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The Godfather: Part II cover

Blu-ray Reviews: The Godfather: Part II

Not previously published
Last updated 27 June 2009

The Godfather: Part II
1974 - Paramount Home Entertainment (Australasia) Pty Ltd
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Starring: Al Pacino, Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton, Robert De Niro, John Cazale, Talia Shire, Lee Strasberg, Michael V. Gazzo, G.D. Spradlin, Richard Bright, Gastone Moschin, Tom Rosqui

Movie: 5 Picture: 3.5 Sound: 3.5 Extras: 4

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Running time: 202 minutes
Picture: 1.78:1 anamorphic, 1080p24, MPEG4 AVC @ 22.42Mbps
Sound: English: Dolby TrueHD 24/48 3/2.1 @ 3592kbps (Core: Dolby Digital 3/2.1 @ 640kbps); German, French: Dolby Digital 3/2.1 @ 640kbps; German, French, Commentary: Dolby Digital Surround 2/0.0 @ 192kbps
Subtitles: Danish, German, English, French, Dutch, Norwegian, Finnish, Swedish, Turkish, English for the Hearing Impaired, German (Commentary), English (Commentary), French (Commentary)
Extras: Bookmarks (This is part of the four Blu-ray disc set, which also includes The Godfather and The Godfather: Part III, plus a disc of special extras.)
Restrictions: Rated M (Australian rating); Region Free

This is the video bitrate graph for this movie, generated by BDInfo 0.5.2:

The Godfather Part II video bitrate graph

Comparison: Blu-ray vs PAL DVD

Here are some comparisons between the Australian PAL DVD (the version released in 2001/2002, not the Coppola Restoration version released at the same time as the Blu-ray) and the Australian Blu-ray version of this movie. At the top of each is the full frame (suitably shrunk down) used in the comparison, with a 250 pixel wide detail from the frame underneath. The left side is from the PAL DVD. The image was captured digitally from the disc, scaled up from its native 720 by 576 resolution to 1024 by 576 (to present in the correct aspect ratio). I then scaled it, in order for it to be comparable to the Blu-ray version, to 1,920 pixels wide.

The detail is from that last scaled version, and has not been rescaled again. The right side is from the Australian Blu-ray. This has not been scaled at all. Different applications were used to capture the two frames, so I am not comfortable comparing the colour between the two, merely the detail and sharpness. For visitors from NTSC lands, generally the PAL DVD is just a touch sharper than the NTSC DVD.

There really isn't all that much difference in actualy picture detail between the DVD and the Blu-ray in many scenes. Initially I selected this shot because I thought grabbing the detail around the group of mourners to the left of the screen would be revealing. In fact, there was hardly any difference (aside from the weird colour cast of the DVD. This shot shows a little more detail on the Blu-ray, but nothing to write home about:

Comparison 1

Why the sky should be apricot on the DVD version is quite opaque to me. What I'm more interested in here is the lack of compression artefacts on the Blu-ray version, especially noticable about the ropes:

Comparison 2

Those last two shots were from sections of the movie going back to Vito Corleone's origins. This next one is a 'present day' (ie. circa 1960) shot. Note that the colour cast is fairly similar between these two shots (although the BD is a bit brighter). Perhaps the apricot feel of the DVD shots above was inserted to create more of a reminiscent feeling. Anyway, for this present shot the is a touch more detail in Michael's (shiny, mafia-like) suit on Blu-ray, and you can almost perceive the gold-leaf writing on the spine of the book behind him on the Blu-ray, and the Blu-ray lacks the echoey ghost of the artificial sharpening on the DVD version (see the lighter borders around the window frame elements):

Comparison 3

Just when I'm starting to thing that the improvements in the Blu-ray hardly warrant the additional expenditure, if you already have the DVD, I stumble across this shot, which changes everything:

Comparison 4

In fact, that shot got me so excited I grabbed another detail to compare. Yes, the good old grass patch again. This really does separate DVD from Blu-ray. On the latter you can see where the grass has been worn, the different varieties which are struggling with each other, the variation in the height. And that water does look so much nicer too:

Comparison 4a

Back we flash to the past with Vito (and a very young Sonny), and back we flash to a nearly indistinguishable Blu-ray and DVD (except for the warmer glow of the former, and the elimination of some print dust):

Comparison 5

Still back in the past with Vito, now we find that the DVD has a blue sky, while the Blu-ray has gone all apricot. How can you get more detail from the film, when it is clear that the graininess of the film means there is no more detail to be had:

Comparison 6

Comparison 7

© 2002-2008, Stephen Dawson