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post #1 of 12 Old 06-18-2014, 06:43 AM - Thread Starter
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Winter's Tale (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review



Set in a mythic New York City and spanning more than a century, "Winter's Tale" is a story of miracles, crossed destinies, and the age-old battle between good and evil.





The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Film:

Extras:

Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )

88



Details:

Studio and Year: Warner - 2014
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 118 minutes
Genre: Romance/Fantasy

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

Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, French/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Colin Farrell, Russell Crowe, Jessica Brown Findlay, Jennifer Connelly, William Hurt, Eva Marie Saint
Written & Directed by: Akiva Goldsman
Music by: Hans Zimmer& Rupert Gregson-Williams
Based on the novel by: Mark Helprin
Region Code: A,B,C

Blu-ray Disc release Date: June 24, 2014


"This is not a true story. This is true love…"


My Take:

Peter Lake (Farrell) is a master thief, who never expected to have his own heart stolen by the beautiful Beverly Penn (Brown Findlay). But their love is star-crossed: she burns with a deadly form of consumption, and Peter has been marked for a much more violent death by his one-time mentor, the demonic Pearly Soames (Crowe). Peter desperately tries to save his one true love, across time, against the forces of darkness, even as Pearly does everything in his power to take him down—winner take all and loser be damned. What Peter needs is a miracle, but only time will tell if he can find one.

Based on the novel of the same name by Mark Helprin, Winter’s tale is a big screen adaptation that was written/directed by Akiva Goldsman. I haven’t read the book but this film is sort of a mess. Thematically it reaches too far as it blends elements of romance and fantasy that seem oddly paired. On the one had you have a beautiful young woman who has been dealt a crappy hand as her life is being cut way too short by disease. On the other you have a young man whose life started out on the wrong foot, was compounded by making very poor choices in the company he kept and who now has opted to extricate himself from old ties. In the process their paths cross and sparks immediately fly.

I didn’t have much of a problem with them or the idea of love at first sight/true love etc. The problem here is a complete and utter lack of narrative flow. The film has an unexplained opening which takes place in the present, from there we are tossed back 100 years into the middle of Peter’s predicament as he is inexplicably pursued by a band of thugs where he is rescued by a beautiful white horse that has some rather interesting abilities (again no explanation). During his escape the horse purposely draws Peter’s attention to the home of Beverly Penn. After their “meeting” we learn that Peter’s pursuers are led by Pearly Soames who appears to be a common criminal of sorts but as it turns out is something much more sinister.

Things escalate when Pearly learns about Beverly and makes some hasty judgments about their relationship and what must be done to exact vengeance on Peter. From there the story takes a melodramatic turn descending into the realm of unabashed flakiness where things don’t add up, shallow characters/subplot are thrown in and overt flights of whimsy abound. The standoff in the finale was painfully weak and the ending was a cheesy romance novel lover’s delight that was the proverbial icing on the cake. I couldn’t help but feel that an excellent cast was wasted here (William Hurt, Colin Farrell, and Jennifer Connelly). I did enjoy seeing Eva Marie Saint but scratched my head at the selection of Will Smith (you’d have to see the film to get my meaning).

As much as I wanted to like Winter’s tale it lacked the depth to add up to a gratifying film experience ultimately leaving me disappointed.



Parental Guide:

The rating is for violence and some sensuality.


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:
  • Low frequency effects:
  • Surround Sound presentation:
  • Clarity/Detail:
  • Dialogue Reproduction:
  • Low frequency extension * (non-rated element): NA


Video: 90
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Resolution/Clarity:
  • Black Level/Shadow Detail:
  • Color Reproduction:
  • Fleshtones:
  • Compression:


Winter’s Tale comes to Blu-ray Disc from Warner Brothers HE featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 26 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.7 Mbps.

This is a solid high definition transfer that looks excellent. Images are transparent with exquisite detail and a near infinite sense of depth. Fidelity is never in question regardless of perspective. At times I found the visual style to be engaging. Colors are kept within the scope of the historical time frame which means lots of browns, grays, greens and blacks. The filtered chromatic range is purposefully limited to muted primary colors and softer secondary hues. That coupled with the drab lighting schemes and often dark cinematography makes for a visually pallid but thematically affecting look. Skin tones among the cast don’t vary much and fall in line with the look of the film. Blacks are inky, dynamic and stable and contrast is bold and punchy without overdriving whites/grays and washing out detail. This is a noticeably stylized and impressive high definition video presentation that looked great on my big screen.

The high resolution DTS-HD MA soundtrack delivers smooth, sibilant free treble, tonally rich, crystalline dialogue, and diffused, room filling ambience. The front channels are seamlessly integrated with the surrounds tightly infused to create an immersive, stable soundstage. This mix generates a dimensional listening experience that comes alive during action based segments or subtly involving during quiet moments. It made for a fun surround sound experience that mated perfectly with the tone of the film.


Bonus Features:
  • (HD) Winter’s tale: A timeless love – 6 minute featurette
  • (HD) Characters of good and evil – 9 minute featurette
  • (HD) Additional scenes – 12 minutes
  • Bonus DVD
  • Ultraviolet Digital Copy



Final Thoughts:

Based on the novel of the same name by Mark Helprin, and written/directed by Akiva Goldsman Winter’s tale is an ambitious but messy/uninspired romance fantasy that left a bad impression. It comes to Blu-ray from Warner Brothers Home Entertainment in this Blu-ray Combo Pack that features solid overall technical quality and a middling supplemental set. If you’re a fan this offering is probably worth picking up otherwise Winter’s tale is a pass.






Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews



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post #2 of 12 Old 06-18-2014, 09:39 AM
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Hi Ralph

I was mildly interested in this one but would hate to sit through a movie with this expression or this one if I don't stop it halfway through looks like it goes to the bottom of the que!

Thanks for the heads up and when and if I do watch I'll chime in
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post #3 of 12 Old 06-18-2014, 09:54 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
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Hi Ralph

I was mildly interested in this one but would hate to sit through a movie with this expression or this one if I don't stop it halfway through looks like it goes to the bottom of the que!

Thanks for the heads up and when and if I do watch I'll chime in
Greetings,



Sounds good Jeff and as usual I look forward to your thoughts when/if you do...


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post #4 of 12 Old 06-18-2014, 03:01 PM
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Same story with me. Think I'll pass on the rental even.

Thanks for the legwork.
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post #5 of 12 Old 06-18-2014, 04:30 PM
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We watched this the other day and had zero expectations coming into it and found it mildly entertaining. I like fable-type stories though and it did make me think a little bit, which is always a good thing in my book. I've seen far worse over the years.

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post #6 of 12 Old 06-18-2014, 05:17 PM
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Dave that's what had my interest on this one as Fable types when done well are great avenues to transport the viewer into a good cinematic experience. Wife is interested as well so I guess I'm in.
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post #7 of 12 Old 06-18-2014, 06:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Vaughn View Post
We watched this the other day and had zero expectations coming into it and found it mildly entertaining. I like fable-type stories though and it did make me think a little bit, which is always a good thing in my book. I've seen far worse over the years.

Greetings,


Made you think Dave..?


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post #8 of 12 Old 06-18-2014, 09:07 PM
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Quote:
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Greetings,


Made you think Dave..?


Regards,
The entire family was curious as to how the hero ended up 100 years in the future and whether his wish would come true. The twist at the end was somewhat predictable, but we found it an enjoyable family experience. Is it Oscar-worthy? Absolutely not, but it was decent entertainment.

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post #9 of 12 Old 06-18-2014, 10:48 PM
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I enjoyed it as well. Not great but I like the genre.

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post #10 of 12 Old 06-19-2014, 05:17 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Vaughn View Post
The entire family was curious as to how the hero ended up 100 years in the future and whether his wish would come true. The twist at the end was somewhat predictable, but we found it an enjoyable family experience. Is it Oscar-worthy? Absolutely not, but it was decent entertainment.
Greetings,

Thanks Dave. A film certainly need not be Oscar worthy for me to enjoy it. Like you, I enjoy the fantasy/fable genre as well but here are some things that prevented this one from truly drawing me in:

Spoiler!


No one knows better than I that opinions on films are purely subjective and I respect everyone's right to agree or disagree. For those that enjoyed Winter's Tale I am pleased to hear that you did...

Regards,

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post #11 of 12 Old 06-19-2014, 08:50 AM
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Ralph,

I had many of the same questions, but didn't let that bother me too much. We'll have to chat on the phone because I have some answers as well

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post #12 of 12 Old 06-19-2014, 09:04 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Vaughn View Post
Ralph,

I had many of the same questions, but didn't let that bother me too much. We'll have to chat on the phone because I have some answers as well

Greetings,


I look forward to it old buddy...


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