What can be said about this gem that people don't already know?
This movie is unique as far as I'm concerned, it's the only film where I am yet to find anyone who is either indifferent or not approving of it. Men, Women, old, young, everyone I've ever asked has said "Now that's a great movie......love it".
This is currently ranked as No 1 on the IMDb top 250 films list with nearly a million votes, beating some movie called "The Godfather" into the No 2 position.
When you watch films like "E.T" or "War Horse" sorry Steven, you get this feeling deep inside called pass me the vomit bag, they are well made make no mistake but the sentiment is layered on so thick you can't help feeling a bit pukey. So why is it that this movie which wears it's heart on it's sleeve so unashamedly can get away with it. In fact when the test screenings were shown we never had the final beach moment where our hero's meet and exec's at Castlerock stated that they had to show it, you can't cheat your audience and we welcome it, lovingly, long for it. I bet some of you even rewind it just to enjoy that sweetest of moments all over again.
Frank Darabont is a lover of Frank Capra I'd bet my house on it. If you watched "It's A Wonderful Life" followed by "Shawshank" you'd believe people could fly!!!
If you took screenplay writing lessons you'd be told to avoid the plot mechanics of a voice over, yet this movie has it all the way through, it appears to break some of the most fundamental rules but once again triumphs magnificently, maybe it's Morgan Freeman's voice.
The characters are nothing new either for a prison drama, the evil warden, the violent guards, the bad in-mates, the good ones, some innocent, some guilty, they're all there and yes even the prison walls themselves play a big character and yet it feels fresh and new. It's incredulously slow and long but wait don't tell me it isn't an issue.
It's all about storytelling, and Frank Darabont hits levels of genius here, with such wonderfully rounded characters which we really do care about.
I LOVE THIS MOVIE, lets face it we all do.
Now if the transfer is bad, it's bad this cannot be forgiven.....................
Warner Brothers have granted this movie with a VC-1 encoded, 1.78:1 framed, 1080p transfer onto a 50GB Blu-ray disc of fantastic quality. YES!
What a big improvement on previous standard definition releases.
We are met with an extremely fine level of filmic grain, barely noticeable but enough to provide us with a pure filmic look, as a result we have great clarity and detail. Fabric and object sharpness is wonderful.
Skin tones are warm and lifelike with every beaten detail of people's faces clearly visible. We do have one or two moments of crush in the darker scenes with the bird Jake completely disappearing in deep shadowy moments but this is nick picking really.
Colour saturation is good although we aren't blessed with the most diverse colour palette in the first place, this is a prison film after all. Contrast levels did spike on the previous DVD versions but they are spot on here and we do get some fantastic warm golden hues during the tarring of the roof scene.
Finally I did not detect any edge enhancement, DNR, compression, banding, aliasing or haloing. Bravo.
Movie 6/5 (ha ha) transfer 4.5/5
Just buy it.