‘Burke and Hare’ creeps on to UK Region B locked Blu-ray with a very atmospheric 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 transfer, framed in the widescreen 2.35:1 aspect ratio. The look of the film captures the cold feeling of late 1820’s Edinburgh with the use of a blue filter on the exteriors which aids in desaturating the image somewhat. This look was also probably helped by the fact that they actually did film it during a Scottish winter. I felt sorry for the Actors who hailed from the Home Counties. It looks as if they tried to emulate the style of some of the Hammer horror movies. In a few of the night shots, some of the blacks look grey but this is no fault of the transfer, more likely the use of filters and smoke in the air for effect. Eyes are pin sharp and the detail on show in the market square is amazing. Contrast too, is fine throughout. It’s a very good looking transfer that does not detract from the intended look for the movie that serves the subject matter well. As it’s from such a recent source, it’s only right that there is no dirt, dust or scratches on the print. Grain is minimal in most scenes though occasionally on darker shots it becomes noticeable and this is probably due to the use of faster film stock rather than a transfer issue. I did notice the very occasional video hiccup which looked like a dropped frame, but hopefully this was only on the review sample and not on the final release.
The audio on ‘Burke and Hare’ comes in a DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround mix which is used on many occasions to give the audience a ‘bump’ or mini-fright. In the barrel chasing sequence, the subwoofer adds great depth to the thud as the barrel enters frame and causes you to jump. The main stereo pair come alive with traditional Scottish music and the use of ‘The Proclaimers’ over the end titles was quite inspired. Dialogue is clear throughout, mostly locked to the centre channel, as we get to hear a variety of accents from the cast. A good, effective mix that reserves the use of surrounds for special occasions.
Cast & Crew Interviews (SD, 60 mins) - Simon Pegg, Andy Serkis, Isla Fisher, Jessica Hynes, Tom Wilkinson, Tim Curry, Ronnie Corbett, Christopher Lee, Director John Landis, Producer Barnaby Thompson and Writer Nick Moorcroft all take their turns in front of the firing squad to answer mostly the same questions. How did you get involved with the movie? What did you think of your co-stars and the director? John Landis gives the actors a pat on the back. The most entertaining thing about the interviews was spotting the typos in the caption cards used to divide up the clips. I recall seeing the word ‘between’ spelt as ‘beetween’. How many Caption Card typesetters does it take to change a light bulb? On! Think about it.
Deleted Scenes (SD, 11 mins) - As it says on the tin, in lo-res Avid quality we get an extended opening sequence, a bit more about Angus, the executioner, Tim Curry as Dr Monroe proclaiming a patient (in great pain) to be an ungrateful swine after removing his leg in record time, an extended body in the barrel sequence (note the spelling of ‘barrel’ on screen), Mr Hare giving Dr Knox a money back guarantee, a sales opportunity for Burke and Hare as they share a cell with a black prisoner, Dr Knox’ end of term speech, 1828’s answer to the Paparazzi and Complaints to the Militia.
Outtakes (SD, 2 mins) - The usual gaffes, missed cues and fluffs from the cast. Nothing truly hilarious.
The very recent ‘Burke and Hare’ starring Simon Pegg and Andy Serkis finds its way through cobbled streets on to UK Region B locked Blu-ray with a very good, atmospheric 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 transfer framed in the widescreen 2.35:1 aspect ratio. The cold feel of late 1820’s Edinburgh is captured nicely in the slightly desaturated but sharp image which looks good on screen. The DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround audio reserves discreet effects for special moments to give the audience ‘a wee fright’. Dialogue is crisp and clear throughout as the cast take bold stabs at a range of accents. Some Cast & Crew interviews, deleted scenes and out-takes make up a fairly uninspiring set of extras. The movie itself is a modern comedic take on the two murderous scoundrels who fulfil the demand for corpses required by the Medical College Lecturers. Some slapstick, sight gags and a bit of gore – all directed by the great John Landis no less. For those who like dark chocolate with a great modern cast including Tim Curry, Ronnie Corbett, Isla Fisher, Tom Wilkinson & Christopher Lee.
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