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Miracle on 34th Street (1994) Print E-mail
Thursday, 22 October 2009
ImageI know you all are probably tired of seeing Christmas Blu-ray's up here, especially when we haven't even reached Halloween yet.  Seriously, what happened to releases like the "Scream" trilogy for Halloween?  Anyway, this should be the last Christmas Blu-ray for a while.  I take that back, "Love Actually" will be coming along shortly.

So, this is the remake of the 1947 classic Christmas tale.  When all is said and done, this remake suffers from a lot of the same blows that take down other classic remakes.  The film loses respect as the time passes.  The acting doesn't hold up to the original and the added storylines are ridiculous.  The film pays homage to some aspects of the original film, but comes up short.  It spends too much time on meaningless scenes and completely disregards important aspects of the original film.  My big peeve with the film is the fact that they changed the ending.  The post office strategy was brilliant.  And here, they change it to religion.  While neither is a sound legal strategy, the original ending makes more sense.  Religion does not have any bearing on the law.  However, using a branch of the federal government to make a case is closer to the legal system.

Another issue with the film is that they changed Macy's to Cole's and Shoppers Express.  Part of what made the original worked is that it dealt with an actual department store.  And making the feud between the two stores center of attention in the film just ruins the original premise of the story.  There is simply no resolution at the end of this film.  So folks I am pleased to say that the original remains the best.

This 1994 release comes to Blu-ray with an AVC transfer and a 1.85:1 aspect ratio.  The transfer is decent, but hardly flashy.  The Christmas colors stand out nicely.  However, fine detail is lacking.  The overall image presentation appears to be soft.  There were several instances in which shots were entirely out of focus.  Textures are also lacking.  Shadow delineation is also decent due to good black levels.  There is no crushing in the blacks.  Contrast is a bit weak at points.  A boost in the contrast would have been pleasing.  The print is in good shape with hardly any blemishes popping up.  The image has gone through a digital noise reduction process.  Film grain wavers throughout the film, with a soft appearance for the most part.  This is a good transfer, but it is hardly promotional material.

The audio track is also fairly standard.  The DTS-HD 5.1 audio is simple, never pushing the sonic barriers.  My issues with the audio track simply have to do with the original sound design and not the transfer.  Sound effects are stocky at best.  There is no fluidity in the audio track.  It constantly jumps from one thing to the next.  Surround channels contain some bled music score and the occasional ambient sound.  Dialogue is well prioritized and always intelligible.  There is no real cohesiveness between the music, dialogue and effects.  The LFE channel is absent, which is likely due to the fact that the original track (also present on the Blu-ray) is a 5.0 mix, and dynamics don't spread very far.  The audio track is perfectly fine, but limited by its age and original sound design.

There are absolutely zero special features on this Blu-ray.  It was odd to not see an "Extras" or "Bonus" title on the menu.  Ah well.

This remake of "Miracle on 34th Street" does little to impress in terms of movie, video and audio.  Today's children will most undoubtedly prefer this version over the black and white original, but adults should stick with the 1947 film.

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