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post #1 of 15 Old 06-11-2009, 12:27 PM - Thread Starter
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The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

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

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

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

84






Studio and Year: HBO - 2008
MPAA Rating: TV-14
Feature running time: 501 Minutes
Genre: Drama/History

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: VC-1
Video Aspect: 1.78:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, French/Spanish Dolby Stereo
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish English SDH
Starring: Paul Giamatti, Laura Linney, Stephen Dillane, David Morse, Tom Wilkinson, Dannu Huston, Sarah Polley, John Dossett
Directed by: Tom Hooper
Music by: Robert Lane & Joseph Vitarelli
Written by: Kirk Ellis & Michelle Ashford based upon the book by David McCullough
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: June 16, 2009







"He United the States of America"



Film Synopsis:

While our new nation was suffering attacks from both within and without, John Adams had a vision of a nation of liberty and justice for all. He guided his peers - General George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson - in setting the values and agenda for a glorious, free America. Adams and his wife Abigail refined these ambitious democratic ideals, and their partnership became one of the most moving love stories in American history. John Adams is the incredible saga of a man who dreamed a nation and watched it come true.



My Take:

John Adams presents and intimate portrait of the man who ultimately became the second American President and father of the sixth American President. He was of course much more than that. The story follows John Adams, through portions of his family life and carefully examines his contributions to our country's first 50 years. I have to admit that there was so much about this man and the things that he did which helped to shape the nation that we would ultimately become that I didn't know. This fantastic miniseries carefully portrays the close relationship between John and his wife Abigail. She was so much a part of his life over their 50 + year union. Her intellectually stimulating council and personal strength had an important and relied upon influence over John. I appreciated the fact that the events that transpired weren't painted here using broad, rose colored strokes. Our history isn't always pretty and the direct nature of this telling is both rewarding and eye opening. It depicts Adams as an educated man of principle who often speaks his mind even at the expense of diplomacy. This is something that will be follow him throughout his political life and make him enemies both within and outside of his personal circles. Early on John fought hard to defend Boston/Massachusetts against the long reaching tax happy hands of the Britain. He fervently believed in the law and the right to due process as evidenced by his defense of the British soldiers involved in the Boston Massacre. It was he that first pushed for the idea of independence and ultimately won over the Continental Congress. This seven part film details the steps that were necessary to separate the 13 colonies/states from England. It depicts our forefathers and examines their roles in our country's independence.

It follows John as he becomes George Washington's Vice President and the frustration he endured in that capacity. Later after he is elected our second President he learns first hand about the struggles of leadership, loyalty, and the fallout associated with the ramifications of decision making. After his defeat by Thomas Jefferson in the 1800 presidential election he retires to Massachusetts. His later years are marked by sorrow and familial loss. Later in life he does reconnect with and reconcile his damaged relationship with Thomas Jefferson. Strangely enough both men died on the same day within hours of one another. The date seemed befitting as it was exactly 50 years to the day of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. This is a compelling TV drama that I found to be one of the best I have seen. What a terrific ensemble cast. Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney give stirring performances as John and Abigail. Stephen Dillane (Thomas Jefferson), Tom Wilkinson (Benjamin Franklin), Sarah Polley (Nabby Adams), Danny Huston (Samuel Adams), and David Morse (George Washington) all offer excellent supporting turns. Pulitzer Prize winning author David McCullough's book was adapted for this film (I have read that some liberties were taken) and although I haven't read it the result of the work by screenwriters Kirk Ellis and Michelle Ashford is impressive. This scope of this large scale production seems to match the importance of its subject matter. The seven parts are spread out over three dual layered BD-50 Blu-ray discs that come in a handsome and sturdy keep case that collector's will appreciate. The work that went into it and its critical reception are evidenced by its 23 Emmy Award nominations and 13 wins. I commend HBO and the production team which includes Director Tom Hopper and Executive Producer Tom Hanks on a job well done.




Parental Guide:

The rating is for thematic material.






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: 86



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

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

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

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

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



Video: 82


(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=109946&d=1210373692

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

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

John Adams comes to Blu-ray from HBO Films featuring 1080p VC-1 encoded video that has an average bitrate of 24 mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 1.8 mbps.

This high definition video presentation offers clear, refined images that boast a relatively subdued color palette that is rarely eye catching. This is intentional and conveys the rustic, time period specific clothing, locals and sullen complexions with aplomb. There are instances where deeper more vivacious hues are utilized and their presence is not only welcomed but their application is purposefully vivid and boldly stated. The rendering of fine detail can range from exquisite to moderate. This leaves certain long range and mid level shots with less dimensionality but not to the point of appearing soft. Black levels fluctuate similarly however with the controlled/steady contrast and flatter colors this wasn't problematic and worked well with the visual style of the presentation. Grain is visible but has an uneven texture that leaves its presence undetectable at times. I couldn't say for certain what the reason is for this. While this may seem to create the impression that this presentation's quality is suspect I can assure you that it looked very good on my big screen.

The DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack isn't bombastic or aggressive but that didn't prevent it from being remarkable. Its attributes come in the form of superlative high level detail, defining clarity, and subtly distinctive surround sound that didn't disappoint. This is a sophisticated sound design that incorporates a vast number of sounds/effects that are intricately mixed to engage the listening position. Bass is substantive and can sometimes be vigorous in depth but never rises inappropriately in prominence within the soundfield. The delicate blend of music, discrete/ambient sounds, dialogue and bass is supremely enriching as it weaves an aurally stimulating pattern across the entire surround platform. It sounded great.



Bonus Features:


  • Previously on - Each episode contains a brief recap of the preceding episode

  • Facts are stubborn things - Episode specific pop up facts and historical/character guide

  • (HD) The making of John Adams - 29 minute featurette

  • (HD) David McCullough - Painting with words - 40 minute documentary
attachment.php?attachmentid=145022&d=1244747419



Final Thoughts:

John Adams is a well acted, written, directed and executed miniseries/biopic that is an adaptation of the book by Pulitzer Price winning author David McCullough. I thoroughly enjoyed its honest and effectual portrayal of one of our greatest forefathers as portrayed with incredible depth by one of my favorite actors, Paul Giamatti. The seven part high definition presentation on Blu-ray Disc from HBO Films offers solid audio/video quality and a limited bonus supplement set that will more than likely leave fans wanting. It is an excellent piece of filmmaking that has found a place in my collection. Recommended.









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Ralph Potts
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post #2 of 15 Old 06-11-2009, 02:40 PM
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Ralph... once again, thanks for the kind words about the audio.... we worked very hard on it, and I'm very proud of the series (I mixed Eps. 3-6.)
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post #3 of 15 Old 06-11-2009, 02:55 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FilmMixer View Post

Ralph... once again, thanks for the kind words about the audio.... we worked very hard on it, and I'm very proud of the series (I mixed Eps. 3-6.)

Greetings,

Well done my friend..


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post #4 of 15 Old 06-11-2009, 05:33 PM
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Thanks for the review Ralph! I've been looking forward to this series being released on Blu-ray for some time now.
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post #5 of 15 Old 06-12-2009, 07:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FilmMixer View Post

Ralph... once again, thanks for the kind words about the audio.... we worked very hard on it, and I'm very proud of the series (I mixed Eps. 3-6.)

Mark,

Great work on Episode III in particular...When Adams was heading to France I could swear I was in the same room when he was losing his lunch!

Congrats on a job well done! (Did you guys win a sound award for the series? I haven't looked it up yet.)

David Vaughn

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post #6 of 15 Old 06-12-2009, 07:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FilmMixer View Post

Ralph... once again, thanks for the kind words about the audio.... we worked very hard on it, and I'm very proud of the series (I mixed Eps. 3-6.)

What a fantastic piece of work. You are certainly to be commended, for I enjoyed the series and waited anxiously for the next segment.

Most of all, I enjoyed the music! It brought chills to the nape of my neck every time a segment aired. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
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post #7 of 15 Old 06-12-2009, 09:15 AM
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No offense Ralph but this was probably the most enjoyable Mini-series I've ever watched...5 out of 5 for me. 4 is kinda ,"say what??"

Paul and Laura both had the best performances of last year ,IMHO, at any level (MP included)! Couldn't recommend this series any higher!
NOT for kids due to the one graphic surgery and a few other things but still an excellent excellent production!

Great job FM...entertainment at it's finest and HIGHEST level!
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post #8 of 15 Old 06-12-2009, 09:33 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SbWillie View Post

No offense Ralph but this was probably the most enjoyable Mini-series I've ever watched...5 out of 5 for me. 4 is kinda ,"say what??"

Paul and Laura both had the best performances of last year ,IMHO, at any level (MP included)! Couldn't recommend this series any higher!
NOT for kids due to the one graphic surgery and a few other things but still an excellent excellent production!

Great job FM...entertainment at it's finest and HIGHEST level!

Greetings,

None taken. I agree that this is an excellent miniseries..

Cheers,

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post #9 of 15 Old 06-12-2009, 05:40 PM
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Looking forward to seeing this awesome miniseries again!

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post #10 of 15 Old 06-13-2009, 10:07 AM
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I 4got the tar and feathering....

and nothing beats rotting teeth in 1080P!
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post #11 of 15 Old 06-16-2009, 06:06 PM
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Just a FYI

I've got a pioneer bdp-51fd. Disc 1 of Adams would not load until I upgraded firmware from 1.25a to 1.32.
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post #12 of 15 Old 07-01-2009, 01:54 PM
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I am on Episode 5 now and am really loving this series. IMHO it ranks right up there with Band Of Brothers. I have read the book by David McCullough twice and really feel like the series captures the spirit of the book.

FilmMixer. Excellent work. I am really enjoying the lossless track on this one. I recently bought some new speakers and the imaging and detail is amazing with this series.
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post #13 of 15 Old 07-01-2009, 05:28 PM
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Sullen complexions?

Did the film makers think that there was a lack of sunshine back in the day?

I know they didn't have sunscreen, so there should be a strong variance in complexions between those whose occupations took them outside for their work and those who worked out of the elements.

When film makers go out of their way to make things look drab, it makes you wonder if they ever watch Network TV, where the colors and images almost jump off the screen.
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post #14 of 15 Old 07-07-2009, 10:00 AM
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I watched this series last week and enjoyed it quite a bit.
However I noticed one strange framing choice that was use over and over again: backgrounds that were not close to being horizontal.

There were several shots in rooms where the window sill was between 30 and 45 degrees. I noticed that same thing for some of the outdoor shots when Abigail and her daughter were working in the fields of their farm. This also happened in numerous other places and I have never really noticed it done in any other film.
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post #15 of 15 Old 07-13-2009, 05:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JHL View Post

I watched this series last week and enjoyed it quite a bit.
However I noticed one strange framing choice that was use over and over again: backgrounds that were not close to being horizontal.

There were several shots in rooms where the window sill was between 30 and 45 degrees. I noticed that same thing for some of the outdoor shots when Abigail and her daughter were working in the fields of their farm. This also happened in numerous other places and I have never really noticed it done in any other film.

The "angled" shooting method became really bothersome for me, and I've only seen Episodes 1 & 2 so far. I know filmmakers do this to add a sense of uneasiness or suspense, but they are wise, IMO, to use it sparingly; otherwise it becomes gimicky. There was one ludicrous scene in Episode 2, I believe, where Abigail and John are sitting side by side on the bed or a bench, and with the angle (downwards to the left) I joked to my wife that it looks like they should be sliding off the seat onto the floor.

My wife didn't really notice this angled shooting until I pointed it out to her, and now it's like Edge Enhancement (i.e., once you know what it is, you see it wherever it appears, and you wish you hadn't been told about it!). I suppose writing this might spoil future viewings for some here as well, since it seems that the cinematographer shot at a sharp angle at least as often (if not more so) as he shot horizontally, i.e., level with the horizon. I.e., it's EVERYWHERE.
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