‘The Cannonball Run’ races on to American Region A locked Blu-ray with a surprisingly good looking 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 transfer, framed in the widescreen 1.78:1 aspect ratio. I say ‘surprisingly’ because catalogue titles generally don’t tend to look so clean. One word of warning, don’t judge the whole movie based on the quality of the opening title sequence. These titles were produced by the old fashioned method of creating colour mattes, which meant duping the original neg and sandwiching two pieces of film in the optical printer – hence double the film grain. There’s also some noticeable specs of dirt trapped in the optical titles which could have been cleaned up, but this would have taken time and money.
However, once you get out of the titles, things improve considerably. Grain drops to a very fine veil and the image smoothes out. There’s no doubt that some DNR had been applied here, but it does what it’s supposed to do and make the High Def image look a bit better. It doesn’t iron out facial features at all. Colours are strong and well saturated with deep blue skies and warm Hollywood tan skin tones. The cars all look shiny as new. Detail is good throughout and sharpness is acceptable if a tad variable as the film progresses. Contrast is healthy and we get nice deep blacks in the night shots. The general impression is of a very good looking transfer. A pleasant surprise.
The audio on ‘The Cannonball Run’ comes in a DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround mix, which compared to the picture quality is a bit of a let down. There’s nothing horrendously wrong with it, it just isn’t anywhere as good as some other remixes we’ve heard. There’s not really a great deal going on in the surround department, apart from some cheering, bar room ambience and the odd revving engine – but it sounds dislocated and is not enveloping.
Most of the sonic action comes from the front soundstage and the clarity of some dialogue is a little disappointing. There’s no real subwoofer effort going on here, which is a shame, considering the number of car engines involved in the movie.
In general, the audio is okay-ish, but it actually sounds like a re-mix from a stereo master. Could do better.
Audio Commentary - Director Hal Needham and producer Albert Ruddy share the driving seat in this fun and informative comm. track. They take time to explain how they filmed certain sequences as the movie plays and we hear how the casting process took place. They’re pretty good company to listen to and particularly interesting is the fact that Needham reveals he took part in the real Cannonball run along with writer Brock Yates, driving an Ambulance – which I thought was the most far fetched thing in the movie.
The star studded 1981 comedy ‘The Cannonball Run’ screams on to American Region A locked Blu-ray with a good looking 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 transfer, framed in the widescreen 1.78:1 aspect ratio.
The image boasts well saturated colours, deep blue skies and healthy skin tones with only a thin veneer of film grain throughout. Generally, the print looks clean with very few defects.
The DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio sounds like a remix from a stereo original and lacks the immersive quality with very little subwoofer action to impress.
The only bonus feature is an interesting commentary from director Hal Needham and producer Albert Ruddy.
As movies go, it’s a fun filled frolic – not to be taken seriously - as a great cast including Burt Reynolds, Dom DeLuise, Roger Moore, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr, Farrah Fawcett and Jack Elam compete in a timed car race across America.
Great fun for the whole family.
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