The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Warner - 1983
MPAA Rating: PG
Feature running time: 193 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Audio Format(s): English Dolby TrueHD 5.1, English/French/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Ed Harris, Dennis Quaid, Fred Ward, Scott Glenn, Scott Paulin, Sam Shepard, Barbara Hershey, Pamela Reed, Kim Stanley, Veronica Cartwright, Lance Henriksen, Charles Frank
Written & Directed by: Philip Kaufman
Music by: Bill Conti
Based on the book by: Tom Wolfe
Region Code: A,B,C
Blu-ray Disc release Date: November 5, 2013
Epic and glorious were America's dreams to master the sky and journey into space. Also epic and glorious is this landmark movie about one adventurous test pilot, seven brave astronauts and the colorful era that forged their heroism. The Right Stuff Chronicles the story of the pioneering Mercury astronauts: the first Americans to ride a primitive spacecraft solo into a mew frontier. Preceding them in the history books was the legendary Chuck Yeager, who far removed from the awesome media spotlight that would focus on the "spacemen" a decade later, became the first man to break the sound barrier piloting the fabled X-1.
The time was the late 1940s. World War II had just ended and the United States was entering into a new kind of war, a Cold War. New technology and the development of high-speed aircraft became one of the centerpieces of this new kind of conflict. The race to space between the United States and the Soviet Union had just begun. Adapted from Tom Wolfe’s best-selling book, The Right Stuff tells the heroic story of Chuck Yeager (the first person to fly faster than the speed of sound), the Flying Fraternity and the Mercury Astronauts – the first Americans in space. The bravery and daring exploits of these men captured the imagination of the American public during the 1940s and 1950s,and The Right Stuff re-creates these breathtaking events in emotionally riveting and suspenseful detail.
As a kid (I was 4 or 5) I remember watching Neil Armstrong’s historic walk on the moon and later hearing about but don’t specifically recall the plight of Apollo 13. After that in the mid 70’s and early 80’s I remember watching the Apollo mission launches on TV and like most followed the stories with interest. I loved reading about the space program, its history and the men who bravely paved the way into space travel. When The Right Stuff was released I went with some friends to see it and it was a memorable experience. Based on Tom Wolfe’s book of the same name it’s an epic and evocative biographical film with a rousing sense of adventure that at 19 years old touched me leaving me feeling extremely proud to be an American.
Screenwriter/director Philip Kaufman did a marvelous job preserving the innate spirit of Wolfe’s narrative as he carefully framed its sweeping elements. I love the Chuck Yeager storyline, its integral importance and how it is portrayed both before and after the space race. By today’s standards the special effects are pretty dated but pre CGI the use of miniatures, integrated archival footage and well crafted cinematography were top notch and in that regard it holds up well. The cast consisted of at that time a group of relatively unknown young actors. As we know many have gone on to distinguished careers in Hollywood. It’s hard to believe it has been 30 years since The Right Stuff came out. Three decades later it remains relevant, stirring and classic American filmmaking that generations can enjoy.
The rating is for language and thematic content.
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 Right Stuff comes to Blu-ray Disc from Warner Home Video featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 22 Mbps and lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 sound that has an average bitrate of 1.4 Mbps.
This high definition presentation renders good overall image quality that appears faithful to the film’s original elements. Its high definition video delivers appreciable levels of detail during close up and select wide angle camera shots. The exterior shots of the wide open filming locations look vivid with naturally rendered colors and estimable but limited depth. The majority of the time the visuals didn’t have a high level of image penetration. Sharpness is consistent but the video innately never attains what I would call lucid clarity. The variety of period colors and earth toned hues were reproduced cleanly and appeared gradationally satisfying. Blacks are punchy and contrast is stable which aids depth perception in low lit sequences. Grain is preserved naturally and is noticeable throughout. While this presentation lacks the polish of today’s new movie releases coming to Blu-ray Disc, this encoding appears faithful to the film’s original elements and looks decent in high definition.
The high resolution Dolby TrueHD 5.1 channel mix does a terrific job rendering the film’s soundtrack. Dialogue has appreciable vocal character and above average room penetration. This is a more or less front oriented presentation that makes use of the entire system to deliver a rewarding audio experience. The surrounds are utilized for atmospheric extension and directional pans while appropriately applied dynamics and mid to upper level bass combine to provide solidity that enhances both the music and effects without sounding distractingly unnatural. I was pleased with the outcome of this audio presentation. It highlights the strengths of the source material without ostentatious display and sounds great.
I received this announcement on November 7th regarding The Right Stuff 30th anniversary edition on Blu-ray:
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has become aware of and confirmed that The Right Stuff 30th Anniversary Blu-ray Book released on Nov. 5, 2013 went to market without the 96K upsampling feature enabled. Steps are being taken to resolve the issue at the current time.
I will update this review with any new information going forward.
- The Right Stuff Blu-ray (BD-50)
Disc 2: (DVD)
- Special Features:
- Audio Commentary: The journey and the mission featuring scene specific discussion with the cast and filmmakers
- Realizing The Right Stuff – 21 minute documentary
- T-20 years and counting – 11 minute featurette
- The real men with the right stuff – 15 minute documentary
- Interactive timeline to space
- John Glenn: American Hero – 86 minute PBS documentary
- Theatrical Trailer
- Comes packaged in a an attractive Blu-ray book with photos, talent files, production background, a letter from director Philip Kaufman and more
Based on Tom Wolfe’s book of the same name The Right Stuff is an epic and evocative biographical film that 30 years after its premiere remains relevant, stirring and classic American filmmaking that generations can enjoy. It makes it debut on Blu-ray featuring faithful audio/video quality, vintage bonus features and a wonderful commemorative Blu-ray Book keep case. As a fan of the film I am pleased to add this Blu-ray release from Warner Home video to my video library. If you have never seen this award winning piece of American Cinema I can’t think of a better introduction than this. Recommended.
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JVC DLA-RS55 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6 Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV8801 11.2 Channel Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-103 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
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package