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The Joy Luck Club Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit), French Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0
  • Subtitles: English SDH, French, Portuguese, Spanish
  • Subtitles Color: White
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Rating: R
  • Runtime: 139 Mins.
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Digital Copies: N/A
  • Studio: Hollywood Pictures Home Entertainment
  • Blu-ray Release Date: December 11, 2012
  • List Price: $20.00

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:0/5]

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:3.5/5]

Author Amy Tan’s best-selling novel The Joy Luck Club came to life in this cinematic adaptation in 1993. While the film from director Wayne Wang (Snow Flower and the Secret Fan; Maid in Manhattan; Smoke) based on a screenplay from Tan herself and Ronald Bass still doesn’t quite rise to the same level of the book, it is a wonderfully rich and heartwarming character study of mothers and daughters stretching across old world and new. The film focuses on a group of four middle-aged Chinese women in San Francisco who left China after World War II to come to America. Joining together to share their hopes, dreams, aspirations for their daughters, and to play mah-jong, they called themselves “the Joy Luck Club” – Suyuan (Kieu Chinh), Lindo (Tsai Chin), Ying Ying (France Nuyen), and An Mei (Lisa Lu). But when Suyuan dies, they ask her daughter June (Ming-Na Wen) to sit in for her. Along with the three daughters of the surviving members, Waverly (Tamlyn Tomita), Lena (Lauren Tom), and Rose (Rosalind Chao), the gathering in remembrance of Suyuan is the setting for what is basically eight interweaving stories about each member of the Joy Luck Club and each of their daughters, the stories serving to bridge the divide between the Old World customs and the new, and helping each mother and daughter to understand each other more deeply.

Wang’s direction helps to keep the film’s various interwoven threads from going astray and becoming confusing. He also adds a lot of beauty and stylistic grace to the film’s visual style, however he does tend to go just a little overboard with the melodrama. Some scenes seem just queued up to get the tear ducts flowing. Despite all of this, The Joy Luck Club is ultimately enjoyable to watch. It is held together by its several strong performances and the core material provided by Amy Tan that helps overcome whatever deficiencies manage to creep in by bringing a drama so sweeping to the big screen.

Video Quality

[Rating:4/5]

Unlike the recently reviewed Dick Tracy, from Disney studio Touchstone,  The Joy Luck Club has a much more satisfying, even if not perfect, AVC/MPEG-4 1080p/24 transfer to Blu-ray disc from Hollywood Pictures Home Entertainment, another Disney subsidiary. A thin layer of grain imparts a natural appearance to the image and contrast is generally strong, though it could be just a tad stronger. The midtones look rich and close-ups yield nice amounts of textural information. There aren’t any issues with source damage and darker scenes are nicely nuanced.

Audio Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

A lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48lHz/24-bit) soundtrack is offered and it is serviceable, but a 2.0 or 3.0 mix would have done just as well for this film from 1993 that is mainly dialogue driven and hardly makes use of the surround channels or the subwoofer.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:0/5]

We get zilch, zippo, naught.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3.5/5]

The Joy Luck Club is one of the few major Hollywood films I can think of that has an almost all Asian cast. With that in mind, despite the success of the film itself, the novel upon which it was based, and all the buzz surrounding the film at the time, the film was shamefully passed up for an Oscar nomination. Perhaps it is confirmation that no matter how far we progress, we still have a lot farther to go. With that said, I highly recommend this wonderful family drama for people of all persuasions.

Additional Screen Captures

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Purchase From BestBuy.com:
The Joy Luck Club - Widescreen AC3 Dolby Dts - Blu-ray Disc

The Joy Luck Club

Purchase The Joy Luck Club on Blu-ray at CD Universe

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Purchase From BestBuy.com:
The Joy Luck Club - Widescreen AC3 Dolby Dts - Blu-ray Disc

The Joy Luck Club

Purchase The Joy Luck Club on Blu-ray 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]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:0/5]


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