Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Mel Brooks Collection: The Twelve Chairs Blu-ray Review

Disc Size: 24.2 GB
Film Size: 21.6 GB
Film Rating: G
Region: A

The Twelve Chairs comes to Blu-ray with a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video presentation. WOW, the film looks absolutely fantastic. I had high hopes for the Blu-ray release, but honestly had no idea what to expect. Not only where my high hopes met, they were definitely surpassed.

The level of detail present in this high-def transfer is astonishing at times, especially when you consider the film is about to become 40 years old. Everything in a scene is sharp and clear, we get a perfect sense of texture and detail.

The only thing keeping this film from having a ten-star transfer is due to the dirt and specks that show up throughout the presentation. Had the film had a cleanup prior to coming to Blu-ray it could have looked even better, but then again a 'cleanup' is not the same thing to every to studio. For some it involves scrubbing away all film grain, in the ending losing all detail.

There is a very healthy layer of film grain present at times, which grain haters will find annoying. The colors on this release are also quite amazing, everything is very rich, colors such as red and blue pop in the most beautiful way. Black levels are also very solid from beginning to end, with no notable crushing or distractions.

The Twelve Chairs is a fantastic Blu-ray release that will not only please fans, you may find yourself picking up your jaw from the floor quite a few times, it's just so impressive and is a revelation on Blu-ray. 9/10.

A 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is included and I expected it be slightly mediocre, due to the original mono source. The track is entirely front-based, with dialogue present in the center speaker at all times. The film's beautiful score does expand into the front left and right speakers, and the clarity of it is very nice. Dialogue is always crisp and clear, as are sound effects, mostly coming from the center speaker.

The track is of very good quality, it is limited and there's not really much sound mixers have to work with in this case. I definitely think they did the best job they could do with the mix. It's not going to wow anyone, but it's a job well done. 7/10.


Mel Brooks Trailers (HD)
High Anxiety
History of the World Part 1
Robin Hood: Men in Tights
Silent Movie
To Be or Not To Be
Young Frankenstein

There are no actual extras pertaining to The Twelve Chairs, I'm surprised Mel Brooks didn't take the time to talk about this film like he did for the other Fox owned films in the collection. We don't even get a theatrical trailer, the Mel Brooks trailers are present on other discs in the collection. Very disappointing to see an almost non-existent supplements package. 1/10.

The Packaging
Blu-news Summary
The Twelve Chairs will soon be turning 40 years old. Released in 1970, The Twelve Chairs is Mel Brooks' oldest film featured in the collection, it also the second in which he directed (The Producers in 1968 being his first). Despite his fairly new experience as a Director, Mel Brooks had many years of writing experience, with credits since the early 1950s.

The film is based on a famous Russian story written by Ilya Ilf and Yevgeni Petrov, one which I have heard about but have never read. Perhaps that is why this movie is so different from the majority of films Mel Brooks was involved in.

The film is a comedy, but a much lighter one at that, it actually features what tries to be a fantastic story. The film stars Ron Moody as Ippolit Vorbyanino, who finds out his mother-in-law sewed a fortune of jewels into one of the twelve dining room chairs, finding out which one and finding all twelve chairs begins the adventure.

Also in a the film is a very young hardly recognizable Frank Langella as Ostap Bender who wants to find the jewels as well. The funniest person by far though is co-star Dom DeLuise as Father Fyodor. Mel Brooks also makes a small appearance (which I believe is the first film he put himself in) as Tikon.

The Twelve Chairs is not the funniest comedy, nor did I find it to be the most amazing story either. It's fairly simple, and while it is different from Mel Brooks' other projects, I think many of those latter projects were much stronger. He did a good job at both directing and acting in the film, but it's not his most memorable movie. 7.5/10.

The Blu-ray release is great, featuring a top notch video presentation, decent audio, but unfortunately no real extras. The disc is one of nine films included in The Mel Brooks Collection, which is 'Highly Recommended.'

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