Thursday, March 13, 2014

To Blu-ray movie lovers“The Hunger Games”

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is presented on Blu-ray courtesy of Lionsgate Films with an AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 1.78:1 (for the Hunger Games sequences) and 2.40:1 (for all other sequences). This is perhaps appropriately an even darker, moodier experience than the first film, with deep, shaded scenes making up the bulk of the film. Contrast is very strong and shadow detail remains strong throughout the film. Colors have been graded fairly aggressively throughout the film. A lot of the District 12 sequences are bathed in a slate gray or ice cold blue color, with flesh tones and other pops of primaries intentionally desaturated. While this is an understandable stylistic decision, it does tend to slightly mitigate fine detail at times. Once or twice, Francis Lawrence and cinematographer Jo Willems suddenly offer a completely natural, robust looking palette, and these segments pop incredibly well. The Hunger Games themselves are in a sort of semi-tropical environment, and the greens are lushly presented, though, again, several key sequences take place in the dark. This transfer shows absolutely no signs of artificial sharpening or other digital tweaking and recreates the original theatrical experience exceedingly well.
As with the first film, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire features an incredibly well detailed, bombastic and immersive lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 mix. All channels are regularly employed with a wealth of well done foley effects and score. Crowd noises spill through the side and surround channels on regular occasions, and such intentionally hokey elements as the big tv show hosted by Caesar Flickerman (Stanley Tucci) have cheesy music and effects dotting various channels. LFE springs into action regularly throughout the track, including a spectacular fireworks display early in the film and, later, when Katniss discovers a weakness in the Games' system and decides to exploit it. Through it all, dialogue is always very cleanly and clearly presented and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire offers great reference quality audio from the first moment to the last.

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