Edgy Blu-ray for "Gangs of New York"
Caveat emptor. Just because you've purchased the newly released Gangs of New York on Blu-ray, and spent hundreds upgrading your home theater, don't expect a brilliant viewing experience. On the contrary, this release can almost be used as an example of what NOT to do on Blu-ray. The DVD release of GONY was generally known as one of the worst transfers when viewed on large HD screens. You would have thought that Disney would have read the reviews and gone back to the drawing board and started from scratch for the Blu-ray release, right? No such luck.
While some aspects of the Blu-ray of Gangs of New York are an improvement, the list of positives is pathetically short. The 1080p/VC-1 transfer maintains the film's 2.35:1 aspect ratio, and boasts deep blacks and rich colors with impressive detail in the shadows. This is according to a review on www.highdefdigest.com.
The review goes downhill from there. Massive amounts of edge enhancement has been used, creating distracting artifacts. "Grotesque" is the actual word used to describe it. To make matters worse, Digital Noise Reduction has been so overused that the characters look like plastic dolls, with all details smeared away. There are some great, well, horrific, screen grabs on the AV Science Forum.
Posterization artifacts, blooming reds and oranges, noisy grain artifacts are all on the list, but there are some flaws that are just inexcusable. Vertical stripes are visible on either side of the image. These could have easily been cropped out of the transfer, but no. Let's leave them there to add to the list of serious issues with the Blu-ray.
At least the sound options are good on Gangs of New York. In addition to a Dolby Digital 5.1 track, there is an uncompressed PCM 5.1 soundtrack. One shining light on an otherwise abysmal Blu-ray.
If studios want consumers to invest in new hardware, they're going to have to step it up and make sure it's worth the investment. Clearly, Gangs of New York missed the boat. -Leslie Shapiro
Full review here
Screen grabs courtesy of Xylon@avsforum.com