The Sony version has the "look" of an oldish transfer; a slightly digital appearance, dull colors, some ringing (from sharpening?). Of course that infamous Sony insider claims that they did a new scan for the remastered release. Maybe Sony used an inferior print? Who knows.
Gaumont, the production company for a lot of Besson's films, created new transfers for the Blu-ray releases of his films (we got the new one for Leon). Like Leon the contrast is heavily boosted with a push towards the yellow tones.
I don't know this film well enough to be definitive (I have seen it theatrically during original release and seen it countless times in DVD demos). The color balance of the Gaumont release does not, however, seem correct. Colors look much brighter but lack the richness of the Sony transfer.
Some shots of the Gaumont release (e.g.,the girl on the ledge, the three guys standing together) appear to be too smooth and grain-free.
Shame about the contrast boosting. Apart from it, the Gaumont release looks noticeably better. I have a hard time believing the Sony re-release was from a new master, despite what the infamous "insider" claims. The Gaumont release, however, with its noticeable yellow tint and pushed contrasts, looks very similar to the various other recent retransfers of Besson films (e.g. LEON), so I have no trouble believing it was done at the same time/by the same people.
All Gaumont Besson movies look like this, makes you wonder if it was Besson's idea
I seem to remember it being confirmed somewhere that Besson supervised (or at least approved) the new LEON master, which would certainly suggest that he is at least happy with that look, even if it wasn't his idea.
It's a shame Gaumont overshot the contrast and color, because lacking the EE of the Sony version is a nice improvement. Then again, some of the blown out areas in the Gaumont version may retain some detail in WTW region (although the curtains in shot #14 are probably done for even with WTW intact).
This fine wine is really good - it tastes like it was bottled yesterday!
I'm on the Sony bandwagon here. The new master is too bright and loses a lot of shadows in the picture. Also, the Gaumont release looks degrained a bit. The Sony release looks far more faithful to the original film, "new master" or not.
Yea the contrast boosting on the presidents face on his side shot is quite noticeable, its blown out the details on his cheek & nose.
I agree with the previous poster, the Sony version does look more "digital" compared to the Gaumont release, but looks to be DNR scrubbed and has odd colours. I do however think the Sony master is a tad too dark, something in between the two would be nice.
I think I would have to see both in motion to judge which I like better. I think the Gaumont version looks newer with DI style grain. The Sony transfer shows it's age while the Gaumont one makes it look like a much newer film.. I don't like the blown out whites though.
How is the grain on the Gaumont disc, is it completely natural or is it smearing a bit? Cap 9 looks suspicious.
It looks nice in motion, nothing frozen or smeary. However, there are many scenes that have very, very, very light grain or are nearly void of it. Even in those scenes, I don't see any major DNR artifacts. So if they did degrain it, they used a very high quality, non-offensive filtering algorithm.
Sony looks the best to me. The Gaumont not only looks contrast boosted but It looks washed out. A lot of detail is lost. Looking at the closeup of pic of Bruce the sony version I can see the defined wrinkles and whiskers on his face and on the Gaumont they look to almost blend in maybe due to the dnr. Less grain on the Gaumont but I'm a grain junkie so I like the sony.
Also look at the 9th set of pics. there is a arm and shoulder on the right side of the pic. Towards the upper end of the are there is a band and the sony version it is detail and in the Gaumont it looks blurry.