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My take: History of the World: Part I (1981)

HD Goofnut
05-14-2010, 11:17 PM
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Title: History of the World: Part I (1981)
BD-50 Dual-Layer Disc
Video: 1080p/AVC MPEG-4
Audio: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Subtitles: Several Languages
Run time: 92 minutes
Studio: Fox Home Entertainment
Rating: R
Region Coding: Region Free
Equipment used for review: Sharp LC-46SB57UN 46" 120Hz 1080p LCD (24fps), Onkyo TX-SR606 7.1 Receiver, Onkyo SKS-HT540 7.1, & LG BH200 Super Blu

Cast/Crew Info:
Mel Brooks as Moses/Comicus/Torquemada/Jacques/King Louis XVI
Dom DeLuise as Emperor Nero
Madeline Kahn as Empress Nympho
Harvey Korman as Count de Monet
Cloris Leachman as Madame Defarge
Ron Carey as Swiftus
Gregory Hines as Josephus
Pamela Stephenson as Mademoiselle Rimbaud
Shecky Greene as Marcus Vindictus
Sid Caesar as Chief Caveman
Mary-Margaret Humes as Miriam
Orson Welles as the voice of the Narrator
Directed by Mel Brooks

My take: (the breakdown)

I typically enjoy most of Mel Brooks' films and History of the World: Part I is probably somewhere in the middle for me personally. It's a great film, but it just doesn't quite soar to the heights of Blazing Saddles or Spaceballs (http://www.highdefforum.com/blu-ray-movie-reviews/109604-my-take-spaceballs-1987-a.html). We are introduced to the apes that become men some 20 million years ago and we are taken through time, from man's first acts as human beings during the Stone Age to his struggle in several other notable time period. We are then subjected to Moses, the Roman Empire, The Spanish Inquisition (my personal favorite), and the French Revolution. Each segment is loaded with Brooks' classic gags, both dry and blatant. If you are a Mel Brooks' fan than this should be an instant purchase. Due to language and plenty of crude humor this one is not children.

History of the World: Part I was remastered and restored for its 2006 DVD release and it seems this was the master used for the transfer. I was actually rather surprised by how good this 29 year old film looks on Blu-ray. Colors are the largest improvement and they certainly bright, bold, and well saturated. Flesh tones seem to be accurate even though some of the actors are wearing more than enough makeup. Grain is moderate and it stays that way during the entire run time and I did not notice any DNR. Fine detail is hit or miss depending on the scenes due to some shots being out of focus, but most are extremely well done and are surely loads better than the DVD.

Anyone who has seen this know it's not exactly material to show of your home theater with, but the provided 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track more than gets the job done. Dialogue is clear and concise throughout and for a comedy that's the most important quality. Surrounds don't see much use as this is a fairly front heavy mix, but the film's catchy musical score does fill up the surrounds and that was definitely worthwhile. The sub actually does more than you think. There are several scenes that involve loud crowds or large singing numbers and they cause the LFE to come to life much more than I expected.

The supplemental package is nothing to really get excited about. We get a commentary with Brooks (his are all similar), a making of feature, a interesting trivia features, and the the film's theatrical trailer. The trailer is presented in 1080 while the making of feature is in 480.

Movie: 7/10
VQ: 8/10
AQ: 8.5/10
Supplements: 5/10
Final word: A Purchase For Fans

The screen captures below have a resolution of 1024 x 576 to keep the page from being distorted and to help with load times. As always thanks for reading folks.
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MOD
05-16-2010, 11:04 AM
So, I'm assuming from your review that there is a definite PQ advantage over the SD version ? Correct ? Sorry to be a PIA.

HD Goofnut
05-16-2010, 06:35 PM
So, I'm assuming from your review that there is a definite PQ advantage over the SD version ? Correct ? Sorry to be a PIA.

Yeah, it's much better than the DVD.

bruceames
05-16-2010, 10:11 PM
I still haven't watched my DVD yet (I have the Mel Brooks collection) and I'm a stickler on not buying/renting BDs of any movies I own on DVD but haven't yet watched. But your review has aroused my curiosity and I think I'll check this out with my wife.

HD Goofnut
05-17-2010, 07:07 AM
I still haven't watched my DVD yet (I have the Mel Brooks collection) and I'm a stickler on not buying/renting BDs of any movies I own on DVD but haven't yet watched. But your review has aroused my curiosity and I think I'll check this out with my wife.

I would have bought the Mel Brooks Collection on BD, but I already had Blazing Saddles on HD DVD and both Young Frankenstein and Spaceballs on BD. So I decided to just go ahead and buy History of the World individually and I am glad I did since I discovered that it's that much better than the DVD.

bruceames
05-17-2010, 10:41 PM
I would have bought the Mel Brooks Collection on BD, but I already had Blazing Saddles on HD DVD and both Young Frankenstein and Spaceballs on BD. So I decided to just go ahead and buy History of the World individually and I am glad I did since I discovered that it's that much better than the DVD.

I'll be damned, didn't even know there was already a Mel Brooks collection out on BD. I wish I had that one instead of the DVD set.

HD Goofnut
05-18-2010, 07:34 AM
I'll be damned, didn't even know there was already a Mel Brooks collection out on BD. I wish I had that one instead of the DVD set.

http://www.amazon.com/Mel-Brooks-Collection-Blu-ray/dp/B002PHI2N8/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=dvd&qid=1274189549&sr=8-2 $91.99 and to me that's a bit pricey. There's a few in that set that I don't care much about anyway.

MOD
05-18-2010, 11:06 AM
Yeah, it's much better than the DVD.

Thank you.

HD Goofnut
05-18-2010, 01:09 PM
Thank you.

No problem MOD.:thumbsup: