Given a new 1080P makeover and correctly framed at 2.35:1, the picture quality on this 25Gb single layer Blu-ray disc is a bit of a mixed bag. There are scenes that look like they were shot yesterday that sparkle and glisten - and there are some scenes that look like they haven't been scaled to 1080P and are just a little better than laserdisc quality. Most notably, it's the Arial scenes that seem to suffer most. I can't put my finger on why but will take a guess at the fact that inferior film stock was used...?
All of the flying scenes seem to introduce grain. The scenes in question do seem to have gone through the restoration process as they are squeaky clean - but less detailed.
However, the majority of the rest of the film doesn't suffer half as bad. Skin tones are lush and rosy. The colours are solid and there's no bleed anywhere to be seen.
Dark scenes hold up well and there's detail in abundance in the London bombing blitz scenes. Edge enhancement is only noticeable by its absence and outlines are pin sharp.
Obviously the film doesn't look as new and fresh as a recent release - but Fox have found a pristine print hiding somewhere and turned out a very decent effort.
As is the norm for Fox releases lately, The Battle Of Britain's soundtrack has been given a lossless makeover in the shape of a DTS-HD Master track - and very effective it is too.
Right from the first scenes, where an air base in Kent is being bombed, we are given a glimpse of what is to come. The LFE channel rumbles and growls and bombs crash into wooden huts and flames dart into the sky. We then get two German bombers breaking left and right - and they disappear into the relevant surround channels and into the distance. It's a wonderful piece of re-mastering work.
Dialogue is crisp and clear and audible all the way through. It's firmly locked to the centre channel and never gets drowned by the action going on around the place.
Channel separation is spot on and absolute. Planes fly from front left across the front soundstage and exit stage rear right and it's totally smooth and believable.
Of course, if I have to pick one thing up it's the score - recorded a little louder than the other tracks, it does seem to dominate proceedings when it's in full flow - but in this case, it does just add to the drama.
A mighty fine piece of sound engineering and puts some modern day soundtracks to shame...
You may have gathered after reading this review that I rather enjoyed this film. It has a pace about it that never lets up. Even the scenes that don't involve aircraft trying to shoot each other out of the sky are full of tension - particularly the scenes that involve the London blitz, to which it appears I have a personal connection...
As a Blu-ray package it's a bit of a mixed bag. Picture quality is fine throughout the majority of the film - but during the aerial scenes, huge amounts of grain appear from nowhere and ruin the show somewhat.
The DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack is a lesson on how to remaster a track and make it better than it was before. I'll never use the excuse “due to its age” again when describing a remastered track in any of my future reviews. This disc has set a new benchmark in that respect.
Where Fox have dropped the ball - again - is in the extras department. There's nothing on this disc - not even a trailer. I've said all I'm going to say on this subject in other reviews I've written on Fox Blu-ray discs. It really isn't good enough considering there is a 2 disc SD DVD available with some half decent extras on it...
So - should you rush out and buy this disc? As I said in the review, this is the first time I have seen this film so I can't compare to previous discs. If you have the 2 disc SD DVD, keep a hold of it and double dip with this. The inclusion of the lossless track would make me assume that this is the better version. But you'll want to keep hold of the second disc for the extras...
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