The Classics...from Black and White to HD - Home Theater Forum and Systems -

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post #1 of 6 Old 09-12-07, 07:15 PM
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Thumbs up The Classics...from Black and White to HD

Good evening folks….

I recently joined the Shack, and enjoy all the information and intelligence I gather here, and appreciate the feedback I get from the staff, moderators, and the folks who just show up here…lol!

I recently upgraded my home theater from a 27 inch RCA tube type (bout 6 years old) to a Vizio 42 inch LCD HDTV and finally bought all the items necessary to compliment my home theater amp that I got a few years back, and the only question I have is….WHY THE DIDN’T I DO THIS SOONER? Its amazing because there is no comparison to watching in HDTV and dolby pro logic surround sound, and the old analog dinosaur I have as a paperweight in the middle of my shed…lol!

I joined Blockbuster online to start watching some of the “classics”—old and new—in HD and surround sound, and I am glad I did. When I say “classics”, I don’t mean just those grainy black and whites (anyone else remember when TV was black and white, and you got a good signal on a calm night when the antenna was pointed in just the right direction?), but the movies that also defined the generations from the 70’s. Hopefully, my reviews will stir some emotions in the rest of you old farts, and awaken the minds of the younger generations to actually check them out, as we did before there were VCR’s, DVD’s, $15 ticket cost, $10 boxes of popcorn (butter extra), and you actually had to go to a theater to see a movie because television just didn’t show movies. So here we go….

Tonights review is on one of my personal favorites that starred Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Thurman, Randy Quaid, and a host of other fine actors and actresses…


While the movie is set in the modern day era, it could happen anytime (if you believe, as I do, that we are not the only semi-intelligent form of life in space. But it starts on July 2nd, with an alien mothership moving in to attack the Earth, then deploying its attack battle starships (for lack of a better word) for a coordinated attack on our planet. Suffering serious loss of life, cities, and basically, getting our collective butts whupped,
Computer geek Jeff Goldblum finds a way to defeat the aliens with something we face everyday, and Marine Corps fighter pilot Will Smith is there to fly him to the mothership to deliver the “cold”.

That’s the story line, and reveling any more than that would be stupid as the movie is action packed throughout, and well worth the couple of bucks to rent it. This movie is probably the one that launched Will Smith to super star status, and rightly so. All the characters of this movie were very well chosen for their roles, and it shows in the production of this “modern day classic”.

IMHO, I give Independence Day a rating 4.5 stars out of 5. The reason for that is the beginning build up seems to run a bit slow while the mothership positions itself for the attack on Earth, but from that point on, don’t go to the bathroom, or you will miss something. Get your popcorn ready (with extra butter and cheese), and enjoy this modern era classic.

Thanks for letting me review the movie I watched tonite. Tomorrow is Star Wars I (Attack of the Clones). For those of you (like myself) who saw Star Wars at least 8 times (Kenny Chesney’s 70 something song), the first Star Wars released was actually the fourth segment of nine in the George Lucas series.

I hope you find my reviews helpful, so good night, and

Who needs sunshine when you have Golden Retrievers?
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post #2 of 6 Old 09-12-07, 07:40 PM
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Re: The Classics...from Black and White to HD

We have watched this movie every July 4th, since it came out.
We like it a lot. Kinda strange seeing Brent Spiner (Data, from Star Trek...TNG), in a role, other than Data. I'm glad Will Smith didn't get typecast as a Prince of Bel Aire type character.
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post #3 of 6 Old 09-12-07, 08:18 PM
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Re: The Classics...from Black and White to HD

I remember watching this movie in the theater when I was 10 years old. I thought it was amazing! Still is to this day, a really fun movie. I know I'll get around to watching it from the beginning in HD whenever I get an HD player and a projector.
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post #4 of 6 Old 09-13-07, 01:12 AM
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Re: The Classics...from Black and White to HD

This is a movie I liked pretty good and have watched it a couple of times. I may have to consider the HD version.

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post #5 of 6 Old 09-27-07, 07:49 PM
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Re: The Classics...from Black and White to HD

Star Wars---the series!

Star Wars—Episodes 4,5,6,1,2,3

Well, as I’m sure many of you have seen at least one of the Star Wars series, you know that it is a masterpiece of creation, producing, and imagination. Initially, I was going to do a review of each of the series segments, but that would do an injustice to the entire double trilogy that George Lucas created. So, I will make this short and sweet. If you haven’t seen any of the Star Wars segments, or just a couple, by all means, get the DVD’s from Blockbuster/Netflix, and crank up that wide screen/home theater system as you are in for a treat that comes around only once.

To say the least, there are so many plots and sub-plots involved in this series that it would take forever to write about all of them, but this whole series is a masterpiece that stands by itself as one of the very must have, must see collections. The writers, producer, actors, and the rest of those involved in the production of this masterpiece basically outdid themselves. How do you do something better than this? The story lines, the way the series flows from one segment to another, and the actors really put on a performance unequaled in the history of movie making.

Pick any of them, and you are hooked for the next, and the next, and the next…..

But I have one observation that continues throughout the whole series…..whoever came up with the wide array of droids, ships, fictional characters, and planet scenes is really over the top of “their” game. The imagination that it must have taken to design, build, and create on the screen is far superior to anything ever created for the human eye. No movie, or series of movies, will ever be able to challenge the Star Wars epics for that honor (although Steven Spielberg and George Lucas must be brothers from different mothers because they basically think the same, but in different directions). For some really mind boggling movie watching, get yourself a couple of episodes, crank up the home theater, (with plenty of sub woofer), and enjoy the most imaginative series made to date.

I give it three thumbs up, and I only have two hands, but if I was a character in the movie, I would probably have ten hands…lol!

(My next review will be on a sleeper called The Sentinel. I watched it last night, but it was so good, I'm going to pop some popcorn and watch it again tonite! LOL!)
post #6 of 6 Old 11-01-07, 05:51 AM
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Re: The Classics...from Black and White to HD

Well I have a different take on the series. It's interesting to note that the first movie released
in 1977 was called a 'sci-fi spoof' by some and it does play as a homage/lampoon of Flash
Gordon serials that Baby Boomers grew up with on television. The effects were quite good for their day and Lucas was wise to shoot
them in VistaVision (35mm photographed horizontally with an eight sprocket wide image) and then
reduction printed back to standard anamorphic frame. Otherwise they would've been too grainy.
He shot them in the opposite manner of "2001: A Space Odyssey". Kubrick shot his miniatures in
extreme slow motion (60 or 80 frames per second) so they floated lyrically through space. Lucas
shot his undercranked (under 24 frames per second) so they zoomed by which helped disguise some

The first Star Wars feature is pretty funny with off the wall characters and a sense of adolescent
adventure. In short, it didn't take itself too seriously. Beginning with the second feature, "The Empire
Strikes Back", a more serious if not grim tone commenced as if the 'force' was some kind of new cult
religion (aka L. Ron Hubbards Scientology). I also suspect that Lucas was making this stuff up as he
went along or he wouldn't have had Luke flirt with his sister in the first picture. While some people
prefer the second one best, I thought it was a tad pretentious. The third movie, "Return of
the Jedi" was more in line with the first in terms of comedy and tongue in cheek action. However,
I felt it was a bit "Muppety" and the effects were becoming repetitive. Still, I must say I enjoyed
the first three movies in 70mm which looked and sounded great. If not great art, then at least a
great 'show'. They were entertaining moviegoing experiences. When I rescreened them all in standard 35mm in the late nineties' re-issue, I was
disappointed. The effects were not as spectacular in the smaller format on megaplex screens and
I noticed some color fading (pinkish fleshtones in the first movie) and negative wear (streaking scratches
in the darker scenes). The reissue of the first movie did great business again, the second one okay and the third
one tanked at the boxoffice. The added digital which didn't match
the original optical effects and were distracting. Fortunately, Lucas later cleaned up the negatives for
DVD and removed the wear and color fading apparent in the re-issue release prints. He continued to
alter the picture and sound of all the movies. I prefer the original cuts of all three films.

I was looking forward to the new installment or prequel along with everyone but when I saw Star Wars Episode 1, I was very disappointed. The digital effects looked very computerized and artificial compared
to the VistaVision optical effects of the originals. One of the reasons is that when you photograph a miniatue and have it move by the camera, the image distorts somewhat due to the qualities of the lens
which is what gives it a sense of dimensionality. The CGE may be technically perfect but they lack
that sense of dimensionality because they weren't photographed on film (even if it's multiple pieces
of film combined optically). Digital imagery doesn't reflect light on an object or person the way it does on film emulsion. I also thought the performance of the child actor was poor. Very disappointing.

The next two installments, 2, 3, were pretty much unwatchable as far as I was concerned. Too much
clutter in each frame to follow the action. I felt like I was watching a live action video game. And
the problem with all movie 'prequels' is that you already know what's going to happen in the future so
there isn't much suspense or surprise. The new cast didn't have the appeal of the originial players either. You really miss Harrison Ford's rogue character. I didn't see these three films in the intended digital projection in theaters and I thought the outputted film elements looked very 'computerized' and murky on screen. A far cry from the quality of the earlier ones in 70mm on the Loews Astor Plaza screen.

I watch the first three movies on my DLP now and again and look forward to high definition versions
in the future, providing they haven't been altered again beyond recognition with new effects and
sound mixes. I cannot sit through the prequels again in any format since I didn't enjoy them the
first time around. I guess I'm not a true Star Wars fan any more than I'm a Treky. I only enjoy
the series on a film by film basis. The same applies to Star Trek which had some good and bad
films over the decades. True fans and fanatics of any series tend to watch them uncritically and enthusiastically. I know people who have memorized every line of dialogue (including variations in
each cut). Nothing wrong with that. I'm just not one of them.
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