The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: DreamWorks - 2007
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 127 Minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Audio Format(s): Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
Starring: Khalid Abdalla, Homayoun Ershadi, Shaun Toub, Atossa Leoni, Said Taghmaoui
Directed by: Marc Forster
Music by: Alberto Iglesias
Written by: David Benioff
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: March 24, 2009
"There is a way to be good again"
Amir is a young Afghani from a well-to-do Kabul family; his best friend Hassan is the son of a family servant. Together the two boys form a bond of friendship that breaks tragically on one fateful day, when Amir fails to save his friend from brutal neighborhood bullies. Amir and Hassan become separated, and as first the Soviets and then the Taliban seize control of Afghanistan, Amir and his father escape to the United States to pursue a new life. Years later, Amir – now an accomplished author living in San Francisco – is called back to Kabul to right the wrongs he and his father committed years ago.
I reviewed this film when it was released on DVD. Here are my comments from that review:
The kite Runner is based upon the book by Khaled Hosseini. This is a very powerful story that will elicit various emotions as it progresses to its climax. I have not read the book but have spoken to several people who have. All of them agree that the book is excellent. Adapting a film based upon a book almost always results in a somewhat compressed variation. From what I understand this film is no different. How successful the screenplay is in capturing the essence of the book is key and I believe that Kite Runner manages to do so. The story skims the surface of some of the cultural nuances associated with life in Afghanistan during the late 1970s. I am sure that little has changed with respect to these differences and in fact it would be safe to say that tensions are higher. I liked the way the film developed the relationship between Amir and Hassan. Their connection is essential to the events that transpire later in the story. I also appreciated the progression of the bond between Amir and his father. Amir as a child was complicated, and his inner demons at that point in his life partially dictated who he becomes as a young man. There is a significant event that ultimately fractures the relationship between Amir and Hassan. Later in the film there are things brought to light that bring matters into focus for Amir which truly help him to understand who he is and what he must do to in order to achieve inner conciliation. I really enjoyed this film.
The Kite Runner is a powerful and moving film that offers a differing cultural perspective on life, family, and relationships. Its events also transcend those boundaries by allowing us to identify and perhaps sympathize with these characters at least on some level. The strong performances by the cast complimented the poignancy of the story. If you haven’t had the chance to see this film I highly recommend it.
The rating is for strong thematic material which includes the sexual assault of a child, violence, and brief strong 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 kite runner comes to Blu-ray Disc from DreamWorks featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate 32 mbps and lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 channel audio that has an average bitrate of 2.6 mbps.
This is an attractive and stylized video presentation that boasts vivid, naturally rendered colors that run the gamut and look great in high definition. Complexions are lustrous and tonally divergent which gives them a realistic and sometimes glowing quality. Images are firmly resolved with dynamic contrast and a near infinite level of depth that is impressive during the film’s many long range camera shots. Chapter six opens with a wide angle vista view with a mountainous region in the background. Images of the dry, rough landscape in the foreground look incredibly detailed as the various sizes and shapes of the rock covered plain are discernible. Looking further outward I could see the crisp lines and delineation in the uneven surfaces on faces of the mountains. This shot has excellent dimensional perspective. This was the case in all but a handful of shots where resolution fell off just slightly and wasn’t quite as definitive although I suspect that is innate to the photography. Close ups offer a high level of detail with sharp resolution, articulate expression and subtle textures that enhance definition. Blacks are merely above average which left many of the dark sequences appearing a bit flat and lackluster. On the other hand those same scenes had an improved sense of depth thanks to an appreciable level of visible detail in darkened areas and low lit backgrounds.
The Dolby TrueHD multi-channel audio had no trouble delivering the elements contained within this dialogue heavy soundtrack. Voices had excellent intonation and variable description that penetrated well into the room as it held sway over the front soundstage. The blend of dialogue, music and sounds were perfectly in synch across the front of the room which cut a wide swath that reached beyond the physical location of the speakers. The film’s beautiful music had a breathable presence that sounded incredibly open and detailed. The vocal performance which is accompanied by acoustic guitar during the wedding ceremony is a prime example of the resplendent and airy quality of this lossless encoding. This also applied to the various sound effects and low level sonic detail (such as the rustling of the nylon kites as they rippled in the wind or the crunching of stones underfoot as they are walked upon). This isn’t an active surround mix however when engaged the rear channels are used to good effect at different points during the film. Envelopment was readily apparent during the kite flying competition and some of the crowded street sequences which contained a mixture of ambient and discrete directional sounds that filled the listening area. Bass response wasn’t earth shaking however when applied it had ample solidity and palpable presence that added emphasis where appropriate.
** CIH users should note that subtitles are in the picture area.**
- Commentary with Marc Forster, Khaled Hosseini, and David Benioff
- Words from Kite Runner – 14 minute featurette
- Images from Kite Runner – 24 minute featurette
- Public service announcement from Khaled Hosseini
- (HD) Theatrical trailer
The kite runner is a poignant and touching film that is based upon the novel of the same name by Khaled Hosseini. Its powerful story of love, devotion, tragedy, and redemption truly allows us to see that it is never too late to be good again. Its high definition Blu-ray debut from Paramount has it looking and sounding excellent. The bonus features are the same ones from the 2007 DVD release and offers a brief behind the scenes look at the film/story through the eyes of the production staff and the book’s author. If you haven’t see this interesting and well acted film I would say that this is the best way to experience it for the first time.
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews
Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS20 1080p High Definition Front Projector
Carada Precision Brilliant White 96" Screen
Oppo 970HD universal disc DVD Player (480i HDMI)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Panasonic DMP-BD55K Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Marantz DV7001 Universal Disc Player
Denon AVR 5308CI THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 seven Channel amplifier
Philips TSU9400 Pro Series Touch Panel Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator
Wireworld, VizionWare, Audioquest, Best Deal Cables - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package