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Malcolm X (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
attachment.php?attachmentid=235468&d=1327699952
The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

82






Studio and Year: Warner - 1992
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 201 minutes
Genre: Drama/Biopic

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, English Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish/French Dolby Stereo
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Denzel Washington, Angela Bassett, Delroy Lindo, Spike Lee, Albert Hall, Al Freeman
Directed by: Spike Lee
Music by: Terence Blanchard
Written by: Spike Lee & Arnold Perl
Region Code: A,B,C

Blu-ray Disc release Date: January 31, 2012







"By any means necessary..."



Film Synopsis:

Adapted from the novel The Autobiography Of Malcolm X written by Alex Haley, this is an amazing biopic of one of the most influential American leaders to date. It follows the life and times of Malcolm Little through his transformation to Malcolm X and his departure from the Nation of Islam. Spike Lee's epic film captures the internal struggles, the spiritual, political and structural changes that Malcolm submitted himself to throughout his life to achieve his changing goals.



My Take:

Malcolm X is co-writer/director Spike Lee's biographical homage to African American/Muslim leader Malcolm X. The film which is epic in scope as well as subject matter dramatizes key events in Malcolm X's life: his criminal career, his incarceration, his conversion to Islam, his ministry as a member of the Nation of Islam and his later falling out with the organization, his marriage to Betty X, his pilgrimage to Mecca and reevaluation of his views concerning whites, and his assassination. Events from his childhood, including his father's death, his mother's mental illness, and his experiences with racism are dramatized via flashbacks. This is sweeping biographical film about a larger than life individual whose life came full circle ending tragically. The most significant aspect which Malcolm X himself may or may not have realized before his death was that he made a difference. Historically and culturally significant Malcolm X is a powerful and evocative film that as told by co-writer/director Spike Lee is lengthy and pulls few punches on either side of the equation. Star Denzel Washington give a tour de force performance in the lead role followed by a stellar supporting cast. Malcolm X's road to the big screen wasn't without its share of obstacles but the outcome is worthy of the effort and the man himself.


Parental Guide:






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)

Audio: 80



  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109944&d=1210373692

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692



Video: 84


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


  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

Malcolm X comes to Blu-ray Disc from Warner Home Video featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 16 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 2.3 Mbps.

This is a solid looking high def catalog release that presents this 20 year old film in a positive light. It boasts clean, well depicted primary colors and a good mix of secondary hues that mate well with the source material. Resolution is discerning with varying degrees of delineation. Sharpness is stable with lucid clarity which enhances depth. Black and white levels are spot on imparts a fair amount of pop to colors and brighter exterior sequences while keeping darker or low lit segments looking noticeably punchy with quiet blacks with visibly gradational detail in shadowy backgrounds. Grain is present and moderately textured. This is a pleasing video presentation that appears faithful to the film's original elements.

The lossless soundtrack is almost entirely dialogue driven with the music score being the only other driving element. Terence Blanchard's music score holds sway over the front soundstage and is presented with open expression. The sound quality is on point and provides clear and concise voice reproduction and good front channel imaging. The surrounds are used sparingly to broaden depth and low frequency content is limited to the upper registers associated with the orchestrated music. I had no complaints with this presentation and found it to be complimentary.



Bonus Features:


  • Commentary by director Spike Lee, cinematographer Ernest Dickerson, Barry Alexander Brown, and Ruth Carter

  • By any means necessary: The making of Malcolm X - 30 minute documentary

  • 9 deleted scenes with introduction by director Spike Lee

  • Theatrical Trailer

  • Bonus DVD - 1972 Documentary Malcolm X - 90 minutes

  • Comes packaged in a 41 page Blu-ray digi-book with photos, talent files, production background and more
attachment.php?attachmentid=235470&d=1327699952

Final Thoughts:

Adapted from the novel The Autobiography Of Malcolm X written by Alex Haley, Malcolm X is co-writer/director Spike Lee's biographical homage to African American/Muslim leader Malcolm X. Historically and culturally significant Malcolm X is a powerful and evocative film that as told by co-writer/director Spike Lee is lengthy and pulls few punches on either side of the equation. It makes its debut on Blu-ray Disc from Warner Home Video featuring faithful high definition video/audio, ported over bonus supplements from the 2005 special edition DVD, the 1972 feature length documentary Malcolm X (on separate DVD) and comes packaged in an attractive digi-book keep case. For those interested in the subject matter Malcolm X shouldn't be missed and this Blu-ray release for Warner makes the experience even better.









attachment.php?attachmentid=109949&d=1210373731






Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews





Reference Review System:


JVC DLA-RS55 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100 16x9 Screen
Onkyo PR-SC5508 THX Ultra 2 Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-93 Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal 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, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package
post #2 of 23
I have been waiting for this one for ages. Thanx for the review.

SOLD!
post #3 of 23
Aw heck Ralph- now you've gone n done it. Guess I'll have to pick this one up:>)
post #4 of 23
Finally out (again), I am guessing all the original music is in tact?
post #5 of 23
Just picked up a copy at BestBuy. Thing is, they only had 5 copies that I could locate through out the whole store. Walmart had none. I'm thinking there should be more copies out there... dunno.

Looking forward to putting this up on the projector.
post #6 of 23
Got mines. It seemed like it took forever to get this released on blu ray. The book is a very nice addition too. Denzel should have definitely received an OSCAR for his portrayal of Malcolm.

But of course, he gets the OSCAR for portraying a crooked cop in Training Day. Really lame.
post #7 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Basenco View Post

Got mines. It seemed like it took forever to get this released on blu ray. The book is a very nice addition too. Denzel should have definitely received an OSCAR for his portrayal of Malcolm.

But of course, he gets the OSCAR for portraying a crooked cop in Training Day. Really lame.

Agreed. Similar thing happened to Poitier.
post #8 of 23
The only upstaging Denzel had was Delroy Lindo. He really came across well. Speakin of Syndey, have you guys seen him play Nelson?
post #9 of 23
post #10 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Basenco View Post

Got mines. It seemed like it took forever to get this released on blu ray. The book is a very nice addition too. Denzel should have definitely received an OSCAR for his portrayal of Malcolm.

But of course, he gets the OSCAR for portraying a crooked cop in Training Day. Really lame.

I agree. Training Day was a movie that strained reasoning and Denzel had no businsess receiving an Oscar for this role over Malcom X. I remember when Denzel and Halle Barrey both won Oscar's at the same time, and Denzel remarked "...two for the price of one." Halle did not deserve an Oscar for that lame movie she appeared in as a Ho Ho Ho. Now if that sanitized movie "The Help" wins an Oscar, we are on notice as to the mentality of those voting on the Oscars.

Quote:
Originally Posted by javry View Post

The only upstaging Denzel had was Delroy Lindo. He really came across well. Speakin of Syndey, have you guys seen him play Nelson?

Denzel's role in Malcom X reminds me of Jamie Foxx's role in Ray Charles. Both transform themselve into their respecitive characters that they transformed themselves into the character. Now Delroy Lindo acts well in every movie I have seen him. In fact, I never knew his name until you listed it, and I looked up his photograph. I never thought he would have a name that sounds like a Star Wars character. He is a great actor just the same. I'm on the fence on purchasing the blu-ray as I own a couple of copies of the DVD, and from the scores by Ralph, I cannot be sure I will receive a sonically and visually improved product.
post #11 of 23
This was a very good movie, which fell short of being the classic that it aimed to be.

I really wish Spike had not put himself in the movie at all; he's ALWAYS the worst actor on screen in any of his films, by far. The film's major shortcoming, however, is that it never strays from the autobiography. It's incredibly faithful and Spike never even conceived of the possibility of developing his own point of view with the material.

Still a good movie, and it looks like it's received the care and attention it deserves for this blu ray transfer.
post #12 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by audio/videoman View Post

I really wish Spike had not put himself in the movie at all; he's ALWAYS the worst actor on screen in any of his films, by far. The film's major shortcoming, however, is that it never strays from the autobiography. It's incredibly faithful and Spike never even conceived of the possibility of developing his own point of view with the material.

Still a good movie, and it looks like it's received the care and attention it deserves for this blu ray transfer.

I know what you mean about Spike's acting as he always comes across as Mars in "She's Gotta Have It." But, I felt he did a convincing as well as great job playing Malcom's friend in Malcom X. Here, Spike Lee was a convincing jitterbug. Finally, the fact that Spike Lee never strayed from the book is what makes this movie so great in my opinion. If he had strayed and developed his own point of view, it would be fiction.
post #13 of 23
I wouldn't have minded fictionalization, as long as it was true to the spirit of the autobio. Even doing further research, and adding nuances not really discussed in the autobio would have been fine.

This is certainly a good, even very good film, but it's just missing that nth degree of insight, of joy, of spontaneity, something, which would have made it truly great.

Spike is at his best making films about 'da neighborhood (usually somewhere in NYC, especially brooklyn), but the much grander scope of this film does not seem to quite suit him.

Ultimately, I fear that the grandeur and charisma of Malcolm X's own personality would ultimately overshadow any fictionalized work about him, and that's not a bad thing.
post #14 of 23
I read several detailed reviews for this blu ray and purchased it accordingly.

I must say, there are some serious problems with picture quality. The most serious is that there are literally "stripes" of light and dark bands of grain. It's quite intrusive and noticeable in a number of scenes.

Second, there is haloing which again, is quite extreme and not subtle at all.

There are some scenes which are extremely sharp and detailed, but at least the first half of the film is shrouded in the odd bands of grain I note above.

I am very disappointed with these problems, and recommend not buying this BR disk.
post #15 of 23
wow - I'm sorry to hear that. But then again it's probably good to know. guess I'll follow suit and take a pass.
post #16 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by javry View Post

wow - I'm sorry to hear that. But then again it's probably good to know. guess I'll follow suit and take a pass.

Greetings,

FWIW I didn't have any issues like those described by audio/videoman. Your call of course..

Regards,
post #17 of 23
While I found Denzel Washington's preformance as truly a transformation to the character, he was short changed by Spike Lee.

There was a great movie somewhere in Malcolm X but Spike Lee failed to make the necessary editing decisions to make the story concise and relevant to who Malcolm X was.

A bit less of the street criminal would have worked wonders for this film. The whole purpose of showing Malcolm's early life was to set up the transformation he made. Spike overdid this part of the story.
post #18 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by aydu View Post

While I found Denzel Washington's preformance as truly a transformation to the character, he was short changed by Spike Lee.

There was a great movie somewhere in Malcolm X but Spike Lee failed to make the necessary editing decisions to make the story concise and relevant to who Malcolm X was.

A bit less of the street criminal would have worked wonders for this film. The whole purpose of showing Malcolm's early life was to set up the transformation he made. Spike overdid this part of the story.

Maybe Lee was trying to be faithful to the Alex Haley/Malcolm X book - i.e., gave the same proportionate amounts of film time to the various parts of Malcolm's life that the book did. It's been years since I've read it, though, so I can't affirm that this is the case. Lee's portrait of Malcolm X (based on Malcolm's selective telling of his life to Alex) now has to be reconsidered in light of Manning Marable's book, I would think.
post #19 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by aydu View Post

A bit less of the street criminal would have worked wonders for this film. The whole purpose of showing Malcolm's early life was to set up the transformation he made. Spike overdid this part of the story.

I have to respectfully disagree. Malcolm's street life was longer than his "straight" life, and again, remains faithful to the book by Alex Haley. If you read it, you would have a better appreciation for the movie.
post #20 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by gbaby View Post

I have to respectfully disagree. Malcolm's street life was longer than his "straight" life, and again, remains faithful to the book by Alex Haley. If you read it, you would have a better appreciation for the movie.

Of course his childhood was long too. Probably didn't need proportional time given to diaper changing and his adjustment from formula to solid food.

Reading Mario Puzo's "Godfather" you see how just following a book to the screen would make for a drag of a movie. That is what a screenplay is supposed to do, as opposed to the book it is based upon.

Of course, opinions are like noses - everybody has one.

I will admit that nobody has offered me millions of dollars to make a movie.
post #21 of 23
If I'm remembering correctly, Lee was "pulled" from this project. It was starting to go over-schedule, as well as over the alloted budget.
post #22 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by aydu View Post

.

Of course, opinions are like noses - everybody has one.

I will admit that nobody has offered me millions of dollars to make a movie.

Again, having read the book made me appreciate the movie. By way of example, in the book Malcom describes a dance called the lindyhop or something of that nature. He also described a Zoot Suit. I saw both in the movie but had no awareness of either. The movie was very faithful to the book and actually it put the print in picture.
post #23 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by gbaby View Post

Again, having read the book made me appreciate the movie. By way of example, in the book Malcom describes a dance called the lindyhop or something of that nature. He also described a Zoot Suit. I saw both in the movie but had no awareness of either. The movie was very faithful to the book and actually it put the print in picture.


Think I'll have to agree. I read the book years before watching the movie and to me his street life and the transformation that took place afterward IS the story - or at least a major part of it. IOW, I don't think you really get "Malcolm X" without reflecting him against the "Malcolm" he was before prison.
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