Ran Blu-ray Review

Tech News

News Supplying Robot
Reviewed by Gerard Magnier, 5th October 2009
‘Ran’ was released in 1985 and was heralded as the legendary Akira Kurosawa’s modern masterpiece. With suitable financial backing and a stellar cast, headed by the magnificent Tatsuya Nakadai, this release marks the great director’s true return to form. This movie charts the chaos which descends on a tightly knit samurai dynamic, who fall prey to the temptation of lust, power and greed. These factors cause their once powerful warlord to descend into madness, tearing the entire clan apart. As is the case with the majority of Kurosawa’s movies, ‘Ran’ is multi-layered and cerebral. The concept of this movie was pondered and incessantly reworked over a period of fifteen years. As such, the plot runs deep and contains many thought provoking themes. There’s also a couple of cracking battle sequences and plenty of treacherous double-crosses. This is simply a work of art, with the immense effort which Kurosawa injects into his movies, plainly visible here through stunning cinematography and attention to detail. This is simply one of the most engrossing and thought-provoking samurai dramas out there and is a must for all lovers of great cinema.

Unfortunately the video presentation is somewhat of a disappointment. While the image is well saturated and solid for the majority, a couple of unattractive features, such as EE and DNR are present. I felt that their use is heavy handed and to the detriment of the transfer. The audio presentation fairs a bit better but also has its shortcomings and will most definitely never make it into the demo category. Overall is this movie worth the upgrade? I would say yes. The transfer is definitely not the best that BD has to offer but with the Criterion release shelved indefinitely, this Optimum release offers worthwhile package to make this disc worth purchasing if you don’t already own a copy.


Read the full review...
 

bosque

Distinguished Member
Great review, Gerard, of what I still regard as Kurosawa's best film, even after having seen his earlier black and white movies, Seven Samurai, Ikiru and High and Low. I know that Criterion were rightly praised for their DVD releases but I would have to say their Ran DVD was not one of their best products. And having seen some of their Blu-Ray releases, I'm wondering if they are properly financed to release high quality HD transfers. It seems to me that this current version of Ran was taken from the French master and already available from Studio Canal on a DVD which is the best Ran has looked on SD DVD. The Blu-Ray version is probably the best we are going to see Ran look until someone manages to go back and remove that unnecessary edge-enhancement !
 

eiren

Distinguished Member
I don't think Criterion had anything to do with this Blu-ray... which is why I am going to wait for their version :smashin:

It's my favourite Kurosawa too.
 

bosque

Distinguished Member
Sorry, I didn't mean to suggest that Criterion had anything to do with this, but I can see that due to my clumsy post, it gives that impression. What I meant to say was that I don't feel the eventual Criterion release of Ran will be better than the current Studio Canal release, given that the Studio Canal DVD was far superior to the shoddy Criterion DVD.
 

reingam

Active Member
Yeah, I have to say that I was disappointed with the quality of this release and it even ruined some of my enjoyment of this magnificent movie. I just reviewed the 'Kagemusha' Criterion BD a couple of weeks ago and it looked and sounded a lot better than this release.

This is most certainly, in my opinion, an almost direct port from the Studio Canal HD DVD version. Colours are pleasing but as for the rest.....
 

reingam

Active Member
I don't think Criterion had anything to do with this Blu-ray... which is why I am going to wait for their version :smashin:

It's my favourite Kurosawa too.

I think that it may be some time before we see a BD release of 'Ran' from Criterion - there was some issue over the license (which Optimum have snapped up with Studio Canal) so the Criterion release has been shelved indefinately. No doubt it will come on in time but how long, I do not know!:smashin:
 

The latest video from AVForums

Star Wars Andor, Woman King, more Star Trek 4K, Rings of Power & the latest TV, movies & 4K releases
Subscribe to our YouTube channel
Support AVForums with Patreon

Top Bottom