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The Artist Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit)
  • Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
  • Subtitles Color: White
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Run Time: 100 Mins.
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray + UltraViolet Digital Copy)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • Blu-ray Release Date: June 26, 2012
  • List Price: $35.99

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

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:5/5]

Not since Giuseppe Tornatore’s 1988 film Cinema Paradiso (Nuovo cinema paradiso) has a filmmaker crafted such a beautiful, charming, and complete love letter to the golden age of cinema and Hollywood as Michel Hazanavicius’ 5-Academy Award winner, (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Costumes, Best Score) The Artist. Not just a film about the 1920s silent film era in “Hollywoodland,” but a daring throwback to the techniques of the day, a “nouveau cinéma muet,” if you will, from Frenchman Hazanavicius. It is a love story within a love story, following the silent film icon George Valentin (Jean Dujardin) who is the talk of the town (no pun intended), in the late 1920s, but opposed to the coming wave of talkies in Hollywood. As the decline of silent movies arrives, George’s young and talented discovery, Peppy Miller (Bérénice Bejo) reaches new heights of fame and fortune as she transitions to the new medium and George becomes forgotten. Slumping into a life of financial ruin and self-destruction, George’s only refuge is the romance he once had with Peppy.

A beautifully filmed story done entirely in Hollywood, The Artist not only captures the essence of that era in its costumes and sets, but is acted superbly by all members of the cast. As everyone knows, silent film stars had to “mug for the screen” to get their points across, and everyone here does a superlative job of conveying every emotion, without seeming like they are overacting at all. Bejo is angelic, while Dujardin has an inner charisma that words cannot express.

And the score, well, the proof is in the pudding as they say. If anyone ever needed proof that music is a big part of art, then look no farther than here. Ludovic Bource’s score is note for note perfect, setting the correct tone at each turn – funny, energetic, melancholic, frantic, despondent, elated. All elements of The Artist come together to remind us all that we don’t need the heavy handed gimmickry of CG effects, paper thin plots and 3D to entertain us; sometimes the best wizardry is the simplest, most heartfelt wizardry, like that set forth in The Artist.

Video Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

Like the silent film on the whole with its dialogue cards and classical score being the sole accompaniment, The Artist’s 1.33:1 framing and black and white imagery seems so out of step with today for a feature film that it is rather refreshing. Naturally a film like this is actually shot on, well, film, in this case Kodak Vision3 500T 5219 35mm, Super 35 format (3-perf). It is intended to look like something from a bygone era, so it is often somewhat diffuse, purposely, with a medium level of contrast. With that being said, this AVC/MPEG-4 1080p transfer from Sony looks spectacularly film-like, bringing out all the glorious black and white details and the texture of The Artist without any electronic transgressions.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

Being a “silent” film, the strength of the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit) soundtrack relies on the wonderful score by Ludovic Bource, which is handled with aplomb. Although I would have liked just a bit more ambience in the surround channels for a more lush sound, the mix does fit and is dynamic and natural. There are a few moments, not to spoil the surprise, where the soundtrack has some other sound effects, unlike the silent films of old, and they are also wonderfully full with just the right amount of low frequency extension.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:3.5/5]

The supplements provided here are all rather self-explanatory and provide a rich amount of information on the making of The Artist, with lots of interviews with the stars and crew and plenty of behind the scenes footage.

The supplements:

  • Blooper Reel (133:1; 1080p/24; 00:02:14)
  • The Artist: The Making of an American Romance (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:21:56)
  • Q&A with the Filmmakers and Cast (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:44:57)
  • Hollywood as a Character: The Locations of The Artist (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:05:10)
    • The Artisans Behind The Artist: (1.78:1; 1080p/24)
    • The Production Design (00:02:27)
    • The Cinematography (00:01:22)
    • The Costumes (00:03:44)
    • The Composer: Ludovic Bource (00:03:50)
  • UltraViolet Digital Copy

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

The past comes alive again in The Artist, a retro-styled love story about the end of a bygone era that, ironically, uses the same techniques of the era that passed so long ago to tell of its demise. A silent film for the new era, French director Michel Hazanavicius has reminded us all how wonderful Hollywood used to be and perhaps still can be.

Additional Screen Captures

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Purchase The Artist on Blu-ray+UltraViolet at CD Universe

Download The Artist on iTunes

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

[amazon-product]B00782O7NE[/amazon-product]

Purchase The Artist on Blu-ray+UltraViolet at CD Universe

Download The Artist on iTunes

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

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

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