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American Beauty Blu-ray

United States
Sapphire Series Paramount Pictures | 1999 | 122 min | Rated R | Sep 21, 2010

American Beauty (Blu-ray)

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC (27.98 Mbps)
Resolution: 1080p
Aspect ratio: 2.35:1
Original aspect ratio: 2.39:1

English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit)
French: Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1
Portuguese: Dolby Digital 5.1

English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese

50GB Blu-ray Disc
Single disc (1 BD)

Slipcover in original pressing

Region free

List price: $29.99, Price history

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Movie rating
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Blu-ray rating
Video 3.8 of 53.8
Audio 4.0 of 54.0
Extras 2.9 of 52.9
Based on 8 user reviews

Movie appeal

Dark humor43%
Coming of age26%

American Beauty


American Beauty Blu-ray offers solid video and great audio in this overall recommended Blu-ray release

Lester Burnham's wife Carolyn, who's cheating on him, hates him, his daughter Jane regards him with contempt, and his boss is positioning him for the ax -- the typical suburban nightmare. When you've got nothing to lose, you might as well risk everything. Provoked by forbidden passions, Lester decides to make a few changes in his life that are less mid-life crisis than adolescence redux. The freer he gets, the happier he gets, which is even more maddening to wife and daughter alike. A pandora's box of fantasies as he begins lust after his daughter's over-developed friend. But Lester Burnham is about to learn that the ultimate freedom comes at the ultimate price.

For more about American Beauty and the American Beauty Blu-ray release, see American Beauty Blu-ray Review published by on where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.

Starring: Kevin Spacey, Annette Bening, Thora Birch, Wes Bentley, Mena Suvari, Chris Cooper
Narrator: Kevin Spacey
Director: Sam Mendes

» See full cast & crew

American Beauty Blu-ray, Video Quality

  3.5 of 5

Paramount's "Sapphire Series" presents Oscar-winning and nominated films on specialty Blu-ray releases, and it's off to a shaky start. The first pressing of Gladiator was marred by an unsightly transfer riddled with edge enhancement and digital noise reduction, while Saving Private Ryan's initial release left listeners in search of a soundtrack not hindered by an audio sync problem in the film's critical third act. The studio made good with both discs; the remastered Gladiator is a thing of high definition beauty, while a recall and second pressing of Saving Private Ryan elevated the release to the point where it's a contender for the year's top Blu-ray disc. Unfortunately, the fan-favorite and Oscar-winning American Beauty features another flawed transfer; it's not as egregiously bad as Gladiator's first release, but it's not up to par with the wonderfully filmic and nearly perfect Braveheart, either. It's a transfer of pluses and minuses that will leave some viewers satisfied and others once again demanding a superior release. As to the good first, American Beauty's vibrant color palette mostly sparkles in high definition. Though reds -- the most important color throughout the film -- can appear somewhat smeary and slightly over-pumped, the remainder of the palette delivers a stable, honest appearance that lends an eye-catching tint to brighter shades while maintaining a strong neutral look to the less-vibrant hues. Nevertheless, several scenes clearly appear washed out compared to the remainder of the film. Detailing is adequate for a high definition transfer, too; American Beauty certainly doesn't capture the absolute finest textures and nuances of anything within its frame like the finest film-like transfers achieve, but viewers will be pleased with the solid upgrade in clarity and definition that's apparent over the film's standard-definition DVD release.

Unfortunately, there are some other minor-to-moderate issues that drag the transfer down from where it needs to be. Occasional spots and speckles cover what is a rather harsh-looking image with excessively sharp edges and readily-visible edge enhancement through much of the film. Whites occasionally bloom and overpower the frame in several scenes, and black levels fluctuate between appearing a bit too pale in some places and overwhelming foreground details in others. Fortunately, however, both whites and blacks are more often than not steady and honest, with the problem areas appearing only intermittently throughout the film. Noise dots the image on occasion as well, though American Beauty does retain a bit of grain and doesn't appear to have suffered from overzealous noise reduction. Nevertheless, there are several instances where parts of the image -- and faces in particular -- appear overly smooth and pasty, though flesh tones tend to capture a pleasantly neutral shade through most of the runtime. Of the observed issues, only the overly sharp, digital-looking sheen and edge enhancement are major causes for concern; the other problems add up but don't dominate and drastically lessen the transfer in quite the same way.

Paramount has shown time and again that they know how to do Blu-ray right and as well as any other studio around. They don't get much better than the 1080p transfers found on discs like Star Trek, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, War of the Worlds, and Road to Perdition, so viewers have every right to wonder why the "Sapphire Series" Blu-ray releases can't consistently capture that same level of excellence the first time through. American Beauty isn't a terrible high definition release by any stretch of the imagination, but it's not up to the same exacting standards of Paramount's other releases, either. The "Sapphire Series" monicker seems to suggest a release of higher standards and greater prestige; here's hoping that future titles in the series receive the same top-notch treatment found on the studio's plain old vanilla Blu-ray discs.

American Beauty Blu-ray, Audio Quality

  4.0 of 5

American Beauty features a DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack that shouldn't disappoint most listeners, but the track fails to rise above the level of merely "good." Paramount's lossless mix is stable but sometimes underwhelming, delivering its bread-and-butter element -- dialogue -- smoothly and strongly enough from the center channel. Atmospherics are nicely implemented in several scenes but lack that last little bit of clarity that defines the best tracks. Hoots and hollers and various crowd noises are heard off to the sides while blending well into the rears during a cheerleading segment in chapter four. Lesser environmental ambience is generally played across the front speakers, though the track does manage some incredibly lifelike discrete sound effects, such as a ringing doorbell that's heard off to the side and is sure to fool all but the most discerning listeners into believing that they have company at the door. Several gunshots heard during a firing range scene pack a suitably strong wallop, though that more aggressive echoing sensation and low end accompaniment that may have made for a more realistic experience aren't implemented with the level of potency that may have elevated the scene another notch. Fortunately, the track does well in capturing the thematically-critical sensation of heavy, saturating rain falling all around the listening area during exterior scenes that in part make up the picture's final act, the effect all but drenching the listening area. Music enjoys a good bit of space along with strong clarity across the front in most scenes, whether several Classic Rock tunes or the cheesy elevator music that plays over several dinnertime scenes. All in all, Paramount's American Beauty lossless soundtrack surpasses the video presentation. It's better than serviceable while not quite achieving top-tier status.

American Beauty: Other Editions


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American Beauty Blu-ray, News and Updates

This Week on Blu-ray - September 21-27 - September 21, 2010

Director Ridley Scott is no stranger to the historic film genre. After dazzling audiences with Kingdom of Heaven (Director's Cut, of course) and the modern classic Gladiator, Scott decided to tackle the legendary story of Robin Hood a tale that has been told ...

American Beauty Sapphire Series Blu-ray Announced - July 12, 2010

Confirming earlier retailer reports, Paramount Home Entertainment has announced American Beauty for Blu-ray release on September 21, as part of the Sapphire Series. This Dreamworks SKG production, which was the directorial debut for Sam Mendes, went on to win five ...

American Beauty Coming Soon on Blu-ray - June 19, 2010

An early announcement to Canadian retailers indicates that Paramount Home Entertainment will release American Beauty on Blu-ray on September 21, possibly as part of the Sapphire Series. This 1999 Dreamworks SKG production, written by Alan Ball and directed by Sam ...

» Show more related news posts for American Beauty Blu-ray

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