‘The Good, The Bad, The Weird’ comes presented in widescreen 2.35:1 with MPEG-4 1080p coding.
Although the transfer is technically very stylish, it in no way hampers the overall picture quality and for the majority, the definition and sharpness levels on this release border on reference standard. Every object in shot has excellent delineation, creating a wonderfully layered and well textured end product. The plentiful CGI effects are never betrayed by the sharpness of the image, a pitfall which we have seen other productions fall parry to.
The amount of detail on show is at times stunning, with some of the extreme facial close-ups exposing minute pores, chapped lips, stubble and other nuances. Clothing detail exposes fine fabrics and the rest of the presentation follows suit. The depth of the image is very impressive indeed, with even very far off objects visible. This, in conjunction with the previously mentioned layered approach to the picture, means that the print really lifts from the screen, giving a real sense of three-dimensionality at times. There is a very fine granular structure, which is more pronounced in some scenes than in others, but overall it's organic and unobtrusive for the duration.
The colour palette is very naturalistic, with some very nice examples of bright, bold primaries and other colours which shine through. Some wonderful purple and peach sunrise/sunset shots are also included. That being said, there was some post production tampering noted, such as the use of various filters, but this is never employed in a heavy handed manner to become garish or detract from the overall quality. The contrast ratio is reference level, with some cavernous blacks on show. This aspect really served to add a discernable weight to the image for the duration. Shadow detail is also exemplary, with all detail clearly visible in both the night time and more dimly light portions. I also did not detect any instances of edge enhancement or any other nasty video artefacts from my normal viewing position.
Although the transfer falls short of perfection, and even though there were a couple of scenes where the image did seem a tad soft, overall this transfer is top notch and so is granted a well deserved nine.
The subtitles are expertly translated and even manage to convey the comedy of some of the spoken dialogue. They are presented in yellow and are never difficult to follow.
‘The Good, The Bad, The Weird’ comes packed with a very impressive 5.1 dts HD Master Audio surround track.
Right from the opening scene, it’s clear that this track is going to be one hell of a ride. As the train robbery takes place, the entire soundstage immediately comes to life with enormous screeches and groans as the massive steam powered locomotive passes over the listening position, with forceful presence and a blast of steam from the surrounds. Stereo separation is simply sublime for the duration, with some pinpoint steerage and providing a wide range of sonic reproduction.
As the shooting began, I was literally ducking for cover as the surrounds exploded with gunfire. Bullets zing and whizz around the listening position with ever increasing intensity, with each impact accompanied by a forceful mid range kick from the sub. The surround channels are used almost continually for the presentation, especially during the action based portions, with people leaving and entering the soundstage from behind the listening position, as well as other ambient effects. There are also plenty of effects which occur directly behind the listening position with immense accuracy. The subwoofer is equally active and although it can seem a little underpowered at times, it springs to life in the final quarter of the movie and really makes its presence felt with some epic explosions.
The score is expertly composed by Jang Young Gyu and perfectly matches the rest of the production in terms of sophistication and spectrum. It’s an eclectic mix of a wide range of numbers, which are all vastly different from one another, while still managing to keep in check with the Western theme. There’s Mexican, Indian, Asian and other influences thrown into the mix and all have pitch perfect treble and bass. This really is a tremendous score and adds to the feature presentation in so many ways.
In perfect complement to the stunning transfer, this really is a top notch track, which has clearly been expertly engineered, and earns a well deserved nine.
The extras portion on this release is lacking somewhat in the substance department but at least there’s English subtitles available for all the features. That being said, there’s no high definition content included and so marks will be deducted for this omission.
Trailer - Included here, for your viewing pleasure, is one standard definition trailer for the feature presentation.
Behind the Scenes (SD 15mins) - Sticking to its description quite rigorously, this is simply a collection of behind the scenes shots, with very little commentary. It’s interesting, none the less, to see how the scenes looked before the post production CGI effects were added.
Cannes Highlight Reel (SD 3mins) – This is a collection of shots of the stars of the movie as they enjoy their time at the Cannes Film Festival (and receive a standing ovation for their efforts).
Making Of #1 (SD 3mins) - This very brief feature takes us on a whirlwind tour of the movie and what was involved in putting the finished product together. The commentary seems to focus on the grand scale of the piece, with interview snippets from Kim included. This is really more like a trailer utilising behind the scenes footage, rather than a true making of.
Making Of #2 (SD 1min) - If you thought that the previous feature didn’t really live up the title of ‘Making Of’, then you really won’t appreciate this extra as it’s basically a condensed form of “Making Of # 1”!!
Interviews with Song Kang-ho, Lee Byung-hun, Jung Woo-sung and Kim Jee-won (SD 9 mins) - In this feature, each of the actors speak about their respective characters, their experiences of working on the set of ‘The Good, The Bad, The Weird’ (as well as working with the other actors) and also give their opinions on the finished product. Kim also gives his thoughts on the movie which he created, the challenges of completing the shoot and also how this movie is his biggest achievement. Each of the interview portions can be selected independently. This is possibly the best feature of the bunch but that’s not saying much!
‘The Good, The Bad, The Weird’ was released in 2008 and was directed by Ji-woon Kim. Having delivered the goods with some terrifying horrors and exciting thrillers earlier on in his career, this Korean director turns his considerable talents to the Wild Manchurian West for his latest offering. The plot follows said Good, Bad and Weird as they diligently and violently pursue a treasure map, which holds the key to untold wealth, while also directly competing against one another for the title of “Best in the West”. This is a tremendously fun movie, which moves along at break-neck speed, with very satisfying action content. The cast and crew are collectively impeccable and this Korean Western, which also manages to deliver some moments of humour, comes highly recommended.
The transfer is crystal clear for the duration, with the benefits of the high definition upgrade clearly visible. The uncompressed surround track is a perfect complement to the stunning image and is a wonderfully engaging and active mix. The extras portion is a little weak on substance, with not much to inspire interest or hold the viewers attention. Overall though, the fantastic feature presentation and excellent audio/visual presentations, means that this disc comes recommended.
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