Published on November 26th, 2012 | by Chris0
Lawrence of Arabia (1962, Blu Ray)
If you look up the word "epic" in the dictionary, I imagine one of the definitions would be 1952's Lawrence of Arabia.
In case you've not read my original review of Lawrence of Arabia, I suggest you do so. Everything I said there still stands. I will focus this review on the Blu Ray presentation, I have in my hands the 2-disc edition, not the collector's box set.
To begin, the first thing you are greeted with is the picture-less introduction, with several minutes of the soundtrack in order to implant it firmly in your mind. Brilliant. The full 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio is immediately evident. I can't recall exactly what the DVD sounded like, but it is definitely a step up. However, once the film starts, the 5.1 mix at first (at least to me) sounded a bit out of place, maybe "artificial" would be a better word, especially in the dialogue. That feeling soon disappeared, though, as my ears became accustomed to the clarity and scope of it. It was never, that I can tell, "over produced" to include lots of back channel or LFE effects.
And the picture. The immaculate 4K restoration (which essentially involves scanning the film at 2x the target resolution of HD... i.e. oversampling) provides probably the best reproduction of a 50-year old film onto home video I think I've ever witnessed. It's like viewing a brand new print. This, also, is not without its caveats. The amount of film grain visible varies from almost none at times, to being highly evident, depending on the complexity and darkness of the scene. Whether or not this is an artifact of the restoration process or a true representation of the source, I can't say, but it is noticable. It is also a very minor nitpick in what is overall a fantastic visual feast. The colors also make the DVD pale in comparison. (This is especially noticable on the Special Features Disc, where the menus have the same "color" as the film, but the features are left alone.)
On the film's disc is also a highly enlightening "Secrets of Arabia" mode, in which you can view the entire film with periodic tidbits of trivia about Mr. Lawrence, calling out various facts of the filming process, or where the film follows, or differs from, the history of T. E. Lawrence. You can also just skip through this mode and just view the trivia bits, which I did.
The second disc is entirely special features, including several period pieces about the promotion and production of the movie, on the DVD-era restoration, and most interesting (and it really is) an in-depth recent visit with Peter O'Toole on his experience making the film, and in the restoration process.
The Collector's Edition Box Set also includes another Blu Ray disc chock full of more documentaries, a CD with the soundtrack, a coffee-table book, and an actual 70mm film cel.
Even if you already have the restoration DVD, I HIGHLY recommend you upgrade your copy of Lawrence of Arabia to Blu Ray immediately!
Lawrence of Arabia (50th Anniversary Collector’s Edition) [Blu-ray]
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LAWRENCE OF ARABIA 50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION Winner of 7 Academy Awards® including Best Picture of 1962, LAWRENCE OF ARABIA stands as one of the most timeless and essential motion picture masterpieces...
DVD InformationBinding: Blu-ray
Aspect Ratio: 2.20:1
Audience Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Manufacturer: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Original Release Date:
- Peter O'Toole
Summary: The definitive epic war movie just got even more epic in Blu Ray.