Tommy (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 09-14-2010, 08:22 PM - Thread Starter
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attachment.php?attachmentid=182999&d=1281722334
The Review at a Glance: ( max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373697

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109939&d=1210373697


Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

84






Studio and Year: Columbia Pictures -1975
MPAA Rating: PG
Feature running time: 111 minutes
Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Musical


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


Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, English DTS-HA Master Audio Original Quadrophonic 5.0
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French
Starring: Ann-Margret, Oliver Reed, Roger Daltrey, Elton John, Eric Clapton, John Entwistle, Keith Moon, Pete Townsend, Tina Turner, Jack Nicholson
Directed by: Ken Russell
Music by: The Who
Written by: Based On The Rock opera By Pete Townsend, Screenplay by Ken Russel
Region Code: A,B,C

Blu-ray Disc release Date: September 7, 2010







"Your Senses will never be the same"



Film Synopsis:

This classic rock opera - Told through the remarkable music of The Who and brought to life by an outstanding cast - is now remastered for Blu-ray with a stunning high-def picture and amazing lossless audio!



My Take:

For those who don't know, 'Tommy' was a double-album rock opera by the band 'The Who' released in 1969. It is the story of Tommy, who after witnessing the murder of his father as a young child, shuts down and becomes deaf, dumb and blind. After years or torment, torture, experimentation and abuse, it is found that Tommy can play pinball by feel and he ends up beating the worlds best pinball player. The movie takes a turn halfway when Tommy is shoved into a mirror by his frustrated and drunk mother. This moment snaps him out of his world of darkness. Once 'free' Tommy starts to become a religious symbol to a loyal following, similar to a rock star. Exploited while catatonic, once Tommy can hear, talk and see again he, almost subconsciously, does to his followers what has been done to him. He exploits them for cash and fame, and even goes as far as instructs them to play pinball as he did, with a blindfold on, ears blocked and mouth blocked. Sounds off-the-wall huh? It is. But it's pretty unique and cool and is pulled off really well.

There is a lot going on in 'Tommy'. It has murder, rape, drug abuse, torture and exploitation. Somehow this never comes off as brutal as it could, having a kind of comic book feel to it all. Besides its great music by The Who, it has some really amazing visuals by director Ken Russell (Altered States, Lair of the White Worm) and an ensemble cast of musicians and actors that is beyond impressive. Staring Roger Daltrey as Tommy, Ann-Margret as his mother (who looks ridiculously hot rolling around in baked beans and chocolate sauce) and the stand out, Oliver Reed playing his sleazy stepfather perfectly. We are treated to cameos by Tina Turner, Jack Nicholson, Elton John and Eric Clapton.

'Tommy' could be a tough watch to some, there is no dialogue besides the vocals in the songs. I really enjoyed its structure and having the narrative be the music; this story would not be successful in a traditional film form. It does drags at times, but if looked at for what it is, a rock opera, than it's successful in spades. Kudos to Ken Russel for his cinematic vision aligning his jabs at pop culture and the exploits of religion and commercialism with the power of The Who's story and music.



Parental Guide:

PG - for adult themes






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: 84



  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373694

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373698

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373697

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373697

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373697


Video: 84



  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373697

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373699

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373698

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373698

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373696

'Tommy' sees its way to Blu-ray Disc from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 26.5 Mbps and DTS-HD Master Audio 5.0 sound that has an average bitrate of 3.2 Mbps.

Sony gives us another technically superb Blu-ray, with a really fun audio presentation that had me smiling while watching this film. 'Tommy' comes with two DTS-HD MA choices, one is 5.1 mix and the other a rare experience, a "Quintaphonic" 5.0 track. Quintaphonic is 5 channels, similar to a traditional surround set-up, having the Front Right and Left speakers "matrixed" (repeated) on the rear right and left; essentially a 4 speaker stereo spread around you and a separate center channel for dialogue. The Quintaphonic track was very enjoyable for me, though not as elegant as the 5.1 mix, I loved hearing a format that I have yet to experience. The main differences were less low end a vocals that seemed right in your face, almost too much so. The "Sound in the Round", as they called it, could get a bit hectic at times, though I suspect that was its goal when it did. I switched between the tracks many times during my viewing and technically, as well as sonically, I would give my vote for the 5.1 track, however, I was drawn to the 5.0 more. It was a fun listen and very interesting to experience the beginnings of surround-sound as we know it. Tonally both track's dazzle-- cymbals, strings, bass as well as all the vocals stood in there own place in mix-ville, and sounded superb. It never got to room shaking low end, but that was of no concern, there was no need for it and the bass guitar and kick drum sounded perfect. I never heard another version of 'Tommy' so I cant compare, but unless it hasn't always been a aural treat, it should come as no surprise these tracks truly rock. The video is not as fun an experience but very good in its own right. A natural, albeit dull color palette looks filmic with a light drizzle of grain. This sharp and tinker-free transfer has a nice level of fine details as well as impressive black levels. There are a few moments where blacks do crush (check out the Acid Queens dress) and lose details. 'Tommy' never reaches the depth of newer films, but it sure looks amazing for a 35 year old film.

attachment.php?attachmentid=183000&d=1281722334

Bonus Features:


  • (HD) Previews: The Pillars of the Earth, It Might Get Loud, and The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.

  • MovieIQ

  • BD-Live



Final Thoughts:

'Tommy' is a unique experience to say the least. On a technical standpoint this is a recommended and a quite able release from Sony. The film itself, I assume, has a specific audience of The Who fans, open-minded film buffs and teenagers experimenting with 'whatever' it is they are experimenting with when getting into 60s and 70s staples like The Who, The Doors and Jimi Hendrix. It's not an easy watch as the story and its flow are awkward. Personally I enjoyed it, very likely more than most, and might watch it again sooner then later. No extras are included and that is a shame, I would have loved to find out more about making of this film, it must have been a crazy scene! Bottom line- Highly Recommended for fans and an easy rental recommendation for the 'experimenters'.





attachment.php?attachmentid=157497&d=1257542613







Lee Weber
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews




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post #2 of 10 Old 09-15-2010, 01:57 AM
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Greetings,

Thanks Lee..


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post #3 of 10 Old 09-15-2010, 04:54 AM
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Thanks, Lee!

Aside from the cultural references, and "Tommy's" status as a seminal moment in rock and roll history, I found it a tough watch, too. A listen is more enjoyable, however.

That said, the last time I saw it was several years ago, in a regular theater. So, I may have to throw this in my rental cue.

Interestingly, I found The Who's "Quandrophenia" to be more accessible and enjoyable on a musical basis.

As far as rock operas go, I think Pink Floyd's "The Wall" to be the King of them all (if not the first).

Again, thanks for the review!

Music so high you can't get over it....music so low you can't get under it!
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post #4 of 10 Old 09-15-2010, 07:14 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by graphicguy View Post

Thanks, Lee!

Aside from the cultural references, and "Tommy's" status as a seminal moment in rock and roll history, I found it a tough watch, too. A listen is more enjoyable, however.

That said, the last time I saw it was several years ago, in a regular theater. So, I may have to throw this in my rental cue.

Interestingly, I found The Who's "Quandrophenia" to be more accessible and enjoyable on a musical basis.

As far as rock operas go, I think Pink Floyd's "The Wall" to be the King of them all (if not the first).

Again, thanks for the review!

You are welcome.

As a kid I never got into to Tommy and did connect more with Quadrophenia as well.
I grew up with Queensryche's 1988 Operation:Mindcrime, another 'opera' or 'concept album' which is still my favorite. I remember when it came out, I was 14 and sucked in.
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post #5 of 10 Old 09-15-2010, 10:11 AM
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Too bad Mindcrime II sucks

I remember seeing Tommy on TV years ago and I think I missed the point. The music is good though.
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post #6 of 10 Old 09-16-2010, 11:05 AM
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Thanks for the review! I especially liked your synopsis of the story. Succinct but with more detail than any other review I've read. But that's not surprising as most people simply do not "get" the story.

It's good to know that the audio got a proper HD treatment, and the Quintophonic track sounds interesting.
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post #7 of 10 Old 09-16-2010, 01:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Orbert View Post

Thanks for the review! I especially liked your synopsis of the story. Succinct but with more detail than any other review I've read. But that's not surprising as most people simply do not "get" the story.

It's good to know that the audio got a proper HD treatment, and the Quintophonic track sounds interesting.

Thanks and you are welcome!
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post #8 of 10 Old 09-18-2010, 08:14 AM
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Nice. I can upgrade my dvd version.

I'm also hoping for a hi-def treatment of 'The Wall'.
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post #9 of 10 Old 09-20-2010, 06:10 AM
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The region code is listed as A in the review above, but the rear cover clearly shows Regions A/B/C. Can you confirm if it is indeed multi-region, and will play in other areas of the world?
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post #10 of 10 Old 09-20-2010, 08:21 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Mecak View Post

The region code is listed as A in the review above, but the rear cover clearly shows Regions A/B/C. Can you confirm if it is indeed multi-region, and will play in other areas of the world?

Thats for pointing that out- I corrected it. My disk says A/B/C here as well.
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