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The Squid and the Whale Blu-ray

United States
Mill Creek Entertainment | 2005 | 81 min | Rated R | No Release Date

The Squid and the Whale (Blu-ray), temporary cover art
Large:


Video
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC (25.00 Mbps)
Resolution: 1080p
Aspect ratio: 1.78:1
Original aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Audio
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit)
Spanish: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
French: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0

Subtitles
English SDH

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

Playback
Region A (B, C untested)

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Price
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Other editions

Movie rating
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
7.5
60
ratings.


Blu-ray rating
Video 2.0 of 52.0
Audio 3.5 of 53.5
Extras 0.0 of 50.0
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Movie appeal

 
Drama100%
Coming of age59%
Comedy-
3%
popularity
16
collections
4
fans




The Squid and the Whale

 (2005)

The Squid and the Whale Blu-ray features poor video and solid audio in this enjoyable Blu-ray release

Based on the true childhood experiences of Noah Baumbach and his brother, The Squid and the Whale tells the touching story of two young boys dealing with their parents' divorce in Brooklyn in the 1980s.

For more about The Squid and the Whale and the The Squid and the Whale Blu-ray release, see the The Squid and the Whale Blu-ray Review published by on where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.

Starring: Jeff Daniels, Laura Linney, Jesse Eisenberg, Owen Kline, Anna Paquin, Ken Leung
Director: Noah Baumbach

» See full cast & crew


The Squid and the Whale Blu-ray, Video Quality

  2.0 of 5

The Squid and the Whale was shot by Robert Yeoman, the regular cinematographer for Wes Anderson, who produced the film (and whom Baumbach originally wanted to direct it). But Squid looks nothing at all like one of Anderson's formally composed still lifes. Baumbach specifically asked Yeoman to shoot the largely handheld production in Super16 for a sense of immediacy and because he admired the early works of Jim Jarmusch, Spike Lee and the Coen Bros. The result, which I saw theatrically, was neither grainy nor shaky, but it did give you the unnerving sense of being in the room where these intimate family encounters were happening in real time.

Sony's DVD was adequate for its day, but it served more as a memento of the theatrical experience than a recreation. It lacked sufficient resolution to provide either the requisite detail or any sense of depth. Mill Creek's 1080p, AVC-encoded Blu-ray is somewhat better, but not nearly as good as it should be. In 2005, the mindset of telecine colorists was very different than it is now. Film grain was the compressionist's enemy, and various strategies were employed to make compression easier and artifacts less likely (and this was before anyone had learned to complain about "DNR"). The result here isn't the kind of obvious detail-stripping that results in the infamous "wax dummy" appearance. Instead, what we get is a kind of flattened, artificially stabilized, chunky grain structure that creates the illusion of a smoother image, less like film than like low-resolution video with an extra layer of noise. The video effect is accentuated by recurrent sharpening that is sufficiently noticeable to cause minor ghosting from time to time. This is a transfer that was clearly aimed at the DVD market. Since Sony wasn't putting their label on it, they obviously didn't bother to redo it.

Black levels range from acceptable to weak. Colors are as strong as the compressed shooting schedule and available light levels permitted. (Today, the digital intermediate process would allow greater control over the color palette in post-production.) The only limitation from which the Blu-ray's picture does not suffer is compression. With a healthy bitrate of 25 Mbps, compression artifacts do not add to the image woes.


The Squid and the Whale Blu-ray, Audio Quality

  3.5 of 5

The film's original 5.1 track is presented in lossless DTS-HD MA 5.1. For both budgetary and stylistic reasons, the sound mix is front-oriented and functional, but that doesn't mean it's been done carelessly. Individual effects such as a door slamming or a frying pan hitting the floor sometimes register forcefully off-camera, startling characters (and viewers) who are already on edge. Music is an essential element of the film's texture, not only because of the period-specific song selections—The Cars' "Drive" and the Tangerine Dream soundtrack to Risky Business are among the Eighties signature sounds heard in the film—but also because the Pink Floyd song "Hey You" plays such a crucial role in the plot. Some of these songs are heard as source music, and some are blended into the soundtrack. The dialogue is always clear, though it's often so emotionally fraught that you almost wish it wasn't.


The Squid and the Whale: Other Editions



The Squid and the Whale
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