'Gandhi' is presented in widescreen 2.35:1, with a very good 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 transfer. I say very good, rather than excellent as the picture doesn't hit you between the eyes in terms of visual quality like other movies of this vintage or even some older titles, for that matter.
What we get is a nice, clean, very natural image with deep blacks and occasionally vibrant colours - depending upon the content of the shot. It's not really a 3D image, it's a bit more laid back than that. It looks like a very good Eastmancolour print from a 1980's neg that's been printed on low fade film stock. Nice skin tones and lovely greens with a gentle, soft appearance - but not fuzzy at all. The transfer has retained the original look of the film - and it does look good.
As the film fades up, one could be mistaken for thinking that a grainy print has been used for the transfer. The opening titles were 'matted' i.e. produced by sandwiching two pieces of film together in the optical printer, thereby doubling the film grain.
Once the titles are over, the graininess is gone. Every time a title is used to introduce a location, you'll notice the grain again - but that's how it is, was and will always be. There's nothing wrong with the transfer.
There are no digital artefacts, no overly zealous edge correction and overall a very pleasing result.
The audio on 'Gandhi' is supplied in an English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 surround track that is very much dialogue oriented, due to the 'talky' nature of the film.
Occasionally the main stereo pair swing into action with Ravi Sankar's evocative music and there's some general hubbub supplied to the surrounds in crowd scenes.
Nothing more than that though, thankfully, as it would have been intrusive and spoiled the audience's concentration for the on screen events. It's just not the kind of film to have things flying past your ears for effects' sake.
If you've got a good story, why spoil it?
The review disc supplied of 'Gandhi' was only a single disc 'testmold' (a pre-production sample), but the final packaged item is a 2 disc collector's edition.
Unfortunately, I don't know what is on disc 2, but hopefully there'll be a good doco about the production. I can only really comment on the extras contained in disc 1.
- Director's Commentary
Lord Attenborough talks us through the production with his recollections and own personal insight. This is interesting as you get to spend 3 hours in the company of a thoroughly nice man, who doesn't mind sharing his years of experience and fascinating memories. It's gold dust to anyone interested in real film making.
- Introduction by Lord Attenborough HD (1min)
That's all it really is. Nice to see the great man, looking well and hoping that we enjoy the movie.
- Gandhi's Legacy: A Picture-in-Graphics Track
A Blu-ray PIP exclusive that allows you to chart Gandhi's progress and will be of more interest to historians than film buffs. A 'nice to have' though.
Lord Attenborough's film 'Gandhi' on Blu-ray is a multi-Oscar winning, epic story of one of the most influential men in recent history and how he changed the face of India. An astounding performance by Ben Kingsley backed by an all-star cast makes this a 'must have' for all serious film buffs.
The 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 transfer is very true to the look of a good Eastmancolour print as seen in the cinema. It's not a brash, 3D image but a very natural one that faithfully reproduces the Indian light as well as the actor's skin tones.
The English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 surround track is mostly dialogue oriented with occasional use of the stereo pair for music and surrounds being fed general hubbub for crowd scenes.
There's a nice intro and director's commentary by Lord Attenborough that's a goldmine for anyone who's interested in the production.
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- Director's Commentary