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post #1 of 60 Old 09-15-2008, 01:42 PM - Thread Starter
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attachment.php?attachmentid=117267&d=1219173339
The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109943&d=1210373647

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109944&d=1210373692

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

91






Studio and Year: Warner Bros. - 2008
MPAA Rating: PG
Feature running time: 135 Minutes
Genre: Action Adventure/Family

Disc Format: BD-25
Encoding: VC-1
Video Aspect: 2.4:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): English/French/Spanish/Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish, Portuguese
Starring: Emile Hirsch, Christina Ricci, John Goodman, Susan Sarandon, Matthew Fox
Written & Directed by: Wachowski Brothers
Music by:Michael Giacchino
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: September 23, 2008







"Go Speed Racer ..!"



Film Synopsis:

Start your engines and fasten your seatbelts for the high-octane adventure Speed Racer, combining heartfelt family humor and groundbreaking visual effects. Speed Racer (Emile Hirsch) is a natural behind the wheel of his thunderous Mach 5. With support from Pops and Mom Racer (John Goodman and Susan Sarandon), girlfriend Trixie (Christina Ricci), younger brother Spritle (Paulie Litt) and the mysterious Racer X (Matthew Fox), Speed takes on fierce competitors to save his familys business and protect the sport he loves. When Speed steps onto the track, it’s not just a race. It’s an adrenaline-fueled, high-speed charge to the finish. Go, Speed Racer, go!!




My Take:

I remember watching Speed Racer when I was little although I don’t remember much about the storylines. I do remember that Racer X was possibly his brother and the Mach 5 was THE coolest car. When this was released I saw the trailer and thought that I would check it out when it came to home video. I loved cartoons as a child and I think that I still do. Watching Speed Racer was an interesting experience. To me it was unlike anything else that I have seen. There have been plenty of real life characters made into cartoons/animated but we rarely get to see cartoon characters brought to life. This not only brought the characters to life but the freedom that animation has to create improbable situations/events. I thought that the lengths gone to by the Wachkowski Brothers to try and faithfully replicate the feel of the show was commendable. The story was simple yet there were aspects of it that would probably go over the heads of younger viewers. This of course is not a prerequisite to enjoyment of the movie because even if young audience members weren’t clear on what was happening they could enjoy the incredible special effects. My feeling is that Speer Racer is a film that is intended for both young and adult audiences. I think it leans more toward adults who were fans of the show who can appreciate its nostalgic expression. I think that at times it came across as somewhat outmoded and perhaps a little corny. I also think that this is where its charm lies. John Goodman was the perfect selection to play Pops. This is the second time he has portrayed a cartoon character brought to life (he played Fred Flintstone also). His larger than life persona and physical size make him a great fit. Susan Sarandon was fine as Mom Racer but I didn’t see where she brought anything special to the role. Hirsch, Ricci, and Fox appeared to try and embody the essence of Speed, Racer X and Trixie and I thought it was refreshing. I tried to take Speed Racer at face value rather than looking for it to be more than it is.





Parental Guide:

The rating is for sequences of action, some violence, language and brief smoking. This should be no problem for mature young 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: 82



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

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

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

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

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



Video: 100


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


  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

Speed Racer comes to Blu-ray Disc from Warner featuring 1080p VC-1 encoded video that has an average bitrate of 22 mbps and 640 kbps lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 channel audio.

This is a stylized video presentation that boasts a broad color palette that features beautifully lush pastels and vibrant hues that are vivid, bold and look incredible in high definition. The video has a wide dynamic range with deep, inky blacks and excellent shadow detail. The video had a consistently razor sharp quality that left images looking pristinely resolved with flawless rendering of fine detail. Other than John Goodman and Susan Sarandon, flesh tones had lifelike tonality with variable complexional characteristics among the varying skin types. There was an effect applied to Goodman and Sarandon to make them appear younger that gave their faces a waxy/smooth texture that was distracting. Later in the film as their characters aged it became less obvious but they still looked a bit odd. This is a reference quality video presentation that exhibits sparkling clarity, abundantly rich colors, and crisp three dimensional imagery that is breath taking.

Warner’s decision to use lossy Dolby Digital sound rather than higher resolution lossless audio has everyone scratching their heads. A new release film like Speed Racer is tailor made for it which left many feeling let down. I wouldn’t condemn the audio quality so quickly. After listening to the soundtrack I definitely missed the higher fidelity inherent with the better lossless audio encodings. Having said that I thought this was a decent and well balanced audio presentation that featured good dynamic impact and clarity. Dialogue and sound effects were clearly rendered through the front three channels. The mix was fairly aggressive during the various racing sequences as it utilized the entire system platform. The soundstage was open sounding with excellent atmospheric presence. The controlled feel of the race track versus the open aired cross country challenge was notable and sounded great as the sounds of colliding cars, helicopters, and explosions roared through the room. Low frequency effects delivered bass with good solidity, weight and demonstrative tactile presence.



Bonus Features:



The bonus supplements are more on the fun side and contain some features that young viewers should find appealing. The visual effects piece is quite interesting and is the best of the bunch. The included game feature comes on a separate DVD disc and is straight forward and easy to play. I was happy to see that Warner included a bonus disc Digital Copy version of the film for those who like to take their movies on the go.




  • Speed Racer: Car Fu Cinema – A look at the visual/special effects used in the movie

  • Spritle in the Big Leagues – Hosted by Paulie Litt as he tours the set and looks behind the scenes of Speed Racer

  • Speed Racer: Supercharged – A short fictional feature on the cars and drivers of the World Racing League

  • Speed Racer Crucible Challenge – DVD game

  • Digital Copy: Bonus Disc – Provides a standard definition version of the film that can be downloaded to a portable playback device from a compatible PC




Final Thoughts:

I thought that Speed Racer was a fun movie that had a nostalgic appeal (for me) as it brought these characters from a bygone era cartoon show to life. If kept in the proper perspective it can be enjoyable. Warner has brought it to Blu-ray Disc for a day and date release along with DVD. It features superlative video quality that enhances the experience with visually stunning high definition video. I would have preferred a lossless audio mix that might have been a better match with the video however I wasn’t disappointed with audio quality. The additional Blu-ray only bonus features are icing on the cake. I would recommend checking this out via rental before a purchase. Either way I expect you will be quite pleased with its technical qualities.







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post #2 of 60 Old 09-15-2008, 02:32 PM
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Wow....no lossless!!?? In this day and age??! There might be a shortage of BD50's so Warner had to use BD25's and compromise the audio....who knows...

It's at the very least good to see Warner making high bitrate VC-1 encodes and not starving them!
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post #3 of 60 Old 09-15-2008, 02:39 PM
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Quote:
Digital Copy: Bonus Disc – Provides a standard definition version of the film that can be downloaded to a portable playback device from a PC or MAC

Ralph,

Warner (and New Line) digital copies do not work with Mac (iTunes) and/or any iPod / iPhone. They are WMV compatible only.
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post #4 of 60 Old 09-15-2008, 02:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Super-VHS View Post

Ralph,

Warner (and New Line) digital copies do not work with Mac (iTunes) and/or any iPod / iPhone. They are WMV compatible only.

Greetings,

Got it. Thanks !

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post #5 of 60 Old 09-15-2008, 03:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Super-VHS View Post

Ralph,

Warner (and New Line) digital copies do not work with Mac (iTunes) and/or any iPod / iPhone. They are WMV compatible only.

Damn it. Now I hate digital copy the same as the rest of you. What else am I going to use my iPhone for?
Quote:
There was an effect applied to Goodman and Sarandon to make them appear younger

That's what it was. So the screenshots I saw were just poor choices. Thanks for the review Ralph. The mix wasn't all that impressive in theaters, except for the truck really, oh and the awesome score. But lossless would have been nice.

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

Studio quality tier
Most Major studios>Small Studios>dogs>cats>Warner(the guys that do new movies)
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post #6 of 60 Old 09-15-2008, 11:02 PM
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Does this movie have a candy coated look to it? I can't remember where I read, but I think this was the movie that had that sort of stylized look to it.
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post #7 of 60 Old 09-15-2008, 11:02 PM
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They should be ashamed of themselves!
I will not be watching this, I will wait until they Pull their heads out of their asses and rerelease this with a lossless audio track...
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post #8 of 60 Old 09-15-2008, 11:14 PM
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definately have to check this out, I was big fan of the Speed Racer anime's when I was a kid. 100 for video WOW, can't get any better than that, Ralph is that your first 100 for video? It is a shame that Warner has not included a lossless option. Looks like a future double dip.
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post #9 of 60 Old 09-16-2008, 01:46 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nismo604 View Post

Ralph is that your first 100 for video?

Greetings,

Yes it is...


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post #10 of 60 Old 09-16-2008, 01:49 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DJ Matt View Post

Does this movie have a candy coated look to it? I can't remember where I read, but I think this was the movie that had that sort of stylized look to it.

Greetings,

It uses lots of retro style colors Matt. I am not positive what you mean by "a candy coated look" though..

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post #11 of 60 Old 09-16-2008, 08:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr_Kn0w View Post

Wow....no lossless!!?? In this day and age??! There might be a shortage of BD50's so Warner had to use BD25's and compromise the audio....who knows...

It's at the very least good to see Warner making high bitrate VC-1 encodes and not starving them!

Yes, no lossless track!!...... This movie I believe, did not do so well at the box office, so I think Warner will try and make up for that loss at the theatre, by re-releasing it in a couple of months with a lossless track.

Can you say double dip!! NOT !!

This thing is probably a BD rental at best!

Paul
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post #12 of 60 Old 09-16-2008, 09:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hidefpaul View Post

Yes, no lossless track!!...... This movie I believe, did not do so well at the box office, so I think Warner will try and make up for that loss at the theatre, by re-releasing it in a couple of months with a lossless track.

Can you say double dip!! NOT !!

This thing is probably a BD rental at best!

Paul

I'm starting to think the Wachowski Bros were one-hit wonders....they had so much potential....
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post #13 of 60 Old 09-16-2008, 12:46 PM
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On the movie itself, I liked it. As much as I was a HUGE fan of Speed Racer anime (or 'Japanamation' as a lot of us kids called it)when I was growing up, I think this movie does a good job of things. Hearing all sorts of reviews via word-of-mouth, I was reluctant to go to the theater, but my boys (6 & 10) convinced me to take them. I was glad I did since it was definitely big-screen, "eye-candy" material and I'm looking forward to seeing this on blu-ray.

Yes, I know and understand that many of you are dumbfounded by the lack of HD audio, but it's not everyday that Ralph is going to rate the video at 100. Actually it's the first time. Watching it in the theater, I just knew it would look good at home in HD.

So, what to make of the audio? Honestly, that's why I read Ralph's review. The way people were talking about how terrible the Dolby 5.1 would be, I thought for sure we'd see it rated around 70. To my pleasant surprise, Ralph gave it an 82 - which is not only good, but borders on excellent. It may not be reference-quality like the video, but the sky isn't falling either.

Can't wait to pick it up in the next few days (and my boys won't let me forget it either).
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post #14 of 60 Old 09-16-2008, 01:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph Potts View Post

Greetings,

It uses lots of retro style colors Matt. I am not positive what you mean by "a candy coated look" though..

Cheers,

Thanks. I think thats what I meant. In other words, very colorful and glossy look to it.
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post #15 of 60 Old 09-16-2008, 02:21 PM
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I agree with Ralph's assessment of the disc. The video is the best that Warner has ever done...it is flawless. The audio on the other hand.....

Great job Ralph.

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post #16 of 60 Old 09-16-2008, 02:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DJ Matt View Post

Thanks. I think thats what I meant. In other words, very colorful and glossy look to it.

Greetings,

Yep, I would say that covers it Matt.


Quote:


I agree with Ralph's assessment of the disc. The video is the best that Warner has ever done...it is flawless. The audio on the other hand.....

Great job Ralph.

Thanks old buddy.

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post #17 of 60 Old 09-16-2008, 05:27 PM
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Add another one to the loved it category. Of course, this comes from someone who owns no less than a dozen models and die cast Mach V's. I got my copy this morning and just wrapped up watching it. I didn't get a chance to see it at the theaters, so this was my first viewing. There were some slow points, but overall a fun movie. It deserved better than it got at the box office.

The look of the movie was a little too video gamish for my taste, but the feel was definitely Speed Racer. I love that they kept the characters pretty much in tact. Spritle and Chim-chim were classic Speed. I'm surprised that Susan Sarandan would take a roll where she played a Mom who stayed in the kitchen and made sandwiches for the boys while they were playing in the garage. Pops and Sparky were cast perfectly. The cars brought back a lot of memories, particularly in the rally race where they mostly looked like the cars from the sixties. The Mach V and Racer X's Shooting Star were just perfect.

As far as I'm concerned, the number one thing they did right was make liberal use of the sixties television series theme music and sound effects. Nothing stirs up memories or elicits emotion like music and sound. That was a major failing of Transformers in my book.

All of this science is hurting my brain!
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post #18 of 60 Old 09-16-2008, 06:04 PM
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I smell a double dip later with pcm,dtshd, or dolbytruehd
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post #19 of 60 Old 09-16-2008, 08:05 PM
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Great Review Ralph!

Today I received my copy from Amazon but will not be watching it until the weekend once that I get and installed the B&K 200.7 S2......
Now I can't wait to watch it....

Cheers,

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post #20 of 60 Old 09-16-2008, 09:33 PM
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I just bought this disc and when at the store still considering the purchase seeing DD 5.1 made me not want to buy it. Of course I caved because i grew up on Speed Racer. I watched the first 2 chapters and to my ears the sound was very...clean and tight. Of course, paying $32 us for a movie like this it should have DTS master audio 7.1. I am wondering because this movie didn't make that much at the box office if that is the reason for the lack of HD audio, because IMO, every new release should have it regardless if it makes a difference or not considering that 1- its there and 2- the cost of the disc. I am thinking it was budget concerns.

I also agree that maybe the Wachowski brothers were 1 hit wonders...that 1 hit being the first "Matrix" movie.

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post #21 of 60 Old 09-16-2008, 10:02 PM
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Just finished watching it. WOW was I amazed my little PJ never looked better, candy coated or not this is my new BR for showing my system. The sound was good but I did notice it was only DD, but I was the only one who probably noticed. The family loved it and I kept getting compliments how good it looked.
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post #22 of 60 Old 09-17-2008, 12:26 AM
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Amazing picture quality. Can't stop thinking about it.
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post #23 of 60 Old 09-17-2008, 06:03 AM
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I don't think I have ever heard 640kbps Dolby Digital 5.1. Used to 384kbps Cable or 448kbps DVD. How it stacks up against DD+, TrueHD and DTS:MA....Can't wait for this to come in from Netflix now on Blu-Ray.
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post #24 of 60 Old 09-17-2008, 04:52 PM
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I rented the DVD yesterday. It looks great in that format as well. I loved the cartoon when I was a kid and the movie was great fun. Did anyone else think it was over about 3/4 of the way through? My least favorite color is purple and there was certainly a lot of it in that movie.
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post #25 of 60 Old 09-17-2008, 04:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NotSoCoolJ View Post

My least favorite color is purple and there was certainly a lot of it in that movie.

I take it you aren't a Prince fan?

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post #26 of 60 Old 09-18-2008, 11:52 AM
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Caught this one on Blu-Ray the other night. Lordy, it sure is an eye-popping movie. The sound is not all that impressive but the visuals are amazing. Of course, the movie itself was absolutely stupid, but then I never got the charm of the original series.

It sure seems like they are making more and more films that are stunning to look at and yet are fundamentally bad movies. I guess every time there's a major technological breakthrough in film, they go through a period where they throw story, dialog and character out the window and just push the new technology. I mean, the first movies were of things like people walking or trains coming into a station. Eventually, they started telling stories and actually got pretty good at it. Then sound came in and there were a batch of awful "talkies" before they started learning how to incorporate sound as more than just a novelty. Then came color films and a lot of them were all flash and no substance. Now with truly amazing digital film-making and CGI getting to be incredibly powerful, we're getting some horrible films that do visually impossible and stunning things. Hopefully, we'll get over this before too long and we'll see some real artists make great films that happen to use these techniques. Until then, we'll have awesome-looking drek like "Speed Racer".
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post #27 of 60 Old 09-18-2008, 01:31 PM
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Ironman, Spiderman, Hulk, Batman, Transformers...they're all stupid, too.

So relax and don't spoil it for the rest of the world.
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post #28 of 60 Old 09-18-2008, 01:41 PM
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Originally Posted by JerryElbow View Post

I guess every time there's a major technological breakthrough in film.

There were no major technological leaps for Speed Racer. (Same goes for '300') It was all about fundamental decisions in handling the production design.
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post #29 of 60 Old 09-19-2008, 12:58 AM
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I just rented speed racer, and to put it short, in my opinion the audio sucks. If you have a reciever capable of playing hd audio you will probably very surprised at the sound quality. The picture is great, while the sound seems like I bought it from a bootlegger at the flea market. I guess I am spoiled with my yamaha 663 and klipsch speakers. My .02$ is that they ruined the awsome home theater experience I have been getting lately with movies like kill bill. It may sound o.k. with a home theater in the box, and it is a movie aimed at kids, but if you have a decent home theater you will be dissapointed. The ball was dropped on this one.
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post #30 of 60 Old 09-19-2008, 01:05 AM
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Originally Posted by jeffreynmandy View Post

I just rented speed racer, and to put it short, in my opinion the audio sucks. If you have a reciever capable of playing hd audio you will probably very surprised at the sound quality. The picture is great, while the sound seems like I bought it from a bootlegger at the flea market. I guess I am spoiled with my yamaha 663 and klipsch speakers. My .02$ is that they ruined the awsome home theater experience I have been getting lately with movies like kill bill. It may sound o.k. with a home theater in the box, and it is a movie aimed at kids, but if you have a decent home theater you will be dissapointed. The ball was dropped on this one.

Agreed. I would like to have been in the room when that brilliant prick, whoever it was, decided to go DolbyDigital instead of HD.
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