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DragonHeart Blu-ray

United States
Universal Studios | 1996 | 103 min | Rated PG-13 | Mar 27, 2012

DragonHeart (Blu-ray)
Large:


Video
Codec: VC-1
Resolution: 1080p
Aspect ratio: 2.35:1
Original aspect ratio: 2.39:1

Audio
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1

Subtitles
English SDH, French, Spanish

Discs
50GB Blu-ray Disc
Single disc (1 BD)
BD-Live
D-Box
Mobile features

Playback
Region free

Price
List price: $19.98, Price history
Amazon: $14.62 (Save 27%)
New from: $10.28 (Save 49%)
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Movie rating
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
6.6
106
ratings.


Blu-ray rating
Video 3.4 of 53.4
Audio 4.5 of 54.5
Extras 3.6 of 53.6
Based on 4 user reviews

Movie appeal

 
Fantasy100%
Adventure79%
Action-
49%
popularity
424
collections
21
fans




DragonHeart

 (1996)

DragonHeart Blu-ray offers decent video and superb audio in this fan-pleasing Blu-ray release

After being wounded in battle, the young King Einon is healed by Draco, a dragon, who gives Einon part of his heart. Some years later, Bowen, a knight, forms a partnership with Draco in which Draco terrorizes a village, then Bowen pretends to slay him and collects a reward from the grateful villagers. But now Bowen and Draco must save the entire kingdom from Einon, who has succeeded to the throne and become an evil tyrant -- and whose life is still protected by the heart that Draco gave him all those years ago.

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

Starring: Dennis Quaid, Sean Connery, Dina Meyer, David Thewlis, Pete Postlethwaite, Jason Isaacs
Director: Rob Cohen

» See full cast & crew


DragonHeart Blu-ray, Video Quality

  3.0 of 5

The 1080p, VC-1-encoded Blu-ray of DragonHeart is an example (though not an egregious one) of the kind of product that has given Universal's catalog output a bad name. It has good enough black levels, sufficiently vivid and varied colors and reasonably decent contrast. But from the very opening of the film, it's obvious in medium and especially long shots that the amount of visible detail in the image is far less than it should be on a Blu-ray produced from source materials of this vintage. As soon as the camera's eye retreats into the distance, individual figures become indistinct, as do structures, paths, vegetation and all the minutia of the Slovakian landscape that the production company used to double for medieval England. If this indistinctness (which is not the same as a "soft" image) were confined to occasional shots, it might be attributable to a particular choice of lens or focal length, but it's consistent throughout the film.

Now, it's impossible to say for certain what caused this lack of detail. Maybe an older transfer was used that didn't have the benefit of the latest scanning techniques. Maybe a new transfer was done but overseen by a telecine colorist who was either less skilled or whose aesthetic choices were guided by different standards than those observed by film afficionados who expect the best from Blu-ray. Or maybe, as some have suggested, Universal filtered detail out of the transfer of DragonHeart previously used for HD DVD; I don't have the HD DVD for comparison, but comparative screencaps have been posted on the web indicating that the earlier disc is more detailed than the Blu-ray.

But if true, this filtering scenario makes no sense. In the immediate aftermath of the format war, when Blu-ray manufacturing capacity was still relatively limited, Universal faced the challenge of remastering titles previously issued on 30 Gb dual-layer HD DVD for single-layer BD-25s. In those circumstances, one could understand the practical necessity (though not the aesthetic desirability) of shrinking the size of the video file to fit into the smaller digital real estate. DragonHeart, however, has been issued on a BD-50. A quick check of the disc image indicates that it is approximately 30 Gb, leaving about 18 Gb of unused and available space. Under those circumstances, why would Universal feel any need to shrink the video file and thereby weaken the picture (if that is indeed what happened)?

Regardless of the cause, there is no doubt that the image on the Blu-ray of DragonHeart is less detailed than the Blu-ray consumer has a right to expect from a 1996 film transferred and mastered for release in 2012. My eye was immediately drawn to it on a 72" screen, and at larger sizes it should be even more obvious. On smaller screens it may be tolerable.


DragonHeart Blu-ray, Audio Quality

  4.5 of 5

There is a scene midway through DragonHeart that DTS, Inc. included on one of their surround sound samplers. Bowen and Draco converse during their travels, and the discussion moves from a light-hearted exchange about their con-man scheme to weighty matters of sin and redemption. The sonic peculiarity, however, is that Draco is circling Bowen in the air, and both his voice and the flapping of his wings travel around the 5.1 array several times during the scene. It's a triumph of the sound mixer's art.

On the Blu-ray's DTS-HD MA 5.1 track, this scene sounds as good as I've ever heard it, as does the rest of the movie, which is full of organic sound effects for Draco himself (his footsteps land with a solid thud), as well as the clank of armor, the ring of swords, the beat of horse's hooves and all the sonic minutia that make up Bowen's and Draco's world. Cohen likes immersive sound mixes, and the rear channels almost always have something happening, with frequent panning from front to back and vice versa. Dialogue is always intelligible, though its substantive clarity is sometimes no better than that of the plot. Randy Edelman's soaring score, one of his most memorable, is nicely rendered.



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DragonHeart Blu-ray, News and Updates



Dragonheart Blu-ray - January 16, 2012

As part of its 100th Anniversary this year, Universal Studios Home Entertainment will offer re-issues of catalog titles, and the Dragonheart Blu-ray will arrive in the March wave. This adventure stars Dennis Quaid (The Day After Tomorrow) as a medieval knight ...


DragonHeart Blu-ray, Forum Discussions



Topic Replies Last post
Dragonheart - March 27, 2012 (

Official Thread

)
59 Sep 26, 2012



DragonHeart Blu-ray


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