Thursday, July 11, 2024

Storytelling DVD/ Blu-ray Comparison

It's here!  So let's do another DVDExotica-style comparison of the brand new Storytelling blu-ray from Shout Factory, and the previous DVD edition from New Line Cinema, which up 'till this week, had still been the best version available.  At least it was anamorphic, which is more than you can say for the old Happiness DVD, which will also be getting its HD upgrade soon enough.
2002 New Line DVD top; 2024 Shout Factory BD bottom.
Wow!  It looks like somebody just turned the lights on.  Shout Factory has just given this film a new 2k restoration, but that color correction is definitely the first thing you notice.  There's a world of difference.  New Line's DVD is also slightly window-boxed to 1.82:1, which Shout corrects to a properly letterboxed 1.85:1.  This new scan actually reveals a little more info around all four edges, but especially the left and right.  The jump to high def definitely clarifies new detail - I can finally read "30 DAY ORGANIZER" on the calendar behind the actors in the first set of shots, and film grain may be a little soft now, but the DVD couldn't even begin to process it; so it's a series of big leaps forward in terms of PQ.
2002 New Line DVD.
The one thing I guess we lost, technically, was the optional fullscreen version the DVD threw in.  It has slight curiosity value, I guess, for opening up the mattes and revealing a lot more of the top and bottom of the picture.  But it also cuts off the sides, and of course, is completely improperly framed and spoils the intended compositions.  Honestly, as consumers, we're better off without these confusing the marketplace.

Both discs offer the Dolby 2.0 stereo track and a 5.1 remix, which I believe was created for the DVD.  Shout's edition bumps up both tracks to lossless DTS-HD.  And both discs off optional English subtitles.
The only extras the DVD are the trailer and the infamous "red box" censored scene.  The DVD also gave you the option, if you were so perversely inclined, to watch the film with the scene censored, in both full and widescreen.  So yes, the DVD had four transfers crammed onto one disc.

The blu-ray has the trailer and the red box scene, too, but only presents the film uncut.  And honestly, that's just as well.  The blu also goes the highly appreciated extra distance of conducting new, on-camera interviews with the cinematographer Frederick Elmes and the composer Nathaon Larson.  So I don't know if that quite qualifies it as a full-on special edition, but it's considerably more value added to a new BD that was already a major upgrade.  This is an absolute must-have for any serious Solondz fan.

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