Friday, October 22, 2010

Don't Dream It...

...Be It.



So today (October 22, 2010) I got 'The Rocky Horror Picture Show' on Blu-ray after ordering it online through Amazon. They said it wouldn't arrive till the 27th, but it came today, so you can just imagine my excitement when I saw that Amazon box sitting on our front door step. So not 5 minuets after I walked through the door and opened up the box containing my long awaited Blu-ray...and I was not disappointed.

The booklet that this particular edition comes with is, in itself, a very special treat in it's own right. The pictures that it contains are very cool however I was hoping for a few more pictures that I had never seen before (However, when you're like me and you have over 3000+ pictures of JUST Frank-N-Furter alone, odds are you've pretty much seen everything there is to see of the guy.)

And after reading two introductions written by Lou Adler (Executive Producer) and Sal Piro (President of RHPS Fan Club), I grabbed the disc out of the booklet and threw it into my Blu-ray player faster than you can say 'Transylvanian Transvestites'.
What followed was a 5 minuet wait for the darn thing to load.
Now I know that it's most likely my own Blu-ray player (it does that for quite a few of my movies) but it brings me to my first gripe.
Why do movies now-a-days have to be PURLEY digital? What happened to VHS, where you could just fast forward and BAM. You're watching the movie. And even DVDs aren't TOO bad (sure there's a few where you can't skip ahead to the menu right away) but at least you get to the menu without a LOADING TIME.
I understand that Blu-ray movies, because they are digital, can hold more memory, hence the more features, the fancier menus, and higher quality video and sound, but for the love of God, at LEAST let me skip right to the menu without enduring a loading screen. It's ridiculous.

So after waiting patiently for the disc to load, I was greeted with the song 'Science Fiction Double Feature -Reprise' and I began admiring the fancy menu layout. It's not like the 25th Anniversary edition where you have the legs dancing across the screen and the lips guiding you through the menu (unfortunately), but it was still impressive non-the less.
I chose to watch the UK version of the movie, and as far as I know the only difference is the song 'Superheroes' edited back in, but I haven't watched the US version in a while, so don't take my word for it.
And once the movie began to play I was immersed into the world of Rocky Horror once more, but this time the video was so sharp, I could make out the individual taste-buds on Patricia Quinn's tongue as she lip-synced 'Science Fiction Double Feature'. But that was only the beginning, not only was the video stable (unlike the shaky picture you get when you watch the VHS or DVD) but it was CLEAR. And when I say that, I mean it was Crystal. Clear.
I found myself saying "Wow" at least 5 times a minuet admiring the quality of the video, and how well they transferred the original film to Blu-ray. It seriously looks amazing, and it's something that has to be seen to be believed. You can literally see the pores on their skin. You can make out each of their eyelashes, and every single strand of hair on their head. I had no idea how it was going to look on Blu-ray, so I wasn't expecting a perfect transfer...but it's a PERFECT transfer.
The sparkles on the corsets and shoes nearly blind you, and the fine lines in the fishnets have you staring at their legs the entire time. The water flying off their hair when they dance, and the little details on the set you could never make out before has all been revealed in glorious High Definition. I can't praise it enough. It looks amazing. (My jaw literally hit the floor when I saw Columbia in her first outfit during the Time Warp sequence. I swear she was going to jump out of the TV and start tap-dancing around my living room.)

The picture is astonishing. But what I HEARD...not so much.
Again, it's probably the set-up I watched it on, and I have yet to watch it again on my own system, but I was never saying "Wow" to the sound quality, rathehr "Owww" more than anything.

The songs used in this version were the original recordings re-mastered to a point where you can hear parts in the songs you never even knew were there, so it honestly DOES sound amazing. (Alot better than the VHS or DVD versions, that's for sure.)
But the general quality of the audio is all over the place. It IS clear, and the bass is fantastic, but when a song started up, I found that the lead vocals were severely overpowered by the instruments, and I was struggling to find the main vocals in alot of the songs. (Sure I've listened to it a billion times, but I WOULD like to hear it again.)
And also whenever groups of people were talking all at once (specifically the opening Wedding scene) it sounded like they were all inside of a cave. The background noise echos and I found it distracting, and also considering since I had no problem with it before, it was annoying. But that's only a fraction of my REAL issue with the sound.
The main problem is the volume of the entire film. The songs are EXTREMLEY loud, (and especially the higher notes and brass instruments) it screeches out of the speakers no matter how low your volume is. And as much as I love the songs of Rocky Horror, I would like to keep my hearing till I at least finish High School. (As I type this out I still have a slight ringing in my ears.)
So it's loud...but it's also extremely quiet. Right after each song, the audio drops SIGNIFICANTLY. After turning the volume almost all the way down to listen to the songs without bursting my eardrums, I had to turn it all the way back up just to catch whispers of the dialogue, that on the DVD, you can hear no problem. There was honestly no happy medium, and once I thought everything would be adequate, I had to turn it up again, or turn it back down again.
So what I found was that not once while watching this movie did I let go of my home theater remote. I was constantly turning the volume up and down the entire time in attempts to keep the audio consistent, and I shouldn't have to do that with any movie I watch, especially on the "new" Blu-ray format. (However, I have a bad habit of adjusting the volume throughout movies anyway to keep loud scenes normal, so it's probably just me.)
However the picture is so amazing, I'll sit through anything just to see it again.

And as far as the special features go, I haven't gotten around to seeing all of them yet, but I know they're amazing from what I've read about them. I watched the Mick Rock feature and viewed the gallery, and that's about it. As far as I know, the commentary is the same one that's on the DVD, (alot of features have been brought over from the DVD to this release) so there's alot to keep you busy, old AND new.

So overall...I was not disappointed. While the audio is not as good as it could have been, (but it's still in great quality) you need to consider that this is a 1975 film, and it was transferred to Blu-ray from the original film negatives, so for what it's worth, it is absolutely astonishing.
Video quality is beautiful (I honestly can't say enough about it) and even though the audio is all over the place, it still sounds like the Rocky Horror we all know and love, and that's all that really matters.
So if you if you haven't got your hands on this yet, get on it!!

'So come up to the lab,
and see what's on the slab.
I see you shiver with Antici.........