Monday, May 20, 2013
BATTLESTAR GALACTICA (1978) Capsule Blu-ray Review
So today I drove over to my local Best Buy brick & mortar location, and after some searching, I finally found their one and only copy. When I got home, I called the telephone number provided in their e-mail and attempted to cancel the order. I won't detail that heinous experience except to say that I still don't know if the order was cancelled or not. Best Buy keeps blaming Amazon and other online retailers for their financial woes, when the truth is, they simply suck. In the 90s, they were okay. Now? Not so much.
Their own online ordering is - as evidenced by this screw up - a bad joke, their in-store employees are - without exception - lazy and uninformed, and their customer service overall is half-assed. I wouldn't shop there at all if not for their Exclusives and clearance DVD/Blu-ray bins.
Enough of that particular rant. So, Chris, how was Battlestar Galactica's Blu-ray presentation?
Very good. The 1080p HD remaster is framed at a 1.85:1 aspect ratio approximating the original, matted, theatrical format, and Galactica has never looked this good. Colors are strong, vibrant and obviously re-timed/corrected, looking much better than the previous home video releases on VHS and DVD. While the effects work shows its age and the limitations of the 1970s process work (the image degrades with each additional element in the composite shots), it still looks surprisingly good - much better than I anticipated. Some shots are truly spectacular - especially on my big-screen monitor - and there is no evidence of extensive DNR or other digital tweaking. The audio has been remastered in DTS-HD Master Audio 2.1 with Sensurround! There are no bonus fetaures included on this edition, but there is a trailer for the recent Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome release.
Overall, it's a really solid HD upgrade. It doesn't look like a modern digital special effects film - it can't - but it is a fine presentation of the 1978 feature. At a SRP of $14.99, it comes highly recommended for all Star Kids - too bad it's only available from the Best Buy chain.
NOTE: What a difference a typo makes! I intended to type "and there is no evidence of extensive DNR," not "there is now evidence of extensive DNR." Sorry for the confusion. To repeat, I've been reviewing digital video formats professionally for nearly a decade, and I saw no evidence that this Battlestar Galactica Blu-ray transfer was anything but a straight 1080p HD remaster from a clean 1978 source print, aside from some welcome and appropriate color correction.
NOTE #2: I never, never, never noticed this before, but every time they show the Imperious Leader from above in the movie, the improved resolution reveals that he/it appears to have a small green lizard perched on his/its left shoulder! What the frak?!