Is this Spielberg's greatest ever single achievement in what is an unparalleled career of greatness? It's genuinely hard to say, he's crossed many genres and been fundamental in shaping what Hollywood movies are like today. The filmmakers he's influenced are now making blockbusters themselves, and we can all point to a different Spielberg film as being the one for us. Jaws has always been the one for me overall.
But one thing that's beyond conjecture is that in Schindler's List we have the most important film of Spielberg's career. In fact this is one of the most important films ever made. Coming from Jewish heritage it's obvious that the atrocities of the Holocaust will have a very direct and personal impact on him. But Spielberg was smart enough to know that he couldn't deliver this films message by simply glossing over the edges with Hollywood pizzazz, no he had to deliver this in its most truest form. Upfront and unapologetic in its visuals and atmosphere.
People were shocked and some felt betrayed by Spielberg, he'd delivered movies all through the eighties which had childlike charm and often whimsical stereotyping and structuring, but here was a movie which pulled no punches. This is the brutal and bold truth of what really happened in one of the worlds darkest moments. It's OK to feel uncomfortable when watching it, in fact that's what you are supposed to feel.
Most films are made with the idea of entertaining an audience, even the most vile horror movies are rated on entertainment value, but the horrors they show are make believe, these aren't. Some may have questioned how is this film entertaining? What's its purpose? Well it's imperative that movies are made on subjects like this, we must never forget or attempt to hide our history, no matter how hard or unimaginable it appears.
Bold, brave, brutal yet honest and above all important.
Universal have granted this movie with an MPEG-4 AVC encoded, 1.85:1 framed, 1080p transfer onto a 50 GB Blu-ray disc of incredible quality.
Firstly it's worth stating that Spielberg himself was heavily involved in the restoration process as is quite often the case when any of his back catalogue get the HD treatment and the results of this are noticeable instantly. Due to the films importance every element of the process has been given the upmost care and respect. Blu-ray lovers are in for a treat.
Shot with high contrast stock which is not uncommon for Spielberg we get some of the cleanest visuals yet for a catalogue title. The films grain structure remains thankfully in tact and the resultant sharpness and clarity is a marked improvement from previous standard def releases. The grain is purely filmic and is ultra-fine and never obtrusive. The contrast is nicely balanced and the blacks are inky and strong with exceptional delineation.
We do get the occasional softer image but this is a rarity, on the whole we have a picture which pops nicely. Skin and fabric textures are beautifully rendered with defined edges and wonderful depth.
We get no digital intrusions by the way of edge enhancement and if DNR has been utilised it has been kept to an absolute minimum. We suffer no apparent compression issues either by way of macro blocking or aliasing.
Overall this is a stellar print which easily warrants an upgrade from DVD but overall it's the restoration of the original negative which has impacted this release the most. Truly wonderful.
Film 5/5 Transfer 5/5
A must own.