'The Man Who Fell to Earth' (Criterion Collection) - High-Def Digest Review - High-Def Digest Forums
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Old 05-08-2009, 12:13 PM
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Default 'The Man Who Fell to Earth' (Criterion Collection) - High-Def Digest Review

Nate Boss has reviewed the Criterion Collection edition of 'The Man Who Fell to Earth.' He seems to have been a bit underwhelmed. This Blu-ray has less than stellar video and audio and some weak supplements. Worth a look.

Full review here:
http://bluray.highdefdigest.com/1495...lltoearth.html
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Old 05-08-2009, 01:16 PM
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Good review, I have been wanting to see this movie for a very long time.
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Old 05-08-2009, 01:18 PM
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Good review, I have been wanting to see this movie for a very long time.


Agreed I'll have to watch this movie now
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Old 05-08-2009, 01:30 PM
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I bought this along with The Third Man back in December I believe. While The Third Man is one of my favorite movies, the Man Who Fell to Earth was a blind buy. I had wanted to see it for a very long time. I pretty much loved it. SO weird...so interesting.
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Old 05-08-2009, 03:01 PM
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I actually registered for these forums after being a long time lurker just to disagree with this review. I would hope that not a single person with any interest in seeing this film is dissuaded by this review, which misses the mark on several levels. Factually it is inaccurate as Roeg actually has three Criterion releases; The Man Who Fell to Earth, Walkabout, and Bad Timing (another very interesting film, which is well worth watching). Can someone explain to me what this means, "I believe this release is Criterion in name alone"? Does it mean they didn't take the time to do this release properly and just threw it out there? I would think not because it is leaps and bounds above the Anchor Bay release. The lack of the book is a shame, but it can be purchased separately and honestly I dislike bulky packages, as do many people. I don't understand how one can fault the extras or why they were given a three rating. What can reasonably be expected for a film of this age on top of what is given? The video and audio were great on my system, perhaps the reviewer doesn't discs which most accurately reflect the film as he says the release is very accurate to the original intention yet gives it a three. Are the stars based on how the video reflects the original film or how clear and non-grainy it is? I can understand not liking this film, I can even understand hating it, but the excellent performances by Torn and Bowie and the fascinating content can be spellbinding. Any one with any interest at all please check out this release; I don't think many will be disappointed.
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Old 05-08-2009, 03:55 PM
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Well put, jasonx, and an excellent first post, I might add.

CC
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Old 05-08-2009, 05:23 PM
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This is a difficult title to review on a number of levels. The movie is very much an aquired taste. I think Nate has underrated it, but in the end this is his review and he should give his honest reaction. Even if I don't agree with it, his opinion of the movie is probably more representative of what most of our readers would think of it than mine.

As for the video score (keep in mind that I haven't watched this disc myself), a Blu-ray can have an absolutely faithful video transfer and still rate a low score. 28 Days Later is the example that keeps coming up in this debate. That Blu-ray may be 100% faithful to the movie's original standard-def DV photography, but that certainly doesn't mean that it looks very good. If the disc looks like crap, it should get a low score. By necessity, our scale here has to strike a balance between artistic faithfulness and absolute picture quality.
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Old 05-08-2009, 06:40 PM
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I've seen this film a couple of times in theaters over the past 25 years, good prints, and this blu-ray looks better than any of those cinema experiences. Some of the detail and cleanliness of the film is just amazing. But it IS a mid 1970s film, and the film stock and style of shooting is very apparent (as it should be on a good blu-ray transfer) and some people don't like that look. I'd rate is a 10/10 for faithfulness to what you would have seen in a screening room upon its release.

Roeg was a cinematographer by trade before becoming a director (ie, second unit on Lawrence of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago) so he knows and understands photography. We might quibble with the technology available to him or the style in which he used it. But one cannot fault the blu-ray for that.

But for those that love this classic of 70s cinema, this is truly a worthy package.

--

That said:

I figured the video would look pretty good. Criterion has special access to Roeg's materials and Roeg himself.

What I wasn't prepared for was what the soundtrack sounds like on blu-ray. Yes, it's two channel. But that was the state of the art in the mid 1970s for all but road show spectacles. What surprised me was just how great it sounds. In particular, the jazz elements of the score are fantastic -- full, crisp, tonally and timbrally correct.

There is, as noted, an occasional moment when the music level is mixed down while an element of dialog is pushed to the front of the mix. But, of course, this is not a defect of the blu-ray soundtrack, but again an accurate representation of the sound design.

Such moves were a common convention of the era, and while (again) we might quibble with it, the blu-ray faithfully reproduces the way the film is supposed to sound.
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Old 05-08-2009, 08:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonx View Post
I actually registered for these forums after being a long time lurker just to disagree with this review. I would hope that not a single person with any interest in seeing this film is dissuaded by this review, which misses the mark on several levels. Factually it is inaccurate as Roeg actually has three Criterion releases; The Man Who Fell to Earth, Walkabout, and Bad Timing (another very interesting film, which is well worth watching).
My point, when I mentioned Walkabout, was that Criterion releases films from a director who is already in their "stable." How else could anyone explain Bottle Rocket, a film that is flawed on numerous levels, that is NOT an example of the best of filmmaking, but is included due to the release of other Wes Anderson works? If you want to argue that's one of the greatest films made, please do, so I can get a chuckle. From Criterion's own site:

Quote:
Since 1984, the Criterion Collection, a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films, has been dedicated to gathering the greatest films from around the world and publishing them in editions that offer the highest technical quality and award-winning, original supplements
Again, the point I was trying to make, was that had it not been for Roeg's other work(s), this release probably would not have seen the light of day in the collection.

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Can someone explain to me what this means, "I believe this release is Criterion in name alone"?
See above. The film, IN MY OPINION, is not up to snuff compared to the snuff of any of the other films I've seen in the collection, which is quite a few. One could also argue, based off of some of the coverage Criterion Blu-rays have received, that a 5/5 (or 10/10, whatever scale is used) is an automatic. It isn't, by any means. The sad thing is, most Criterion whores believe otherwise. "It's in the collection, that means it has to be one of the best evar!!!" Before you get all mad about that, I'm a self-confessed Criterion whore, but I don't fall into the category that thinks that they are untouchable, perfect, and godly.

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I don't understand how one can fault the extras or why they were given a three rating. What can reasonably be expected for a film of this age on top of what is given?
First, supplements from the DVD (the novel) are not included. That is a big strike against this release. Not EVERYONE dislikes fat spines. I personally thought it made the film stand out and looked awesome, as does The Battle of Algiers (which seriously needs to get itself on Blu-ray, stat). Next, all there is is a commentary which is dull, a pile of interviews, and promotional material. No "Making Of" feature. No look at the differences in the cuts in the film, that are even MENTIONED in the extras by Candy Clarke. No commentary by historians or other directors/critics. You seem to fall under the impression that Criterion = perfect. I'm not out to make a point, but this is not a complete supplement package that rivals the best ones out there. Some releases have 3 HOUR long documentaries, IN ADDITION to having other supplements. Some releases have features that are amazing in their QUALITY, not just QUANTITY. The extras here aren't that great.

As for the film, Josh nailed it. 3.5/5 is just MY take on the film. I've seen the film a few times, this isn't some "wow, what the hell was THAT?!" kind of review, as I get it, I just don't think it's groundbreaking by any means. Regardless of anything, your opinion is yours, and mine is mine.
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Old 05-08-2009, 09:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Josh Z View Post
28 Days Later is the example that keeps coming up in this debate. That Blu-ray may be 100% faithful to the movie's original standard-def DV photography, but that certainly doesn't mean that it looks very good. If the disc looks like crap, it should get a low score.
I couldn't disagree with this statement more vehemently; if the movie was filmed in a manner that left it's resolution below normal standards, take issue with that all you want in the movie review portion, but if the Blu-ray faithfully and accurately conveys that image, then why would it's score be downgraded? We're here to investigate Blu-ray quality scores, not ones for a film's chosen style of cinematography. If I, playing the role of a BD reviewer, were to ask myself, "does this disc look as close to what I would have seen in the theater as possible?" and answer "yes", then that should be the very definition of five-stars.
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