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Titanic: Blood & Steel Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit)
  • Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish
  • Subtitles Color: White
  • Region: A (Region-Locked)
  • Rating: NR
  • Runtime: 634 Mins.
  • Discs: 3 (3 x Blu-ray)
  • Studio: Lionsgate
  • Blu-ray Release Date: December 4, 2012
  • List Price: $29.97

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Series
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2/5]

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 Series

[Rating:4/5]

The 100th anniversary of the tragedy of the Titanic has brought with it numerous productions taking advantage of the public’s interest. My own personal count comes up with Titanic: 100 Years in 3D, Titanic (mini-series) Titanic 3D, the James Cameron 3D-conversion of his blockbuster film, and even an even Downton Abbey, which kicked off with the sinking of the Titanic. Titanic: Blood & Steel is another production cashing in on the Titanic anniversary craze. The 12-part mini-series, rather than yet again giving us a story about the actual conditions leading up to the sinking of the ship, tells us of the long journey to building the “unsinkable” ship in the religiously and politically charged atmosphere of Belfast, Ireland.

A cast of fine actors including Derek Jacobi, Neve Campbell, Kevin Zegers, and Chris Noth star in this story that revolves around the lives of the upper class business owners and the working class workers who clash over workers’ rights, Irish Home Rule, and the Protestant and Catholic faiths. Centered mainly around the story of Mark Muir (Zegers) a Catholic metallurgist who returns to Belfast from New York, a new man with a new name, hiding his religious affiliation, to help design and build the largest and safest ship the world has ever seen at the Harland and Wolff – the HMS Titanic. It’s the story of Muir and his negotiations through the delicate social hierarchy and his love affair with the Italian immigrant Sofia Silvestri (Alessandra Mastronardi) that really shows the deep seeded problems with the construction of the ship and the coming social storm in Northern Ireland.

Mostly, Titanic: Blood & Steel is a bit of melodrama with multiple subplots following numerous love stories and liaisons and the stubbornness of the board of trustees to put safety over profits. The backdrop of growing social unrest adds to the tension of the inevitable future we all this infamous ship is heading to. The creators here do a much better job, I must say, than building a compelling story around the Titanic than the Titanic mini-series, which was, in my opinion, no more than a poor imitation of Downton Abbey set aboard the fated ship.

Video Quality

[Rating:4/5]

Titanic: Blood & Steel was captured on the Arri Alexa in high definition at 1080p/24 and comes to Blu-ray in an AVC/MPEG-4 1080p/24 encodement. It is clean with strong detail and little video noise or digital artifacts. Colors are natural, especially flesh tones, but contrast doesn’t offer up very deep black levels or, conversely, particularly bright white levels. That’s not to say the transfer looks dim, just that it doesn’t really push the limits of the camera or display.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

The best part about this disc is the audio, which comes in a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit) mix. It has strong dynamics and makes good use of the surround channels and LFE to really capture the clatter of the shipyard where the Titanic is being built. The quieter moments offer very clean dialogue and a natural sound for the dreamy score.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:2/5]

Only two brief featurettes that don’t offer up much information are included as supplements.

The supplements:

  • Making of Titanic: Blood & Steel (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:08:46)
  • The Visual Effects of Titanic: Blood & Steel (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:04:31)

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

A reasonably enjoyable mini-series that should appeal to Titanic buffs and the soap opera crowd alike, Titanic: Blood & Steel is a 12-part look at an era filled with strife, the ship the shall live on in infamy, and the years leading up to the First World War.

Additional Screen Captures

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Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Series
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2/5]


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