Beautiful Sunday Blu-ray Review
'A Beautiful Sunday' is presented in widescreen 2.35:1 with MPEG-4 AVC 1080p coding.
Right from the opening scenes, it's clear that this is not one of the better transfers that BD has to offer. While there is detail on show (such as visible mayflies around the lake scene), the entire presentation can feel like an upscaled DVD at times. There are also plenty of nasty compression artefacts on show, such as banding. I suspect that some heavy handed use of DNR has also been applied, as the image can appear unnaturally flat and devoid of detail at times. There is granular presence but this is almost static and not overly prevalent. Edge enhancement has also been used in a large proportion of the scenes, leading to a distinctly overly processed and false looking image. In fact, the presentation can almost look out of focus in some scenes. There was also some evidence of print damage on occasion.
On the plus side, some of the facial close ups can, on occasion, display some nice detail such an individual hairs and pores. The contrast ratio is very strong, displaying some nice solid blacks. Shadow detail is a bit of a mixed bag; sometimes the darker portions exude some nice detail, while on other occasions can appear distinctly unclear. I suspect that the colour palette has been muted to some degree, with more drab tones dominating for the duration. In saying that, there are a couple of scenes which provide some strong primaries but these are few and far between.
Sometimes BD distributors just don't get it right at all and I'm afraid that this is one of those occasions. Having witnessed the dizzying highs of 'Avatar', this release is really of DVD quality in comparison and there's not really a whole to recommend in its favour. As this is a new release, I will be marking harshly for this poor transfer.
I'm sorry to report that the subtitles on this release are of as poor a quality as the transfer itself. Grammar mistakes are rife, with letters (from words) missing on occasion. Still though, it's quite possible to follow the plot without issue but these errors most certainly make the presentation appear somewhat sloppy.
'A Beautiful Sunday' comes with a Korean LPCM 5.1 48KHz/16bit surround track.
Stereo separation is for the most part impressive, with plenty of activity from the front channels for the duration of the run time. The piece is dialogue heavy and this aspect of the presentation was always locked to the centre channel and was never difficult to follow at any point. Surround involvement is barely adequate, providing some background chatter during the office based scenes. The scenes featuring rain are a little better and do offer some immersive moments but unfortunately these are short lived. For the duration, the subwoofer is mostly dormant, with no really memorable scenes which shook my living room.
The score is perhaps the strongest aspect of the audio presentation on this release. Its Korean orchestral intonations provide good stereo separation and surround bleed. Some nice mid-range bass can also be heard during some of the portions. It's not really a rocking track by any stretch of the imagination but it's nicely subtle and really suits the piece. That being said, it does reek of 'Oldboy' and 'Lady Vengeance'!
This surround track does its job and not much more. I really do believe that the source material is the limiting factor. It's largely front heavy, with not a whole lot involvement from the surround channels and a dormant subwoofer, which in combination did not impress this reviewer.
Quite disappointingly, the only available extra comes by way of a single high definition trailer for 'A Scarlet Letter'. I say disappointing as there was a two disc edition DVD of this movie, which contained a hell of a lot more additional supplements. Quite frankly, it's sheer laziness on the part of the distributors to have not included these extras on this BD release.
Verdict'A Beautiful Sunday' was released in 2007 and was written and directed by Jin Kwang Gyo. Having never heard of the cast or director on this release I plunged into the opening scenes unperturbed, confident that Korean cinema would provide another thrilling experience. The plot is split into two distinct subplots. One follows Detective Kang as he lands himself in trouble with local gangsters, following a failed effort to secure funds to pay for his wife's medical bills. The second follows Min-woo, a young man who finds himself in the throes of unrequited love. Obviously borrowing heavily from the stellar works of Park Chan-wook, this young director has made a brave stab at emulating his hero and attempts to produce an original and thought provoking piece of cinema. Unfortunately, woeful acting, a meandering and uninviting plot and some mediocre direction means that this release falls short of the mark.
The transfer on this release is poor for such a recent cinematic release. The use of DNR and edge enhancement means that the image appears false and over processed. Some scenes can display some nice detail but overall this pales in comparison to more recent BD releases. The LCPM surround track is adequate and really just gets the job done with no real moments to impress. The extras portion consists of one paltry trailer and that's the lot. Overall there is really not a whole lot to recommend with this release and I would only suggest a purchase to hardcore fans of the movie or the director.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £15.49
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