The Messenger: The Story Of Joan of Arc (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review - AVS Forum
Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
post #1 of 4 Old 11-20-2008, 09:33 AM - Thread Starter
Blu-ray Reviewer
 
Ralph Potts's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Middletown NY
Posts: 9,180
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 114 Post(s)
Liked: 521
attachment.php?attachmentid=124735&d=1227121515
The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

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

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109939&d=1210373637

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

87






Studio and Year: Sony Pictures - 1999
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Feature running time: 158 Minutes
Genre: Drama/Action/Adventure

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): English/French/Portuguese Dolby TrueHD 5.1, Spanish/Thai Dolby Digital
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, French, Korean, Thai, Chinese, Indonesian
Starring: Milla Jovovich, John Malkovich, Faye Dunaway, Dustin Hoffmann, Vincent Cassel
Directed by: Luc Besson
Music by: Eric Serra
Written by: Andrew Birkin & Luc Besson
Region Code: A,B,C

Blu-ray Disc release Date: December 2, 2008







"Another take on an epic story"



Film Synopsis:

The year is 1429. France is in political and religious turmoil as members of the royal family battle for rule. But one peasant girl from a remote village gave her country the miracle it was looking for. Milla Jovovich (The Fifth Element, Dazed and Confused) is Joan of Arc, a young woman who would inspire and lead her countrymen until her execution at the age of nineteen. Raised in a religious family, Joan witnessed her sister's rape and death at the hands of an invading army. Years later, as the same war raged on, Joan stood before her king with a message she claimed came from God: give her an army, and in God's name she would reclaim his diminished kingdom. But was the message real, or the delusion of a girl whose life had been shattered? This startling epic drama by Luc Besson (The Fifth Element) explores the life of Joan of Arc, her amazing victories, relationship with God, and tragic death. Co-starring John Malkovich and Academy Award(r) winners Dustin Hoffman and Faye Dunaway, THE MESSENGER is a modern take on a medieval saint who enthralls people even today.





My Take:

Since childhood I have always been fascinated by the story of St. Joan of Arc. There have been numerous films about her life and I have only seen a couple. Milla Jovovich isn't what you might call a seasoned actress, especially when she made this film, but she has the ability to be captivating onscreen. Her performance in the title role in this movie was a bit overstated but good in my opinion. Besson makes good use of subliminal cinematic stimuli to draw the audience into the film. Her life and exploits are well documented. This film barely scratches the surface and may not be historically accurate but that is nothing new in the world of filmmaking. I wouldn't hold that against it as a creative work. I first saw this on DVD back in 2000 and have owned it since. Its story telling is epic in style with cinematic grandeur that is befitting. It boggles my mind that she was illegally executed in 1431 as a heretic, a charge which was appealed and overturned in 1456. It then took nearly 500 years for her to be beatified by the church and subsequently canonized. Regardless, her story is a remarkable one and certainly raises interesting theological discussion. As for this film it doesn't have a particularly strong script and the pacing can make it feel a little disjointed. Some of the dialogue and body language portrayed here doesn't feel appropriate for the time period which can make it feel less authentic. I do enjoy this telling though and while it isn't perfect it is entertaining nonetheless.






Parental Guide:

This film contains graphic war violence, language, and a rape scene. Not recommended 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: 90



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

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

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



Video: 84


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


  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

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

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

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

The Messenger: The story of Joan of Arc comes to Blu-ray Disc from Sony featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 30 mbps and lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 channel audio that has an average bitrate of 1.8 mbps.

The video quality was very reminiscent of the DVD release in its rendering of colors and reproduction of the grandiose cinematic visual style employed in the film. Colors were tamped down so that they were clearly focused but never looked lackluster. The period clothing made use of sepia tones and neutral colors that had excellent tonal variation and appreciable detail. When bold and lustrous colors appeared onscreen such as the vestments and robes worn by the wealthy and members of the tribunal, they looked well saturated and beautifully vivid. Flesh tones were consistent and rather bland in texture which seemed appropriate for the time period referenced in the story. Blacks weren't inky but had sufficient depth so that they didn't appear flat or washed out. Detail in the shadowy confines of the stone buildings/castles and later in Joan's cell was excellent. Long range shots had two dimensional qualities that didn't have the clearly definable perception of the best high definition video. Close ups faired much better with crisp resolution, and well articulated fine detail. Grain is present in fine layers and well preserved. The video appears to have been artificially sharpened as edge enhancement is noticeable during several sequences. This also highlights the grain structure making it a bit more prominent. Purists will find the edge enhancement bothersome but it's not excessive in my opinion. This video presentation certainly represents a significant upgrade over the standard definition version in every way.

This was an impressive soundtrack on DVD which is limited to a lossy audio encoding. This high resolution Dolby TrueHD soundtrack takes this audio presentation to the next level. This is a fairly aggressive and aurally engaging sound design that drives the story through use of beautifully orchestrated music and chorals as well as forceful dynamics and high level sonic detail. The mix generates an enriching surround experience which provides excellent spectral balance and 360 degree envelopment. LFE is strong and while it never achieves sub bass frequencies, it reaches into every corner of the room with authoritative depth. Dialogue is reproduced as well as I have heard it as it had superb clarity and excellent room penetration. I thought this mix sounded refined, exquisitely detailed, and had room filling dynamics that were impressive.



Bonus Features:


  • (HD)Preview: Sony Blu-ray Disc
attachment.php?attachmentid=124799&d=1227201868



Final Thoughts:

The Messenger: The story of Joan of Arc represents Director Luc Besson's vision of the life of St. Joan of Arc, a young French woman who is an iconic figure to many. Whether it is an accurate depiction of her life is debatable but that doesn't necessarily make it a bad film. The problem is that its script and style of storytelling can sometimes make it feel disjointed and less authentic. I acknowledge its shortcomings but still find it enjoyable to watch. Sony has brought it to high definition Blu-ray Disc featuring video quality that is easily the best that it has looked on home video and an enthralling lossless audio presentation that is sure to please discerning home theater enthusiasts. I was disappointed to see that there were no bonus features included which seems uncalled for in light of the amount of space present on this BD-50 dual layered Blu-ray disc. Fans of this film will have to take that into account when deciding where or not an upgrade is justified. I can say that the improvement in audio/video quality isn't a subtle one and would easily warrant another purchase.








attachment.php?attachmentid=109949&d=1210373731






Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews





Reference Review System:


JVC DLA-RS1x 1080p High Definition Front Projector
Carada Precision Brilliant White 96" Screen
Oppo 970HD universal disc DVD Player (480i HDMI)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Panasonic DMP-BD55K Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Marantz DV7001 Universal Disc Player
Denon AVR 5308CI THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 seven Channel amplifier
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator
Wireworld, VizionWare, Audioquest, Best Deal Cables - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package

Ralph C. Potts
Blu-ray Reviews
AVS Forum

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Ralph Potts is online now  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 4 Old 11-20-2008, 10:25 AM
AVS Special Member
 
shadowrage's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 3,780
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
I love Luc Besson. The 5th Element is actually my most favorite film, seriously I watch at least 3 times a year. (Don't judge me)

I've been wanting to see this forever. But never got around to buying it.
A 90 for the audio?

Ralph you give the most accurate audio scores of anyone, which leads me to believe you have a machine that does the calculations for you.

I have to get it now. Luckily I have a Fry's nearby so hopefully in a couple of weeks they'll have this for $12. They're pretty good about discounting Sony catalog titles.

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)
shadowrage is offline  
post #3 of 4 Old 11-20-2008, 10:51 AM - Thread Starter
Blu-ray Reviewer
 
Ralph Potts's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Middletown NY
Posts: 9,180
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 114 Post(s)
Liked: 521
Quote:
Originally Posted by shadowrage View Post

I love Luc Besson. The 5th Element is actually my most favorite film, seriously I watch at least 3 times a year. (Don't judge me)

I've been wanting to see this forever. But never got around to buying it.
A 90 for the audio?

Ralph you give the most accurate audio scores of anyone, which leads me to believe you have a machine that does the calculations for you.

I have to get it now. Luckily I have a Fry's nearby so hopefully in a couple of weeks they'll have this for $12. They're pretty good about discounting Sony catalog titles.

Greetings,

sr, I wouldn't judge you. I love The Fifth Element as well..

Nope, no magic machine to crunch numbers for me but I appreciate the comment. I am not always right but I try to be.

Regards,

Ralph C. Potts
Blu-ray Reviews
AVS Forum

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Ralph Potts is online now  
post #4 of 4 Old 11-20-2008, 01:00 PM
AVS Special Member
 
Tom Monahan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Butte, Montana Hometown of the late Evel Knievel
Posts: 2,733
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 11 Post(s)
Liked: 18
Can Sony release a catalog title that has no edge enhancement for a change This is getting VERY old!!!!!!!!

My equipment: JVC RS55 for 2D, BenQ W7000 for 3D, Carada 40x117 2.925:1 AR BW Criterion screen, Navatar .8 HD conversion lens, Darbee Darblet, region free Oppo BP93, Toshiba HD-A35 HD-DVD, JVC HD-DH5U D-Theater, Mitsubishi HS-HD 20000 DVHS, Pioneer CLD-97 LD player/AC-3 mod, B&K AC3 Demodulator
Tom Monahan is offline  
Reply Official AVS Blu-ray Disc Reviews

User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off