'Scarface - Gold Edition: 4K Ultra HD'
(Al Pacino, Michelle Pfeiffer, Steven Bauer, Robert Loggia, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, et al / 4K Ultra HD + Blu ray + Digital / R / (1983) 2019 / Universal Studios Home Entertainment)
Overview: In the spring of 1980, the port at 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.
Starring Al Pacino as Tony Montana along with Michelle Pfeiffer, Steven Bauer, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio and Robert Loggia, Scarface has become a cultural phenomenon brilliantly directed by Brian De Palma and written by Oliver Stone.
4K Ultra HD Verdict: Universal Studios Home Entertainment continues to expand their 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray catalog offerings next month with the release of the brilliant 'Scarface - Gold Edition' in the 4K home video format on October 15th, 2019.
For my money, this 'Scarface - Gold Edition: 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital' combo pack's sharpness takes a fairly large step forward from others in their 4K Ultra HD catalog and even comes with HDR10 (High Dynamic Range) for the complete 4K Ultra HD experience, of course.
So, what we have is 'Scarface' presented to us as a two-disc combo pack with a sheet for a Digital HD Copy.
Other stand out points you should know are: Codec: HEVC / H.265, Resolution: Native 4K (2160p), HDR: HDR10 and Original aspect ratio: 2.39:1.
Featuring Dolby Vision and HDR10 for brighter, deeper, and way more lifelike colors, as with most all 4K UHD's, everything that we watch features these qualities - but somehow, this film gloriously shines within them all.
Noticeably crisper with the overall clarity receiving an obvious boost here on this release, what's more is that it's enjoyably noticeable. For as well as some new nuances to the somewhat drab palette courtesy of Dolby Vision we also get to witness sudden bright pops of color; like when the infamous machine gun scene plays out, and the newly remastered "spit" of the bullets leaving the barrel now look like mini fireworks!
Indeed, the picture enjoys the fruits of the added resolution in terms of bringing out the aforementioned extremely fine facial and some of the yellow graded material (notably some scenes, much like the scenes where Tony is wounded, his left arm in a sling, aiming his gun at the bad guys, with that Tropicana orange and deep yellow sunset mural splashed out behind him on the wall) now have a kind of honeyed amber appearance. Which is interesting, and at least a little different from the 1080p Blu-ray accounting.
As for the audio, well we have: English: DTS:X, English: DTS-HD Master, Audio 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), English: DTS 2.0, French: DTS Mono, and Spanish: DTS Mono.
Overall, this is a very strong 4K HDR10 Blu-ray presentation, and, for the most part, the audio track remains fairly similar to its DTS-HD counterpart; with much of the action occupying the surrounds with outstanding directionality and placement where effects flawlessly pan between the sides and rears.
Phew! OK, so, as for the movie itself, well, Brian De Palma's 'Scarface', a remake of the 1932 gangster classic by Howard Hawks, changes locations to Miami where Tony Montana (Al Pacino) arrives without much going for him.
Soon, under circumstances at his disposal, gets to the reign of the gangster's world of '80s cocaine, soon having a sort of empire around him that soon becomes too much to control under the influence of snow.
The elements that kept me interested the most while watching this film were Brian De Palma's direction and certain aspects of Oliver Stone's adaptation on Ben Hecht's material.
The direction by De Palma (which owes a little credit to the cinematography by John A. Alonzo and the splendorous production design by Ferdinando Scarfiotti) is always at an edge and style to kept the audience hooked into where the story is going even if it seems inevitable in the sort of rise, seize, and fall saga of the money dream.
Even though De Palma's presenting us with a more-often-than-not despicable character in Tony Montana, the techniques aren't tiresome or boring in the near 3-hour length of the film.
It was by De Palma - and Stone's script, which delivers some good, tongue-in-cheek dialog, and tries to understand the scope of the characters in this world - that I stayed through till the end of this film. There were also a couple of surprises amid the conventions (i.e. the infamous "Chainsaw" scene).
And yet, I was not one of those who thought that Pacino's performance was something incredible. I'm sure it's been influential in the twenty years since the film's been out there (the DVD did a whole tribute special by various rappers and real-life hoodlums), but from my perspective it served as something of a big liability.
The supporting roles are alright, but his bravado, heavily-dramatic style seems like it COULD fit this revised version of Paul Muni's performance. BUT the accent and accentuations he uses from start to finish become distracting, and overtly comical, very quickly.
And his booming persona is misused here, I can think of at least a dozen other performances where Pacino's been able to utilize his presence and style magnificently for the sake of a picture (The Godfather movies and his movies with Sidney Lumet are great examples, but so are some of his recent films like 'Insomnia' or even the 'Devil's Advocate').
This isn't one of them- here he confuses theatrical, operatic acting with ridiculous showmanship. What's even more interesting to me is that Pacino and De Palma's second collaboration - 'Carlito's Way' - was a bit more mature in dealing with the conventions within the crime genre, and found that balance of forceful directing and acting.
I do recommend 'Scarface' and yet I don't recommend it as well. There were elements about the film that kept sturdy, even gripping (the last fifteen minutes or so is rather bloody though brilliantly filmed).
However the film does have a number of flaws, and not just in Pacino's work (some scenes are a little too much for me, and I get a kick out of most crime films).
Either way, it is entertaining, and people should see it to see the memorable violent scenes and quotes, "Say hello to my little friend"!
Anyway, that's that, for the most part, so now let's concentrate on the 4K Ultra HD's "Gold Edition" special features. Although none of them are truly that exciting (especially given that this is a "Gold" edition, the first one I took a peak at was Scarface: 35th Anniversary Reunion. Featuring a coming together of stars such as Al Pacino, Steven Bauer, Robert Loggia, F. Murray Abraham and producer Martin Bregman, it only runs a few minutes, but shows the love between them all, as friends and actors, is still as rich as ever.
Featurettes such as The World of Tony Montana, The Rebirth, The Acting and The Creating are quick nosedives into all aspects of Tony, and primarily for those uninitiated, of course.
The last one I'll delve into here for you is Scarface: The TV Version, which features a lot of (and I mean a LOT of) stupid words being spliced into the film where once very rude words used to exist! Renowned within the Scarface community as just downright hilarious, if you are bored on a wet/snowy Sunday afternoon and want to have a gentle giggle at all the ways they tried to sue stupid words for "f-bombs" and such, then this is the TV movie for you, my friends.
'Scarface - Gold Edition' will be available on 4K Ultra HD in a combo pack which includes 4K Ultra HD Blu-rayTM, Blu-rayTM and Digital. The 4K Ultra HD disc will include the same bonus features as the Blu-rayTM version, all in stunning 4K resolution.
This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.35:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs via 1080p and comes with the aforementioned Special Features of:
Includes 4K UHD, Blu-ray and a digital copy of Scarface (1983)
Features High Dynamic Range (HDR10) for Brighter, Deeper, More Lifelike Color
Scarface: 35th Anniversary Reunion
The Scarface Phenomenon
The World of Tony Montana
Scarface: The TV Version
The Making of Scarface: The Video Game
Official HD Trailer
Amazon Purchase Link