Wednesday, October 28

Dawn of the Dead treated right in HD? Strike that.

.tempting, isn't it?

This is a disappointing follow-up to this 10/16 entry, Dawn of the Dead finally done right in High Definition. I received the British Arrow Films Blu-ray yesterday (region 0 confirmed, playable on U.S. players) and I'm sorry to report the transfer is nearly an exact mirror image of Anchor Bay's very lackluster stateside Blu-ray release. The Arrow transfer obviously exhibits the same lack of fine detail, smeary motion (in the same spots), and fleeting negative damage identical to Anchor Bay's poor treatment. The only difference is the contrast of the Arrow might be slightly lower and at times shadow detail seems muddier. As they say, the devil that you know...

Here's what I believe happened. The whole thing started with this DVDActive review of the Arrow BD. The site didn't receive the actual Blu-ray upon initially posting the review and substituted temporary screenshots from a piss poor looking DVD. The reviewer then contacted Arrow asking for full resolution Blu-ray captures from time codes he provided. The studio took nine captures supposedly from the disc and DVDActive promptly posted them at the end of the review as links. These shots looked wonderful (four can still be seen here), appeared to be what's expected from a Blu-ray screenshot, and that's when I decided to order the BD. Then several days later DVDActive finally received the disc, replaced all their crappy DVD shots with new Blu shots, and took down the Arrow-supplied "Blu-ray" captures. This is the review linked above as it exists today.

I saw these changes days ago but didn't want to jump the gun again with an update here until finally experiencing the release's transfer firsthand. The noticeably different 1920x1080 screenshots on the review today reflect the Blu-ray's "real" bland and too smooth picture quality just like the U.S. high def disc. Not that I visited DVDActive much to begin with but I'll never trust them again. I'm also never buying another Arrow Films DVD or Blu-ray release again. It was absolute bullshit for DVDActive to post the review without proper screenshots and Arrow to supply screenshots that clearly don't represent their release's true image. Thanks a lot.

Otherwise, the release is quite nice aesthetically with the PCM stereo track, an interesting booklet of linear notes, and mini-reproduction of the ridiculously valuable British quad sheet subway poster. The Director's Cut and Argento Cut DVDs are full of interlaced combing artifacts, sloppy NTSC-to-PAL conversion image ghosting, and show no advantage to the U.S. standard def releases. I'm betting Arrow got all three transfers (and extras) from Anchor Bay. Ugh, so is the curse of the DotD/PQ fanatic and again, thank you so much DVDActive and Arrow Films for all your nefarious stupidity that caused me and others that assumed this was "the one" to light $35 on fire...

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1 comment:

KFelon said...

That's a damn shame. Hopefully someone elsewhere in the world can do Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray justice. Germany or Japan maybe? you dare tread upon the staircase?

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