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Just arrived…


The Silence of the Lambs (Blu-ray, 20th Century Fox/MGM, Region A, USA)

By the way, despite what the press materials claimed, this is an MPEG-2 rather than AVC encode.

Posted: Monday, February 23, 2009 at 12:07 PM | Comments: 14
Categories: Blu-ray | Cinema | Technology



Mine arrived today....Bit disappointed to see MPEG2 on the back cover suggesting this encode was done over a year and a half a go and it's one of the MGM releases which was held up. I'm going to pop the disc in and take a look at some scenes now and i just hope the person responsible for this encode was the one who did Kingdom of Heaven which is a very good MPEG2 encode.

Posted by: FoxyMulder, February 23, 2009 1:29 PM


heh, I wonder how long ago it was encoded by Fox and then sat on a computer doing nothing. 1 years? 2 years?

Posted by: , February 23, 2009 1:57 PM


This is The Descent all over again.....They have DNRed away some of the grain and lost some of the finer detail.

Check out the AVC trailer which is in high definition and it blows the movie away as far as looking like film should and as far as the finer detail HD can present.

Very disappointing.....Makes me wonder if i got an MPEG2 edition by mistake and whether there is an AVC encide out there....Not good just an average looking disc which many will think is watchable and ok but which i think could be much better.

Posted by: FoxyMulder, February 23, 2009 2:09 PM


It’s a considerably less than ideal, presentation, no doubt about that. I’d say it’s above average overall, certainly not as naff-looking as it could have been, but a far cry from what it should have been. As for the AVC trailer, I wouldn’t put too much truck in the level of grain present in it, as it’s likely to be several generations further down than the elements used for the film itself and thus will have “picked up” more grain along the way, so to speak. That’s not to say that the film hasn’t been grain reduced (it definitely has), but I’d have been surprised if an interpositive, or indeed the negative, would ever have looked as grain-heavy as the trailer.

By the way, the bit rate in the final scene (where Clarice is on the phone to Lecter) is woefully inadequate. Compression artefacts ahoy! …which is strange, because from what I’ve seen of it so far, the rest of the film fares much better.

Universal’s Red Dragon HD DVD remains the best HD presentation of a Lecter film by a considerable margin.

Posted by: Michael Mackenzie, February 23, 2009 2:26 PM


I can now no longer buy in good faith before a film comes out as you nver know how the transfer will turn out....I didn't get into HD for this sort of crap and truly i am just very disappointed.

Absolute crap....Way to go MGM and from the opening trailer which shows Live Free Die Hard ON DVD i am going to assume this is a very old encode.

I would gladly imprison whoever allowed this release in a pit/well similar to that used in the should never have been released and really i can't stress enough my disappointment.

Posted by: FoxyMulder, February 23, 2009 3:15 PM


Shame - with RAGING BULL recently released in an AVC transfer with all the existing extras, I thought this would be the template for SILENCE, but apparently not so.

With RAGING BULL on one end of the spectrum (recent transfer, full extras), and CARRIE on the other (MPEG-2, no extras) we seem to now have a disc that sits plainly in the middle; the effort was made to provide the extras that would not have been added had the disc been released when originally planned, but the transfer has to make do with the one they'd already made a couple of years ago.


Posted by: Bleddyn Williams, February 23, 2009 5:46 PM


I’ve just had a closer look at the disc, and on reflection, I honestly don’t think it’s at all bad. There’s certainly room for improvement, but on the whole detail is pretty good, and the grain reduction is not particularly severe. I watched the conversation between Clarice and Lecter at the Tennessee courthouse and was struck by the depth of the image and the crispness of the close-ups. When all said and done, I think it’s actually a pretty decent and reasonably film-like presentation. It certainly beats the crap out of the overly NR’d German BD of Hannibal, and on the whole is superior to a number of other recent catalogue releases I could name.

Posted by: Michael Mackenzie, February 23, 2009 6:05 PM


The scene when Clarice enters the room at the beginning and is looking at the Buffalo Bill headlines on the wall and you just can see the smoothness on Jodie Foster and it just does not look film like to me and the same is true of a number of scenes....Sure some scenes look ok but this is not a great transfer and it should have been great as the film deserves great. I don't think it's above average i actually consider it very average and the film deserved better.

Yes detail is ok but i think there is too much grain reduction ( for my liking )

I'm still disappointed by this release and feel if they had used an AVC codec it would have coped with the grain better and allowed them to maintain more of the grain structure. I feel they smoothed things out because they knew the MPEG2 codec would struggle with too much grain hence the use of DNR.

Nah i find it unacceptable in 2009 that they are still using DNR tools to such a degree and this release should have been delayed until they could do justice by it.

So we are not in agreement on this one i'm sorry to say but then this is one of my all time favorite movies.

Posted by: FoxyMulder, February 23, 2009 7:44 PM


Don’t get me wrong, I know exactly what you mean about feeling disappointed. I’ll be honest and say that my hopes weren’t all that high for this release to begin with, so I can’t say I was too surprised to discover that it had problems (now the MPEG-2 encoding, on the other hand, that was a surprise after being promised an AVC job). It’s actually slightly better than I was expecting, but I suppose that just indicates just how low I hold MGM in regard when it comes to the quality of their BD releases. (I would maintain that this is better than most Warner releases, though…)

Something that does really irritate me, though, is the lack of the original 2.0 audio mix. MGM have generally been pretty good at providing films with their original audio on BD, so I was disappointed to find that it wasn’t present here. Then again, given that it was also absent from MGM’s DVD, I’m not hugely surprised.

Posted by: Michael Mackenzie, February 23, 2009 8:20 PM


I agree with you regarding the original audio mix.

Fox have been good with some releases in providing the original audio and for example Romancing The Stone has the aoriginal 2.0 mix on it although it's annoying they didn't use a lossless codec for the 2.0 original mix.

Incidentally Romancing The Stone is one of the better looking catalogue titles and really is a joy to watch.

What are your impressions of Poltergeist...I found that one pretty good and just some pretty minor edge enhancement in a few scenes and minor grain reduction but nowhere near the level of grain reduction applied to lambs. Indeed i think it looks very good and any other issues are really to do with the opticals employed in the film and are thus inherent to the print.

Posted by: FoxyMulder, February 23, 2009 8:27 PM


I haven’t actually sat down and watched Poltergeist yet so I can’t comment on it, but I should be getting round to it before too long so I’ll let you know.

Posted by: Michael Mackenzie, February 23, 2009 8:29 PM


Given your comments in post 7 Michael, I may well pick this up at some point. I know from reading your site for some time that your eyes are decidedly less forgiving than my own, so if you don't mind it, I may well be pleasantly surprised!

Posted by: Bleddyn Williams, February 24, 2009 12:08 AM


Are the colors gacked up on this one too?

Posted by: Tyler, February 24, 2009 1:24 AM


They’re certainly not the colours of the Criterion DVD, that’s for sure. That said, I don’t think they’re identical to those on the MGM 2-disc DVD either. They certainly seem a bit more earthy, though I’d have to do a closer comparison to be sure.

Posted by: Michael Mackenzie, February 24, 2009 1:31 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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