Tags: Al Pacino, Angel Salazar, BD-Live, Bonus View, Brian De Palma, D-BOX, Digital Copy, DVD vs. Blu-ray Screenshot Comparison, F. Murray Abraham, Martin Bregman, Michelle Pfeiffer, Miriam Colon, Oliver Stone, Pocket Blu, Richard Belzer, Robert Loggia, SteelBook, Steven Bauer, U-Control, Universal
has an average rating of 8.2 on IMDb
1080p in VC-1 on a 50gb disc
DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio & DTS 2.0
in a SteelBook with loads of content!
– 170 minutes
This uses 36.7GB for the movie out of 45.1GB total.
Street Date: September 6th, 2011
Overall Verdict – Very Highly Recommended
— Review written by: Justin Sluss —
The Movie Itself is technically a remake of the classic 1932 Howard Hawks directed, Howard Hughes produced gangster film of the same title. The screenplay for this 1983 version was adapted by Oliver Stone and the film was directed by Brian De Palma. There are a whole lot of similarities between the original 1932 film and the 1983 remake but also a lot of things that differ in this, the remake. More on that later though.
This film has many times been called a “rags-to-riches” story. The main character here is an illegal immigrant (political refugee) from Cuba that landed near Miami, Florida by the name of “Tony Montana” played by Al Pacino. Tony comes to this country with nothing but his best friend “Manny Ribera” (played by Steven Bauer) penniless and living in a refugee camp. He manages to do a job assassinating a former Cuban Communist leader which scores him, Manny and their friend U.S. citizenship (“green cards”) and gets them out of the refugee camp and into the country.
Tony and Manny start off working at a little restaurant and then manage to get their first job doing a transaction for a large deal of cocaine. It’s not much of a spoiler to tell you that this deal goes wrong for our main characters but they manage to still score the coke and keep the cash. At this point they have lost a member of their crew on a deal gone wrong and all for coke for a man they have never met. This coke deal was arranged by a man named “Omar” (played by F. Murray Abraham) who works for a man named “Frank Lopez” (played by Robert Loggia). Instead of going to Omar, Tony decides to take the cocaine and the cash straight to the man he’s working for since he managed to lose a member of his gang in this deal. It’s here when Tony establishes a direct relationship with Frank and begins to work directly for him and bypasses Omar. It’s also here where Tony decides he has the hots for the boss’ girlfriend, a lovely skinny blonde by the name of “Elvira” (played by Michelle Pfeiffer). Tony realizes very early on what he wants and what he’ll have to do to get it, and that includes murder.
Time passes about halfway through this 170 minute epic and you see Tony make his rise to power, get the girl, get married and essentially become an overly paranoid asshole. Along the way he manages to reunite with his mother (played by Miriam Colon) and his younger sister “Gina” (played by Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio). Tony provides them with money but his mother refuses to take it as she knows he’s making it illegally. Tony has this strange nature of wanting to keep his sister safe but at the same time he also prevents her from having any relationships and that is something that plays vital in this story. It also is vital to this story that Tony’s life at home once he marries Elvira is far from perfect. Both of them are heavily abusing cocaine at this point and at each other’s throats most of the time. Tony begins to do large drug deals with a man out of the country and that’s really where the big trouble begins to arise. Let’s just end it at that to avoid any spoilers.
“Scarface” 1983, a film now 28 years in age, still proves to be one of the most popular gangster films of modern times. Although, the film was not initially understood, it eventually caught on and would end up grossing 65 million dollars worldwide in its theatrical run — having only had reportedly a 25 million dollar budget. So it turned out to be a success by the end of the theatrical run and has especially on home video. Director Brian De Palma would go on to direct numerous other gangster-style films, namely “The Untouchables” four years later in 1987 and “Carlito’s Way” (again starring Al Pacino) in 1993. The film itself would go on to inspire pop culture in many, many ways — especially the rap community. Let’s face it, you can’t watch an episode of MTV Cribs without seeing some posters or memorabilia for the film included in the rappers home decor.
In regards to the similarities between the original 1932 film and this (the 1983 remake), both films have protagonist by the name of “Tony” with scars on their face and a heavy foreign accent. Things like the desire to have the boss’ girlfriend (who initially pretends to hate him) and the kid sister in a relationship her brother doesn’t approve of. Plus both the 1932 and 1983 films had characters who felt promised the following:
“The World is Yours“
In the 1932 film it’s on a neon sign outside of the “Tony” character’s residence that he looks at from time to time and adapts it as his personal philosophy. In the 1983 film, Tony Montana ends up seeing the phrase scroll across the Goodyear blimp — only fitting to show the change that 51 years makes in terms of advertising, as well as undoubtedly with gangsters.
Video Quality on this release is in full 1080p using the VC-1 codec on a BD-50 (50 gigabyte dual-layered Blu-ray Disc) in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio. According to IMDb‘s technical specifications for the aspect ratio this was shot using Panavision cameras on 35MM film.
DVD vs. Blu-ray Screenshot Comparisons
NOTE: The “2-Disc Anniversary Edition” DVD (released in 2003) was used here for comparison purposes. There were other DVD releases of the film before and after that, let that be known and see HERE for yourself (via Wikipedia).
This is undoubtedly THE BEST the film has ever looked on home video. You’ll first notice in those comparisons above that the 2003 DVD had an excessive amount of DNR (digital noise reduction) used, turning flesh to almost wax and hiding the film grain. However here in this new Hi-Def transfer you’ll notice an amazing amount of detail that has never stood out before, flesh that looks realistic and not waxy and most importantly a heavy amount of original film grain preserved from the 35MM print. Speaking of the original 35MM film print, it’s nice to see that some flaws like dirt and scratches have been left a tad bit. You’ll also notice that the color palette has been slightly adjusted (fixed) here and results in much more vibrant colors; whereas the DVD felt dull — especially in comparison. Fleshtones have also changed here and although they may at first glance seem more red they overall seem more accurate to me. It should definitely be said that the black level here is perfectly solid throughout. There’s a whole lot that has been done right here by Universal this time around and for once in a good while DNR has not been used excessively. As a result, you have a sharp picture with a whole lot of new-found detail in the Hi-Def presentation.
Most all films from the 1980s, especially films this early in the decade, had a “soft” visual feel to them. However, having said that, this DOES NOT seem “soft” visually in any way what-so-ever in its debut to Blu-ray Disc. In fact, this looks downright amazing in comparison to any of the previous DVD releases. While it may not have received a huge (expensive) frame-by-frame restoration of the film, it is an amazingly good transfer from 35MM film to Hi-Def. A transfer worthy of a perfect “5 Star Rating” in my honest opinion for overall video quality. Let me end by saying although I know I’ll hear some videophiles have strong disagreement on that rating, I stand by it, as I’ve owned this film many, many times on home video and watched it many, many, many times.
Audio Quality on this release is presented in both DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio and DTS 2.0 Stereo. Let’s just begin by saying that this really is going leave the fans pleased, especially with the all-new 7.1 lossless mix which starts out sounding amazing in the intro credits with the film’s Score. Eventually the unforgettable Soundtrack, more of the score and some very lifelike sound effects for gunshots and whatnot end up making very excellent use of the eight channels. The rear channels in the far back (left & right) get a really good amount of use and justify this being in the 7.1 configuration instead of just a traditional 5.1 layout. In other words, it’s not “overkill” by any means. One reason this translates really well to a surround mix is because it originally had a 4-track Stereo audio mix. That’s obviously why they have chose to retain a Stereo track here, but it is odd they didn’t use a 4.0 configuration for it to replicate the 4-track Stereo.
Dialogue is the most important thing here though, regardless of the action, and the 7.1 layout. So, I’m very happy to report that dialogue is delivered distinctly here from beginning to end and will require zero volume adjustments. The real surprise however is that dialogue is not only driven from primarily the front center channel but also the far rear channels as well. This same effect can be found as well on vocals for songs on the Soundtrack. This effect is unique and basically surrounds the listener in a wall of sound. The 7.1 sound stage is also used for ambient noises such as background chatter in a crowd, passing helicopters, gunfire and whatnot. All and all, this is just downright excellent in terms of sound and sure to immerse the viewer into the film in an audible sense. This earns itself a perfect “5 Star Rating” for overall audio quality and is jam-packed full of “demo material” when the guns come out. This is the best the film has ever sounded and does the unforgettable original Score and Soundtrack complete justice.
Bonus Materials are presented in both 1080p Hi-Def (HD) and Standard Definition (SD) video quality with DTS 2.0 Stereo @255kbps sound — unless otherwise noted below.
- BD-Live is included on this Universal Blu-ray Disc release which requires the user to be on a “Profile 2.0” capable Blu-ray Disc Player with Internet connectivity to access online content and features from the studio. Features such as pocket BLU which allows you to use your smartphone (Android, Blackberry & iPhone) as well as tablet (iPad) to control the film as a remote and access bonus materials online streaming or download them to your device.
- “U-Control” is included on this release. It has two features, “Scarface Scorecard” which counts the times the word fuck is used and how many gunshots are fired. The other feature uses Bonus View which requires “Profile 1.1” capable Blu-ray Disc Players to deliver a Picture In Picture (PIP) experience. This PIP experience includes interviews with the cast and crew and a scene comparison between this 1983 version and the original 1932 Howard Hawks directed classic. Below you’ll find two video clips of this feature embedded from YouTube.
- “The Scarface Phenomenon” (38:34 – HD) is an ALL-NEW retrospective documentary split up into three parts: “Say Hello to the Bad Guy“, “Pushing the Limit” and “The World & Everything in it“. This new featurette includes interviews (all of which are new, with the exception of Brian De Palma) with Julie Salamon (Author, Film Critic), Ken Tucker (Author “Scarface Nation“), Eli Roth (Filmmaker, Actor), Keith Gordon (Actor, Filmmaker “Dexter“), Sen Dog (Rapper “Cyrpress Hill“), L.A. Banks (Author “Scarface: The Beginning“), Jillian Barberie Reynolds (Television Hostess), Roberto Saviano (Author “Gomorrah“), Billy Corben (Filmmaker “Cocaine Cowboys“), Steven Bauer (Actor, “Manny Ray“), Antoine Fuqua (Filmmaker “Training Day“), Robert Loggia (Actor, “Frank Lopez“), Richard Belzer (Actor, “M.C. at Babylon Club“), Maria Conchita Alonso (Actor, Singer), Angel Salazar (Actor, “Chi Chi“) and Martin Bregman (Producer).
- Deleted Scenes (22:29 – SD)
- “The World of Tony Montana” (11:38 – SD) features Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo @192kbps sound.
- “The Rebirth” (10:08 – SD) discusses remaking the original 1932 Howard Hawks directed film. This includes interviews with Director Brian De Palama, Screenwriter Oliver Stone, Producer Martin Bregman and Actor Al Pacino.
- “The Acting” (15:05 – SD) includes interviews with Actors Al Pacino and Steven Bauer as well as Director Brian De Palma discussing the film’s cast.
- “The Creating” (29:35 – SD) serves as a “making of” featurette of sorts and gives you insight to how the film was adapted by Oliver Stone, how the chainsaw scene was filmed, how much went into the production design and how the film struggled to get an “R” rating from the MPAA.
- “The Making of Scarface: The Video Game” (12:05 – SD) is a bit outdated since the game was for previous generation consoles (PS2 & XBOX) but it did receive a Wii release as well.
- “Scarface: The TV Version” (2:48 – SD) is a downright hilarious montage of scenes for the edited for TV version of the film where curse words are replaced. This isn’t new, as it previously appeared on a DVD release, however it is still good for a laugh.
- D-BOX motion code is included on this release for those with the proper equipment to decode it.
- This LIMITED EDITION comes in a SteelBook case (packaging). On October 11th they (Universal) will start phasing these out with a standard Blu-ray case serving as the replacement. You can find pictures of this packaging further below.
- 10 Collectible Art Cards are included which were created by fans and then voted on by fans in a contest prior to this release. These cards can be seen further below in the packaging section of this review.
- Digital Copy of the film is included which you can redeem via a URL included on a sheet of paper along with activation code. This digital copy of the film is compatible with both iTunes, Windows Media portable devices as well as Mac and PC.
- Disc 2 is a DVD of the original 1932 film in standard definition. It features Black & White video with Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono @192kbps sound and has a 1:33:41 runtime. Bonus features on it include an “Introduction” (2:24 – SD) and an Alternate Ending (10:21 – SD).
Overall the bonus materials here are very impressive. Just that SteelBook packaging of this LIMITED EDITION alone is downright impressive and sure to grab some attention. Plus you get the 10 collectible art cards, the DVD of the original 1932 film, a Digital Copy of this (the 1983) film, an ALL-NEW retrospective documentary almost 40 minutes long and in Hi-Def, all the previous DVD bonus materials like deleted scenes and featurettes “ported over” that total up to roughly 2 hours in length, plus you get the new D-BOX motion code and also the “U-Control” features. This earns itself a “4.5 Star Rating” for bonus materials. The only thing I could think would make things better would be if it were that expensive $700 limited (1000 made) humidor collectible version but for $24 this will do. It offers great physical bonus content with that SteelBook and the art cards.
Blu-ray Disc packaging:
NOTE: The full-sized 1920×1080 files are in a .PNG file format and uncompressed. Please be patient with the slow loading times, keep in mind these files are at least 1MB (1 megabyte) in size each.