Thursday, March 26, 2009

South Pacific: 50th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray Review

Disc Size: 43.1 GB
Film Size: 42.4 GB
Film Rating: Not Rated
Region: A

South Pacific comes to Blu-ray with a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video presentation. Fox has allowed the film to take up almost the entire first disc, allowing the movie to really breathe. Everything about the presentation is jaw-dropping in high-def, and looks far better than I had imagined it would look.

The film is sharp and detailed, and free of excessive dirt and specks. Colors are rich and vibrant, and leap off the screen. The island setting only enhances the film's visuals, and is sure to please both fans and high-def enthusiasts.

Fox has definitely provided one of the best catalog high-def releases, and it's very difficult to think this film is celebrating it's 50th anniversary. 10/10.

Fox has included a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track for the Blu-ray release, and it sounds magnificent. The film does show it's age when it comes to regular dialogue, but was still overall very nice. When the musical numbers begin though, it's a whole different audio experience.

The recorded vocals and music sound amazingly clear, and is surprisingly dynamic. I expected the film to be a front heavy experience, even for the musical numbers, but it expands very nicely into the surround area. The track easily impresses during the numbers, and what's most important for a musical. 9.5/10.


Disc 1:
Commentary by Ted Chapin and Gerard Alessandrini

Singalong (45:18) (HD)
Choose all or only a select song to singalong with.

Songs Only Chapter List (45:18) (HD)
A Chapter list made exclusively for the musical numbers in the film, for those who want to view a specific song with out having to find it in the film.

Disc 2:
Road Show Version of the film (SD) with optional commentary by Richard Barrios
Fox has included the Road Show Version of the film in standard definition on the second disc, the presentation is a mixed bag due to the lower quality footage included in the road show version. Fox didn't have to include it at all, but It's great they did.

Passion, Prejudice, and South Pacific: Creating an American Masterpiece (1:34:05) (HD)
Exclusive to the Blu-ray release is a special featurette hosted and narrated by 'South Pacific' lead Mitzi Gaynor. It provides an extensive look at South Pacific, from the music to the story. Features thoughts from those involved, relatives, and those in the Lincoln Center revival of of the musical.

Making Of South Pacific (14:01) (HD)
4:3 but HD look of the making of South Pacific. It's short but definitely entertaining.

60 Minutes: The Tales Of The South Pacific (22:24) (SD)
Diane Sawyer's interview with James Michener (Author of Tales Of The South Pacific), as he went back to the islands where it all started.

Vintage Stage Excerpt (9:38) (SD)
Performances from the original Broadway cast including Mary Martin and Ezio Pinza. Includes 'I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair', 'Some Enchanted Evening', and 'A Wonderful Guy.'

South Pacific On The Screen - A Perfect Hit (1:19) (SD)
Promotion from Fox Movietonews featuring footage from the premiere.

State Department Confers High Honor On South Pacific (:52) (SD)
Promotion from Fox Movietonews featuring addition footage from the premiere.

Screen Test: Mitzi Gaynor (6:51) (HD)
View Mitzi Gaynor's screen test in high-def, very neat to see.

Still Gallery (9:05) (SD)
Low-res images of the cast and crew, as well as behind-the-scenes images. For the biggest fans only.

Theatrical Trailer (2:43) (HD)
The theatrical trailer for the film, the source used looks to be very dated.

This is a top notch feature filled package, Fox has given this release a 2-disc release that I'm sure we won't see a better supplements package in this format's lifetime. 10/10.

Blu-news Summary
South Pacific is one of my least favorite Rodger and Hammerstein musicals, but there is a lot to love about the film as well. It's a fantastic story, that wasn't always executed in the best way but still redeems itself in many ways. The colored filters are different, and I have always found them to be more distracting than fitting. That said, after watching the film on Blu-ray I definitely enjoyed it much more than I remember. 8/10.

The Blu-ray release is amazing, with fantastic video and audio, and a very nice package of extras as well. This is one of the best catalog releases I have seen or heard, and I really have to applaud Fox for this fantastic release. South Pacific on Blu-ray is a 'Must Own For Fans', and 'Highly Recommended' to all others.

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