A volatile, symbiotic relationship between the uber-wealthy and the have-nots comes into full display in Parasite. Ralph Potts reviews the Blu-ray release from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.
The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Universal – 2019
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 132 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Video Aspect: 2.39:1
Audio Format(s): Korean DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Starring: Song Kang Ho, Lee Sun Kyun, Cho Yeo Jeong, Choi Woo Shik, Park So Dam, Lee Jung Eun, Chang Hyae Jin
Directed by: Bong Joon Ho
Music by: Jung Jai Il
Written by: Bong Joon Ho, Han Jin Won
Region Code: A,B,C
Release Date: January 28, 2020
A volatile, symbiotic relationship between the uber-wealthy and the have-nots comes into full display in Parasite from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.
In Parasite, meet the Park family, the picture of aspirational wealth and the Kim family, rich in street smarts but not much else. Be it chance or fate, these two houses are brought together and the Kim’s sense a golden opportunity. Masterminded by college-aged Ki-woo, the Kim children expediently install themselves as tutor and art therapist to the Parks. Soon, a symbiotic relationship forms between the two families. The Kims provide “indispensable” luxury services while the Parks obliviously bankroll their entire household. When a parasitic interloper threatens the Kims’ newfound comfort, a savage, underhanded battle for dominance breaks out, threatening to destroy the fragile ecosystem between the Kims and the Parks.
Wow. I hadn’t heard of Parasite until a forum member suggested that I review it. Then it started to receive award nominations, winning a Golden Globe and SAG award. With that I was extremely anxious to see it. Co-writer/director Bong Joon Ho paints a tapestry of themes, a mix of genres and biting social commentary that rewards at every turn. The narrative’s layer peeling tale of class division and one poor family’s use of chicanery to insert themselves into the employ of a wealthy family by supplanting their current servants or passing themselves off as tutors for their children.
That’s the primary plot and where things springboard from. As the events unfold and you get to see its marvelous subtext which consists of tonal shifts that highlight its use of humor, satire, despair and later, a decidedly dark turn, you come to realize that Parasite is a visionary film that speaks with uncompromising clarity. What started out as one thing clearly ended as something exponentially different. I LOVED that about the film. The cast members that portray the Kim family are simply marvelous, sharing an incredible chemistry that thoroughly compliments the film.
Parasite has made history as the first Korean film to be nominated for an Oscar®. It has garnered six Oscar® nominations including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best International Film, Best Production Design and Best Editing, a 2020 SAG Award® nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture (for which it won) and was the winner of the 2020 Golden Globe® for Best Foreign Film. Additionally, the film has racked up over an astonishing 100 award nominations to date.
Parasite is among my favorite films released last year and has now been added to my top 25 favorite films of all time. Can’t say anything more than that….
The rating is for language, some violence and sexual 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 effects:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialog Reproduction:
- DSU/DTS Neural:X Rating * (non-rated element): NA
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black Level/Shadow Detail:
- Color Reproduction:
Parasite comes to Blu-ray Disc from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound.
Colors are effectively used in this film to help set the tone/setting based upon the mood of the scene. The chroma range isn’t broad and hues can vary from being sullen and inanimate to warm and inviting. Skin tones are warm with natural highlights and descriptive variation. Images onscreen are detailed and sharp with appreciable depth of field and visible texture during wide angle shots. Contrast is spot on and excellent shadow detail provides perceptibility during scenes shot at night or in lower lighting. The video has a pristine quality that is free of video related artifacts.
The DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround mix features dialogue that is full bodied with defining tonal characteristics and prominent soundstage position. High level detail is readily apparent as subtle sound effects, music and voices are rendered with superior clarity and depth. There is little call for active surround activity and extended dynamics however there is frequent use of atmospheric sounds that utilize the entire soundstage in support of the exterior/interior venues depicted in the film. The end result is an excellent audio presentation that renders the soundtrack’s elements with aplomb.
- Q&A with Co-writer/director Bong Joon Ho
- Digital Code
Parasite is a compelling, engaging and superbly crafted film that is easily one of 2019’s best. It comes to Blu-ray from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment featuring pleasing high definition video, clear lossless sound and a light supplemental package that offers insights from co-writer/director Boon Jung Ho. Parasite is a cinematic gem that gets my highest recommendation.
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Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS2000 4K Ultra High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman color calibration software and Portrait Displays C6 HDR2000 colorimeter from Portrait.com)
Stewart Filmscreen – Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16×9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV7704 Audio/Video Processor
Emotiva XPA-7 Gen 3 Seven Channel Amplifier
Emotiva XPA-11 Gen 3 Amplifier
Panasonic DP-UB820 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/Roomie Remote V6 Universal Remote Control
Canton “Ergo” and Canton In-Ceiling Series Speakers
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
Dual SVS PC4000 Cylinder Subwoofers
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) – Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems