OK, I have seen GLADIATOR and BRAVEHEART. As some of you may know, I split my time between NC and NYC. When in NYC I sometimes get to watch movies with a friend on one hell of a setup and he gets many BD's early. Especially Paramount BD's.
Just let me say tha BRAVEHEART is amazing. We watched the first 45 minutes and were truly impressed.
Before that we compared GLADIATOR to my now very old DVHS copy recorded from HBO when it first was shown (which means it has a pretty good bitrate as it was prior to DISH adding more compression to their HD feeds).
Hands down, the old open matted (1.78:1) DVHS wins because it is less filtered and not suffering from so many DVNR problems, as shown here. Yes, from time to time the HBO version has some compression issues, but they are not a big deal. It's obvious the 1.78:1 and OAR (BD) transfer were made at the same time. No surprise there.
What is clearly on display here is Paramount taking what was a mid-level transfer (because of its age) and applying additional filtering and noise reduction, for reasons unknown, making what was passable look terrible.
This was on a huge screen. Well over 100 inches. The DVNR is absolutely impossible not to spot at that size.
Most with small screens won't notice or care, so expect Paramount to admit nothing. Have they admitted their FACE/OFF and UNTOUCHABLES screw-ups? Have they admitted to wrong-doing with STAR TREK? Of course not.
Looks like I will not be able to retire my DVHS deck or years to come.
Again, for the haters out there... BRAVEHEART looks fantastic. No complaints. We even watched about 30 minutes of the UK HIGHLANDER release as a comparison (because it has the same look and feel of both films) and despite some DVNR here and there I can say it is well worth buying because it is far more good than not so good. I am not so insane that every frame has to be perfection. So please, nobody accuse me of being too picky because that is not what is going on here. What is going on is Paramount has yet again tried to screw us.
P.S. I am typing on a tiny little laptop so apologies if my typing sucks. These keys are insanely small.