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Butterfly on a Wheel Blu-ray impressions

Blu-ray

If there’s anything good to have come out of the fact that Zammo has gone into administration, it’s that the branches that are still open are flogging their remaining goods at cut rates. Books, clothing and posters are all going for 50% of the advertised prices, and there are some fine deals to be had on DVDs and BDs as well. In the case of the latter, I picked up the UK release of Butterfly on a Wheel on Wednesday - a blind buy that didn’t pay off. (I also snagged Donkey Punch and George A. Romero’s Diary of the Dead.) This suspense thriller stars Gerard Butler, he of 300 who’s good at looking constipated and emitting gutteral roars (in 300, it was “Sparrrrtaaaaaaa!”; in this film, he just bellows “Aaaaabbyyyyy!” a lot), and Pierece Brosnan, who is under the misconception that growing a couple of days’ worth of stubble and putting on a horrendously overdone Northern Irish accent makes him seem menacing. Unfortunately, it’s nothing more than a bland and improbably plotted piece of glossy, slickly-produced twaddle that should have gone straight to TV… and indeed it did in the US, where it was released under the title of Shattered. After we watched it (on Friday), my brother turned to me and said “This is the worst film I’ve ever seen on Blu-ray.” Had I had the presence of mind, I would have reminded him that we also watched Norbit, but I guess my brain had been turned to mush by preceding 95 minutes of tedium.

Oh well, at least it’s got Maria Bello in her pants. Actually, screw it, even that isn’t enough to save this train wreck.

For what it’s worth, Icon’s all-regions disc is actually pretty good, albeit with an irritating audio sync issue which affects both the lossy Dolby Digital and lossless DTS-HD Master Audio tracks. The AVC encode suffers from little if any noticeable compression issues, and detail is, for the most part, quite pleasing. The whole image has been slightly pre-filtered, with ringing visible around high contrast edges, such the letterbox bars and the on-screen credits, but, while this is less than ideal, it doesn’t affect the look of the film as negatively as something like Kung Fu Panda. On the other hand, the blacks look quite milky, although it’s unclear whether this is a fault in the original photography or a problem specific to the transfer. (I’m leaning towards the former, since the black screen against which the first few credits are overlaid is “proper” black, unlike, say, Silent Hill, where the black level is off from beginning to end.) 8/10

Butterfly on a Wheel
studio: Icon; country: UK; region code: ABC; codec: AVC;
file size: 19.6 GB; average bit rate (including audio): 29.61 Mbit/sec

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Posted: Sunday, February 08, 2009 at 5:46 PM
Categories: BD Impressions | Blu-ray | Cinema | General | TV | Technology

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