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Blu Ray

  • Score
    from 1 reviewers
    Review Date:
  • Ladyhawke's best Blu-ray yet, a must for fans; newcomers, approach cautiously.

    Ladyhawke Blu-ray Front Cover

    Disc Release Date:

  • Video
  • Ladyhawke's Blu-ray release, enhanced by MPI's meticulous color correction and cleanup, offers unparalleled clarity and vivid colors, transforming its viewing into a unique, mesmerizing experience.

  • Audio
  • Ladyhawke's release in Dolby Stereo and later in lossless DTS-HD MA offers clear sound effects and dialogue, despite limited rear effects. Its controversial score by Andrew Powell adds to its unique charm, blending rock with orchestral and chant elements.

  • Extra
  • Both Warner's 1997 DVD and the disc with a 480i, 1.85:1 enhanced trailer offer minimal extras, reflecting a featureless presentation.

  • Movie
  • Ladyhawke, a medieval fantasy tale, pairs an eclectic cast with modern humor, amidst love's battle against a spell, earning cult status despite its initial box office struggle.

    Video: 67

    The Blu-ray presentation of "Ladyhawke" by the Warner Archive Collection (WAC), which utilized the master originally prepared by Fox, stands as a remarkable example of meticulous technical enhancement and restoration. Recognizing the need for further refinement, WAC engaged the services of MPI for extensive color correction, grading, and cleanup, elevating the visual fidelity of this release beyond previous home video iterations. Notably, the film, captured by the acclaimed cinematographer Vittorio Storaro in the Technovision format, benefits from this dedication to detail. The resultant 1080p, AVC-encoded Blu-ray distinguishes itself with unparalleled sharpness and clarity, showcasing the breathtaking Italian scenery and architectural marvels with an intensity of color and contrast that profoundly enhances the visual experience.

    Significant efforts in digital restoration have addressed historical flaws in the film's negative, notably removing two persistent spots present in the film's climactic scenes in all former widescreen editions. Through meticulous frame-by-frame work, MPI has succeeded in eliminating these blemishes, thereby enhancing viewers' immersion in the film's pivotal moments without distraction. This attention to detail extends to the film's natural grain pattern, preserved and finely rendered at a high average bitrate of 35.00 Mbps, ensuring that no detail was compromised.

    The decision to retain certain elements, such as the windowboxed opening credits—originally decided by Fox—exemplifies a careful balance between preservation and enhancement. Despite these inherited choices, the WAC's release of "Ladyhawke" on Blu-ray marks a significant achievement in home video presentation. The depth and vibrancy of the colors, particularly during sequences under the intense blues of night and the radiant reds of sunsets and sunrises, receive a noteworthy boost that honors Storaro's original vision while offering audiences a version of the film that is visually rejuvenating and free from former distractions.

    Audio: 67

    The audio presentation of "Ladyhawke" on Blu Ray, delivered in a lossless DTS-HD MA format, effectively utilizes the original mix created for its theatrical release. Despite a predominant focus on the front channels, the audio mix shines in its clear stereo separations, immersing the viewer with environmental sounds such as the hawk's piercing cry, the eerie howl of the wolf, and the resounding beat of horse hooves. Noteworthy are the meticulously detailed sound effects, from the metallic clang of swords during combat to the ambient noises accompanying Philippe's dungeon escape through the watery depths of the city's drainage system. Dialogue maintains clarity throughout and is prominently anchored in the center channel, ensuring that every word is captured without loss, enhancing the narrative's engagement.

    Andrew Powell's score for "Ladyhawke," produced by Alan Parsons, marks a distinct moment in cinema history where the collaboration with pop musicians for fantasy films was embraced. Although controversial for its unconventional blend of progressive rock, orchestral elements, and Gregorian chants, it is integral to the film's identity. Critics have been divided on the suitability of Powell's compositions, with some labeling it as dissonant with the medieval setting. However, within the Blu Ray's audio presentation, each musical piece is rendered with fidelity, preserving its controversial yet undeniably unique character. This soundtrack, whether seen as a flawed experiment or a hauntingly beautiful work, is an essential aspect of "Ladyhawke's" charm.

    In sum, "Ladyhawke's" audio on Blu Ray showcases an admirable commitment to preserving and presenting the film's original auditory experience. While it does not extensively utilize rear-channel effects, its strengths lie in well-separated stereo sounds that enhance key moments and a controversial yet iconic score that remains a topic of discussion to this day. The audio mix for this release respects the film’s legacy, ensuring both newcomers and long-time fans can experience "Ladyhawke" as intended, peculiarities included.

    Extra: 27

    The Blu-ray release of "Ladyhawke" presents a notably sparse extras section, much like its predecessor, the Warner 1997 DVD. Despite advancements in technology and medium, this edition offers little beyond a standard trailer as its sole bonus feature. This trailer, presented in 480i at a 1.85:1 aspect ratio and enhanced for widescreen, lasts approximately 1 minute and 33 seconds. The absence of additional content such as commentary tracks, making-of documentaries, or even cast interviews underscores a missed opportunity to enrich the viewing experience with behind-the-scenes insights or further exploration of the film's production and legacy.

    Extras included in this disc:

    • Trailer: A short preview of the film, provided in 480i resolution with a 1.85:1 aspect ratio, enhanced for widescreen viewing.

    Movie: 62

    Ladyhawke," a distinctive blend of medieval fantasy and modern sensibility, stands out for its unique narrative and eclectic mix of acting talents. Directed by Richard Donner, known for his work on blockbusters like "Superman" and the "Lethal Weapon" series, this film diverges into the realm of magical fables set in the Middle Ages, without utilizing any present-day narrative devices to offer perspective or irony on its fantastical elements. Starring Matthew Broderick, Rutger Hauer, and Michelle Pfeiffer, the film showcases an American-sounding thief with a poorly executed English accent, majestic castles, and a tale of cursed lovers bound by a relentless antagonist, the Bishop of Aquila. Broderick's Phillipe "Mouse" Gaston provides comic relief and a bridge between the worlds of Navarre (Hauer) and Isabeau (Pfeiffer), encapsulating a story that demands its audience to suspend disbelief for the rewards it offers.

    The plot revolves around Philippe's escape and encounter with Navarre and Isabeau, who are trapped in an enchantment cast by a vengeful bishop. The film unfolds as a fairy tale with rich characters portrayed by actors from varying schools of performance, blending theatrical diction with modern sensibilities in a way that somehow coalesces impeccably on screen. "Ladyhawke" is presented literally, demanding viewers engage deeply with its magical components without any modern-day filters, a choice that while challenging, enriches the viewing experience.

    Filmed in the picturesque Italian countryside and employing real castles for authenticity, Donner's commitment to natural scenery over studio-generated backdrops adds a profound depth to the fairy tale epic. Despite varying critical reception and modest box office success upon its release in 1985, "Ladyhawke" has cultivated a loyal fanbase, cherished for its ambitious storytelling and unmistakable charm that is now beautifully preserved in Warner Archive Collection's Blu-ray release. This version stands as a substantial upgrade, offering fans old and new the opportunity to experience the film's full majesty and nuances in visuals and performance.

    Total: 62

    The Blu-ray release of "Ladyhawke" represents a major milestone for enthusiasts of this unique cinematic gem. The Warmer Archive Collection (WAC) has outdone itself, delivering what can unequivocally be described as the finest presentation of the film to date. This release finally does justice to the peculiar charm and aesthetic of "Ladyhawke", showcasing its visual and auditory offerings in unparalleled clarity. While the film's distinct narrative and stylistic choices may not cater to all tastes—its narrative interwoven with a peculiar ambiance and anachronistic elements—there's no denying the meticulous care that WAC has invested in this edition, enhancing its appeal to both longtime admirers and potentially new audiences willing to explore its unconventional storytelling.

    This Blu-ray edition not only brings "Ladyhawke" to life with vibrant picture quality but also pays homage to its auditory landscape, faithfully preserving its original score and sound design. Such attention to detail ensures that the film's atmospheric components are as compelling and immersive as ever. Whether one is revisiting the film or encountering its unusual blend of fantasy, romance, and adventure for the first time, this release offers an exceptional viewing experience that respects the film's original vision while leveraging modern restoration techniques.

    In conclusion, the release of "Ladyhawke" on Blu-ray by WAC is a significant event for both longstanding fans and newcomers to the film's fantastical world. With its superior audiovisual presentation and fidelity to the original experience, this edition stands as a definitive version, inviting viewers to fully engage with the film's unique blend of genres and emotions. WAC's commitment to quality underlines "Ladyhawke" as a noteworthy addition to any Blu-ray collection, especially for those who appreciate cinema that dares to be different.