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Category:    Home > Reviews > Thriller > Drama > The Manchurian Candidate (2004/Blu-ray)

The Manchurian Candidate (2004/Blu-ray)


Picture: B-     Sound: B-     Extras: C-     Film: D



When people ask me why filmmaking has become so bad, one thing I point out is the extent of which recycling and remakes have made releases so bad.  Jonathan Demme’s horrid 2004 remake of the classic The Manchurian Candidate was actually cast and marketed as of it could be some kind of serious prestige film.  Instead, it is one of the worst remakes of all time.  We first looked at this turkey on HD-DVD, which you can read more about as follows:





Now the Blu-ray version is here as Paramount continues to be the only other studio besides Warner to issue their HD titles in both formats.  As has been the case before, but a bit more so in this case, the Blu-ray is not quite as good looking as the HD-DVD.


To recap, HD trailers of the film have surfaced on both the initial demo discs for Blu-ray and HD-DVD, and in both cases, it was the worse HD trailer in the bunch.  The 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image is not as bad as those trailers, but cinematographer Tak Fujimoto, A.S.C., gets carried away with the close-up shots further dragging on an already problematic film.  Color is somewhat muted throughout and fancy blowings-out of the image are further annoying when the film has nowhere to go.  In this Blu-ray version, definition is sometimes closer to how bad those trailers were.  The Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 and DTS 5.1 mixes are quieter and more underused than you would think, with the quiet approach making things drag even further.  This is not a demo disc for this format and if you need Denzel in Blu-ray, Crimson Tide is on the way from Disney soon.


Extras again include Demme and Pyle on an audio commentary that makes you realize how much worse things really were here, 6 deleted scenes with more commentary if you need it as an option, outtakes with the same option, the trailer in HD, Schreiber screen test and three featurettes.  They too are painful to watch.  Hopefully, this is the end of HD appearances of this bomb, though Warner just announced the Total HD disc that can carry both formats.  Paramount should quit while they are ahead.  I can’t imagine the need to produce more copies of this one.



Until MGM/Fox issues it on Blu-ray, try the original film on DVD, which you can read more about at:





-   Nicholas Sheffo


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