LUKE AND LUCY: THE TEXAS RANGERS blu-ray review

USA Region A blu-ray

1080p Widescreen 2.39:1

English: DTS-HD 5.1, DTS 2.0

French: DTS-HD 5.1, DTS 2.0

IMDB

MOVIE: 7.5

VIDEO QUALITY: 9

AUDIO QUALITY: 9.5

EXTRAS: 1

 

I grew up reading French-Belgian comic books such as Tintin, Asterix, Lucky Luke, and Spike & Suzy (aka “Bob et Bobette” in French and “Willy & Wanda” in the U.S.), so I was pretty excited to hear that a movie was made into the comic book. It’s sort of weird that they changed the names to Luke and Lucy – they could have just gone with the usual English versions of Spike and Suzy or Willy and Wanda. But either way, no big deal – the movie distributor is trying to get this out there, so if they researched that those names would sell better, then what the hell. As long as it’s released in USA with an English dub, I’m happy.

This cinematic adaptation of the famous European artist, Willy Vandersteen, is not that bad. It’s as good as all the other movie adaptations of famous European comic books, which all basically range in the fair category. The movie characters are excellently done – just as they were in the comic books. Lambick (aka Ambrose) the clumsy uncle is just as awesome in this movie as he is in the books. He kicks ass, he loves whisky, and he’s just lovable goofy. The kids sound a bit older than how I pictured them, but they were done well. And the aunt and Jethro were just perfect as well. The filmmakers certainly did a great job translating those characters onto screen.

The story is just like one of their usual adventures – nothing amazing about the story, but entertaining and exciting for a kids-oriented animated film. What I loved about the original comic book were the characters more than the actual adventures. There is no comparison to this comic book to a comic book like Tintin which had both amazing stories and characters. While the Spike & Suzy adventures are fun, I see each of their adventures being a great animated tv episode. While each Tintin adventure could be made into a movie.

The blu-ray video quality is very good, but not perfect – there’s some banding here and there – but overall, a very bright, eye-popping visual presentation.

There are four audio choices with this blu-ray: English DTS-HD 5.1, 2.0 Stereo or French DTS-HD 5.1, 2.0 Stereo. I watched the movie with the English DTS-HD 5.1, which is a very active mix and not problematic whatsoever.

There are no subtitles anywhere on this disk. I would have liked to check out the original French language with English subtitles, but it’s no big deal since I like my animated films dubbed.

The only extra is a trailer.

Luke and Lucy is worth watching for fans of the Spike and Suzy comic book from Europe. If you have never heard of the comic book, then it’s just an entertaining cowboy animated film for kids or for anyone that enjoys a decent CGI-animated film.

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THE LOVE ETERNE blu-ray review

Hong Kong Region A blu-ray

1080p Widescreen 2.35:1

Mandarin: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, Dolby TrueHD 5.1

Subtitles: English, Mandarin

IMDB

 

MOVIE: 9

VIDEO QUALITY: 9.5

AUDIO QUALITY: 9.5

ENGLISH SUBTITLES: 10

EXTRAS: 7.5

 

The Love Eterne is the first emotional Shaw Bros film that I have ever seen. Out of all the many films that I have seen from the Shaw Bros, this film is unexpectedly unique for a film from the 1960s. For anyone that knows a little about this film, the movie is like a Romeo & Juliet Chinese musical, which was hugely popular in its day (as like a Chinese version of The Sound of Music) and is considered a classic, which I definitely agree with. The movie is famous for its Huangmei opera style – a particular style of singing, as well as actors being either played by all boys or all girls.

While I do agree that the music in this film is hypnotic and keeps the movie moving at a very good pace, as well as amazing acting from both of the female leads, this movie can be interpreted in many ways. I had read reviews of this film before watching it, and I found out that Ang Lee has certainly been inspired by this film. I’m happy to have known that because with Crouching Tiger and Brokeback Mountain in the back of my mind, The Love Eterne is a really interesting film if it’s interpreted from a sexual political, women’s rights standpoint. I watched this film thinking that these were two women in love, not a woman and a man (played by a woman) in love. I felt that the movie is more emotionally powerful watching the film like this in which the movie is about two female lovers fighting society’s closed-minded norms, with so many obstacles preventing them to function or love each other during this time period. Watching the film with that in mind, it makes the story in this movie timeless, as these issues are still apparent today. The main female character dresses up as a man so that she can study in college because she’s an individual, she doesn’t want to be stupid, and doesn’t want to follow her parents traditional strict rules of how a woman should be, etc. And as she is in college, the audience sees a whole slew of other women dressed up like men studying that don’t want to be subservient idiots in a sexist society. She then meets another woman at her college who believes she’s a man even though she was born as a woman (my interpretation). So they both create a bromantic relationship as one is pretending to be a man, while the other one thinks she’s a man, and then they fall in love. It’s actually a pretty bizarre film if you watch it as a same-sex romance film. The Love Eterne is sort of like a better version of Boys Don’t Cry practically! You don’t have to watch this as a lesbian film, but I think it works better as one.

Onto the Region A Hong Kong blu-ray:
Oh…baby…Intercontinental Video are professionals. Period. Wow! Who are these guys? Holy crap, this is the first old Hong Kong movie on blu-ray that is a real blu-ray! A real, restored blu-ray! (Kam & Ronson, I like that you are releasing old Chinese movies too, but come on, learn something from Intercontinental!) If you were impressed with the slew of Shaw Bros movies that they remastered onto DVD, wait till you see this blu-ray. The video is basically perfect. I would have given it a perfect 5 out of 5, but the video sometimes had a very, very slight camera shake to it. I’m not sure if that’s how the original film was, or if that’s something they could have fixed, or if it’s just something that my blu-ray player was doing. But either way, damn this blu-ray looks amazing! The video looks three-dimensional, colors are crisp and eye-popping! You can see good skin tone, textures, clear background, clean video, not a scratch, not a hair, not a speck. It just looks amazing!

The audio is very good too. The Mandarin DTS-HD 5.1 does the job well done. It still has a slight hollow claustrophobic sound to it, but what do you expect – 98 percent of the movie was most likely filmed on an indoor set. The audio is solid – it’s clear and sounds excellent during the songs. It’s an audio recorded from the 1960s, not from 2011. It’s perfectly fine and does what expected. It certainly sounds better than any of the audio choices on the K&R blu-rays.

I really, really like Intercontinental for one main reason – the English subtitles! The English subtitles on the Love Eterne blu-ray are practically perfect! Wow, why can’t the rest of Chinese blu-ray companies do that? I can’t take another Hong Kong movie with Chinglish. As I remember now, the Shaw Bros movies released on DVD by Intercontinental always had decent English subtitles. Me likey!

The extras are very nice too – two trailers for The Love Eterne (one original trailer and one 2003 trailer which was probably created for their DVD version), and also trailers for their other blu-rays – The Kingdom and the Beauty and The Three Smiles. There are also two trailers for the One-Armed Swordsman and the New One-Armed Swordsman, which I assume will be their next two blu-ray releases since they are getting advertised on this blu-ray. There is also an interesting English-subtitled documentary about Huangmei opera which runs for about 15 minutes.

The Love Eterne is a very interesting film with a surprising epic climax. I now have two favorite Shaw Bros. films – Come Drink With Me and The Love Eterne. I highly recommend this Shaw Bros. classic and this amazing quality blu-ray!

THE LITTLE NORSE PRINCE dvd review

UK PAL DVD

Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1

Japanese Mono 1.0

Subtitles: English

IMDB

MOVIE: 9

VIDEO QUALITY: 8

AUDIO QUALITY: 8

ENGLISH SUBTITLES: 9

EXTRAS: 3

 

As a fan of Miyazaki and Takahata, I finally picked up THE LITTLE NORSE PRINCE. This movie is an animation masterpiece. For anyone that hasn’t picked this UK DVD up yet, you should consider seeing it – it’s a really good animated film, especially considering its age. I almost didn’t buy it since it came out in the 60s. And since I wasn’t that impressed with CASTLE OF CAGLIOSTRO, I assumed that one of Miyazaki’s films ten years earlier than CAGLIOSTRO may be inferior. But I was totally wrong. I can’t believe how it does not look dated for a 1968 film. Also, after just watching THE CASTLE OF CAGLIOSTRO, i’m confused with the quality of animation – THE CASTLE OF CAGLIOSTRO looks like it’s ten years behind THE LITTLE NORSE PRINCE. If I didn’t know the dates of those two movies, I would think that CAGLIOSTRO came out in the late 60s and THE LITTLE NORSE PRINCE in the late 1970s. But either way, the animation in THE LITTLE NORSE PRINCE is extremely impressive. It’s sort of a combination of the charming Japanese and Russian animation of the 1970s.

The UK DVD is excellent. The anamorphic video looks very solid for a late 1960s animated flick with some ghosting/combing if you really watch closely, but there is nothing that distracts the viewer. The Japanese mono audio and English subtitles were very good too. There aren’t any extras except for an anamorphic trailer of the film itself and also non-anamorphic trailers for GRAVEYARD OF FIREFLIES and CASTLE OF CAGLIOSTRO. I’m so used to not getting any extras on my Miyazaki DVDs (Disney ones), I don’t care anymore. His movies are so good, extras aren’t really needed to rationalize purchasing his films on DVDs. His movies are worth any price.

THE LEGEND OF WISELY blu-ray review

Hong Kong Region A blu-ray

1080p Widescreen 2.39:1

Cantonese: Dolby TrueHD 7.1

Mandarin: Dolby Digital 5.1 EX (dub)

Subtitles: English

IMDB

MOVIE: 8.5

VIDEO QUALITY: 9

AUDIO QUALITY: 8.5

ENGLISH SUBTITLES: 7.5

EXTRAS: 1

 

The Legend of Wisely is one Hong Kong film from the 1980s that I had never heard of before hearing about this blu-ray release. And what an awesome surprise this film was! The Legend of Wisely is sort of like a better version of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Just replace the alien skull with an alien pearl, and there’s your Chinese Indiana Jones!

The movie flows more like a Hollywood movie (Indiana Jones or James Bond) rather than like a typical Hong Kong film – this is what makes the film so special. While the movie has awesome well-filmed fight scenes and impressive 1980s special effects, the main stars of the movie are the cinematography and all the exotic locations. The acting is overall pretty good except for the cheesy white people villains whom were probably dubbed. I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen the main actor Samuel Hui in a movie before, but he has an interesting presence. It was nice to watch a totally professionally-made Hong Kong action movie that didn’t star some huge superstar.

I didn’t think that Fortune Star could surprise me after seeing so many of their low-quality blu-rays from their classic Hong Kong film catalog, but I’m happy to report that the blu-ray is the first really impressive blu-ray from Fortune Star. This is the first time where the video quality really looked like a remastered blu-ray for a change. All scenes, including night or dark cave scenes, were excellent quality! Everything in the foreground to the background bursted with color and crispness. The video is totally clean and spotless. The main negative is that the faces may lean towards reddish than more natural colors, but it’s pretty minor considering that the rest of the blu-ray quality is awesome and that the rest of the Fortune Star blu-rays are not such great quality. The video quality on this blu-ray is a lot better than the Armor of God 2 blu-ray by the way (two movies with similar exotic filmed locations).

The Cantonese Dolby TrueHD 7.1 audio is pretty solid. It’s as good as the usual Fortune Star blu-ray audios as long as you don’t mind that it doesn’t include the original audio – it’s just another Fortune Star 1.1 HD soundtrack. The audio is totally clear, with action and subwoofer mixed very well into it. Overall, the audio is a totally pleasing experience – no complaints there.

The English subtitles weren’t as bad as expected. Most Hong Kong home videos have pretty bad English subtitles the further away you get from year 2000. But surprisingly the Chinglish wasn’t as bad as on the other Fortune Star blu-rays for films from the 1980s-1990s.

The only extra is the trailer for the film in 1080p.

The Legend of Wisely is totally entertaining and fast-paced with not a moment of filler. I highly recommend this film and one of Fortune Star’s best blu-rays! I doubt this film will ever get another English-subtitled blu-ray release, so this is the best home video version that exists and that will most likely exist. So here’s your “Criterion blu-ray version” of The Legend of Wisely. Enjoy!