A River Runs Through It (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 16 Old 07-22-2009, 12:41 PM - Thread Starter
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attachment.php?attachmentid=148376&d=1248290637
The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

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

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

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

81






Studio and Year: Columbia Picture - 1992
MPAA Rating: PG
Feature running time: 124 Minutes
Genre: Drama

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): English/French Dolby TrueHD 5.1, Spanish/Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese
Starring: Tom Skerritt, Craig Sheffer, Bran Pitt, Brenda Blethyn, Emily Lloyd
Directed by: Robert Redford
Music by: Mark Isham
Written by: Richard Friedenberg based upon the story by Norman Maclean
Region Code: A,B,C

Blu-ray Disc release Date: July 28, 2009







"The story of an American Family"



Film Synopsis:

Academy Award(r)-winner Robert Redford (Best Director, Ordinary People, 1980) captures the majesty of the Montana wilderness and the strength of the American family in this acclaimed adaptation of Norman Maclean's classic memoir. Craig Sheffer stars as the young Norman, and Brad Pitt stars as his brother Paul, an irresistible daredevil driven to challenge the world. Growing up, both boys rebel against their stern minister father. While Norman channels his rebellion into writing, Paul descends a slippery path to self-destruction. Co-starring Tom Skerritt as the Reverend Maclean and Emily Lloyd as wild-hearted Jessie Burns.



My Take:

A river runs through it is a film based upon the novella by Norman Maclean. The story is about his family and experiences growing up in Montana on the Blackfoot River between 1910 and 1940. Like the book, the film opens with the line in our family, there was no clear line between religion and fly fishing. The film is narrated by Director Robert Redford who acts as the book's voice (Norman) by reading segments taken directly from it. The effect is excellent as his interjected narrative truly enlivens the story. It is clearly obvious that this is a personal story about real people, situations and how they all affected one another. This is a drama that isn't meant to be surrealistic with larger than life characters. It relates the simple familial connection between two brothers, their father and how fly fishing was able to establish a common ground that bound them. Montana's Blackfoot river has an integral a part in the story as its characters. According to director Robert Redford the story ties religion, family and fishing together in an unusual and poetic fashion. It contains a deep understanding of the complexities of family life. This is not an in depth biographical account or every aspect of Norman's life during that period but it depicts life in the small rural Montana community, the values instilled and held true by the Maclean family as well as the complexities of the family dynamic and how its ramifications come to have a lasting effect on those involved.

I like this movie and own the original DVD released which I have seen several times. Like the story the pacing is slow and deliberate but I find that it coincides well with the material. The film carefully establishes the relationship between Paul and Norman as well as their relationship with their parents. There is no mistaking the importance of fly fishing and its correlation to this family. The Maclean's are portrayed as strong yet fallible people who have a great respect for one another. It is clearly evident that Paul is the favorite while Norman is the son who achieves to please. He is by no means weak but his star has a bit less luster than Paul's. Norman attends college at Dartmouth, falls in love with Jessie (from a nearby town), and becomes a college professor. Paul attends college locally, works for newspaper and develops several vices which include gambling, drinking, and brawling. The film downplays these aspects of Paul's life but it is he who ultimately becomes to cause of heartache and grief for his family. I appreciate the sincerity and integrity that Norman used to draw the members of his family. Paul's shortcomings are alluded to and shown briefly but it wasn't tough to read between the lines. His wife Jessie is depicted as witty, honest, and fiery but her part in the story while given importance isn't extensive. The three main players, Skerritt, Sheffer, and Pitt do well in their respective roles. Tom Skerritt excels in parts like this and I always find him to be genuine and charismatic. This isn't a perfect film but Robert Redford and cinematographer Philippe Rousselot capture the essence of these characters and the beautifully rustic world that they inhabited. I wouldn't call it a feel good movie but I find that there is something alluring and entertaining about it.





Parental Guide:

The rating is for thematic elements and brief 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)

Audio: 76



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

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

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109944&d=1210373692

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

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



Video: 86


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


  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

A river runs through it comes to Blu-ray from Columbia Pictures featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 25 mbps and lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 channel audio that has an average bitrate of 1.3 mbps.

This is a beautifully shot film that looked very good on DVD but this high definition presentation takes it to another level entirely. The lush forest hills and valleys, wide open vistas and fast running water of Montana look terrific. Images are crisp with high level detail and sparkling clarity that enrich nearly everything captured by the camera's eye. Bright exterior sequences tend to look the best as contrast and brightness achieve an excellent balance that when coupled with the video's high resolution has a resplendent quality that can be striking. The segments shot at night aren't as definitively resolved and soften just a bit but fidelity appears to remain intact. Blacks are fairly deep and gradationally strong which enhances the perception of depth in low light. The variety of earth tones and bold primary colors are naturally rendered with appreciable variety and tonal separation. Grain is preserved naturally and is visible throughout the course of the film. It takes on a bit more prominence in darker scenes but is never problematic. This film has never looked better on home video.

This Dolby TrueHD soundtrack does a commendable job with the 17 year old elements present in this recording. The audio maintains a front oriented perspective with a fairly wide soundstage that exhibits good directional spacing and clearly articulated dialogue that reaches well into the room. There isn't much in the way of discrete surround sound or extended dynamics however the outdoor fireworks sequence does provide noticeable low level punch. Mark Isham's superb music score is rich in detail and sounds airy, elegant and smooth as it is spread out over the front three channels. I thought this audio presentation complimented the film and sounded great.



Bonus Features:


  • (HD) Deep currents: Making A river runs through it - 30 minute featurette

  • (HD) The Blackfoot Challenge: Rescuing a river - 15 minute documentary

  • (HD) Casting a line: A beginners guide to fly fishing - 6 minute feature

  • (HD) 17 deleted scenes

  • On the Blackfoot river in high definition - 4 selectable Montana settings in HD with 5.1 channel sound and optional music

  • Comes packaged in a 32 page book with photos, talent files, production background and more

  • BD-Live enabled



Final Thoughts:

A river runs through it is the portrait of an American family that is based on the autobiographical book of the same name by Norman Maclean and put to film by director Robert Redford. It is a simple yet engaging drama about a deeply loving family, but a family that was troubled and whose members finally could not understand each other. It is a poignant story about life and real people that I enjoy revisiting from time to time. Sony/Columbia Pictures has done a commendable job with its debut in high definition on Blu-ray Disc. It looks terrific and features a wonderful and thoughtful set of bonus supplements (including Blu-ray disc exclusives) that are both worthy and appropriate of this excellent film. This is an easy recommendation for an upgrade over any previous home video release. If you have never seen this film I can't think of a better way to experience for the first time.









attachment.php?attachmentid=109949&d=1210373731






Ralph Potts
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Reference Review System:


JVC DLA-RS20 1080p High Definition Front Projector (Calibrated by Jeff Meier)
Carada Precision Brilliant White 96" Screen
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post #2 of 16 Old 07-22-2009, 09:24 PM
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Great review,Ralph.My hand is shaking for pick this BD now.
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post #3 of 16 Old 07-23-2009, 12:56 PM
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Thats great to hear Ralph.

I love this movie and never owned the DVD. Will be pickup up the BD for sure.
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post #4 of 16 Old 07-24-2009, 11:29 AM
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"Like the story the pacing is slow and deliberate" sums it up.

I never really cared much for it as I tried a few times back when. Cannot hurt I suppose to watch it again this time using the BD.
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post #5 of 16 Old 07-24-2009, 01:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robertc88 View Post

"Like the story the pacing is slow and deliberate" sums it up.

I never really cared much for it as I tried a few times back when. Cannot hurt I suppose to watch it again this time using the BD.

Robert,

I never understood the fascination with this film either. If I get a chance I may give it a spin, but I have a tower full of movies on my desk right now!

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post #6 of 16 Old 07-24-2009, 02:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Vaughn View Post

Robert,

I never understood the fascination with this film either. If I get a chance I may give it a spin, but I have a tower full of movies on my desk right now!

Greetings,

Oh stop your whining..

All kidding aside I think this is one of those films that either grabs you or doesn't. More than likely if it didn't appeal to you then it won't now but it can't hurt to give it a rent and see Robert.

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post #7 of 16 Old 07-24-2009, 03:34 PM
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Ralph..who's complaining? Not me...never (well....almost never)!

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post #8 of 16 Old 07-25-2009, 03:39 PM
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This film's end gets me every time I watch it. Maybe for obvious reasons. And maybe for some not so obvious reasons. The not so obvious: there's a possibility that you have to be some place in your life where you've lost so many loved ones that the film takes on greater meaning. But don't get me wrong; it's an entertaining, well made movie.
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post #9 of 16 Old 07-26-2009, 11:07 AM
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I absolutely LOVE this film. Sure it's slow paced but it actually tells a story with no cgi and mindless action. I have never fished before or have the desire to but loved this film.

My equipment: JVC RS55 for 2D, BenQ W7000 for 3D, Carada 40x117 2.925:1 AR BW Criterion screen, Navatar .8 HD conversion lens, Darbee Darblet, region free Oppo BP93, Toshiba HD-A35 HD-DVD, JVC HD-DH5U D-Theater, Mitsubishi HS-HD 20000 DVHS, Pioneer CLD-97 LD player/AC-3 mod, B&K AC3 Demodulator
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post #10 of 16 Old 07-26-2009, 02:13 PM
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First, since this is my first time posting on here, thank you Ralph for these wonderful reviews.

Second, I am glad to read they have done a good job on this, as I've always considered it an underrated film.

Third, read the book - it is amazing.
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post #11 of 16 Old 07-28-2009, 09:17 PM
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Love the beautiful landscape views of this film and it was great picture transfer for the old film.
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post #12 of 16 Old 08-08-2009, 07:52 AM
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I will be getting this asap. This is one of my most favorite movies.
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post #13 of 16 Old 08-11-2009, 04:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by butsu View Post

Love the beautiful landscape views of this film and it was great picture transfer for the old film.

This is why I wished it was shot in scope. Why they didn't makes no sense to me.

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post #14 of 16 Old 02-14-2010, 05:32 AM
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Went back to this one the other day. All in all I agree with the review but I'd give the PQ scoring a bit higher. Why? I played it while some friends were visiting and their eyes were glued to the screen!
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post #15 of 16 Old 03-15-2010, 10:17 AM
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This disc is on my wants list & after reading the review I will be buying it sooner rather than later, I have the DVD but films like this were made for Blu Ray with such stunning scenery.
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post #16 of 16 Old 03-19-2010, 02:49 PM - Thread Starter
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This disc is on my wants list & after reading the review I will be buying it sooner rather than later, I have the DVD but films like this were made for Blu Ray with such stunning scenery.

Greetings,





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