The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Miramax - 2008
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 94 minutes
Disc Format: BD-25
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Vera Farmiga, David Thewlis, Asa Butterfield, Rupert Friend
Written & Directed by: Mark Herman - Based on the novel by John Boyne
Music by: James Horner
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: July 19, 2011
"Lines may divide us, but hope will unite us"
Based on the best-selling novel by John Boyne, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is the inspiring story of an eight-year-old boy, Bruno, who strikes up an unusual friendship with a Jewish boy during World War II. Their friendship proves both ordinary and remarkable, both inspiring and tragic.
Set during World War II, The Boy in the striped pajamas is a story as seen through the innocent eyes of Bruno an eight year old boy who seeks adventure and friendship. Growing up in Berlin he lived a sheltered and well to do life, far from the reality of the war and the atrocities that came along with it. His father is a German SS officer and accepts a promotion that requires the family to move to a new home in the country. Once there, Bruno, lonely and searching for a playmate (s), notices a farm nearby where all the workers wear pajamas. He mentions this to his mother who sidesteps his questions and directs him not to leave the home's compound. Bruno notices that Pavel, a servant that works on the grounds, wears the same pajamas. Curious and bored Bruno sneaks off and through the woods where he comes to the fenced in farm. There on the other side of the fence he encounters an eight year old boy named Shmuel. Bruno asks questions about his clothing, his family and games he plays on the farm. Shmuel tells him that it's a work camp not a farm, he is a Jew, the soldiers put him there, and he cannot leave. The two instantly become friends with Bruno frequently sneaking out to see him. Meanwhile at home Bruno is slowly coming to the realization that what is going on at the camp is connected to his father and the war. He also sees that the people in the striped pajamas are considered vastly inferior and treated as such by the German soldiers. He is troubled by this and struggles with his feelings. The effects aren't limited to Bruno as the once happy family unit begins to fracture when faced with the realities that surround their new home. For the two little boys who see beyond the boundaries that separate them, friendship means forever
This is an evocative and poignant film in its depiction of loss of innocence, the escalation of hatred/anti-Semitism and the atrocities of the holocaust. At its heart it is really more of a story about this family and the destructiveness of secrets/lies and misguidance. The narrative as seen through Bruno's eyes is conveyed from a child's narrower perspective. It isn't perfectly constructed but bearing that in mind makes its minor shortcomings easy to forgive. This is a thematically driven film with well drawn characters that are designed to connect us with these two little boys, and what they shared. I found the culmination of the story to have an unyielding and effecting resonance that was perfectly implemented. I must admit that listening to the German soldiers speaking with British accents took a little getting used but luckily their credibility isn't integral. The performances of Vera Farmiga, David Hayman, Asa Butterfield and Rupert Friend are on point in eliciting an emotive response to their characters and the story. I thoroughly enjoyed The boy in the striped pajamas.
The rating is for some mature thematic material involving the holocaust.
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 boy in the striped pajamas comes to Blu-ray Disc from Lionsgate featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate 18 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.1 Mbps.
This 1.85:1 framed Blu-ray Disc presentation features a solid looking video encoding that boasts stable contrast, bright, detailed whites, and gradationally enhanced grays. This coupled along with punchy blacks and delineated shadow detail gives images both light and dark excellent depth. The video is crisp and definitively resolved as fidelity appears to be intact. Wide angle shots have appreciable dimension with clear rendering of objects within foregrounds and backgrounds. Close ups reveal lots of subtle refinement as the intricate textures within facial features, clothing, and objects is easily discernible. This isn't an overly colorful film. Many sequences have a filtered and de-saturated appearance that seems to coincide with the director's intention. Deep shades of blue and green stand out nicely against the muted chromatic range and look great. Skin tones rarely yield any truly defining complexional characteristics but all appear natural within the scope of the source material. On occasion sharpness wavers however it appears innate and isn't distracting. Overall quality is excellent as the video has a pristine and dimensionally strong perspective that is visually pleasing.
The DTS-HD Master Audio sound mix is perfectly suited to the source material. Dialogue is rendered clearly with good intonation and average room penetration. The bulk of the presentation is handled by the front three channels. Imaging and directional spacing is excellent as soundstage pans are seamlessly integrated. James Horner's music score is reproduced by the entire sound platform with the front channels containing the orchestrated instrumentation and the rear channels providing ambient extension. The orchestrated elements are clear, sibilant free and dynamically satisfying. Surround sound activity is limited to subtle venue replication via atmospheric ambient extension and occasional discrete sound placement.
- Audio commentary with Writer/Director Mark Herman and Author John Boyne
- (HD) 5 Deleted scenes - With optional commentary by Writer/Director Mark Herman and Author John Boyne)
- (HD) Friendship Beyond the Fence featurette - 20 minute look behind the scenes with cast/crew
The boy in the striped pajamas is the big screen adaptation of the best-selling novel by John Boyne. It is stirring and poignant in its depiction of loss of innocence, the escalation of hatred/anti-Semitism and the atrocities of the holocaust but at its heart it is really a story about family and the destructiveness of secrets/lies and misguidance. It makes its debut on Blu-ray Disc from Lionsgate featuring excellent high definition video quality and crystal clear DTS-HD Master Audio sound. Lionsgate has ported over the bonus features included on the DVD release which consists of a making of featurette, filmmaker commentary and a handful of deleted scenes. I thoroughly enjoyed The boy in the striped pajamas and highly recommend it for genre fans.
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