Scarface Gold Edition 4K Ultra HD

Featured In Issue 246, December 2019

WSR Score5
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
Universal Studios Home Entertainment
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Language and violent images
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Single Side, Dual Layer (BD-66)
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Brian De Palma
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DTS Neo:X 11.1 Lossless, DTS HD Lossless 7.1
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"Scarface" takes place in 1980, when in the spring the port of Mariel Harbor was opened and thousands set sail for the United States. They came in search of the American Dream. One of them found it on the sun-washed avenues of Miami...wealth, power and passion beyond his wildest dreams. He was Tony Montana. The world will remember him by another name...Scarface. (Gary Reber)

Special features include seven feaurettes: "Scarface: 35th Anniversary Reunion" (HD 27:06), "The Scarface Phenomenon" (HD 38:34), "The World Of Tony Montana" (HD 11:38), "The Rebirth" (HD 10:08), "The Acting" (HD 15:06), "The Creating" (HD 29:35) and "Scarface: The TV Version" (HD 02:48); "The Making Of Scarface: The Video Game"; deleted scenes (HD 22:29) and a Movies Anywhere digital code. Also available is "Scarface 'The World Is Yours' Limited Edition gift set, which includes the 1983 version of "Scarface" (excluding DVD), the 1932 version of "Scarface" on Blu-ray Disc for the first time ever and a collectable "The World Is Yours" stature replica. The 1932 version of "Scarface," only available in this exclusive gift set, is newly restored with two versions of the film––the original uncensored version and the alternate version with a different ending.

The 2160p HEVC/H.265 Ultra HD HDR10/Dolby Vision picture, reviewed on a Sony Bravia Z9D 4K Ultra HD HDR display, was photographed on Eastman film stock in anamorphic Panavision® using Panavision cameras and sourced from a 2K (not 4K) master Digital Intermediate format. As the 2K Digital Intermediate has been upconverted to 2160p, there is no real gain in native resolution. Film grain has been essentially preserved with virtually no signs of excessive noise reduction, for an impressive filmic presentation. The imagery is sharp and natural throughout with a richly saturated color palette; though, at times shadow detail and black levels are crushed in the darkest scenes. Of course, Tony's (Pacino) world is one of blood-soaked violence depicted in blood red. Reds are saturated as well as other colors. Neon signs around Miami are bright, skies are blue, as well as pools and ocean waters. Fleshtones throughout are saturated yet are impressively natural in appearance. At times, HDR contrast is excellent with bright whites and generally excellent black levels. Whites depicted in white shirts are brilliant. The color palette progresses from a world of rags to one of riches in their settings as Tony ascends to drug lord status. Resolution is good in close-ups and medium-distance imagery, both in grungy city settings and the homes and clubs of the rich. Still, a few segments are a bit soft––no doubt inherent to the original photography. Close-ups reveal fine detail, such as skin pores, Scarface's scars and sliced eyebrow, hair, cigars, the "World Is Yours" blimp with its neon letter lights and object textures. The tiger scene in the garden appears natural. The last scene is a visual tour de force. WOW! segments are from 46:46 to 47:38, 01:12:58 to 01:17:16 and 02:49:50 to 02:43:50.

No doubt, this is the best "Scarface" has ever looked and exceeds any previously released home video version. (Gary Reber)

The DTS-X/DTS-HD Master Audio™ 7.1 soundtrack has been repurposed from the original monaural elements. The sound is dynamic and nicely resolved. The 1980's genre music score is vibrant and impressively clear for its age. Both the pop tunes, synthesizer, and orchestral elements extend from the wide soundstage to the surrounds to impressively envelop the soundfield. Street and environmental ambience is enveloping. Gunfire, especially machine gunfire, is powerful as well as helicopter sounds. Dialogue sounds natural and is nicely integrated spatially.

The Immersive Sound element is extremely limited and comprised of a loud panned helicopter and sirens, the ambience of a drug manufacturing factory in Bolivia, jungle sounds with birds chirping, and a Pan Am Metroport helicopter landing in New York City. Music is very brief with long periods in between. Thus, not near enough was done to create a satisfying height layer enhancement.

This is a superb repurposed holosonic® experience that boasts impactful dynamics. (Gary Reber)