Sunday, October 18, 2009

Miracle on 34th Street Blu-ray Review

Disc Size: 22.4 GB
Film Size: 19.3 GB
Film Rating: Not Rated
Region: A

Miracle on 34th Street comes to Blu-ray with a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video presentation. Please note that only the black-and-white version of the film is present on this release, despite the back of the cover art saying it is in color. This issue is known by Fox, and will be fixed for all future produced product to reflect the disc content.

Back to the actual presentation though, I was certainly pleased by the presentation but not amazed whatsoever. The release looks about as good as I expected, featuring a good upgrade from DVD. There was a clear difference in overall sharpness and clarity, despite the film having a healthy layer of grain throughout.

Fans of the film should be very pleased, perhaps even impressed by the video presentation. The encode size is very healthy, and I did not notice any technical issues with the transfer itself. When compared to other older films on the format, this one is not at the top of the list whatsoever, but it definitely looks good overall. 7.5/10.

A 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is included, and is about as good as anybody could expect. The release is very front heavy as expected and dialogue was actually very clear despite it's age. The film's music was active in the front left and right speakers, featuring a good amount of clarity. Effects also took place within the front speakers, but well placed to the video presentation.

The track does feature moments where it does show it's age, but overall I found it very strong considering the content and type of film that it is. It's at the point where it just doesn't get much better than this, which should make anyone happy. 8/10.


Audio Commentary
by Maureen O'Hara.

AMC Backstory: Miracle on 34th Street (22:06) (SD)
A very informative look at the film, including the casting and issues that came with production and release of the film. It also includes cast and film historian interviews.

Fox Movietonews: Hollywood Spotlight (1:46) (SD)
Footage from the Academy Awards where Edmund Gwen accepts his award.

Promotional Short (5:08) (SD)
A promo for the film, with some seriously cheesy acting and lines.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade: Floating In History (15:32) (SD)
All about the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, it's return and incorporation in the film.

Poster Gallery (:39)
Nine posters from the film are featured.

Extras on this release are fairly informative, but definitely feel lacking to what could be. The AMC backstory is great, as is the included audio commentary. Everything else was fairly quick and ultimately lacking. I do not mind that a colorized version of the film is not included, it's not how the film was originally and the actual colorized process wasn't too great for this release like other examples. There's not too much content here, but it's decent. 5/10.

Blu-news Summary
Miracle on 34th Street is a fun holiday classic that holds up surprisingly well for audiences today. The actors in the film are fantastic, each creating memorable characters. Doris Walker, the mother who teaches her daughter that Santa Clause is purely a myth, making her grow up a bit too quickly for her own good. Kris Kringle who defends his existence in court, while adults claim there is no such thing.

The film truly makes anyone and everyone a believer by the end, making this a film that both adults and kids can enjoy together. The humor present in this film is truly great, and will definitely leave a positive impression on anyone who views the film. 9/10.

The Blu-ray release is good, but far from the best catalog releases we have seen on the format. Video is quite good, the audio track is nice, and extras are interesting but definitely lacking. The film alone though makes this easily 'Recommended' for the holidays.

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