Malcolm X

WSR Score4.5
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Warner Home Video
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A scene of violence, and for drugs and some language.
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Single Side, Dual Layer (BD-50)
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Color With B/W Sequences
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Not Indicated
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Spike Lee
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DTS HD Lossless 5.1
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Filmmaker Spike Lee, actor Denzel Washington, and other top talents vividly portray the life and times of Malcolm X. "Here's a man who rose up from the dregs of society, spent time in jail, reeducated himself, and through spiritual enlightenment, rose to the top," Lee says. Based on the book The Autobiography Of Malcolm X as told to Alex Haley. (Tricia Spears)

Special features on the Blu-ray Disc™ include the Behind-The-Story featurette: By Any Means Necessary: The Making Of Malcolm X with optional commentary by Spike Lee, Ernest Dickerson, Barry Alexander Brown, and Ruth Carter (SD 30:28); nine deleted scenes with introduction by Lee (SD 20:54); and the theatrical trailer. The packaging includes a 40-page booklet, the Blu-ray, and a bonus DVD that features the Malcolm X 1972 documentary (SD 01:31:35).

Last reviewed in Issue 40, the anamorphically enhanced 1.78:1 DVD delivered a nicely crafted stylized picture, especially when compared to the LaserDisc reviewed in Issue 5. The DVD exhibited excellent image quality, with higher contrast than rendered on the LaserDisc. While colors on the LaserDisc bleed with no clarity or definition, hues were well defined and more naturally rendered on the DVD. Though the picture was sharp, some scenes were softly focused. Minor pixelization, artifacts, and edge enhancement was also noticed. Fine film grain was occasionally revealed. That was then, now with this Blu-ray Disc release the picture appears denser in color saturation, yet maintains the natural spectrum of hues intended. Contrast is consistent with deep, solid blacks and revealing shadow delineation. Resolution reveals fine detail as never before. This a terrifically warm and colorfully rich visual experience that is the definitive home version. (Gary Reber)

The DVD's Dolby® Digital 5.1-channel discrete remastered soundtrack was a subtle but noticeable improvement over the PCM matrixed audio on the LaserDisc. The soundfield seemed livelier on the LaserDisc but sounded better focused and dimensionally refined on the DVD, which was also "cleaner" sounding without background hiss present. Deep bass was adequate but otherwise undistinguished, and the .1 LFE was barely noticed. The dialogue was intelligible and reasonably integrated spatially. The multichannel soundfield was driven by the music, which imaged with remarkable depth and gentle surround envelopment. The newly remastered DTS-HD Master Audio™ 5.1-channel soundtrack reflects essentially the same sonic qualities but with better resolution of nuances and fidelity. Still, the sound is dated and the soundfield remains mostly restrained in terms of immersion and envelopment, though, there are segments in which the soundfield is energized. There is no reservation in acknowledging that this release is the definitive sonic expression of the classic film. (Gary Reber)