Feb 032010

Blu ray screencaps from CutThroat Island.

I include my BD analysis and impressions below.  When i heard one of my favourite films of the nineties was being released on blu ray i was very pleased but wondered if the transfer would be any good. Lionsgate have unfortunately released a number of lacklustre over processed films on the high definition blu ray format, films such as Basic Instinct, First Blood and Total Recall look far from their best. I spent a lot of money importing the Japanese DVD with full bitrate DTS several years back and i have been able to carefully compare that release with this one, note that the Japanese DVD release was anamorphic, the original USA one was not.

The DVD suffers from a bit too much noise and edge enhancement but equally the blu ray suffers from a touch too much DNR.

Cutthroat Island looks clean alright but to me it looks a touch too smooth, high definition for sure but i'd rather they kept more of the fine film grain intact. Why can't these studio's lay off the processing tools and just give us the film warts and all. I'll take some specks, dirt and film grain over an overzealous application of DNR, it's okay, a massive improvement over the DVD editions, i just wish more film grain and texture was retained.

I will not get into the whole debate about whether the film is good or bad because i have come to the opinion you either love this film or hate it. I personally enjoy it a lot and think it's a throwback to old fashioned pirate films of the fifties and early sixties, there is a sense of fun to the proceedings without it ever getting too campy, something i thought Depp's performance in Pirates suffered from.

This film should not be compared to Pirates Of The Caribbean as that is like comparing apples to oranges. CutThroat Island entertained me more and has a wonderful sound mix and music score, i think Geena Davis is superb, she is a very good actress and has shown she is more than capable of action roles in films like this and The Long Kiss Goodnight, unfortunately her action roles did not bring box office success, maybe audiences were just not willing to give a female action star a chance or maybe the studio just didn't promote the films enough, of course there is also the MGM factor, they had severe financial issues back in the nineties and were responsible for distributing this film. I find Geena's action films entertaining regardless of box office performance, sometimes good films just don't find an audience.

As far as Cutthroat Island on blu ray goes, occasionally they give us a glimpse of what might have been and leave a little bit of the original grain intact, mostly they have scrubbed the image too far for my taste so that everything is super clean with just a hint of the original grain structure sometimes being visible.

There is slightly more information at the sides on some scenes in the DVD edition. This was shot in a Scope format and not Super 35 and i believe the reason you see slightly less image at the sides on the blu ray is because the original 2K image that would be used for this transfer is being slightly cropped rather than undergoing a downconversion procedure. I believe this is becoming common practice.

Check out the second image below and you will notice they have left a touch of the original grain intact. That scene lasts seconds. 

View blu ray screencaps of CutThroat Island below.

Night scene from Cutthroat IslandSome grain left in the image in Cutthroat IslandNicely filmed crowd scene from Cutthroat IslandGeena Davis in Cutthroat IslandFrank was once Dracula and he fancies a bite here in Cutthroat IslandJungle scenes from Cutthroat IslandShips meet with cannons at the ready in Cutthroat IslandYou bad dawg - Cutthroat IslandStudying a map in Cutthroat IslandThailand locations are lovely in Cutthroat IslandIts quite a fall for Geena Davis in Cutthroat IslandGeena and the crew hide in Cutthroat IslandCabin fever ( not ) in Cutthroat IslandLet battle commence in Cutthroat IslandGeena Davis fights her Uncle Dawg in Cutthroat Island