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post #1 of 14 Old 11-06-2012, 10:23 AM - Thread Starter
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The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

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

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

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )
88





Studio and Year: Universal - 2012
MPAA Rating: R/Unrated
Feature running time: 131/142 minutes
Genre: Crime/Thriller

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


Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, Spanish/French DTS 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Starring: Taylor Kitcsh, Blake Lively, Aaron Johnson, John Travolta, Benicio Del Toro, Salma Hayek
Directed by: Oliver Stone
Music by: Adam Peters
Written by: Shane Salerno, Oliver Stone, and Don Winslow (based on his novel)
Region Code: A,B,C

Blu-ray Disc release Date: November 13, 2012







"How far would you go?"


Film Synopsis:

Three-time Oscar®-winning filmmaker Oliver Stone returns to the screen with the ferocious thriller Savages, based on Don Winslow’s bestselling crime novel, one of The New York Times’ Top 10 Books of 2010. Laguna Beach entrepreneurs Ben (Aaron Johnson) and Chon (Taylor Kitsch) raise and sell some of the best marijuana ever developed, while sharing a one-of-a-kind love with the extraordinary beauty Ophelia (Blake Lively). Their idyllic life is shattered when the Mexican Baja Cartel demands that the trio partner with them. But the cartel’s
merciless boss, Elena (Salma Hayek), and her brutal enforcer, Lado (Benicio Del Toro), underestimate the unbreakable bonds among these three friends. Ben and Chon—with the reluctant, slippery assistance of a dirty DEA agent (John Travolta) — launch a seemingly unwinnable war against the drug lords that escalates into a savage, high-stakes battle of wills.


My Take:

Based on the novel of the same name by Don Winslow (who co-wrote the script) Savages is a visceral depiction of the violence and mayhem associated with the drug underworld. Coupled with that is a story of friendship and devotion even among the iniquitous and how it plays out amidst heinous crimes and debauchery. This is an interesting crime story in that all of the characters are bad guys which leave you to root for the lesser of two evils. That really isn’t a problem as in this case the “bad” guys are so overtly bad that it makes it easy. The synopsis above covers it pretty well. Ben and Chon, two lifelong pals have a small but highly successful marijuana business that has become popularized by the pureness of the product. They live a sort of idyllic lifestyle in Southern California with their housemate and shared companion Ophelia.

The Mexican Baja Cartel contacts them seeking a partnership in order to learn how they produce their marijuana. When they refuse the cartel resorts to the type of tactics you might expect from them in order to elicit compliance. Ben and Chon turn to Dennis, a crooked DEA agent they pay to look the other way, for any guidance/intel he can offer on the cartel. His advice is, give them what they want, they are not to be trifled with. Ben and Chon decide that the best defense is a good offense and seek to beat the cartel at their own game. The trouble is that for Ben and Chon there are no definable lines of allegiance outside of their very small circle. The cartel’s ruthless enforcer is kept on a leash only by the head of the organization and that leash is about to break…

Savages is dark, gritty and stylistic. On the other hand it is a little hokey and based upon the subject matter probably more moralistic and clichéd than it should be. I could live with that and enjoyed the blurred lines, graphic edge and double dealing nature of the narrative. The trouble rests firmly in the ending which derails its momentum and left me scratching my head. Prior to that I was having a pretty good time and enjoyed the performances by the cast. This is clearly not meant to be a funny film but John Travolta has some great lines, a few of which left me laughing out loud. Salma Hayek...’nuff said and Benicio Del Toro is almost too good in the role of Lado, the cartel enforcer. As for Taylor Kitsch, Aaron Johnson and Blake Lively, (Chon, Ben and Ophelia) I found their performances to be unremarkable but effective enough not to detract from the story.

Savages is a decent film that suffers from a poorly executed ending. I wouldn’t say that it completely ruins the experience but it makes for a bitter pill that some viewers may not be able to swallow. Both the theatrical and unrated extended cut, which runs approximately 11 minutes longer are included here.


Parental Guide:

The rating is for strong brutal and bloody violence, some graphic sexuality, nudity, drug use and language throughout.


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.**


Audio: 86

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


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

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

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

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



Video: 90

(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=109948&d=1210373699

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

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


Savages comes to Blu-ray Disc from Universal Studios Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 22 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.8 Mbps.

This is a high quality video presentation that seems a perfect match for the source material. Colors are deeply saturated with eye pleasing vitality and delineated depth. Images are resolute, with stable sharpness, crisp detail and appreciable subtle refinement. Certain scenes appeared better resolved than others although I suspect this is related to the photography and not the encoding. Contrast was dynamic without being overpowering and blacks were respectable in depth with discernible detail in low lighting and shadows. I didn’t see any signs of video related artifacts and thought that in general video quality was excellent.

This is a solid DTS-HD Master Audio encoding that renders this soundtrack well. Dialogue is firmly planted in the center channel and clearly renders voices and effects with appropriate distinction and balance within the front soundstage. Low frequency effects aren’t foundation shaking but the subwoofer is kept busy as it works in tandem with the rest of the system to convey the low level bass impact as dictated by the film’s elements. Dynamic range is good which lends subtle distinction to low level sounds and gravity to broader ones. For a film such as this I was a bit surprised at how front oriented the audio mix was however the entire system kicks in during the more active sequences.


Bonus Features:

  • (HD) 9 Deleted scenes

  • (HD) Stone Cold Savages:
    1. Chap 1: Origins – 3 minutes
    2. Chap 2: The Savages – 6 minutes
    3. Chap 3: Real Savages – 8 minutes
    4. Chap 4: A Savage set – 11 minutes
    5. Chap 5: Savage cuts – 4 minutes
  • Feature commentary by director Oliver Stone

  • Feature commentary by producers Eric Kopeloff & Moritz Borman, co-screenwriter/novelist Don Winslow, co-writer Shane Salerno, and production designer Tomas Voth

  • My scenes bookmark feature

  • D-Box Motion Code enabled

  • Bonus DVD

  • Digital Copy

  • Ultraviolet Digital Copy



Final Thoughts:

Based upon the novel by Don Winslow and directed by Oliver Stone Savages is a dark, gritty and stylistic crime thriller that suffers from mediocre leads and an abysmal ending. Otherwise it’s a serviceable film that has something to offer. It comes to Blu-ray from Universal Studios Home Entertainment featuring excellent high definition video, rewarding lossless sound and a fair supplemental package that is worth checking out. Savages doesn’t mark a return to form from its director but is a worthwhile rental on Blu-ray.





attachment.php?attachmentid=109949&d=1210373731






Ralph Potts
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post #2 of 14 Old 11-09-2012, 05:36 AM
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Thanks for the review Ralph will definitley take a look.

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post #3 of 14 Old 11-12-2012, 07:48 PM
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Quality of the Blu-Ray is sharp and beautiful. The extra scenes, particularly Mr. Travolta at the hospital, add some depth to an original story with great charachters. I almost didn't recognize Taylor Kitch in a good role. Thanks for the review Ralph.
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post #4 of 14 Old 11-13-2012, 02:09 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by capnvid View Post

Quality of the Blu-Ray is sharp and beautiful. The extra scenes, particularly Mr. Travolta at the hospital, add some depth to an original story with great charachters. I almost didn't recognize Taylor Kitch in a good role. Thanks for the review Ralph.

Greetings,

You're welcome. Glad you enjoyed Savages capnvid.. smile.gif


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post #5 of 14 Old 11-16-2012, 08:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by capnvid View Post

Quality of the Blu-Ray is sharp and beautiful. The extra scenes, particularly Mr. Travolta at the hospital, add some depth to an original story with great charachters. I almost didn't recognize Taylor Kitch in a good role. Thanks for the review Ralph.

Dittio with Aaron Johnson...hard to believe that was KICK ASS (and John Lennon in NOWHERE BOY).

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post #6 of 14 Old 11-30-2012, 07:11 AM
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What is the difference between the theatrical version and this version?

I notice this director likes to do up close shot of actor face with vain popping.

I have not see the movie yet.
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post #7 of 14 Old 12-09-2012, 01:51 PM
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This worth getting? I was thinking about it at Best Buy, but I settled on Snow White and the Huntsmen. I would get it if theres enough action in it.
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post #8 of 14 Old 12-09-2012, 06:17 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AndreHD View Post

This worth getting? I was thinking about it at Best Buy, but I settled on Snow White and the Huntsmen. I would get it if theres enough action in it.

Greetings,

If the price is right it's probably worth a blind buy although it is more of a thriller than an action flick.


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post #9 of 14 Old 12-19-2012, 01:12 PM
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Finally got around to this one, wife and I enjoyed it. Sure it had some issues but I went in with pretty low expectations and came out thinking I might want a copy as I could watch it again. Del Toro was just brilliant!


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post #10 of 14 Old 12-19-2012, 01:17 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by General Kenobi View Post

Finally got around to this one, wife and I enjoyed it. Sure it had some issues but I went in with pretty low expectations and came out thinking I might want a copy as I could watch it again. Del Toro was just brilliant!

Greetings,

Glad to hear it GK. cool.gif


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post #11 of 14 Old 12-28-2012, 08:48 PM
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"This is an interesting crime story in that all of the characters are bad guys which leave you to root for the lesser of two evils. That really isn’t a problem as in this case the “bad” guys are so overtly bad that it makes it easy."

How are they both bad guys? Because two of the guys only grow and sell weed...? Are Coors and Anheuser Busch bad guys too?
Ralph has anyone told you that you look like a cop? Anyway, as always thanks for the reviews. I enjoy reading them.

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post #12 of 14 Old 12-29-2012, 04:42 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by benclement11 View Post

"This is an interesting crime story in that all of the characters are bad guys which leave you to root for the lesser of two evils. That really isn’t a problem as in this case the “bad” guys are so overtly bad that it makes it easy."
How are they both bad guys? Because two of the guys only grow and sell weed...? Are Coors and Anheuser Busch bad guys too?
Ralph has anyone told you that you look like a cop? Anyway, as always thanks for the reviews. I enjoy reading them.

Greetings,

I am not sure if you're kidding or not but in case you're not, growing and selling marihuana is illegal (in most states anyway). Beer/alcohol is not so I miss the point in the comparison. My reference to them as "bad guys" was strictly based on their position with the repect to law breaking, not them personally.

Regarding my looking like a cop, I have heard that, although there is a reason.. wink.gif


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post #13 of 14 Old 03-10-2013, 06:20 PM
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Rented today; saw it in the theaters when it was showing. As I’ve mentioned I’m on a big Blu-ray disc viewing binge after purchase of a new plasma. Some amazing color in this movie! I must only guess that somebody put effort into bringing the elements of color together and if so then it paid off. I’ve noted a few other films recently that seemed to have more contrasting splashes of color with a darker overall theme, but this struck me as purposefully blending a rainbow of colors from scene to scene. Maybe it’s just the new plasma that I’m still in awe of.

Noted that it was shot with 35mm film – I’ve been following the new digital camera revolution with enthusiasm, but since getting the plasma I’ve become more aware of the movies still being shot on film and how they compare. This definitively was a compliment to what film can do with color for me anyway.
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post #14 of 14 Old 03-11-2013, 06:45 AM
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I thought I would jot something down and then Google it this week and see what I found; hope that linking to another site is not forbidden – it’s just as a reference to what I noted here yesterday. http://www.slashfilm.com/footage-oliver-stones-savages-colorful-90s-glow/

The speculation is that a special filming technique was used to produce the oversaturated contrast and colors that I noted were predominate throughout the film. Apparently it wasn’t just the use of ‘film’ vs. digital, but possibly employed techniques to bolster the effect of the film’s capture of the colors as well.

It really worked for me btw in the story; Blake Lively strikes me as the epitome of a Cali girl and this character just lets her embellish that hippie, trippy, character with her colorful hair and the whole bit. The Cali uber stoner ‘businessmen’ and the tale of their trade, etc. It just works for me that it has this tone hinting of almost psychedelic level of color saturation.
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