AVS Special Member
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: West Central Minnesota
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Once again Sony doesn't disappoint, giving us yet another DETAILED and SHARP Blu-ray release. All outdoor, daytime scenes, as well as interior scenes with good lighting, are demo-worthy, and in some cases reference quality. Every close-up was pure EYE CANDY, with spectacular texture in faces, intricate details in clothing and armor, and mesmerizing details in many of the aerial views of Pompeii and the surrounding countryside. Depth was also a highlight in many shots. Black levels were excellent in a majority of nighttime scenes (with the exception of the last half hour once Mt. Vesuvius starts exploding). Primary colors, though limited, were bold and vivid. Flesh tones were normally spot-on, but a good deal of color-grading with orange hues did wreak havoc at times.
My biggest gripe, by far, would be with the heavy CGI scenes during the last half hour. Black levels suffered occasionally...softness reared it ugly head in numerous shots...and depth and details all but disappeared during really fast action shots.
As you can imagine, this is a hard one to call with such pristine resolution during most of the first hour. If I could rate the Blu based solely on that part, it may have warranted a low Tier 0 placement, but when trying to average things out I'm forced to drop this at least a whole tier. So, to be fair, and consistent with the criteria set forth for this thread, I'm going with the following....
Tier Recommendation: 1.75*
Viewed from 7.5' using the equipment listed below....
Pioneer Kuro Elite PRO-151FD....Pioneer Elite BDP-05....Onkyo TX-NR717
Cambridge Soundworks MC305 Fronts & Center...Cambridge Soundworks Ambiance Surrounds....SVS PC12-NSD