The previous blu-ray release for "GANGS OF NEW YORK" was atrocious. Mediocre colors, continuous edge-enhancement and artifacts were abundant. BUENA VISTA has remastered this title and it's a notable improvement!
It will never be mistaken as one of Scorsese's great films, and "THE GANGS OF NEW YORK" has plenty of historical inaccuracies(There were plenty of other things to be worried about if walking the streets of New York in the time depicted than "gangs"), and even the sensational performance of Daniel Day Lewis, is marred at times, due to the cartoonish propensities of the script. But, Scorsese's direction, the music, the editing, most(Cameron Diaz belongs in the "What the f--k"school of how'd she get that part" category)of the acting, pushes "THE GANGS OF NEW YORK" along with such epic-sweep, that it's easy to forgive its sins. From the opening, gripping sequence until its end, the atmosphere almost jumps off the screen, immersing the viewer into what's going on, like it or not!
The film, deals with such brushed over topics as immigration horrors, political scandals and more, with a fair share of revenge, love and more. Unfortunately, the script is the film's weakest aspect, and it diminishes much of the best parts of the film.
Still, worth viewing, and for this reviewer, owning!
This new AVC-MPEG-4 1080p blu-ray sports the same, correct, 2.35:1 aspect ratio as the previous release, but nothing else is the same! Gone are the rampant color, artifact and contrast problems of the shoddy 2008 release in favor of nearly flawless deep blacks and impeccable detail, as is evident in the opening sequence of the film(also its best!) Tracking through the dark under-dwellings wherein fire is used to forge weaponry and a depressing environment covers the huddled masses, up and out to the alarming bright whites of a snow covered morning, the differing levels of lighting never diminish the stunning level of detail, at any given instant! It's a great improvement and close-to-reference quality!
BUENA VISTA has provided a new DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix for this release, replacing the uncompressed PCM 5.1 mix of the older version. While there are some audiophiles claiming PCM is markedly superior to DTS-HD and certainly better than Dolby TrueHD, there was not a notable difference between the two mixes in scene-to-scene comparisons. Both were terrific, and neither could've improved upon the reference quality display of bass, nuanced effects, along with discrete and panning effects, that embody the soundmix for the film. Music, dialogue and layers of effects are perfectly balanced throughout!
5 featurettes, ranging from 9 to 35 minutes, are offered. Dealing with set and costume design, historical facts and more, these are all worth viewing, though some may be disappointed they're only presented in standard resolution. A music video and trailer is included.
The best and only "must" is the commentary with Scorsese. This guy is so passionate and energetic about filmmaking, that it's contagious! Much better than the actual film, it shouldn't be missed!