Bram Stoker’s Dracula Limited Edition Supreme Cinema Series Blu-ray Review

Ralph Potts reviews the Limited Edition Supreme Cinema Series release of this horror classic from Francis Ford Coppola and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Film:

Extras:

Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )

89

Details:

Studio and Year: Sony Pictures – 1992
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 127 minutes
Genre: Horror

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD 7.1, English/French/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, English, French, Spanish
Starring: Gary Oldman, Anthony Hopkins, Winona Ryder, Keanu Reeves, Cary Elwes, Tom Waits, Billy Campbell, Sadie Frost, Richard E. Grant
Directed by: Francis Ford Coppola
Music by: Wojciech Kilar
Written by: James Hart
Region Code: A,B,C

Blu-ray Disc release Date: October 6, 2015

“Love never dies”

My Take:

Originally released in 1992 and helmed by award-winning director Francis Ford Coppola comes the remake of the classic and chilling tale about the devastatingly seductive Transylvanian prince (Gary Oldman) who travels from Eastern Europe to 19th century London in search of human love. After centuries alone in his crumbling castle, Dracula’s taste for humanity has grown bold with desire, drawing him out of seclusion. When the charismatic Dracula meets Mina (Winona Ryder), a young woman who appears as the reincarnation of his lost love, the two embark on a journey of romantic passion and horror.

Bram Stoker’s Dracula needs no introduction among film fans and is highly regarded among the various incarnations of the classic horror tale brought to the big screen. Francis Ford Coppola’s visionary telling coupled with a superlative and chillingly stirring performance by Gary Oldman elevate the gothic story of passion, love and blood. What I have always appreciated about this film is it’s divergence from traditional Dracula pop culture while retaining the character’s innate sense of style and portent evil combined with an empathetic forlorn essence. I can’t say that I agree with the choice to cast Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder (more so him than her) however the supporting turns by Tom Waits, Anthony Hopkins, and Sadie Frost more than delivered. Bram Stoker’s Dracula easily withstands the test of time. I thoroughly enjoyed this revisit and am pleased to see it in this Supreme Cinema Series Edition from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. See below for more details.

The Supreme Cinema Series Edition of Bram Stoker’s Dracula includes 24-pages of rare photos, behind-the-scenes detail and an all-new personalized written introduction from Director Francis Ford Coppola. Coppola, along with his son, Second Unit/Visual Effects Director, Roman Coppola, together participated in a new, on-camera retrospective, reflecting on how the film has impacted their lives and careers. The bonus features also offer the original 1993 commentary with Francis Ford Coppola, Roman Coppola and Makeup Supervisor Greg Cannom.

The film is presented with an all-new 4K restoration and exclusive Dolby Atmos sound, available both as a standalone Blu-ray and in a limited edition Blu-ray Supreme Cinema Series Clear Case. The new Dolby Atmos audio, remixed specifically for the home theater environment, delivers captivating sound that places and moves audio anywhere in the room, including overhead.

The Supreme Cinema Series Clear Case is made of an acrylic that is bound book style. It’s attractive and features images front and back, and inside contains a slip sleeve for the disc along with the pages of the book. My only complaint is that the adhesive on the binding’s overlap on the rear (on both the inside and outside) isn’t holding top to bottom and has pulled away from the clear case. When opening and closing the book the adhesive crackles there. The binding itself is fine and appears sturdy. Here are some photos of the case.

Parental Guide:

The rating is for sexuality and horror violence.

AUDIO/VIDEO – By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

Audio: 88
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 

  • Dynamics:
  • Low frequency effects:
  • Surround Sound presentation:
  • Clarity/Detail:
  • Dialogue Reproduction:
  • Low frequency extension * (non-rated element): NA

 

Video: 90
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 

  • Resolution/Clarity:
  • Black Level/Shadow Detail:
  • Color Reproduction:
  • Fleshtones:
  • Compression:

 

Dolby Atmos Rating: 88
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 

  • Level of immersion:
  • Soundstage integration:
  • Audio object placement:
  • Effectiveness:
  • Entertainment factor:

 

Bram Stoker’s Dracula comes to Blu-ray Disc from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 24 Mbps and Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 sound that has an average bitrate of 4.5 Mbps.

*It should be noted that this film’s source elements have a textured and filmic aesthetic that some may view as being of lesser/low quality. This is something that is inherent and not attributed to poor rendering.

Bram Stoker’s Dracula recently underwent an extensive 4K digital restoration and the results are excellent. The film’s period colors are naturally depicted with vivid textures and pleasing primaries that appear rich without over emphasis. Fleshtones appear lifelike with a mildly warm essence that conveys rosy complexions that don’t appear unnaturally pinkish. The level of visible detail in facial features, hair and clothing during close-ups is noteworthy. Wide angle shots vary in terms of visual depth but most reveal subtle degrees of refinement and fidelity is never in question. While the film’s elements aren’t the type to yield razor sharp imagery resolution is solid as the blend of interior shots and sets featured in the story offer clarity and dimension that appear faithful to the source. Blacks are noise free, stable and fairly deep. Contrast and brightness are balanced well which enlivens bright scenes and colors while maintaining an appreciable level of visibility and dimension during darker segments. The video has an undisturbed and visibly grainy texture that occasionally takes on more emphasis but I never found it bothersome. Other than a hand full of shots where innate softening creeps in this restored video rendering looks solid.

This Lossless Dolby TrueHD 7.1 surround mix accents the video presentation and makes regular use of the entire system to drive the film’s elements. This is a well-balanced and active soundtrack that features excellent dynamic range and punchy, rewarding bass response. The surround channels are actively engaged with a blend of discretely placed sounds and spatial ambience that combines with the high level of sonic detail present in the recording to make for an involving surround experience. Dialogue is reproduced with excellent prioritization and clarity through the center channel. The mix facilitates seamless integration of the front and rear channels which creates a stable and well-proportioned listening environment.

In listening to the Dolby Atmos soundtrack I was surprised at how active the mix is. The use of overhead sound objects elevates proportional correlation especially when applied during sequences involving first person perspectives (such as seen through the eyes of Dracula while in wolf form). When compared to the 7.1 channel core the Atmos mix offers a noticeable improvement by opening up the soundstage, elevating the perception of low level detail and even simulating broader dynamic range. Wojciech Kilar’s music score invigorates the extended sound field as its eerie presence underscores the storyline. The film is loaded with atmospherics, off screen cues and discrete sound effects that when applied using the freedom of object based placement adds an enriching layer to the soundtrack. This is noticeable right from the opening sequence with noteworthy examples being found throughout (the first seduction of Lucy sounds great). As good as the lossless TrueHD 7.1 core sounds, the Atmos mix adds a complimentary layer that brings the listening experience up a notch.

Kudos to Sony Pictures Home Entertainment on an excellent home theater presentation. I look forward to their upcoming titles that incorporate Dolby Atmos sound.

Bonus Features:

  • 4K Restoration & Dolby Atmos soundtrack (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 compatible)*
  • (HD)Reflections in Blood: Francis Ford Coppola and Bram Stoker’s Dracula – 24 minute featurette
  • (HD) Practical Magicians: A Collaboration Between Father and Son – 20 minute featurette
  • Rare 1993 Commentary with Francis Ford Coppola, Roman Coppola and Greg Cannom
  • 12 Deleted Scenes including a prologue and alternate ending
  • Audio Commentary & Film Introduction by Director Francis Ford Coppola
  • 4 Legacy Featurettes
    1. The blood is the life: Making of featurette – 27 minutes
    2. The costumes are the sets – 14 minutes
    3. In camera: Visual effects – 18 minutes
    4. Method & madness: Visualizing Dracula – 12 minutes
  • Bram Stoker’s Dracula “Beware” trailer
  • Theatrical trailer
    Limited Edition Supreme Cinema Series includes:

    1. High-end Clear Case package
    2. 24 pages of rare photos, behind-the-scenes info and an all-new exclusive written introduction from Director Francis Ford Coppola
  • Digital HD Copy

Final Thoughts:

Bram Stoker’s Dracula needs no introduction and is an award-winning and entertaining cinematic gem from esteemed director Francis Ford Coppola. It comes to Blu-ray in this Limited Edition Supreme Cinema Series offering that includes an-all new 4K video restoration, remixed Dolby TrueHD/ Atmos sound, new and legacy supplemental material and limited edition “Clear Case” packaging. I am pleased to report that Bram Stoker’s Dracula has benefited on the audio and video fronts with the restored and remixed elements enhancing the experience while the newly added bonus material and collectibles provide fans with the proverbial icing on the cake. If you’re a fan this new offering from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is a must have for your collection.

 

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Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS4910 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6 Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen – Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16×9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV8802A 13.2 Channel Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies – 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-103D Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (With Darbee video processing)
Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton “Ergo” and In-Ceiling series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SVS PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
SVS PC12-NSD
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) – Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components – CP-CP102 cooling package