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Field of Dreams – Blu-ray Disc Review

May 20, 2009 – 2:18 AM - Posted by: Brendan Surpless

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Blu-ray Disc Review

4.5 out of 5 starsThe Movie Itself has an average rating of 7.7 on IMDb
2.5 out of 5 starsVideo Quality 1080p in VC-1 on a 50gb disc
2.5 out of 5 starsAudio Quality
DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
2.5 out of 5 starsBonus Materials
include DVD ports & BD-Live
Rated:PG
Year: – 1989
Length: – 106 Minutes
Studio:Universal
Region:Region 1 (A)
This uses 27.3GB for the movie out of 38.6GB total.
Street Date: May 26th, 2009


Overall VerdictGreat Film/Troubled Disc

Buy it for $20.99 @ Amazon.com
Buy it for $20.99 @ Amazon.com


— Review by: Brendan Surpless

Trailer:



The Film is directed by Phil Alden Robinson. For the longest time I avoided “Field of Dreams” simply because I’ve never really liked Kevin Costner as an actor and mainly because I figured a film about baseball starring him would be boring. Boy was I wrong on this one. Sure “Field of Dreams” isn’t the best baseball film ever made, but damn if it’s not a film that one can’t help but enjoy slowly falling for the story, characters and surroundings.
Ray Kinsella (Costner) is a simple man who has a lovely wife named Annie (Amy Madigan). Ray decides to move to Iowa soon buying a farm. One night, while in the crops, Ray beings to hear a calm, subdued voice that repeats, “if you build it, he will come”. Ray begins to think it’s a sound truck or a bunch of kids playing a joke. Soon the chant happens again only this time Ray sees a vision of a baseball field. (Remember the scandal surrounding the 1918 White Soxes where 8 of them were suspended over apparently being paid to throw the World Series). Once the field is built, Ray’s young daughter Karin (Gaby Hoffmann) tells her daddy that a strange man is walking in the field. Ray goes out and sees none other than Shoeless Joe Jackson (the always fabulous Ray Liotta). The rest of the film follows Ray receiving more clues that lead him to meeting more players including one particularly important player.

I suppose what makes “Field of Dreams” work on the level it does is that the story is so charming and interesting that we as the audience can’t help but want Ray to succeed in realizing what the field’s true purpose is (any causal film fan will be able to decipher its message 30-40 minutes in). The acting is surprisingly convincing as many of Hollywood greats lend their talent to the picture including Ray Liotta, James Earl Jones and Burt Lancaster (with the exception of Costner who I couldn’t really believe in the role). After seeing this film, one can certainly understand why some call this film a legend. I couldn’t help but think of another excellent baseball film in “The Sandlot” as both tell compelling stories that we can help but become attached to. While “The Sandlot” is obviously the more kiddy film of the two, “Field of Dreams” is the perfect film to watch with the whole family (especially if your family is not together or is going through rough times). Trust me on this one, you won’t help but wonder how you could have changed your past with a certain family member by the end. I certainly did.

Video Quality on this release is in full 1080p using the VC-1 codec on a BD-50 (50 gigabyte dual-layer Blu-ray Disc). I’m sad to report that “Field of Dreams“, despite older catalogue titles looking impressive on HD, has a transfer that is moments of appropriate grain, but has too flat an image to ever look impressive

As I mentioned above, the film’s print is loaded with grain. Luckily most of the grain helps bring out the films’ themes in an appropriate manner. Video noise, on the other hand, is rather distracting with constant buzzing. Color usage was fine in some sequences (the exterior shots of the corn fields). Most of the color felt pumped up giving the image a rather fake look. Sure Field of Dreams didn’t ever really have the 3-D image we’ve come to expect from HD material (I didn’t honestly expect it to though), but the image looks too flat and over saturated throughout. One of the few negatives I’ve seen from Universal resulting in myself having to give this a “2.5 Star Rating“.


Audio Quality on this release is presented in DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio Surround. The included DTS-HD track is equally disappointing. I didn’t go into this expecting something demo worthy but I had hoped for more overall response.

Speaking of surround response, I only really noticed any surround response from the opening Universal logo and some of the cheering from Ray’s family. Dialogue was fairly clear throughout even though some of the arguing between town members at the town meeting ended up muddled (luck for subtitles though). Dynamic Range, like the surrounds, was rather flat and nearly un-existent except from a few key scenes (most of them were around the initial arrival of Shoeless Joe Jackson and the other team members). A true disappointment here. An all-around poor V/A showing from Universal here. This earns a “2.5 Star Rating“.


Bonus Materials are presented in Standard Definition video using MPEG-2 with Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo sound @192kbps.

  • BD-Live: My Scenes Sharing allows the viewer to share their favorite scenes with their friends. Also included is access to Universal‘s own BD-Live network. This requires the user to be on a “Profile 2.0” capable Blu-ray Disc Player.
  • Audio Commentary with Director Phil Alden Robinson and director of photography John Lindley: Originally recorded for the Laserdisc release a few years back, I was pleasantly surprised by this one. I thought that both would just drone on about how great their film was. While both do this a bit, I liked how Robinson gives us a bit of information on the various effects used for the film and the casting of Costner and Liotta.
  • From Father to Son: Passing Along the Pastime: This 40 minute feature was entertaining and interesting throughout. Co-producers Charles and Lawrence Gordon give us a bit of information on the production, behind-the-scenes footage and other cast members. This one is definitely worth a watch for fans of the film.
  • Roundtable with Kevin Costner, Bret Saberhagen, George Brett and Johnny Bench: This 30 minute discussion has Costner quiz the three baseball legends on the film’s impact and, most importantly, the legend that is the sport of baseball.
  • Galena, IL Pinch Hits for Chisholm, MN: This brief 6 minute feature takes a look into a visit to Galena, IL with historian Steve Repp. He shows off some of the various locales used for some of the film’s pivotal scenes.
  • The Diamond in the Husks: This one runs 13 minutes and focuses on the actual location used for the baseball diamond in Iowa. What surprised me most is that the actual locale has become quite the tourist spot.
  • Fields of Dreams: From Page to Screen: This whopping 46 minute Bravo TV Special focuses on the decision of Robinson to bring W.P. Kinsella’s novel to the big screen.
  • Deleted Scenes: Here, over 13 scenes, we get about 15 minutes worth of deleted scenes with an introduction by Director Robinson.
  • Field of Dreams Scrapbook: 300 various photo of behind-the-scenes action and production sets.


Blu-ray Disc packaging:


Screenshots:

NOTE: The full-sized 1920×1080 files are in a .PNG file format and uncompressed. Bare with the slow loading times, keep in mind these files are at least 1MB (1 megabyte) in size each.

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