The following are screencaps from The Silence Of The Lambs on Blu-ray. The Silence Of The Lambs is featured in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio and as such, will fill your entire widescreen television, taking full advantage of it. TSOTL originally had different cover art planned, but what eventually came shipped to me...was the same cover art from the 2-Disc Collector's Edition. It would have been nice if some different artwork was made for the Blu-ray release, but I have a hunch it was just so much easier to call up the same image from 2006, re-size it for the Blu-ray cover, and call it good. I hope this isn't a trend for several other catalog releases, but it's inevitable this is going to happen. Of course, I can be picky about the artwork, but what really matters, is the audio and video of the film on this Blu-ray release. Well, it looks good. It didn't jump off the screen and skin my torso, but The Silence Of The Lambs had several scenes which were improvements over the 2-Disc CE released back in 2006. Let's take a look at some screencaps to prove my point, but first, a few things I'd like to mention...
|The Silence Of The Lambs|
Features: A noticeably better video transfer, resulting in more clarity in several scenes, and a better (more realistic) color palette.
Codec / Resolution: MPEG-2 / 1080p
Movie File Size: 20.74 GB
Average Bitrate: ~19.56 Mbps
Distributor: Orion Pictures
Movie Release: February 14, 1991
This Release: March 3, 2009
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 118 mins
Current Price: Check Price / Purchase
The Silence Of The Lambs: MPEG-2 Transfer
Yeah, this is an MPEG-2 transfer. In this case however, an MPEG-4 AVC codec wouldn't have helped it much. The main reason is because of the type of film used. The age of the film really isn't an issue, as we have movies dating back to the 40's and 50's which look outright amazing and even go into reference quality for HD releases. In this case, the movie's definition ("clarity") is hindered by the medium itself.
Eco-Packaging: One Of The Dumbest Ideas I've Ever Seen
So, I open my TSOTL package, hot off the presses, and the case seems less firm and more flimsy than usual. I'm thinking to myself, What the hek is going on here? Soon after opening the case, I almost push a finger THROUGH the darn case itself. Now, how could this happen? Well, let's a closer look at the genius design:
Whoever the moron(s) is/are, this design needs to stop. This design is NOT done in the name of recycling or whatever current Global Warming issue is being marketed. This has to do with simply trying to cut costs, and spinning the reason to the consumer.
Let's take a look at the first screencap from The Silence Of The Lambs below. Since TSOTL is mostly a drama, where you see the faces of the characters more than anything, I'll be focusing on the faces.
As usual, we have some characteristics of the film which does hinder the overall clarity and sharpness. This has to do with the type of film used, and the rather large aperture of the camera lens, providing a more shallow Depth Of Field (DOF). We can see this in several close-ups of the characters' faces, but we have to remember, The Silence Of The Lambs is what it is because of the type of cinematography used. Some films will not have such a night and day difference when being transferred to an HD medium. This is one of those cases, but it still looks better than any DVD presentation I've seen.
As a typical caveat I tend to include in certain HD reviews, the larger the television you have, the bigger the difference you'll notice. On a small HDTV, you won't notice much difference at all. But play your DVD on a 50" or larger HDTV and then pop in the Blu-ray version...the differences will be more obvious.
Below we have a screencap of Scott Glenn. Notice how his glasses are very clear and crisp, his hair is defined, and his shirt is a nice white. The colors on this Blu-ray version are the best I've seen of any previous release.
As we take a look at Hannibal Lector's face (Anthony Hopkins), we can observe the aperture of the lens and how it has been more than likely framed to capture the faces, while blurring the backgrounds. We have to remember, this film is supposed to be dark and at the same time a little surreal. One of the ways of completing your objective in this case, is to soften the presentation, to give that surreal environment. Jonathan Demme successfully conveys this.
Another great scene below where Jodie Foster's character appears rather crisp and clear. This has to do with a much tighter shot of her face, taking up the entire screen, allowing for a greater DOF and a larger portion of the screen appears in focus and sharper.
More screencaps, revealing the soft nature of the film, which was intended, but still allowing for a much better presentation on Blu-ray.
Overall, I'm quite pleased with what I've seen on this Blu-ray release. I seriously doubt there would be a noticeable difference if this film was transferred via MPEG-2 AVC codec. Compression and posterization were not observed, which tends to indicate this transfer is as good as it gets.