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Confucius Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: Mandarin Dolby TrueHD 5.1(48kHz/24-bit), English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: AB (No Region C)
  • Rating: TV-MA
  • Discs: 2 (1 x Blu-ray + 1 x DVD)
  • Run Time: 125 Mins.
  • Studio: FUNimation Entertainment
  • Blu-ray Release Date: March 27, 2012
  • List Price: $24.98

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Purchase Confucius on Blu-ray Combo Pack at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:4/5]

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Confucius aims to tell the story of Confucius (Chow Yun-Fat). Initially focusing on his early days via flashback sequences, at the 30 minute or so mark, the film switches style sticking with one main subject. These flashbacks, at first, can become a bit annoying as the viewer is literally bombarded with subtitle and subtitle, all containing information on the brief time period the film is trying to tell us about. It’s after this mark that the film decides to focus on one time period, that being the period of Confucius life where he focused on being a scholar, aiming to teach those around him. After this initial problem (at least in my eye), I found the film to be quite interesting. Really though, Confucius is a mostly well made biopic from Director Hu Mei.

Weighted heavily in one direction, Director Hu Mei presents the story of Confucius with quite the keen eye. Granted I don’t necessarily know all that much about the man himself (outside of his more basic philosophies like family loyalty); however, after watching this film, I’m not sure if I know much more about him as a person. Yes, we easily learn he helped save China from their odd manners (like burying slaves — alive) and did help transform them into a more prosperous country. But, I wonder why Hu Mei didn’t decide to give us more information about his early years. Perhaps, it’s because little is known (well, factual I should say) about these years. I suppose Hu Mei wanted to present whatever she could in as truthful a manner that she could. If Hu Mei aimed to make Confucius into a kind of cheerful film celebrating China’s advances, she’s succeeded. If she aimed to tell us more about the man, then she failed. I tend to believe the first and, due to that, found Confucius to be a well-made epic, one that deserves to be seen if only for Chow Yun-Fat’s portrayal of Confucius.

(For a different take, read our Confucius Blu-ray Review by Brandon DuHamel)

Video Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

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The 2:35:1 framed, AVC MPEG-4 encoded transfer is just about perfect. Detail is impressive throughout, whether the vast, wide shots or the closer up moments. It’s during these sequences where the camera pulls closer, that contrast levels are accurate, as are flesh tones. There is a bit of aliasing and compression issues that one with a careful eye (or one doing screenshots) might be able to notice right around the 1:15:32 mark. I don’t really feel that this was the biggest issue, so I can’t overly fault the transfer. Color wise, the range of colors (whites, blacks, greys, blues) all looked fine. The CGI effects also mix in with the live action quite well. All in all, minus one slight problem, this is a fine effort from FUNimation.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

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The film’s provided Mandarin Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track is equally as solid as the aforementioned video. There is an optional English dub, but I’d hope no sane viewer would subject themselves to that. With that said, the provided Mandarin track with English subtitles is easy to understand throughout. Dynamics, in particular during the battle sequences, are top notch. Little discrete effects like arrows zipping by our ears all but help to add to the film’s atmosphere. Speaking of atmosphere, the score by Cong Su and Zhao Jiping add in that adventure style to the film. I didn’t notice any audio drop out, hisses, scratches or any other problems with this. All in all, like the video, this is a fine effort from FUNimation.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:3/5]

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The included supplements are presented in HD, minus one feature.

  • From Chow Yun-Fat to Confucius – This runs 7:10 and looks into how Chow Yun-Fat prepared himself for the role of Confucius.
  • A Woman, A Bosom Friend – Running 7:04, this feature shows us cast and crew rehearsing, specifically focusing on that of Zhou Xun.
  • Chaotic Period of Spring and Autumn – At 8:04, Director Hu Mei discusses the biggest challenges she faced while developing the film.
  • From Chow Yun-Fat to Confucius Special Edition – More behind-the-scenes footage, this time 6:59 worth, of Chow Yun-Fat.
  • The Politicians – This runs 7:12 and looks into the politics behind the film.
  • Animal Stars – Running 7:43, this shows us some of the different animals used throughout the course of the film.
  • Progressing in the Snow – 6:26 worth of behind-the-scene glance at the film’s different set pieces.
  • The Warfare – This shows us, in 7:06, some of the different shot techniques due via green screen.
  • Trailer [SD] – The film’s trailer, 1:43, is shown.
  • DVD – A DVD of the film is also included.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3.5/5]

Confucius_05

Depending where you lie in the Confucius world, you’re either going to love or hate Hu Mei’s Confucius. One thing you can’t hate, however, is FUNimation’s Blu-ray. Featuring excellent video, audio and a solid amount of features, this one comes recommended.

Additional Screen Captures

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[amazon-product]B006MWA8UW[/amazon-product]

Purchase Confucius on Blu-ray Combo Pack at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3/5]

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