Signs (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 23 Old 05-24-2008, 01:55 PM - Thread Starter
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attachment.php?attachmentid=110458&d=1210878855
The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

90






Studio and Year: Touchstone/Disney - 2002
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 106 Minutes
Genre: Thriller/Sci-fi

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: MPEG-4 (AVC)
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): English 5.1 uncompressed PCM, English/French Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby 2.0
Subtitles:English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Mel Gibson, Joaquin Phoenix, Abigail Breslin, Rory Culkin
Directed by: M. Night Shyamalan
Music by: James Newton Howard
Written by: M. Night Shyamalan
Region Code: A,B,C

Blu-ray Disc release Date: June 3, 2008







"It’s Happening….."



Film Synopsis:



SIGNS is the gripping story of an ordinary family as they encounter the possibility that Earth is being invaded by creatures from another planet. When Graham Hess (Mel Gibson) and his family awaken to find a 500-foot crop circle in their backyard they're told extraterrestrials are responsible. As they watch with growing dread news reports tell of similar "signs" suddenly appearing all over the world!



My Take:

After the Sixth Sense M. Night Shymalan films will always get credit with me. What that means is that I will give them the benefit of the doubt until given reason to feel otherwise. There have been two of his films that I didn’t really connect with (I won’t say which) but Signs was not one of them. Conceptually this is nothing new here, but the performances by the cast, the smart direction, and the suspenseful elements preset all played out with excellent precision in the film’s 106 minutes. I just love Abigail Breslin and as I recall this is the first film that I saw her in. I know that I have said it before but she is such a scene stealer. “There’s a monster outside my window, can I have a glass of water”? I love the slow camera pans and the clever “slight of hand” that is used to provide the audience with glimpses of the aliens which helps build the suspense. Graham (Gibson) is a man of the cloth who loses his faith after his beloved wife is struck by truck while on an evening walk. He arrives at the scene in time to speak with her before she passes away. Her last words to him seem almost prophetic but he is not quite sure what to make of them. During the course of events that transpire after the aliens arrival he learns to forgive the man responsible for his wife’s death, and finds that his wife’s last words to him hold the answers to not only resurrecting his faith but saving the life of his son and salvaging his relationship with his children.

Yeah, I know it sounds a lot deeper than one might think but the story does contain all of those things and perhaps a bit more. I consider it to be a wonderfully entertaining film.




Parental Guide:

The PG-13 rating is for some frightening moments. I would not recommend this one for younger viewers.






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.**


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

Audio: 92



  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699



Video: 88


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


  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

Signs comes to Blu-ray Disc featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 22 mbps and lossless uncompressed 5.1 channel PCM audio that has a constant bitrate of 4.6 mbps.

I remember that the lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 channel sound on the DVD was considered quite at the time. Well the 5.1 channel lossless PCM track here turns it up a notch and is of reference quality. Signs is not an action based film that has those types of explosive elements. What it does do is get the elements present within this mix right and it does so with startling precision. Dialogue sounds full bodied, airy, and tonally divergent. This mix uses the front and rear soundstages to create and immersive and engaging aural experience. Ambient and discrete sounds can be heard emanating from multiple locations within the room to create the feeling of running through a tall cornfield, sounds coming from the attic above, crickets chirping, dogs barking 100 yards away and more. The subwoofer is used to excellent effect to support bass frequencies that play perfectly with what is occurring onscreen. Some tracks mix the subwoofer channel too hot which tends to over shadow bass in the upper registers. This mix sounded very cohesive and seemed to contain a perfect balance in this regard. James Newton Howard’s score sounded amazing. The superb imaging, crystal clarity and extended dynamic presence contained in this soundtrack brought it to life with definitive appeal.


The video presentation was quite good although not on par with the audio. This is not a film that lends itself to overly vibrant images. There are a few daytime sequences that are awash with sunlight which can bring out the definable definition present (if any) within the scene. Even in those cases there were lots of shadowy areas. That is not necessarily bad news. What this presentation had going for it was that detail in low light and shadows looked sumptuous. Fine detail appeared fully resolved n most cases. Every crack, wrinkle and pore was detectable on Mel Gibson’s face. The dark sequence shot within the basement as the aliens attempted to gain entry looked stunning. As the flashlights illuminated the faces and forms of the cast they appeared three dimensional with clearly defined lines and sharp focus. The scene where Merrill and Graham are sitting on the couch (as the kids sleep in their arms) watching TV in the darkened room, there are small beads of sweat that are visible on the upper lips of both of them. I have watched this film several times and never noticed that before.

The color palette is somewhat reserved and avoids overly saturated hues. The colors used in the film are warm and pleasing while maintaining natural tonality. Fleshtone reproduction is as good as I have seen and looked superb. Black and white levels were good enough that I never felt that image quality lacked dynamic potential in either dark or light quality. What kept this from being a reference quality presentation was that there were times when image focus went from sharp to slightly out of focus. At least that is how it seemed to my eyes. This was random and sometimes occurred within the same shot. I did not see this as being attributable to the encoding but felt that I should mention it. Overall I was pleased with what I saw.




Bonus Features:



Disney has opted to port over the bonus features from the Vista Series DVD release which should please fans. They are offered in standard definition but are presented in their entirety.



The Making of Signs:

  • Looking for Signs - Commentary by M. Night Shyamalan on conceiving the idea and writing the script

  • Building Signs - featurette on creating the storyboard for the film and building the sets

  • Making Signs - Commentary by M. Night Shyamalan on filming the main sequences used in the film

  • The Effects of Signs - featurette on the physical and visual effects used in the film

  • Last voices - Commentary by James Newton Howard on creation of the musical elements of the film

  • Full circle - Commentary by M. Night Shyamalan explaining the steps taken to ensure the film reaches its audience

  • 4 Additional Scenes

  • 3 Storyboards: Multi-angle features

  • Night’s first Alien Movie




Final Thoughts:



Signs is one of my favorite M. Night Shyamalan films. I am delighted that Disney/Touchstone has brought it to Blu-ray Disc. Disney has done a wonderful job in support of the format by consistently supplying viewers with top notch video and high resolution audio on their new release titles as well as their catalog release titles. This one is no different as it offers reference quality audio performance and video quality that isn’t far behind. Fans of the film who have been waiting should get their orders in now. Recommended.







attachment.php?attachmentid=109949&d=1210373731






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post #2 of 23 Old 05-24-2008, 05:41 PM
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Thanks, Ralph. I was hoping for decent audio on this one and apparently Disney delivered.

Blu Ray... 3-D TV... 4K... I Like New STUFF!!!

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post #3 of 23 Old 05-24-2008, 07:32 PM
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Thanks for a fine review of my favorite M. Night Shyamalan film, Ralph.

My rating for "Signs" - 10/10

My own quick review of "Signs":
This M. Night Shyamalan effort centers on the Hess family, who's lives are shaken by an alien invasion. The best thing about "Signs" is the dialog between Graham and Merrill Hess, played by Mel Gibson and Joaquin Phoenix. The lessons each of them have learned about life and how an alien invasion brings out these emotions and their opinions is well done. "Signs" manages to be funny and quite frightening, as well. There is some truly scary imagery; both on the Hess farm and on TV news reports. The biggest knock on this movie is the problem viewers have with how the aliens are fought. Many viewers leap to the conclusion that because the aliens have invaded Earth, they must be so technologically advanced that they couldn't have made a miscalculation. This sounds like spin, but I actually enjoy the movie immensely for the idea that the aliens have gotten in over their heads. And what if the aliens gathered up humans for consumption and not to conquer the earth? Perhaps they were quickly harvesting people for food and sent down workers to gather them up. Maybe they knew they had a very limited time to loot the earth. They got what they needed, knowing they would suffer casualties and then left. The key here is that we know nothing about the aliens, so why do we need to jump to the conclusion that their goal was to take over the earth? Regardless, the movie is about destiny and faith and the alien invasion is a tool used to present them.
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post #4 of 23 Old 05-24-2008, 08:40 PM
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Hi Ralph,

Is the PCM track 4.6 Mbps or 6.9 Mbps ?

If it's NOT 6.9 Mbps BVHE should hang themselves for repeated false advertising.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3052/...f8eb8647_o.jpg
http://www.blu-ray.com/movies/movies.php?id=774

Blu-ray : 340
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post #5 of 23 Old 05-24-2008, 09:35 PM
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The review says "Signs comes to Blu-ray Disc featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 22 mbps and lossless uncompressed 5.1 channel PCM audio that has a constant bitrate of 4.6 mbps."

Does it match the box........../suspense.

Nice to know Signs looks good. I consider it to be the last M. Night film. Who really want's to see a movie about killer plants? And no the plants don't move around and eat people - that would actually be entertaining. It's definitely Not Happening, worst trailer ever.

Ridiculous codec tier sig gone. Still AVC/24bit lossless fanboy.

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Most Major studios>Small Studios>dogs>cats>Warner(the guys that do new movies)
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post #6 of 23 Old 05-25-2008, 04:17 AM
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I was hoping to see a review of this here before I took the plunge. For films I like, I hope for better PQ AND AQ versus SD DVD. Extras I don't really care about. I'm reading here and some other resources that this is a winner for my criteria and will purchase ASAP.

I have a feeling though many will be mixed about the PQ a la Master and Commander. Some things in this review may turn people off, especially those looking for pop or vibrant colors and the image not being in focus at times.

Thanks for getting to this one, Ralph. Guess my hoping paid off.
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post #7 of 23 Old 05-25-2008, 06:32 AM - Thread Starter
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Greetings,

No worries Robert. There was much to like about this one...


Regards,

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post #8 of 23 Old 05-25-2008, 09:40 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lgans316 View Post

Hi Ralph,

Awaiting reply on this one.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...6#post13941116


Greetings,

It is stated in the review as 4.6 mbps...


Cheers,

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post #9 of 23 Old 05-25-2008, 03:10 PM
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If Signs in BR is a notch better than its original DVD, then I can't wait to hear The Village which I thought was the best in terms of both PQ and SQ (sound quality by a far margin as it was definitely reference DD 5.1) of all his films on DVD.

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post #10 of 23 Old 05-25-2008, 07:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph Potts View Post

Greetings,

It is stated in the review as 4.6 mbps...


Cheers,

Thanks Ralph. A shame on BVHE for repeatedly making this mistake.

Blu-ray : 340
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post #11 of 23 Old 05-26-2008, 12:54 PM
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Ralph (or anyone else with the disc for that matter).

can you please check if it has portuguese subs? (Buena Vista has been adding un-advertised subs on almost all their discs).

Actually, it would be a good thing Ralph, if you could check the dub and subtitle languages on the disc. As mislabelings have been pretty commom. Just to give some examples, recent BV titles like The Chronicles Of Narnia, National Treasure: Book Of Secrets, Unbreakable, Shall We Dance, The Rookie, Hidaldo, all have pt subs (alongside others), though only english, spanish and french are reported on the cover.

It makes a lot of difference for us, overseas enthusiasts.

It will be much appreciated, thanks.
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post #12 of 23 Old 05-26-2008, 02:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexBC View Post

Ralph (or anyone else with the disc for that matter).

can you please check if it has portuguese subs? (Buena Vista has been adding un-advertised subs on almost all their discs).

Actually, it would be a good thing Ralph, if you could actaually check the dub and subtitle languages on the disc. As mislabelings have been pretty commom. Just to give some examples, recent BV titles like The Chronicles Of Narnia, National Treasure: Book Of Secrets, Unbreakable, Shall We Dance, The Rookie, Hidaldo, all have pt subs (alongside others), though only english, spanish and french are reported on the cover.

It makes a lot of difference for us, overseas enthusiasts.

It will be much appreciated, thanks.

Greetings,

Alex, the only additional subtitles and language tracks are Asian. The writing is in Asian so I cant say for sure which it is. Definitely no Portuguese language or subtitle tracks though. Sorry.

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post #13 of 23 Old 05-26-2008, 07:37 PM
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Thanks Ralph,

I really appreciate your continous effort to providing in depth reviews and info the discs
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post #14 of 23 Old 05-27-2008, 07:10 AM
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Preordered it today! Thanks again and I'm really looking forward to viewing this BD and will I'll let you folks know what I think ASAP. I figure I'll never watch the SD DVD again!
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post #15 of 23 Old 05-28-2008, 12:53 PM
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I've read of one report that there is some EE in the title - Ralph, did you notice any?

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post #16 of 23 Old 05-29-2008, 09:36 AM
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Thanks for the review. I have to say that I'm in the minority here in that the is my least favourite Shyamalan movie. I completely lost interest at the sceen where the "sasquach" looking alien is walking down the street in the news footage. The only thing missing was the case of Kokanee beer!

Again, I mean no disrespect. I just can't say this was my favourite film.

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post #17 of 23 Old 05-29-2008, 10:19 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay0001 View Post

Thanks for the review. I have to say that I'm in the minority here in that the is my least favourite Shyamalan movie. I completely lost interest at the sceen where the "sasquach" looking alien is walking down the street in the news footage. The only thing missing was the case of Kokanee beer!

Again, I mean no disrespect. I just can't say this was my favourite film.

Cheers,
Jay

Greetings,

No offense taken Jay. Difference of opinion is what makes great discussion.

Quote:


I've read of one report that there is some EE in the title - Ralph, did you notice any?

David, I didn't notice any but I will follow up when I get the chance.


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post #18 of 23 Old 05-31-2008, 05:44 AM
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[quote=Ralph Potts;13942430]Greetings,

No worries Robert. There was much to like about this one...


And how! I wasn't really going to watch this last night because I wanted to view the basketball game but I'd figured to take a quick look see. Well I was so engrossed in watching this that my original plan got changed.

One can nitpick a bit with the dark scenes both indoors and outside at nighttime but really that was handled quite well fortunately, even in the basement. The daytime scenes were excellent IMHO and perhaps deserving of a higher scoring.

Easily beats the SD DVD which I'll never go back to, not even to compare. I already know that outcome!

The sound kicks in when the time comes though I feel most will take more notice of the PQ. All and all, I very nice BD addition to my collection. I look forward to viewing this much more than I ever did with the SD DVD.
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post #19 of 23 Old 06-02-2008, 12:46 PM
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Ralph, another fine review. This is my favorite Shyamalan movie and I believe I'll buy the BRD to replace my DVD.

To me, this movie had 2 plot holes:
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Spoiler  
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
1) How is it that beings have mastered interstellar space travel but can't seem to get themselves out of a pantry/cupboard?

2) If you know an invasion is coming, why would it not occur to you to either force your family to leave the house (you are the dad, after all) or at least stock up on weapons? I realize this would've eliminated the whole dramatic "swing-away, Merrill" bit but it still seems odd.


In all, still a very well done movie. I think the thing I like the most about it is that the aliens are not really what the movie is about. They're just a vehicle to navigate Graham back from his lost faith.
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post #20 of 23 Old 06-20-2008, 10:49 AM
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Anybody notice any banding issues in the opening credits sequence? I would be content to chalk that up to "being in the master" or just a fundamental weakness of lossy video, rather than any bitrate issue (which were appreciably generous throughout the movie, right down to the closing credits). I'm just curious if it stood out to anyone else. I imagine this kind of scene is just plainly a real PIA to encode w/o banding artifacts (despite its inherent simplicity).

The intro movie trailers where also impressive in that they were truly high-bitrate mpeg2 encodes (stuff you just don't see done on even main features for any given mpeg2 movie title).

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post #21 of 23 Old 06-20-2008, 09:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Hanky View Post

Anybody notice any banding issues in the opening credits sequence? I would be content to chalk that up to "being in the master" or just a fundamental weakness of lossy video, rather than any bitrate issue (which were appreciably generous throughout the movie, right down to the closing credits). I'm just curious if it stood out to anyone else. I imagine this kind of scene is just plainly a real PIA to encode w/o banding artifacts (despite its inherent simplicity).

I know exactly what you're talking about and it was one of the 1st things I looked for when I got the blu-ray. The reason I was specifically looking for it is because the DVD has horrible banding during the opening credits. The blu-ray is significantly better in that regard.
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post #22 of 23 Old 06-21-2008, 04:10 PM
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thanks for everyones input,i''m really lookig forward to getting my own copy soon.
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post #23 of 23 Old 06-22-2008, 01:17 AM
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The thing that gets me the most out of this movie is the idea that a lot of these scenes were shot in the days/weeks/months literally right after the 9/11 event. So I look at the expressions of gloom on their faces and wonder if it is just great acting or is there just a little hint of "9/11" in there forever engraved into the performance.

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