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The Last Circus Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 2:35:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English/Spanish DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
  • Subtitles: English and English SDH
  • Region: A (locked)
  • Rating: R
  • Run Time: 101 Mins.
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Studio: Magnolia Home Entertainment
  • Blu-ray Release Date: October 18th, 2011
  • List Price: $29.98

[amazon-product]B005D0RDOI[/amazon-product]

BestBuy.com:
The Last Circus - Widescreen Subtitle AC3

Purchase Last Circus 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:5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2.5/5]

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]

I’ll come right out and say this. The Last Circus is one of the oddest films I’ve ever reviewed.

Javier (Carlos Areces), a Sad Clown, befriends a few outlandish clowns including Sergio (Antonio De La Torre), a Happy Clown, after working in a circus. Only thing is Sergio enjoys humiliating Javier on a daily basis just for the amusement of others. Javier soon meets Natalia (Carolina Bang), the abused wife of Sergio. Playing out in a kind of love story triangle, Javier falls in love with Natalia much to the dismay of Sergio. Obviously wanting to fight for his wife, mostly due to the fact that he wants her for his own, the two begin to travel down a bizarre, shocking path all but which is captured by Director Alex De La Iglesia with a sense of haunting beauty.

Ever since watching The Orphange and Pan’s Labyrinth, I’ve had interest in Spanish films. Perhaps it’s only because it’s human nature to want to learn more about other cultures. Whatever the reason may be, I went into The Last Circus with intrigue. I read a brief synopsis and was definitely interested. The end result? WOW! The Last Circus is like no other film I’ve ever seen. Sure the subject of entwining love between folks has been done numerous times before. But something felt different here, more beautiful if I had to say so. I lay the difference solely on how the film was stylistic shot.

DP Kiko De La Rica and Director Alex De La Iglesia both have a keen eye for how they want their shots to look. Each scene is very subdued in light, tones, etc all but capturing every emotion the story is trying to convey. As the movie progresses, these men don’t ‘die’ per say but rather gain scars and wounds showing both the physical pain their fighting causes as well as the physical pain love causes. Both Rica and Iglesia deliver raw emotions with a sene of violence that isn’t too over-the-top. Instead it hits every note….perfectly. This isn’t going to be the kind of movie everyone wants to jump at the chance to see, however, if you give it a chance I promise you’ll be amazed.

Video Quality

[Rating:5/5]

The Last Circus is an odd looking film to say the least. The visuals are so intense at times that you may think you’re stuck in some type of bad dream, some horror house. Even though the visuals can be a bit strange at first, you slowly do fall into the style of the film. The film handles the low light sequences well, never losing any detail. Contrast levels are accurate and flesh tones aren’t overly pumped up. Textures are one of the best aspects found here. Literally pause any moment, literally ANY MOMENT, and look at the detail found within. Whether on the face of Sergio or just a background building. Everything looks…well perfect. Grain is kept in check, no evidence of DNR or any other types of image reductions. I’ll admit that I was turned off by this image during the first 10-15 minutes. Don’t give up though, you’ll end up quite pleased if you stick through it all.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

The provided DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (available in either English or Spanish) is nearly as impressive as the aforementioned video. Atmosphere, atmosphere and more atmosphere! Whether it be the film’s haunting score by Roque Banos or the little subtle effects from the rears, this track handles everything exceptionally well. Dialogue is spoken in the native tongue but English subtitles are offered. LFE is deep, particularly during the gunfire sequences. Speaking of the film’s score, I loved how the score just doesn’t use the front channel but rather envelopes the whole room almost making the movie progress as some type of play. The 360 degree sound field is truly amazing. In short, I was completely blown away by the audio presented here.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:1.5/5]

The supplements are the only area where this disc falls short. They’re presented in SD unless otherwise noted:

  • Making of The Last Circus – Running 14:44, this is a surprisingly bland making of with your behind-the-scenes fluff.
  • Behind the Scenes Segments – At 7:28, this is a collection of segments with no real information on what we’re exactly watching.
  • Visual Effects – Now this is a bit more interesting. Running 10:07, this shows the many, many artists working on the film’s visual effects.
  • U.S. Trailer [HD] – 2:04
  • International Teaser – 1:44
  • International Trailer – 0:41

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

It’s safe to say that The Last Circus is one of the odder films I’ve seen lately. Still if you can get past the oddity, there is something almost brilliant here. The video and audio are excellent, but the features leave something to be desired. Based on the strength of the film and the V/A, I’m going to recommend this as a purchase for those interested and a strong rental for the rest.

Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product]B005D0RDOI[/amazon-product]

BestBuy.com:
The Last Circus - Widescreen Subtitle AC3

Purchase Last Circus 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:5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2.5/5]

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