Piano, The (Blu-ray) (1993)

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Released 3-Nov-2009

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Featurette-Making Of
Audio Commentary
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1993
Running Time 115:36
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Jane Campion
Studio
Distributor
Icon Entertainment Starring Holly Hunter
Harvey Keitel
Sam Neill
Anna Paquin
Kerry Walker
Geneviève Lemon
Tungia Baker
Ian Mune
Peter Dennett
Case ?
RPI ? Music Michael Nyman


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080i
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

Jane Campion's 1993 film masterpiece The Piano has been released in high definition, on Blu-ray. Despite it's bold feminist overtones, eerie and other-worldly New Zealand landscapes, and its confronting sexual content, The Piano transcended its art-house target and found a wide international, mainstream audience. A critical success, The Piano was recognised by both the high-brow Cannes Film Festival with their top award - the Palme d'Or (Golden Palm), and the more mainstream Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, with no less than eight Oscar nominations, and three Oscar wins.

Written and directed by Jane Campion, at first this film appears to be merely a nineteenth century romantic tale. But as the story and characters develop, so does the emotional intensity and the dark and moody themes, with a love triangle that ends romantically but tragically: Ada McGraw (Oscar winning Holly Hunter) is a Scottish mail-order bride sent, with her daughter Flora (Oscar winning Anna Paquin), to marry a farmer in a remote part of New Zealand, Alisdair Stewart (Sam Neill). Things begin badly when Ada's beloved piano is immediately abandoned on the beach by her new husband . Soon Ada discovers that Alisdair has traded her piano for some land owned by another farmer, George Baines (Harvey Keitel). Ada is armed with a cold and stony expression. A mute, she 'speaks' through the piano, and desperate to express herself, she begins to secretly trade sexual favours with Baines to slowly earn the piano back.

This is easily Jane Campion's best film, both as a writer and as a director, and she was rewarded with an Oscar for the script. The acting performances by the four leads are all wonderful - these are easily some of the best performances from Holly Hunter, Harvey Keitel, Sam Neill, and Anna Paquin. The lingering and haunting images of the muddy New Zealand landscapes captured by Stuart Dryburgh's moody cinematography and Michael Nyman's memorable and lush score are also stand-out features of this film.

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Transfer Quality

Video

The Piano is presented with a high definition transfer, but only authored in 1920 x 1080i. It has been encoded using AVC compression. The transfer is presented in a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.85:1, in a native widescreen 16x9 frame. This is the film's original theatrical ratio.

While the Blu-ray's transfer is quite soft and grainy at times, it is noticeably better than the previous DVD. The film has an often dark and moody appearance, but the image is clear overall. There are no problems with MPEG or Film-To-Video Artefacts, but some minor Film Artefacts appear occasionally.

Only English subtitles are offered and they are accurate. The feature is divided into 14 chapters.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

English dts HD 5.1 audio is the only option provided on this Blu-ray.

The dialogue quality and audio sync are good.

As mentioned above, Michael Nyman's memorable and lush score is a stand-out feature of this film.

The Piano is a dialogue-based drama, but the surround sound mix carries the beautiful score and provides ambience.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

There are a few extras.

Floating Menus

As with other Blu-rays, the menu options can be accessed while the film is playing.

Inside The Piano (15:07)

A making of featurette mainly comprised of interviews with cast and crew, behind-the-scenes footage, and some clips from the film. It is presented in standard definition with stereo audio.

Audio Commentary

Writer/Director Jane Campion and Producer Jan Chapman provide a personal and interesting audio commentary in which they look back on the film, sharing some anecdotes and their recollections from the production.

Theatrical Trailer (2:26)

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

So far I have not seen a Region A US release.

Summary

The Piano is a haunting film that deserves to be enjoyed in high definition, and is worth the upgrade.

The video quality is an improvement from the DVD, but not 1080p.

The audio quality is also good.

The extras are limited, but interesting.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Brandon Robert Vogt (warning: bio hazard)
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Review Equipment
DVDSony Playstation 3 (HDMI 1.3) with Upscaling, using HDMI output
DisplayPanasonic High Definition 50' Plasma (127 cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationSamsung Pure Digital 6.1 AV Receiver (HDMI 1.3)
SpeakersSamsung

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Review tech specs incorrect - Anonymous
re: Review tech specs incorrect - Shane A
How does this compare to the 2 Disc UK SE? - Anonymous