I wonder if that’s an actual scan from an original film element or simply a publicity photo taken independently from the same scene setup. I’m tempted to suspect the latter, given the significant differences in lighting and framing.
Posted by: Michael Mackenzie
, January 10, 2009 8:31 PM
I'm fairly sure it's a publicity still from a DSLR. The camera data on the jpeg says it's from Canon EOS-1d Mark II along with the usual exposure settings. Taken in June of 2005.
Posted by: Kram Sacul, January 14, 2009 12:57 AM
Comments on this entry and all entries up to and including June 30th 2009 have been closed. The discussion continues on the new Land of Whimsy blog: