While those, like this reviewer, eagerly anticipating a newly striked image, and lossy mix, will be disappointed, anyone new to blu-ray, and not already owning the previously released blu-ray of "GOODFELLAS," the digi-book packaging and additional dvd, featuring a documentary, narrated by Alec Baldwin, about the great gangster film era, as well as four terrific gangster animated shorts from WB, make this the preferred addition to one's library of classic blu-rays!
How great? Well, "GOODFELLAS" is arguably Scorsese's masterpiece! Sure, he's made many great films, and many great gangster films, but "GOODFELLAS" is more engaging and timeless than "MEAN STREETS" or "GOODFELLAS." It has a quality that makes it as easy to watch and re-watch over and over in the same way masses have experienced with "SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION." While both are very different films in content and tone, their power to be viewed repeatedly with the same pleasure as the first time, is remarkably similar.
The mere concept of voice-over(narration) tends to make most audiences cringe. It's one of the reasons this reviewer finds most of Terrence Malick's films so annoying! However, like "SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION's" Morgan Freeman, one can't imagine viewing "GOODFELLAS" without hearing the way Ray Liotta's enthusiastic descriptions pull everyone in to the drama and excitement he's describing, even when soon realizes there are dire consequences coinciding with that environment.
Liotta plays Henry Hill, a wiseguy, whose Irish heritage prevent him from ever being fully "made" as a member of the mob. Still, from a young age, he's drawn into it, and makes a pretty convincing case for why anyone, especially with his home environment would be attracted to the mob. The idea of just taking what one wants has got to be appealing to a kid, but, Scorsese also shows the dark, violent, irrational side to the mob as well. Everyone from Paul Sorvino as the main Patriarch of the crime family, DeNiro, Pesci, all the way to the small role of the postman beaten for bringing mail with bad report cards to young Henry's home, demonstrate how casting is an art form!
Extremely violent, from the opening sequence and sporadically throughout, "GOODFELLAS" isn't for the squeamish. However, for those appreciating film as a craft, "GOODFELLAS" transcends as well as defines the genre!
WARNER BROS has provided the correct 1.78:1 aspect ratio for this VC-1 encoded 1080p blu-ray. As it's the same transfer as in the original blu-ray release, darker scenes veer towards excessive graininess, and various scenes fall flat. However, for the great majority of the film, it looks great! Detail, especially in close-ups, holds up as well as the best blu-ray releases. Bright scenes, as with the wedding, and the entire portion of Henry as a kid, look spectacular. Most scenes offer the kind of depth one hopes for with blu-ray. Still, a restoration could certainly make it look even better and rank it up there with reference quality releases, which this falls short from being.
WARNER BROS has provided the same Dolby Digital 5.1 mix for this release. So, yes, it's disappointing to find no lossy mix, either DTS-HD or slightly less impressive, (but still better than Dolby digital)Dolby TrueHD isn't available yet. However, what's offered is still a pretty engaging mix. Scorsese has always made music an integral part of his film's atmosphere, and the songs selected here take on a character of their own. While not offering the same dynamic range found on many WARNER BROS BLU-RAY releases with superior lossy mixes, it's still aggressive and surrounds are effectively used throughout.
A commentary option featuring Scorsese and Liotta, along with other cast and crew(Pesci/DeNiro are absent)is terrific and a must!
"GETTING MADE" is a featurette filled with behind-the-scenes footage, interviews and more.
"MADE MEN: THE GOODFELLAS LEGACY" explores the film's impact on other filmmakers, along with comments by leading directors.
The additional 2nd disc is a standard dvd, featuring the worthwhile documentary mentioned earlier and classic cartoons.