Silence of the Lambs (1991) [Blu-ray]

Genre(s): Mystery / Thriller
MGM || R - 118 minutes - $34.99 || March 3, 2009
Reviewer: Brad Lowenberg || Posted On: 2009-04-01


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

B L U - R A Y
.:: EXCLUSIVES ::.

Blu-ray Exclusives

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Jonathan Demme
Writer(s): Thomas Harris (novel); Ted Tally (screenplay)
Cast: Anthony Hopkins, Jodie Foster, Scott Glenn, Ted Levine


Theatrical Release Date: February 14, 1991


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Trivia Track
  • 5 Featurettes
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Outtakes
  • Other


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (1.85)
  • English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English

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.::THE FILM::.

What's there to say about this film that hasn't already been said before? A classic - pure and simple.

Summary: When Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) is assigned a case involving a monstrous serial killer, she seeks counsel from an imprisoned cannibalistic psychiatrist - Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins), whose fascination with the young woman is as great as his hunger for murder. As their relationship develops, Starling must confront her own demons - and an evil so powerful that she may not have the courage to stop it.

What works for me in the film is the fact that Anthony Hopkins is perfectly casted in the film. He plays Hannibal Lecter perfectly - his mannerisms, voice, the way he moves from scene to scene... you become captivated by what he might do next. If there was ever a perfectly casted role it would be this. Anytime he is on screen I am captivated. It's amazing how many people remember Hannibal Lecter from SOTL, but they never really realize that he is only on screen for less than 1/8th of the entire film! That's how amazing the man is! But Jodie Foster... not so much.

While itís understandable that really attractive women wouldn't likely be working for the FBI they couldn't have put someone in there that was not so homely? Even the follow up Hannibal, with Julianne Moore replacing Jodie Foster, makes a more convincing agent (even though most hated her in that role I actually thought she was much better suited then Foster ever was). Putting the casting aside, the character of Starling is deep with thought and Hannibal is the perfect candidate to pick her brain (pun clearly intended).

So how was the actual film? Amazing. It takes a lot to keep me interested in a 2 hour film from start to finish and I amazingly never looked at the display to see how much time was left - my eyes remained glued on screen. This is easily one of the best films of the 90's and Its a bit of a disappointment to see how MGM has handled was is clearly a gold title for them on Blu-ray. Not only do we get an old encode, but some pretty poor sound. Hopefully MGM revisits this title in a few years and possibly releases the trio of Hannibal Lecter films the studio owns (Manhunter, Silence of the Lambs & Hannibal).



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Breaking the Silence (PiP, 1.1) - Now this is a wonderful addition to the disc which provides new information via pop-up with includes factoids and some new interview material. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **

Inside the Labyrinth (58 Minutes), Page to Screen (42 Minutes) & Understanding the Madness (20 Minutes, HD) - Grouping these together since they are all very similar as both provide information on how the film was adapted from the book & archival interview footage. To be honest, they are pretty dry and I found the Page to Screen to be the best one.

Deleted Scenes (19 Minutes) - Almost two dozen scenes snipped for time. Most are just mere seconds of dialog. Nothing here is worth watching.

Also included is a short Outtakes Reel (3 Minutes), a few Trailers, Scoring The Silence (15 Minutes), Anthony Hopkins Phone Message (~1 Minute) and an incredibly dated Making of Silence of the Lambs (8 Minutes).

Worth noting this is the first title to come in the new Eco-friendly cases. When opened up you will see a giant RECYCLE logo cut out of the Blu-ray plastic as well on the back spindle. This apparently will help save the environment (or MGMs pockets - less plastic and lighter cases means more of a savings to them). My copy arrived fine... but I worry for others. Looks like Lecter took a "bite" out of the case!



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

Silence of the Lambs is presented in 1.85:1 (MPEG2) on a 50GB Disc. What to do when you announce a whole lot of titles in 2006 and then decide not to release them? Hold them back for a few years, create a new cover art and release it to the public at a very high MSRP. That's exactly what MGM has done here. This MPEG2 encode shows its age with numerous blemishes, scratches and dirt that speckle the screen every once and a while. While itís clear this is an improvement over any previous DVD release the question remains - why screw up a big catalog title? I smell a double-dip in the future and unless you can get this for a very low price I'd recommend sticking with your DVD copy.

MGM has included an English 5.1 DTS MA Track (as well as French/Spanish DD). Once again an improvement from the previous DVDs but still not what you would expect paying $30 for a Blu-ray. Dialog sounds good...most of the time. Hopkins did sound a bit muffled during the infamous "man juice fling" scene and rears were fairly inactive.



.::OVERALL::.

Itís a shame, MGM could have had a spectacular release on their hands had that gone back and re encoded this to MPEG4. Instead they stick us with an old MPEG2 encode that shows its age in spades. MGM has done wonders with the Bond films but left this one to die? Such a loss. Aside from the pitiful Picture and Sound the Blu-ray comes loaded with Special Features and the movie itself is pure gold. Even with the bad Picture and Audio I am still inclined to give this one a purchase simply because the film itself is amazing.