The Dark Side of Blu-ray

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Oh crap. Say goodbye to grain. Even intentional grain.

Case in point: New Line's Pan's Labyrinth Blu-ray Disc. When I saw this film in the theaters, it was dark and gritty. The grain was a deliberate stylistic choice -- part of the artistic character of the film. New Line's Blu-ray, on the other hand, is sparkly and glossy -- almost entirely grain-free. So much fine detail has been removed that the faces of characters actually look waxy. Everyone looks like a plastic doll.

Alas, this is not a problem isolated to Blu-ray. Many restorers pride themselves on removing film grain, even in film noirs where that grain is intentional and part of the overall look of the film. I could list many DVDs with the same problem.

Many of the discs with older films also use an obscene about of noise reduction, killing the trebles and making much of the track sound oddly isolated.

It is a shame, especially for those of use who would like to recapture films as they were meant to be seen...

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs