What a total disappointment of a Blu-Ray! :( There should be
Martin Andersen | Bergen, Norway | 11/24/2009
(1 out of 5 stars)
"This release truly was a gargantuan disappointment. "Heat" is one of my all-time favorites and Michael Mann one of my favorite directors. I actually did not have huge expectations to this first incarnation of Heat on Blu-Ray--knowing the problems that exist on both the original 1999 DVD release (which I might add was pretty ok at the time, but not by today's standards) and the subsequent 2005 "Special Edition" (which had some interesting extras and commentary, but no change to the feature itself.)
But I mean honestly, I am in awe that not only does this disc have basically _the same_ audio track (re-encoded into Dolby TrueHD)--complete with the same muffled audio which for the most part totally lacks any kind of force, and dialogue which in some places is so low it borders on being ridiculous. I can honestly say that it had no improvement, whatsoever, over the Japanese DTS edition which was released a couple of years back (which also is far from perfect.)
Ok, granted. The audio is not 100%--that I might be able to live with. After all--this is close to being my favorite movie. However, it also has received a *minimal* upgrade on the video side.
No, I am not referring to the inherent film grain. This disc has many scenes which look like they are taken straight off the original DVD and upscaled to 1080p. The lack of detail is most prominent when pausing the movie at certain scenes. Background detail also varies strongly throughout. Yes, it is a Blu-Ray and obviously it will look better than the DVD but I have a quite respectable stack of older movies which completely puts this release in the dust. The bitrate is for the most part around 15-22Mbit/s, peaking at just under 30 in some cases; but seldom reaching this point.
Just to illustrate that minimal care has been given to the video aspect, note that it even has the _exact same_ color-change problem which occurs after Amy Brenneman's character (Eady) hangs up the phone with McCauley / De Niro (at 54:32)
While this is all bad enough, later on I actually notice that some of the dialogue has been *CUT OUT*. (Why haven't other reviewers noticed this?) Specifically where Diane Venora's character (Justine) is talking to Vincent Hanna / Pacino after the office party has ended. From the passage below, the first part ("you sift through the detritus") has been omitted(!). I actually had to rewind to verify this, as this kind of thing is pretty unusual, and not something I've noticed on any of the previous DVD versions:
You sift through the detritus, you read the terrain, you search for signs of passing, for the scent of your prey ... and then you hunt them down. That's the only thing you're committed to. The rest is the mess you leave as you pass through."
Just to make it clear--this was not some one-off problem with my disc or equipment causing it to skip ahead at that particular juncture. No drop-outs to the digital audio signal was witnessed either.
To me, cutting out dialogue (especially something as relevant and beautifully phrased) in such a fashion is completely baffling. I don't know what on earth happened to this release while it was mastered on Blu-Ray, but this just topped it all off and prompted me to eject the disc. I could not bear to see what other flaws or edits it might have been subjected to.
I might add that, never once have I not watched this movie to the end. And I have watched it probably 30 times. But this was truly an abysmal experience. Warner, are you listening? You have plenty of other awe-inspiring releases, and some which are decades older than this one which look (and some which sound) a zillion times better--Superman, North by Northwest, The Road Warrior, Bullitt, The Dirty Dozen--to name a few.
After I submit this review I will create a return request for this item. I urge all others who truly love this movie to do the same; and not put up with what is basically a repackaged & cut version of the original DVD.
What a waste of a truly great disc format."
A Crime Saga to Remember
Michael Crane | Orland Park, IL USA | 05/20/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Al Pacino and Robert De Niro are two of my favorite actors. So when I found out that they would be in a movie together, I was very excited to see it. "Heat" is a crime saga masterpiece that mixes drama and film noir together. Combine all of those elements together and you get one hell of a movie.
Pacino plays a L.A. detective who is obsessed with his job. He has dedicated his life to put away every single criminal in the state. Much so that he has become obsessed with his job. De Niro plays a criminal who loves to go on heists. A professional he is, and he never gets caught. Soon, the two's lives collide with each other and all hell breaks out. Pacino becomes obsessed with catching De Niro. He will not rest until he is locked up.
That is only half of the story. There are many stories in this crime drama that interact with each other. Other great actors in this film include Val Kilmer, Tom Sizemore, Ashley Judd, Jon Voight, and many more. Every character is unique in his or her way.
The director/writer does an excellent job of making us feel sympathy for the characters, even the bad ones. He has created a very dark and gloomy world in which nothing is certain. Problems lurk around every corner, ready to destroy each person. Don't be mistaken, this isn't an action flick. This is more of a film noir if anything. It's dark, the tone is somber, and it doesn't have the happiest ending. Although there is a bank heist scene in the movie that has to be one of the best action sequences in a long time.
As much as I love Robert De Niro, and he does a great job portraying his character, Pacino steals the show. It's one of his best roles in recent years. He's vulgar, rude, offensive, and short-tempered. But, he also has a heart, and you get to see that as the movie progresses. As serious as his character is supposed to be, he has some of the funniest lines you will ever hear him say. He definitely wins "best actor" in my book.
Again, this isn't an action film. It is very long (almost three hours), and it is very story oriented. The film concentrates on character development the most. This is a great film that realistically portrays these kinds of characters. This is a movie about choices and consequences, and you're not exactly sure how the movie will end. A very good movie that should've received more recognition.
P.S. I haven't had the chance to check out the special features on this DVD. From what I remember, there isn't too many. But that would be because the movie is so long, and it's all on one side."
N. Durham | Philadelphia, PA | 03/27/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"10 years after the release of Michael Mann's epic crime tour de force, Heat is still an absolute masterpiece. Originally a screenplay which sat on the shelf for almost twenty years before being greenlit, Heat is the perfect character driven crime drama. Mann pits Al Pacino and Robert De Niro as a dueling cop and crook whose lives bear stunning resemblances to themselves. Vincent (Pacino) becomes obsessed in his case to help escape the reality of his failing marriage, while Neil (De Niro) is a cool, calm, collected and disciplined master thief who, with his skilled team (including Val Kilmer and Tom Sizemore) are planning a heist which will change everyone involved forever. This portrait of these people and their failing personal lives sacrificed for their obsessive careers makes Heat the best film to come from Mann, and undoubtadly the best big budget crime drama to come out of the 90's. The face off between Pacino and De Niro is a film buff's dream, and the climactic LA shootout is possibly one of the best action sequences in cinematic history. The rest of the cast, which includes Jon Voight, Diane Venora, Natalie Portman, Amy Brenneman, Ashley Judd, Mykelti Williamson, Wes Studi, Ted Levine, Kevin Gage, Denis Haysbert, William Fichtner, Danny Trejo, Henry Rollins, Tom Noonan, and Hank Azaria, does brilliant work. Truly a cinematic masterpiece. This new 2-disc Special Edition from Warner Bros. contains a great commentary from Mann and a few nice featurettes, but the deleted scenes are hardly worth watching and add nothing to the film."
Michael J. Berquist | 02/02/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I estimate that Director/Writer Michael Mann could have cut about an hour out of "Heat" and still have a pretty good movie, but I am glad he didn't. "Heat" is an outstanding film- a tour-de-force duel between an elite crew of bank robbers led by Robert DeNiro and an elite crew of police officers led by Al Pacino. This is a movie you have to savor for each and every scene.Mann does an outstanding job writing a complex movie. Just about a bank robbery movie? Nope, the heroes and villains are complicated and have their motives. Mann understands that the most interesting hero is one with flaws (Pacino's cop is a workaholic ruining his latest marriage) and the best villains are ones with their own agenda and their own code (DeNiro has a philosophy and a noble goal- to do one big score, leave and live the good life).The acting talent Mann assembles is awesome- Pacino, DeNiro, Val Kilmer, Ashley Judd, Jon Voight, Tom Sizemore, Amy Brenneman, Natalie Portman, and Mykelti Williamson. All give great performances. Al Pacino is terrific as usual here, but I have the most respect of all for Robert DeNiro. DeNiro may be the best actor alive- who else could play his twisted, creepy psycho in "Cape Fear", his cold gangster roles in "Goodfellas" and "Casino", his funny gangster in "Analyze This", and his action hero mercenary in "Ronin"? And this is only a fraction of the parts he's played! Here he plays the cold, calculating leader of the bank robbers, the worthiest adversary Al Pacino's cop has ever come up against. Could Michael Mann make a bad movie? I doubt it. "Heat" is a brilliant movie. Brilliant."
An Intelligent And Thrilling Film.
Mr. Fellini | El Paso, Texas United States | 11/16/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Michael Mann is one of the greatest of all directors. He brings incredible style and vision to the screen. This is best seen in his masterpiece of a cop thriller: "Heat." The film is thrilling, action-packed and fantastically written. The plot is complex and intriguing. The characters are well-written and interesting and hold the film up by themselves. The cinematography is rich and the entire film is wonderfully stylish. "Heat" is a skillfull movie that never makes us loose interest. Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro give great performances that rank among their best. There are moments of great tension and drama that ignite the screen. This is one of the best cop thrillers ever made."