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Rocky: Limited Edition Blu-ray Book Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Video Codec: MPEG-2
  • Resolution: 1080p/24
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, English Dolby 2.0 Mono, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby 2.0 Mono
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: A (Region-Locked)
  • Rating: PG
  • Discs: 1
  • Studio: MGM
  • Blu-ray Release Date: May 10, 2011
  • List Price: $34.98

[amazon-product]B004SEUJNM[/amazon-product]

BestBuy.com:
Rocky - Widescreen Dubbed Subtitle AC3

Purchase Rocky Limited Edition Blu-ray Book at CD Universe

Rocky

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:4.5/5]

Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]

Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]

Supplemental Materials
[Rating:1/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG  thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:4.5/5]

Here is the original 1976 film that both launched the seemingly never ending franchise and catapulted Sylvester Stallone into super stardom. With a script written by Stallone expressly for himself and after a hard-fought battle with studio executives to hold onto to the rights to his work and star in the role himself, Stallone made the picture with the barest amount of money.

Rocky would go on to win the Academy Award for Best Picture (1976). It has become one of the most iconic sports films of the cinema. The story tells of Rocky Balboa (Stallone), an aging boxer who never lived up to his potential in the ring working as a muscleman for a smalltime Philadelphia bookie. Just as he is beginning a tentative relationship with his friend’s shy sister Adrian (Talia Shire) and thrown out of his local gym by his trainer, he is approached by the heavyweight champion of the world Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) to be his opponent in a big Bicentennial Day match that will be viewed around the world. What Rocky doesn’t know is that he’s been picked just because Creed’s original opponent has a broken hand and Rocky is seen as an easy victory for a great publicity stunt.

Meredith Burgess stars as Rocky’s gruff old trainer tasked to get him into shape, Stallone puts in the best acting of his career, and the film is filled with some of the cinematic world’s most iconic images, like Rocky dancing in jubilation atop the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Then there’s the music; who can forget the classic fanfare by composer Bill Conti? This is right up there with Raging Bull as one of the great boxing films of all time.

Video Quality

[Rating:4/5]

Rocky arrives with an MPEG-2 1080p encodement from MGM. For a film of its vintage (1976) encoded in the aged MPEG-2 format that seems to average only ~20Mbps, Rocky looks rather decent in this transfer. Blacks may not be quite as inky as they could be and detail is sometimes a little soft, but flesh tones are generally natural, only sometimes looking a bit too reddish and things look relatively clean. Grain is a bit on the heavy side, typical of films from this era, but everything looks natural and film-like. There doesn’t seem to be any evidence of edge enhancement or much electronic noise apparent in the transfer.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4/5]

MGM has provided a spruced up DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack alongside the original English Mono soundtrack in a Dolby 2.0 configuration. The 5.1 opens the soundstage a tad while remaining true to the original intent of the sound designers by not making things too aggressive or overusing the surround channels that really only come into play during the most active scenes with some low level atmospherics. There is only some slight crackle to be heard in dialogue. The Dolby Mono track will be a good option for those seeking the authentic experience, although it can tend to sound a little bit muddled.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:1/5]

Only the original theatrical trailer of Rocky (1.33:1; 1080p/24) and a few other films are offered on disc, but it is packaged in a deluxe hardcover Blu-ray Book with film credits, actor bios and film trivia.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3.5/5]

A classic story of the underdog determined to win, Rocky is a cinematic icon that comes to Blu-ray in a fitting deluxe package from MGM. Too bad it has been stripped of any on-disc extras making it hardly worth the added price, regardless of the fancy packaging. Since this uses the same MPEG-2 transfer from its original release to Blu-ray, fans of the film might be better off finding that earlier release at a lower price.

Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product]B004SEUJNM[/amazon-product]

BestBuy.com:
Rocky - Widescreen Dubbed Subtitle AC3

Purchase Rocky Limited Edition Blu-ray Book at CD Universe

Rocky

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:4.5/5]

Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]

Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]

Supplemental Materials
[Rating:1/5]

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