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post #1 of 13 Old 10-21-2019, 01:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Scarface: The World is Yours Limited Edition Ultra HD Blu-ray Review



Ralph Potts reviews Scarface, the pop-culture phenomenon that redefined the gangster genre, which stars Al Pacino as the iconic Tony Montana, a small-time Cuban refugee hoodlum who guns his way to the top of Miami's cocaine empire. It is making its debut on Ultra HD Blu-ray in this “The World is Yours” Limited Edition Gift set and Gold Edition releases from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.



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

Film:

Extras:

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

83



Details:

Studio and Year: Universal - 1983
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 170 minutes
Genre: Drama

Disc Format: BD-66
Encoding: HEVC
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Resolution: 2160p/24

Audio Format(s): English DTS:X/Master Audio 7.1, DTS Stereo, Spanish/French DTS Mono
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Starring: Al Pacino, Robert Loggia, Steven Bauer, Michelle Pfeiffer, F. Murray Abraham, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio
Directed by: Brian DiPalma
Music by: Giorgio Moroder
Written by: Oliver Stone
Region Code: A,B,C


Release Date: October 15, 2019


"Say Hello to my Little Friend!"


Synopsis:

“Al Pacino gives an unforgettable performance as Tony Montana, one of the most ruthless gangsters ever depicted on film, in this gripping crime epic inspired by the 1932 classic of the same title. Scarface follows the violent career of a small-time Cuban refugee hoodlum who guns his way to the top of Miami's cocaine empire.” – Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

My Take:

I Reviewed Scarface when it was released on Blu-ray back in 2011. My comments from that review are included below along with new ratings for the Ultra HD video, DTS:X sound and bonus material.

In the spring of 1980, the Mariel boatlift brought thousands of Cuban refugees to the sun-washed avenues of Miami in search of the American dream. Scarface is the rags-to-riches story of Tony Montana (Al Pacino), who finds wealth, power and passion beyond his wildest dreams…at a price he never imagined. Tony Montana’s meteoric rise, lavish life and soul-destroying fall anchor this epic film that inspired a worldwide following. Pacino is at his most memorable as Montana, blasting his way to the top of Miami’s drug underworld in a bravura performance.

Scarface is a modern day remake of Howard Hawks' original 1932 film of the same name. It is a classic with a resonating influence that can still be found in today’s movies, pop culture and music. This film benefits from multiple viewings so as to fully glean the depth of its allegory, nuanced direction, and feral landscape. At the time of its release it seemed to take the gangster genre to a different level in terms of the visceral nature of its depiction. Tony Montana’s meteoric rise from rags to ill-gotten riches wasn’t anything new however, Oliver Stone’s script took audiences places deep into the dark realms of excess, violence and explicitness that many were unprepared for.

The first time I saw it was on home video. I remember feeling frustrated because as much as I wanted to, I just didn’t like the main character. I was accustomed to finding inherently likeable qualities, “bad guys” or not. While Tony does have his own “morals” (no killing kids and looking after his sister), he just sinks too far into the depths of debauchery that, by the film’s end, there is little left but indifference. Of course, that is the whole point. Subsequent viewings have led to a greater appreciation for Stone’s contemporary depiction of the antihero and the clichéd but, grandiose narrative that begins on a note of hope and descends into anarchy that can have but one outcome.

Tony Montana has achieved iconic status thanks in large part to Al Pacino’s engaging performance. Many of the film’s most oft quoted lines come in the form of fans mimicking Pacino’s memorable portrayal of Stone’s effusive character. Watching it today doesn’t elicit the same level of awe with respect to the violent nature of the story but, there is no denying its relevance and entertaining aspects as a cinematic work. Yeah, it’s a little dated but manages to hold up quite well. Scarface is a classic gangster film with a substantial cult following that has made it a favorite among cinema enthusiasts and novices alike.

This release marks the 1983 film’s debut on Ultra HD Blu-ray and the 1932 film’s first time on Blu-ray, which includes the original uncensored version and, Alternate version with different ending. For a limited time only, Scarface is being offered in this “The World is Yours” Limited Edition Gift set which in addition to the above references titles includes a collectible “The World is Yours” Statue Replica (see photo below). This set is a must have for the definitive Scarface fan.

Note: The 1932 version of Scarface has been restored for its release as part of this set, which is the only way to obtain it. I plan on covering that title in a separate review.





Replay Value:


Parental Guide:

The rating is for graphic violence, pervasive language, thematic content and pervasive drug 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.**


UHD Presentation: 80
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • HDR: Dark Highlights:
  • HDR: Bright Highlights:
  • HDR: Expanded Color:
  • Resolution:
  • Visual Impact:



DTS:X Rating: 86
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Level of immersion:
  • Soundstage integration:
  • Audio object placement:
  • Effectiveness of Atmos platform:
  • Entertainment factor:



Scarface comes to Ultra HD Blu-ray from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment featuring 2160pHEVC encoded video and lossless DTS:X/7.1 Master Audio sound.

For its Ultra HD Blu-ray release, Universal remastered Scarface from the original 35mm film elements, and Its presentation in Ultra HD appears to be derived from the 4K Digital Intermediate.

It's important to note that the ultimate goal for any release on home video is to present a film in the highest possible quality based upon its original elements. A film like Scarface has an aesthetic that incorporates film grain and the use of optics that won't result in the type of high gloss, tack-like sharpness of a film shot using digital cameras. This isn't a problem and shouldn't be seen as such.

This is period film that utilizes a variety of visuals to convey its unfolding time frame, mood, and thematic tone. The cinematography uses lighting schemes, shadows and low-lit environs, that can sometimes impart a dark visual aesthetic. This is purposeful and comes across in this rendering. Looking at the film's opening sequence, first at the immigration interview and later at the internment camp, the improvement in depth and definition is noticeable. This was the case, for the most part, during the film’s variety of sun splashed daytime scenes. I could detect some finer details present during interiors and in backgrounds during wide angle shots as well. The nighttime exterior shots of the various cityscapes didn’t offer a marked improvement in dimension but sharpness was stable. The color range in the film varies, with the rendering of primary colors like red and blue appearing more vibrant here than on the Blu-ray.

I found the presentation to be very tame in terms of its use of dynamic highlights, both bright and dark, although some of that may be owed to the nature of the photography. With the exception of the iconic standoff in the finale, the image didn't make any visually compelling use of high dynamic range where interstitial black levels were offset by vivid bright elements. In general, the image, which looked fair overall, lacked a noteworthy improvement when compared to the newly remastered Blu-ray encode. Again, I believe that what we are seeing is a faithful rendering of the film’s elements, which when all is said and done, is all we can ask for. Scarface isn’t a film that is going to show off all of the bells and whistles that Ultra HD Blu-ray has to offer. The question now becomes, is the Ultra HD version worth considering over the original Blu-ray release? I would say that if you’re a fan and truly want to own Scarface in its finest form, the answer is, yes.

DTS:X:

The new DTS:X mix uses the entire platform so as to broaden the soundstage. This includes off camera sounds and low-level ambience. The music is mixed over the sound field, adding natural depth to its orchestrated elements while complimenting the film’s thematic details. This is done to very good effect, correlating with the onscreen events quite nicely as the most minute audio cues are fully realized. I appreciated the fact that the sound designers didn't go overboard as the soundtrack retains much of its original essence with the immersive mix adding a noticeable increase in scope.


For those not familiar with the details regarding Ultra HD Blu-ray you can refer to my article that includes some pertinent data on the subject. Here is the link:

Ultra HD Blu-ray Has Come to AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Blu-ray Video:


Video: 90
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


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



Audio: 84
(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


Scarface comes to Blu-ray Disc from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video and lossless DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio sound.

According to the press documentation, Scarface was fully remastered in 4K and presented in 1080p for this release. Comparing it to the 2011 release the image does appear slightly sharper, with improved color rendering, and overall definition. If I had to summarize it, I would say that this is a pleasing video presentation that seems a perfect match for the source material. Colors are deeply saturated with eye pleasing vitality and delineated depth. Images are resolute, with stable sharpness, crisp detail and appreciable subtle refinement. Certain scenes appear better resolved than others although I suspect this is related to the photography. Contrast is dynamic without being overpowering and blacks are respectable in depth with discernible detail visible in low lighting and shadows. I didn’t see any signs of video related anomalies and thought that in general video quality was solid.

This 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio surround mix makes the most of the film’s recorded elements and sounds quite good. The front three channels are nicely imaged and carry discretely placed sounds with primary focus on the center channel and ambient bleed to the right/left speakers. Giorgio Moroder’s music score is spread to the rear channels and broadens the sound field creating a discernible level of presence. Clarity and detail are excellent which pays dividends during the film’s active and quieter moments which feature a fair level of atmospheric surround envelopment. Bass frequencies are held to the upper registers, which doesn’t rattle the walls, but emphasizes the strength of weapon fire and explosions where appropriate. While the dated elements in this soundtrack are obvious my overall experience with this audio presentation was a favorable one.


Bonus Features:
  • Disc 1: Scarface: Gold Edition Ultra HD Blu-ray
  • Disc 2: Scarface (1983) Blu-ray
  • Disc 3: Scarface (1932) Blu-ray w/2 versions of the film
  • Collectible “The World is Yours” Statue Replica
    • Scarface: 35th Anniversary Reunion
    • The Scarface Phenomenon
    • The World of Tony Montana
    • The Rebirth
    • The Acting
    • The Creating
    • Scarface: The TV Version
    • The Making of Scarface: The Video Game
  • Digital Code (1983 film)



Final Thoughts:

Considered one of the most influential gangster films ever made, Scarface is a memorable and gritty depiction of Tony Montana’s lethal ambition, making it a cultural touchstone that spans generations. It arrives onto Ultra HD Blu-ray from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment in this Limited Edition release that features less than stellar but, gratifying and faithfully restored video quality, complimentary DTS:X immersive surround sound and a comprehensive assortment of bonus supplements that include newly released/legacy/collectible extras which should entice fans/collectors. Scarface has never looked or sounded better which makes this offering from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment a worthwhile addition to your video library.












Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews


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post #2 of 13 Old 10-21-2019, 01:48 PM
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Haha we've all been waiting for this review and yell "noooooooo" as we see the 83.


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post #3 of 13 Old 10-21-2019, 04:39 PM
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This film's always had grain, sound, disc problems. I haven't bothered with any. Think of the money I've saved. ha ha

I saw Scarface in its first run and was wowed, as I was with most of Pacino's roles, plus a little more for his Cuban dialect and greasy swagger.

Good review, Ralph. Even though "83", this is big improvement and likely the best it's gonna get. I hafta think the techies did a great job with what was presented them.

And Scarface is a piece of Americana, like it or not. When the price becomes satisfactory, I'll finally pick it up.
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post #4 of 13 Old 10-21-2019, 04:56 PM
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Thanks Ralph - too bad on low video score -
Have you been using the new DTM on your JVC ?
if so what settings have you settled on when reviewing films - thxs
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post #5 of 13 Old 10-21-2019, 05:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks Ralph - too bad on low video score -
Have you been using the new DTM on your JVC ?
if so what settings have you settled on when reviewing films - thxs

Greetings,

Yes, I use the dynamic tone mapping on the JVC. I set my players to output untreated HDR and let the projector handle to tone mapping using the Frame Adapt "Auto" HDR setting. Let's keep this discussion on topic. Any further questions regarding the JVC can be handled via PM. Thanks!


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post #6 of 13 Old 10-21-2019, 07:47 PM
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I wonder if we'll get a set without the statue later on, I'm curious to see the review of 1932's 'Scarface' bluray. Ralph, as always thanks !
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post #7 of 13 Old 10-21-2019, 08:02 PM
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Haha we've all been waiting for this review and yell "noooooooo" as we see the 83.
And the blimp goes by and on it's side..."The World is Not Yours"...

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post #8 of 13 Old 10-22-2019, 09:39 PM
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Really enjoyed viewing this in 4k - been few years since had pleasure -
definitely some softness in distance shots and few scenes where director intent
may not please some viewers but overall thought disc was fantastic -
Close Ups were amazing - colours were great and superb black levels -
audio was serviceable and had no issues -

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post #9 of 13 Old 10-23-2019, 06:46 AM
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Finally a low score for an old movie... I'm usually disappointed with every 4K release as they still look old and grainy. Very few actually can compete with a modern movie.

Lawrence of Arabia (filmed in 70m comes to mind)
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post #10 of 13 Old 10-23-2019, 02:21 PM
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I see no indication that Ralph edited his review, so why the 2 comments that he gave it an "83" for Excellent UHD? Ralph rated it an "80" for Good not "83" for Excellent.


My copy arrived in the mail the other day but I have yet to watch it. Still looking forward to seeing it again after many years.
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post #11 of 13 Old 10-23-2019, 03:20 PM
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Originally Posted by GPBURNS View Post
Really enjoyed viewing this in 4k - been few years since had pleasure -
definitely some softness in distance shots and few scenes where director intent
may not please some viewers but overall thought disc was fantastic -
Close Ups were amazing - colours were great and superb black levels -
audio was serviceable and had no issues -
We want truth, not eye candy, it sounds like we have a release that shows what the director intended, that is the essence of film.
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post #12 of 13 Old 10-23-2019, 04:05 PM
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I see no indication that Ralph edited his review, so why the 2 comments that he gave it an "83" for Excellent UHD? Ralph rated it an "80" for Good not "83" for Excellent.


My copy arrived in the mail the other day but I have yet to watch it. Still looking forward to seeing it again after many years.
Audio/Video rating = 83

UHD only = 80

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post #13 of 13 Old 10-26-2019, 05:29 PM
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Thanks for another great review Ralph. I saw this movie when it first came out in 1983 and did not like all the gratuitous violence that the movie had. I watched the Bluray edition a few years ago and somewhat liked it. Maybe all the action movies I've seen since 1983 have changed my sensitivity to gratuitous violence than it was when I was much younger! Based upon your review, this seems like a rental to me. Thanks for saving me a few $!

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