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21 Grams Blu-ray impressions


Tuesday heralded the arrival of Alliance Atlantis’ Canadian Blu-ray Disc release of 21 Grams, the second Alejandro González Iñárritu film to make it to BD after Babel. So far, Alliance have released a bunch of titles on BD that aren’t currently available in any other country (including Sin City, A Nightmare on Elm Street and The Butterfly Effect), to date with all the extras stripped out. Still, if you’re not that bothered about bonus content - or (as is the case with 21 Grams) the film in question didn’t have many extras to begin with - then these releases are definitely something to be applauded.

Alliance have provided 21 Grams with a reasonably satisfying if flawed presentation. Unlike Babel, this film did not receive a digital intermediate, so the colour timing and other post production work were done in the lab, and the source used for the HD master is, naturally, a print. The grain structure is at times very pronounced, while on other occasions it is less noticeable, suggesting that, as with Babel, Iñárritu used a variety of film stocks. Unfortunately, the lack of space afforded to the encode means that the grain can tend to get a bit clumpy at times. Certain moments also look like they may have been grain reduced, but this is not consistent by any means, so I’m unclear as to whether an NR pass was carried out on a handful of select scenes, or the whole thing received NR and the scenes shot on grainier stock weren’t so noticeably affected. In additionm, some shots display prominent ringing which looks like the effect of deliberate sharpening rather than the natural halos that can sometimes occur optically. There is also quite a bit of block noise and posterisation in the shadows in certain shots, which can be pretty distracting. 7/10

21 Grams
studio: Alliance Atlantis; country: Canada; region code: A; codec: AVC;
file size: 18.1 GB; average bit rate (including audio): 20.84 Mbit/sec

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Posted: Thursday, February 12, 2009 at 1:00 PM | Comments: 2
Categories: BD Impressions | Blu-ray | Cinema | Technology



Looks like a grainy mess but at least it wasn't smudged over. Capture #8 is obviously one of the DNRed shots.

Posted by: Kram Sacul, February 13, 2009 3:30 AM


For the most part, it looks more or less as I would have expected this film to look. I doubt there was much detail there to begin with, due to a combination of the film stocks used, the constant shakycam, and the fact that it came from a print source rather than a pristine DI. Could it have looked better? Probably - the block noise in the shadows is particularly distracting, and I’m still not sure at what point the selective DNR was applied - but in motion it actually looks reasonably eye-pleasing, as so much of the detail comes from the large amount of constantly moving grain.

Posted by: Michael Mackenzie, February 13, 2009 10:39 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:


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