The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Paramount - 1998
MPAA Rating: PG
Feature running time: 102 Minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Audio Format(s): English Dolby TrueHD 5.1, French/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese
Starring: Jim Carrey, Laura Linney, Ed Harris, Noah Emmerich. Natascha McElhone
Directed by: Peter Weir
Music by: Burkhard Dallwitz
Written by: Andrew Niccol
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: December 30, 2008
"The world is watching"
He's the star of the show--but he doesn't know. Jim Carrey wowed critics and audiences alike as unwitting Truman Burbank in this marvel of a movie from director Peter Weir (Witness, Dead Poets Society) about a man whose life is a nonstop TV show. Truman doesn't realize that his quaint hometown is a giant studio set run by a visionary producer/director/creator (Ed Harris), that folks living and working there are Hollywood actors, that even his incessantly bubbly wife is a contract player. Gradually, Truman gets wise. And what he does about his discovery will have you laughing, crying and cheering like few film stories ever have.
My Take:I have liked Jim Carrey since his days on In Living Color and even remember him from a film from the mid eighties called Once Bitten with Lauren Hutton. Admittedly I can't say that I am a die hard fan because sometimes I find his comedic crazy man routine tiresome. On the other hand I have yet to see him in a dramatic role where I didn't like him. The Truman show was my first experience seeing him in that light and it has been one of my favorites ever since. This is a well written and fresh conceptual film that features great dialogue, smart direction, and solid casting. I love the cinematography, camera work and the integration of the characters as the story develops. I find Laura Linney not only to be a fine actress but very attractive as well. She was perfectly cast as the bubbly, annoying, faux wife to Truman. One of my favorite scenes is when Meryl makes every attempt to remain composed and in character as Truman takes her on the infamous car ride out of town. Ed Harris being the consistently fine actor that he is was wonderful as Christof which is evidenced by his Golden Globe win and Oscar nomination for his portrayal. A few familiar faces in the crowd included notables such as Philip Baker Hall, Paul Giamatti, Holland Taylor, and Peter Krause. At 102 minutes the film seems perfectly paced and flows quite well. The burning question about how it's going to end? is answered succinctly and appropriately which was apropos in my opinion. The Truman Show is an interesting film that examines our societal desire to view the lives of others from a fly on the wall perspective. To a large degree we have seen this develop on a lesser level with the advent of reality television. Regardless of any implied meaning The Truman Show is an entertaining film that offers food for thought and interesting discussion.
The rating is for thematic elements and mild 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 Truman Show comes to Blu-ray Disc from Paramount featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 33 mbps and lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 channel audio that has an average bitrate of 3.5 mbps.
I watched this film numerous times on DVD and quite honestly was never impressed with how it looked. In watching it in high definition I see a significant improvement however it falls short of the standard set by other catalog release titles that I have reviewed of late. Resolution is good however fine rendering of detail is a mixed bag. Certain sequences appear well resolved with good depth and apparent sharpness while others appear less definitive and lacking in discernible small object detail. To my eyes it would appear that some digital noise reduction has been applied. Grain is present but lacks structural continuity. This was apparent in close ups as well as long range camera shots. The scene in chapter 15 when Truman and Marlon are talking uses rotating close ups of them both. The shots of Truman appear better detailed with visible facial stubble/pores etc. while Marlon's face looks smoother with discernibly less texture. I also saw obvious signs of print damage that came in the form of speckles (black and white), debris and lines. During chapter 14 when Meryl and Truman are arguing in the kitchen provides an example. Looking to the right of Meryl as she stands with her back to the counter there is a louvered shade or separator below the cabinets. There is quite a bit or print damage that shows up in the cabinet and louvered separator as well as being visible in her white uniform. Lastly, I occasionally saw some edge halos around objects that would be consistent with the application of artificial sharpening. I found it to be distracting in a hand full of shots but there were many where it didn't bother me. Colors were warm, well saturated and appreciably natural with beautifully rendered fleshtones. Contrast was punchy without intruding upon fidelity and blacks were deep but not as delineated as I would have liked.
The Dolby TrueHD soundtrack is a nice upgrade over the lossy Dolby Digital track on the DVD. The beautifully crafted score has better presence, smoother treble, and refined articulation. Dialogue is rich in clarity, prominently positioned within the soundstage, and offers excellent tonal depiction. As a dialogue driven film there isn't much call for an active surround sound mix however there are a few instances where the entire platform is used. One example is the storm at sea sequence in the finale. The sounds of the turbulent waters, thunder claps, music and the various creaking/blowing sails etc. sound effects of the boat as it is tossed about filled the room. Dynamics were solid and low frequency effects offered good quality impact and depth where applicable. This soundtrack has never sounded more open, detailed or expressive.
- How's it going to end?: The making of The Truman Show
- Faux finishing, the visual effects of The Truman Show
- 4 Deleted scenes
- Photo gallery
- (HD) Trailers - Theatrical & Teaser
- 2 TV Spots
Final Thoughts:The Truman show is an interesting, thought provoking and well made movie that has become a favorite among film fans. Its announcement for release on high definition Blu-ray disc has fans excited. While it does offer a definite improvement in video quality over the standard definition release it doesn't offer images that are consistent with the best catalog release titles we have seen from the format. Its lossless Dolby TrueHD sound is quite good and distinguishes itself from lossy multi-channel surround mix on the previous DVD's. Paramount has included the bonus features from the 2005 Special Edition DVD which makes this a viable solution for fans considering an upgrade. Even with the issues mentioned this disc represents the best that I have ever seen The Truman Show look on home video. Whether or not it is worthy of a purchase/upgrade will be up to you. It has been added to my collection.
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