Featured In Issue 135, October 2008

WSR Score4
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
MPI Home Video
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Not Rated
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Single Side, Dual Layer (BD-50)
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Not Indicated
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(THX® Digitally Mastered):
Ron Fricke
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Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS HD Lossless 5.1
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Stemming from an ancient Sufi word meaning "blessing," Baraka takes us around the world in search of different religious rituals, the beauty found in nature, and how it all seems to come together in a strange kind of harmony—even when it appears that the world is in utter chaos. The making of this movie took the filmmakers thirteen months and around the world three times visiting 24 countries. Wow! (Laurie Sevano)

Special features include a 96-minute Baraka: A Closer Look documentary and a seven-minute Restoration featurette.

The anamorphically enhanced 2.20:1 DVD has been fully restored from its original camera negative using an 8K UltraDigital mastering system, and resolution is noticeably improved over the previous DVD release (Issue 60). Compression levels are improved as well, with less artifacts noticeable. Black levels are also improved, and shadow detail is good. Colors show good, natural saturation and contrast is balanced well. Fleshtones look natural as well. Edge enhancement is used, though, but it is fairly inconspicuous. Fine details in the VC-1-encoded Blu-ray Disc are delivered masterfully, with subtle changes in textures delivered beautifully to the screen. Black levels are occasionally elevated, which hinders the sense of depth in the picture, but these moments are few and far between. In general, the picture has a very natural sense of dimensionality that makes watching the presentation feel like looking through a window. This is an excellent high-definition picture. (Danny Richelieu)

The Dolby® Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack sounds exactly like the previous release, with subtly noticeably dated fidelity and a high noise floor. The inclusion of a DTS® 96/24 5.1-channel encoding raises the bar on this soundtrack, though, with a noticeable improvement in fidelity, especially with respect to dynamic range. The subtleties of the soundtrack really shine in the DTS encoding, with a palatable sense of dimensionality and depth to the mix. Bass definition is tight and controlled in both encodings, but is much more impactful in the DTS encoding. Phantom imaging is occasionally masked in the Dolby encoding, but it is actually localizable in the DTS version. The LFE channel is incorporated well, and deep bass is delivered nicely through each of the channels. The DTS encoding is superb. The Blu-ray Disc's menu says that it includes the same encodings as the DVD, but the DTS version is actually encoded using 24-bit DTS-HD Master Audio. The fidelity is pristine, and dynamic range is impressive. The expansive front stage really engages the listening space, and the adequate surround envelopment helps lock it in. The noise floor can be distractingly high at times, though. (Danny Richelieu)