The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Disney – 1993
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 139 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Stereo
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Kieu Chinh, Tasi Chin, Frence Nuyen, Lisa Lu, Ming-Na Wen, Tamlyn Tomita, Lauren Tom, Rosalind Chao, Andrew McCarthy, Victor Wong
Directed by: Wayne Wang
Music by: Rachel Portman
Written by: Amy Tan & Ronald Bass based on the novel by Amy Tan
Region Code: A,B,C
Blu-ray Disc release Date: December 11, 2012
Four older women, all Chinese immigrants living in San Francisco, meet regularly to play mahjong, eat, and tell stories. Each of these women has an adult Chinese-American daughter. The film reveals the hidden pasts of the older women and explores cultural conflict and the relationships between mothers and daughters. The film is structured as a series of vignettes told from the perspectives of the different women.
The Joy Luck Club tells the uplifting story of four remarkable friends whose extraordinary lives are filled with joy and heartbreak. Their Lifelong friendship reveals a mosaic of the startling events and conditions that have shaped their lives - and how these experiences have affected the hopes and dreams they hold for each of their children. I haven’t seen The Joy Luck Club in a number of years. I saw it when it was released in the theater and have owned it on DVD since it became available.
Based on the best selling novel by Amy Tan The Joy Luck Club is a series of stories that revolve around one woman’s search for acceptance from her mother. Her journey will begin with the need to understand her mother’s past and the choices that helped shaped her. What she discovers along the way is that her mother and the three elder women she refers to as “Aunties” share a bond that can only come from the lessons and sometimes tragic experiences that only life can teach. At the end of the road she will find answers in a place that only a mother’s love can take you.
I have always found it to be a stirring and thematically dark film in its portrayal of the experiences of the four women prior to coming to America. It is interesting to see the dynamic associated with the relationships between them and their daughters and how their pasts either shaped it or seemingly didn’t. The remaining element relative to each of the daughters own lives/relationships is less emphatic but integral to the narrative’s full circle telling.
The story is told via a series of flashbacks with each getting their own segment. The character of June, and her mother Suyuan, is where the story begins and ends with Suyuan’s back story being told last (there is a reason for this). While there are elements of the film that deal with subject matter/traditions that we as Americans could probably never relate to it is easy to empathize and connect to each storyline/set of characters as well as identify with the sort of contemporary familial situations associated with them.
Director Wayne Wang and co-writers Amy Tan/Ronald Bass paint an emotional portrait in this culturally revealing and beautifully crafted drama that is a rewarding familial catharsis that speaks to all of us in one way or another. The ensemble cast is perfectly placed and imparts a genuine air which enhances the story. I am thrilled to add this wonderful film to my Blu-ray collection.
The rating is for strong thematic material and brief language.
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)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
The Joy Luck Club comes to Blu-ray Disc from Disney featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 28 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.4 Mbps.
This film utilizes two distinct visual styles to convey its thematic content. One makes use of darker/monochromatic color schemes and grittier textures while the other features richer contrast and vibrant colors emboldened by warm accents. Each provides the look that the filmmakers strove for to drive the story’s components. Close ups reveal crisp definition and perceptible detail that reveals the presence of pores, stubble, peach fuzzy hair and subtle complexional variations. The texture on the surfaces of objects was just as defining which gave them visibly apparent structure and lifelike quality. Black levels are slightly elevated but not detrimentally so and contrast is spot on which delivers bright punchy whites and appreciable dimension when mixed light/dark elements are present onscreen. Grain is intact and imparts a noticeably filmic yet unobtrusive texture. The video has a noticeably clean and pristine quality that appears devoid of video related anomalies and artifacts. This is a gorgeous and faithful rendering that presents this film in its finest light since coming to home video.
I think this is a well designed lossless audio presentation that plays well to the film’s thematic components while effectively using the entire sound field. The recorded elements are enhanced by refining clarity, and excellent directional correlation. Dialogue through the center channel is crystal clear and maintains a position of prominence within the front soundstage. The beautifully crafted music permeates the listening area with its light instrumentation and superlative tonal balance. This surround mix capably handles the subtle intricacies thrown at it by this rewarding soundtrack.
- There are no bonus features
Based on the best selling novel by Amy Tan The Joy Luck Club is a culturally revealing and beautifully crafted drama with universal themes that speak to all of us in one way or another. It makes it debut on Blu-ray from Disney featuring superb high definition video and resplendent DTS-HD Master Audio sound quality. The lack of supplemental material is the only blemish in an otherwise must have release for fans of the film.
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My wife talked me into watching this film back when it first appeared on DVD. I didn't really think it would be my kind of movie, but I ended up being wrong, so the blu-ray version is a 'must have' for my private collection.
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