Uncle Buck Blu-ray Review
The disc presents a theatrically correct widescreen 1.85:1 1080p transfer using the AVC MPEG4 codec. For a film of this age and stock the picture holds up remarkably well, showing no sign of digital manipulation. Detail is generally very good with plenty of sharp edges and textual information present, skin detail shows pores and hair well, clothes have a definite weave, the breakfasts that Buck makes show just exactly what the ingredients were! But, it is not consistent, there are periodic areas of softness that creep in, it doesn’t spoil the image, as such, but it is noticeable if you are looking for such things.
Colour is well defined but, due to the restricted pallet, is quite muted. The film takes place during winter, earthy hues predominate, greens and browns remain strong. There is very little blue or red to the image, discounting Marcie’s lipstick, but what there is remains faithful with no wash or bleed.
Brightness and contrast are set to give decent enough blacks, though they do tend to wobble towards dark grey on occasion, but at least there is no noise to muddy them. Shadow detail is pretty much non-existent, but that is a print choice, not a transfer defect. Take a look at the many night time scenes, or Bug in the car boot, for good examples of all this.
Digitally there were no compression problems, no banding or posterization, might have spotted the merest whiff of edge enhancement, but barely noticeable. There has been no digital clean up, so there is a healthy film of grain which never obscures the detail and reminds you that this is a film. There were very minimum amounts of print damage too. Considering the stock, this is a remarkably clean print.
Only the one track to choose from, English DTS 2.0, which is a bit of shame, considering the amount of space that must have been left on this disc. However, what we do get is pretty well received, there are some decent stereo effects, such as a phone ringing to the left of screen being replicated by the one screen action, cars pulling off to one side being followed by their respective sound etc. Dialogue is always clear and precise and sounds very natural. Bass is, obviously, somewhat limited, but it holds everything together well; the backfire of Buck’s car does get a good thump form the sub though. The score too gets a decent enough presentation, it too getting the most from the sub. In all this is a basic sound track getting its information across with a little finesse to keep the speakers singing nicely.
- Pocket Blu and BDLive
Control Blu-ray features with an app on your smart phone or enjoy the many trailers online, if you so desire.
You would have thought there was something that could feature as extra material; trailer, retrospective of Hughes’ work, a look at Candy’s life, how the child actor’s have grown, something, anything ... but no, the extras are bereft of life, climbed down the curtains and joined the choir invisible. Still takes an age for the disc to load though, seriously, what is it with Universal discs and loading times!
Uncle Buck marks a point in John Hughes’ career that saw a dramatic turnabout and as such is a somewhat uncomfortable meld of his two most popular genres, that of teen angst and that of family comedies. Still a commercial and critical success, Uncle Buck stars John Candy as the loveable titular character forced to babysit his brother’s kids due to a family emergency, and in doing to heals rifts and teaches humility to both himself and his charges – it's also a damn fine comedy as well! Not one of Hughes’ most accomplished films; it nevertheless never fails to entertain and showcases the wonderful talent of Candy, himself, and the debut of future child star Macaulay Culkin in the forerunner for the Home Alone franchise.
As a Blu-ray package Universal have released a barebones disc that whilst it demonstrates a clean and clear picture has a lossy DTS stereo track and no extras – personally I think the films deserves a greater respect, but at least the picture hasn’t been tampered with at all.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £9.29
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