Funny Games (1997) Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
Forum Jump: 
  • 1 Post By Lee Weber
  • 1 Post By Ralph Potts
  • 1 Post By rdgrimes
  • 1 Post By muffinmcfluffin
Thread Tools
post #1 of 4 Old 05-23-2019, 06:04 PM - Thread Starter
Mod & Bluray Reviewer
Lee Weber's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Boston
Posts: 2,534
Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 178 Post(s)
Liked: 483
Funny Games (1997) Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review

Two violent young men take a mother, father, and son hostage in their vacation cabin and force them to play sadistic "games" with one another for their own amusement.

The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )



Audio/UHD Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )



Studio and Year: 1997 Criterion
MPAA Rating: NR
Feature running time: 109 Min
Genre: Pshycological Thriller, Crime

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

Audio Format(s): Greman: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Subtitles: English
Starring: Susanne Lothar, Ulrich Mühe, Arno Frisch, Frank Giering
Directed by: Michael Haneke
Music by: Michael Haneke
Written by: Michael Haneke
Region Code: A

Release Date: Mayr 14th, 2019

"A Nightmare."

My Take:

From Criterion:
Michael Haneke’s most notorious provocation, Funny Games spares no detail in its depiction of the agony of a bourgeois family held captive at their vacation home by a pair of white-gloved young men. In a series of escalating “games,” the sadistic duo subject their victims to unspeakable physical and psychological torture over the course of a night. A home-invasion thriller in which the genre’s threat of bloodshed is made stomach-churningly real, the film ratchets up shocks even as its executioners interrupt the action to address the audience, drawing queasy attention to the way that cinema milks pleasure from pain and stokes our appetite for atrocity. With this controversial treatise on violence and entertainment, Haneke issued a summation of his cinematic philosophy, implicating his audience in a spectacle of unbearable cruelty.

Oh Funny Games, what did you do to me?? I watched you captivated by your interesting structure and great casting. Coupled with being stylistically dealt out in a way where things happen when we are not looking (dropping of the eggs) combined with seeing gut and heart-wrenching crimes, Haneke's riff on violence and entertainment is filmed and delivered just as our antagonists would want; for entertainment-- And Haneke knows he is pulling this off when he breaks the fourth wall by having one of the bad guys look and wink to the camera (see the top photo). There is no deeper meaning here than that, which to me was the Achilles heel of the film. I wanted some background, some answers. Some viewers enjoy the feeling of ending up guessing. Id like to know just a little more-- otherwise what is that point? This is why I am torn with enjoying the film. My reaction is just what he was shooting for; how did this film of torture and torment entertain me?? Give it a shot if you dare.

Replay Value:

Parental Guide:

Frightening and Intense scenes, and mild nudity

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.**

Audio: 78
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Dynamics:
  • Low frequency effects:
  • Surround Sound presentation:
  • Clarity/Detail:
  • Dialog Reproduction:
  • DSU/DTS Neural:X Rating * (non-rated element): NA

Video: 82
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity:
  • Black Level/Shadow Detail:
  • Color Reproduction:
  • Fleshtones:
  • Compression:

Funny Games comes to Blu-ray from Criterion featuring 1080p AVC encoded video and lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 that has an average bitrate of 3.2 Mbps.

The new 2K digital restoration, supervised by director Michael Haneke is intended to be a faithful rendition of its 35mm source. I can report that it showcases the film gorgeously. Other than the slightly soft long intro panning shot of the family's car driving to their peaceful vacation home, the film was rendered without issue. Colors flesh-tones were very satisfying as was the delineation of finer details. Black levels during darker scenes were stable and the 3mm film grain was left intact.

The DTS-HD lossless audio track did a nice yet plain jane job. I could have used more oomph when the Death Metal was cut into the film with its wink-nod to the audience. Dialogue and basic atmospherics were handled well and the mix was clear and spacious. I'll remember this for its Video, however, the limited need for the audio track too wow is most likely the reason.

Bonus Features:
  • HD: New interviews with Haneke and actor Arno Frisch
  • HD: New interview with film historian Alexander Horwath
  • HD: Press conference from the 1997 Cannes Film Festival featuring Haneke and actors Susanne Lothar and Ulrich Mühe
  • HD: Trailer
  • HD: New English subtitle translation
  • Booklet: An essay by critic Bilge Ebiri

Final Thoughts:
Funny Games has an unsettling charm that seemed to lure me in, even when I was made uncomfortably numb; which that is a testament to the direction, cinematography, and acting. After the viewing a put on Michael Haneke’s American remake from 2007, which was as close to shot for shot as you can get; it was a worth-while (re)watch. I wish there was an added feature with comparisons documenting the 2 films. That being said, I was disappointed with the lack of supplemental features, however, the new 2K digital restoration made up for it and will certainly please fans....can a film like this have them??

Lee Weber
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

Sony VPL-VW695ES 4K UHD HDR Front Projector
Next Level Acoustics Cineweave 138" 2.35:1 Acoustically Transparent Screen
Da-Lite Pro Imager Projector Screen Masking System
Yamaha CX-A5200 AV Processor - Calibrated by Jeff Meier @ Accucal
ATI AT4000 Signature Series Amplifiers 11x200 Watts
Sony UBP-X1000ES 4K UHD HDR Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Roku Ultra 4K Ultra HD HDR Streamer (HDMI Audio/Video)
Next Level Acoustics- CI-IWHD Monitors x3 (LCR)
Next Level Acoustics- CI-IW55 x4 (Surrounds)
Next Level Acoustics- CI-IC44A x4 (Atmos)
Next Level Acoustics- CI-HV15 Sub
Tributaries Interconnects
Audioquest Speaker Wires

Sony 75" MASTER Series Z9F XBR-75Z9F 4K UHD HDR LED
Anthem MRX-520-AV Receiver
Sony UBP-X1000ES 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Roku Ultra 4K UHD HDR Streamer (HDMI Audio/Video)
Next Level Acoustics- Fusion Cinema Trio
Next Level Acoustics- CI-IWSUR6.1
Next Level Acoustics- CI-IW10S Subwoofer
Tributaries Interconnects
AudioQuest Speaker Wires
Ralph Potts likes this.

Last edited by Lee Weber; 05-23-2019 at 06:15 PM.
Lee Weber is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 4 Old 05-24-2019, 06:58 AM
Blu-ray Reviewer
Ralph Potts's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Middletown NY
Posts: 13,801
Mentioned: 81 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1622 Post(s)
Liked: 5646

Thanks Lee!

Lee Weber likes this.

Ralph C. Potts
Blu-ray Reviewer
My Home Theater
Follow me on Twitter @RalphAVSreviews
Ralph Potts is online now  
post #3 of 4 Old 05-24-2019, 08:15 AM
AVS Forum Addicted Member
rdgrimes's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Nuevo Mexico
Posts: 21,522
Mentioned: 23 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3744 Post(s)
Liked: 2941
I've watched both versions. I don't think I have a clear favorite, but the bad guys in the original do seem more psychotic.
Lee Weber likes this.
rdgrimes is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #4 of 4 Old 05-24-2019, 09:13 AM
AVS Forum Special Member
muffinmcfluffin's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: San Bruno, California
Posts: 1,775
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 318 Post(s)
Liked: 196
I've only seen the remake. It's an upsetting watch, but I certainly did like it too.

Maybe I'll check out the original.
Lee Weber likes this.

Living Room: Samsung PN60F8500 PDP / Anthem MRX 720 / Klipsch RC-62 II / Klipsch RF-82 II (x2) / SVS PC13-Ultra / Sony MDR-7506 Professional / Sony PS3 / DirecTV HR44-500 / DarbeeVision DVP-5000 Darblet / Panamax M5400-PM / miniDSP UMIK‑1 USB
Bedroom: Samsung PN59D7000 PDP / Energy Power Bar Elite Soundbar & SW / Astro A50 / Sony PS4 / DirecTV C41W-500 / DarbeeVision DVP-5000 Darblet / Hauppauge HD PVR 2
Classroom: SMART Board X800 / Yamaha RX-V667 / Insignia NS-B2111 (x2) / SVS SB-2000
muffinmcfluffin is offline  
Sponsored Links
Reply Official AVS Forum® Blu-ray Disc Reviews

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off