Trainspotting Blu-ray Review
'Trainspotting' injects itself on to Blu-ray with a very good 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 transfer, framed correctly at 1.85:1. It appears to be locked to Region B so those with Region A players will have to wait for their own release.
It's a thoroughly acceptable image with good colour, contrast and sharpness. There are nice, solid blacks too. Thankfully, there's no hint of over sharpening and what we have looks quite natural. It would be wrong to say that it's a vibrant image as the film was never meant to look like that in the first place. The scene where Renton disappears down the toilet into a very surreal blue sea does however look striking. What we have here is a faithful representation of the movie. There's no evidence of DNR being applied and we have mild grain throughout the movie with it being most noticeable against light backdrops. There's nothing wrong with that as it would look the same in a cinema. You could easily be watching a good 35mm print in your lounge.
'Trainspotting' comes with two flavours of audio, Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1 - but, as far as I could tell from the pre-production sample disc, no Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD MA 5.1.
The DTS mix is a tiny bit clearer - maybe recorded at a slightly higher level - but to my ears there's not much in it.
The dialogue is clean and crisp, being centre channel locked, whereas the surrounds are used to good effect to produce an involving, immersive audio experience. Listen out for those flies on the surrounds in the toilet scene. The music tracks that provide the heartbeat for the movie have a punchy presence in the soundmix without too much heavy bass.
A very satisfying mix overall.
- Audio Commentary
This audio commentary was recorded back in 1996 and appears to have been cobbled together. It's kicked off by Ewan McGregor and also includes input from Director Danny Boyle, Producer Andrew MacDonald and John Hodge who adapted the screen play from Irvine Welsh's novel. Between them they cover links to the book, the help given by Calton Athletic recovery group to the production and examine the drug culture. This would all be interesting, but for the fact that the sources used appear to be the following featurettes - as they cover the same ground time and again.
- Memories of 'Trainspotting' (HD, 45mins)
Here we have a series of edited together interviews with the same people on the comm. track - and they discuss almost exactly the same topics. Both Danny Boyle and Ewan McGregor struggle with their memories at various points, but it was all of 13 years ago so they can be forgiven.
- Deleted scenes (HD, 11 mins)
This looks like a Steenbeck (editing table) transfer of some rushes of scenes that never made the final film. Some are extensions of final cut scenes like the ongoing conversation about Bond movie trivia between Renton & Sicko. There's an extension of the job interview scene and a whole new one with Renton in an interview that is going dangerously well until he mentions his heroin habit. Some not bad stuff here.
- Look of the film, then (SD, 4 mins)
An interesting interview with Production Designer Kave Quinn, shot back in 1995. She shows us some inspirational visual references that Danny Boyle used for room décor, colour, lighting etc.
- Look of the film, now (HD, 3 mins)
Messrs Boyle, MacDonald & Hodge form the Kave Quinn Appreciation Society here by discussing the contribution she made to the movie.
- Sound of the film, then (HD, 8 mins)
An interview with Danny Boyle seated at the mixing desk in the Dubbing Theatre of Shepperton Studios back in 1995. He explains how the audio work is done in sections and mentions that Ridley Scott will be in there the following week with 'White Squall'.
- Sound of the film, now (HD, 5 mins)
Producer MacDonald & Director Boyle explain the choice of music used to provide the heartbeat of the film.
- The Beginning (SD, 10 mins)
Shot on location in the Scottish countryside in 1995, this piece yet again covers the same ground as other shorts. Almost as if they had one script.
- Archive Interview with Irvine Welsh (SD, 4 mins)
Here we have the author of the book, apparently shot on something like Video-8 back in 1995 at the Wills Cigarette Factory in Glasgow.
- Behind the needle (SD, 6 mins)
This clip covers the shooting of the injection scene using a prosthetic arm on location.
How they thought it would be interesting for 6 mins is beyond me.
- Danny Boyle on 'Trainspotting' (HD, 3 mins)
Yup, you guessed it. Another attempt to cover the same ground as in previous clips.
- Ewan McGregor on 'Trainspotting' (HD, 8 mins)
This is an excerpt from the FilmFour 2002 retrospective on Ewan's life. Makes a change from raking over the coals in another talking head.
- Cannes Snapshot (SD, 2 mins)
Although the movie wasn't entered for the 1996 Cannes Festival, it was a good excuse for an 'after show' party with many B-list celebs giving their opinions.
- Cannes Vox Pops (SD, 2 mins)
Well, they had a camera there so they had to use the footage somehow. Here's a split screen of interviews with Martin Landau, Noel Gallagher, Damon Albarn and Ewan McGregor.
- Trailer (SD, 3 mins)
Nice to see how the movie was marketed back in 1995.
Now this is interesting. Someone's unearthed the continuity polaroids of the cast in costume, featuring scene and shoot day numbers written on them. Good for production buffs.
'Trainspotting' provides Blu-ray fans with a great fix as it comes to the format with a very good 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 transfer framed at 1.85:1. With realistic colour rendering, good contrast and sharpness - the focus here is on providing a faithful representation of the movie.
The audio in both Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 surround mixes makes excellent use of the surrounds to provide an engaging experience while dialogue is clean and crisp throughout.
The extras are the only disappointment, with so much repetition of the same material throughout, but they do give an insight into the production.
The movie itself is now iconic with a cult following and Danny Boyle fans will be more than happy with this release on Blu-ray.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £21.99
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- Audio Commentary