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Thelma & Louise (UHD Blu-ray) review

Thelma & Louise (UHD Blu-ray) review
« on: May 25, 2023, 04:01:44 PM »

Studio: Criterion Collection
Release Date: May 30, 2023
Rating: PG-13
Film:  3/5

Two women, a turquoise Thunderbird, the ride of a lifetime. With this pop-culture landmark, screenwriter Callie Khouri and action auteur Ridley Scott rewrote the rules of the road movie, telling the story of two best friends who find themselves transformed into accidental fugitives during a weekend getaway gone wrong—leading them on a high-speed Southwest odyssey as they elude police and discover freedom on their own terms.

My Thoughts
My wife and I watched this movie in the theaters during its theatrical run in 1991 and liked it, but didn’t love it. It was the darling of the Academy Awards that year garnering six nominations and winning the best screenplay by Khouri. I wanted to see it because I loved anything that Geena Davis was in and my wife didn’t mind the young Brad Pitt—a little something for everyone.

Here we are over 30 years later and I still think the film is somewhat mediocre. Sure, it shows the empowerment of women but the film is filled with so many cliched moments that it takes away from the powerful message. Finally, the ending is quite a let down, but I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who hasn’t seen the film for themselves.

In the included booklet in the set it states the film was remastered from the original 35mm negative and scanned to 4K using a Lasergraphics Director film scanner. The soundtrack was remastered from the original LCRS magnetic track and the 4K UHD disc is presented in Dolby Vision HDR (and HDR10 for non-Dolby Vision monitors).

Overall it’s a solid presentation but when doing some direct comparisons to the Blu-ray, the differences are somewhat minimal due to the fact that the Blu-ray looks so good. Color saturation is a bit deeper on the UHD and there’s some additional detail in facial pores and clothing, but one would be hard-pressed to pick one over the other in a blind test. The DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack is outstanding in its clarity and dynamics. One would have thought this was produced with modern-day equipment and mastering techniques versus being 30 years old.

Video 9/10 (AVC)
Audio 9.5/10 (DTS-HD MA 5.1)

Special Features:

4K UHD Disc
  • 1996 Commentary with Ridley Scott
  • 2001 Commentary with Geena Davis, Susan Sarandon, and screenwriter Callie Khouri

Blu-ray Disc Supplements
  • Commentaries from avoe
  • Ridley Scott: Beginnings
  • Short Films
  • Callie Khouri
  • “Themal & Louise”: The Last Journey
  • Original Theatrical Featurette
  • Extended Scenes
  • Storyboards: The Final Chase
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Publicity Materials
  • Music Video
  • Booklet
  • 4K + Blu-ray

I was hoping I’d enjoy the film more today than I did 30 years ago, but alas, it just doesn’t resonate with me that much. My wife begrudgingly watched it with me and when it was done commented, “now you know why I didn’t want to watch it again.” Oh well—nothing ventured, nothing gained. The presentation is quite good, but the audio outshines the video and fans of the film will be impressed.     

Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS3100 4K Ultra High-Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Portrait Displays CalMAN color calibration software & C6-HDR Meter from Portrait Displays)
Stewart Filmscreen - Firehawk 110” 2.35:1 Screen
Trinnov Altitude 16 Audio/Video Processor
ATI AT527NC Powering Bed Channels
ATI AT524NC Powering Atmos Speakers
Kaleidescape Strato + Server
Panasonic DP-UB820 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
System Controller: URC MX-990
M&K S-150 THX Ultra (R-C-L Speakers)
M&K SS-150 x4 (Surround Speakers)
Atlantic Technology IC6-OBA x 4 Overhead Speakers
SVS PC-Ultra Cylinder Subwoofer
SVS SB3000
HSU VTF-15H MK2 Subwoofer
M&K Sound X15+ Subwoofer
Mini DSP HD controlling all subwoofers
Audioquest and Monoprice - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
PureAV PF60 Power Conditioner
« Last Edit: May 26, 2023, 01:46:15 AM by David Vaughn »
Blu-ray Reviewer / Technical Writer
Sound & Vision Magazine


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Re: Thelma & Louise (UHD Blu-ray) review
« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2023, 05:28:42 PM »
Def a classic tho. Good to have it on 4k
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Re: Thelma & Louise (UHD Blu-ray) review
« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2023, 03:56:01 PM »
I saw this in the theater when it was released too. I pretty much agree with your review.


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Re: Thelma & Louise (UHD Blu-ray) review
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2023, 06:02:06 PM »
I saw Thelma and Louise a year ago and I strongly agree with your review.  May I add something:
With movies now available to us in may ways, we do not speak enough that movies, TV shows, books are aways product of their times. A movie made today will always have a current and different point of view than if the same movie was made years ago.  Look at both versions of “True Grit.”
Thelma and Louise was made at a time when few movies, especially action and adventure movies, were about women. This movie is the feminine version of “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.”  A pair goes across country doing bad things, but we still like them. And, in both movies, they end up stepping into their deaths. (We don’t see any of them die, but they do).
But we see Thelma and Louise from a feminine point of view, in an era when there were almost no female directors, female writers or, as I said, female action stars. It’s different now, and the movie does not hold up as well, but there are still few women action/adventure stars.  Yes, we got Wonder Woman, Black Widow and Captain Marvel, but that is out of 50 super-hero movies.
So Thelma and Louise was an important product for it’s time. It addressed many issues about how women are treated, or miostreatfed.  And men were not heroes in this movie rescuing the women. It's a bit out of date now, but progressive at it's time, 30 years ago.
The L.A. Times even ran a story about this last week.

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