The Fifth Element on Blu-ray Remastered

July 21, 2007

Fifth ElementOver the weekend we had some time to check out the recently remastered ‘The Fifth Element’ on Blu-ray, better late than never would certainly apply here. Yes the original release on Blu-ray drew criticism from many reviewers, Peter Bracke of Hi-Def Digest had this to say about the original release: ‘The Fifth Element’ is just not the best HD I’ve seen, either compared to HD DVD or even-over-the air HD broadcasts.

In all honesty I thought even less of the original release than Peter did, I found in some ways the standard definition Superbit release to be superior, color saturation and consistency to be specific. Yes the original Blu-ray version of ‘The Fifth Element’ did benefit a bit from the increased resolution but that was hardly worth the trade-off in my book. Luckily all that has been rendered moot, Tuesday’s release (earlier in many cases) of the remastered science-fiction classic finally gave fans of the film a version that was superior (in every way that matters) to all previous releases.

Is it perfect? Of course not but it does deliver where it matters most, i.e. overall image and sound quality. There’s a bit of edge enchantment apparent (intentional or not) and to no fault of SPHE the new transfer does contain a few scenes that reveal soft focus issues but overall this release is far superior than any previous home video release. While the image is much improved over the previous version the sound wasn’t overlooked either, we noticed better sound across the board including deeper; more pronounced low frequencies. Be sure and check out Peter Bracke’s review of the remastered Fifth Element for a more detailed analysis.

I’ll go ahead and answer the inevitable “how can you tell the difference between the old and new packaging?” It’s a good question because outside of a few minor visual clues there’s nothing obvious that really separates the discs from one another, at least not until you know what to look for. First off the new disc has a TrueHD logo on the back, the original obviously didn’t. The security tape across the top of the disc case reads “FIFTH ELEMENT, THE RMSTD BD” on the new version, the catalog number on the spine of the re-master is 21520, the originals catalog number was 15018 and lastly the bottom border (front cover) area that contains the “Experience High Definition” slogan is set against a silver/foil background on the re-master versus a flat gray border on the original.

Posted by Bryan Greenway | | Filed Under Blu-ray, HDTV Programming