The Princess Bride (1987) – Blu-ray review

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Synopsis: While home sick in bed, a young boy’s grandfather reads him a story called The Princess Bride.

What’s it like? ‘The Princess Bride’. It really is in a league of its own.

Film: 10/10. Yes, a perfect score. ‘The Princess Bride’ is the melding of a multitude of genres into a tale that quite literally caters for everyone. Sword fights, comedy, romance, revenge, true love and the addition of a pitch perfect cast make for one of my favourite films of all time. 98 mins.

Picture quality: 8/10. Considering the disc was released 8 years ago the results are quite good. The master used is in good shape with some very nice detail, vivid colours (the lush grass and Buttercup’s red dress are standouts), a light layer of grain and consistent contrast. Considering it likely wasn’t a fresh scan at the time it’s a good result.

Audio quality: 8/10. The film is accompanied by and audio track capable of ticking all the boxes. Dialogue is always clear, Mark Knopfler’s score is perfectly prioritised and sound effects play around the entirety of the soundstage, making good use of the surrounds when needed. Much like the film, this track has a little bit of everything from some engaging action sequences to some subtle ambience.

Trailer: YouTube

Disc reviewed: Country: U.S., Studio: MGM, Region: A locked

Director: Rob Reiner
Starring: Cary Elwes, Robin Wright, Mandy Patinkin, Chris Sarandon, Andre the Giant

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Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016) – Blu-ray review

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Synopsis: A national manhunt is ordered for a rebellious kid and his foster uncle who go missing in the wild New Zealand bush.

What’s it like? ‘Stand by Me’ infused with the twisted wit of a Roald Dahl novel.

Film: 9/10. Taika Waititi’s star is on the rise. This critically acclaimed third film is what netted him the reigns on the upcoming Thor: Ragnarok. You can see why – he’s able to handle action and comedy well and frames it around a dramatic story with real heart. Sam Neill and relative newcomer Julian Dennison nail their roles and help sell this unique adventure. 101 mins.

Picture quality: 9/10. Shot digitally, the film is amazing detailed. The gritty details of Aunty and Hec’s weathered home are reproduced flawlessly. There’s also some stunning New Zealand scenery on show and it all looks great. Aside from some minor banding in a few shots this is one impressive looking disc.

Audio quality: 9/10. The ‘Hunt for the Wilderpeople’ soundtrack makes for extremely enjoyable listening. It is not overbearing or aggressive, however it’s always engaging, whether it be the subtle ambiance of the New Zealand forest or the unique score. It’s a polished mix, just like the excellent picture quality.

Trailer: YouTube

Disc reviewed: Country: Australia , Studio: Madman, Region: Region free

Director: Taika Waititi
Starring: Sam Neill, Julian Dennison, Rima Te Wiata, Rachel House, Tioreore Ngatai-Melbourne

Pick up a copy of the local release from madman.com.au.

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Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014) – Blu-ray review

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Synopsis: A spy organization recruits an unrefined, but promising street kid into the agency’s ultra-competitive training program, just as a global threat emerges from a twisted tech genius.

What’s it like? James Bond meets Quentin Tarantino.

Film: 9/10. Director Matthew Vaughn amps everything up to 11 in this spy homage/parody and it works… most of the time. The film has a serious dramatic core which occasionally finds itself at odds with the insanity on show in the rest of the film. Aside from that, it’s refreshing to see a film committed to extreme comedy and action and unafraid of going places a lot of “action” films won’t these days. The church scene alone is worth the price of admission! 129 mins.

Picture quality: 9/10. Kingsman is a solid looking disc. There’s plenty of fine detail on show and the colour palette is quite natural save for certain sequences where tones are adjusted for effect. It’s so precise that ultimately the only detractor is that some of the CGI doesn’t quite hold up, but that’s no fault of the technical presentation on the disc.

Audio quality: 9/10. Kingsman is a sonic assault in the best sense. Right from the opening scene we’re treated to deep low end content, plenty of surround activity and a thumping soundtrack. It sets the tone for the film and is the perfect accompaniment for the visuals. Occasionally the dialogue is slightly low in the mix when competing with the heaviest of action sequences filled with sound effects and score. It’s a minor detractor though.

Trailer: YouTube

Disc reviewed: Country: U.S., Studio: 20th Century Fox, Region: Region free

Director: Matthew Vaughn
Starring: Colin Firth, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Caine, Mark Strong, Taron Egerton

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