Monday, September 29, 2014

The Ultimate Buster Keaton Collection (1920)

The Ultimate Buster Keaton CollectionI just bought the ultimate Buster Keaton collection blu-ray box set and I'm pretty happy with it but it's not for everybody. First of all, I want to thank all the great people who take time to review in ellaborate detail these great movies. Because the price is pretty high, I needed some help to make up my mind about this box set. I must have taken 3 hours of reading all the great comments about each blu-ray edition of this package and I made my decision after that. Like I said before, I don't think this box set is for everybody because the improvement is not that great overall, it is very good but I could have been happy the rest of my life with my original box set The art of Buster Keaton on DVD. The thing is, I'm a little nutty about the clarity of the image so I'm a big fan of blu-ray because of it, I also have a good home theater and a lot of reviewer talked about the improvement and the multiple choices for the soundtracks of these movies, so having these classics in 5.1 DTS HD interested me quite a bit.

As for the 3 discs with the earliest shorts of Buster, some of them are improved, especially Cops, The high sign, The balloonatic and The Boat because they were enhanced so they are clearer, I don't know why they chose only 4 because a lot more of them could use restoration. That was my biggest disapointment of the box set, not much effort to restore these shorts, they look a little better and that's it.But I love the fact that they were in chronological order and the little commentaries on most of them, those 2 things were fun. As for the feature lenght movies, The Saphead is interesting because you have 2 different versions of the film, but the improvement picturewise was small. Our hospitaly for the feature films is my biggest disapointment, I compare with my DVD and there's not much improvement. A thing that bugged me also was they kept the old title cards, a little restoration could have been interesting for a clearer reading of the cards. Sherlock Jr. also not a great difference with the old DVD but there's 3 soundtracks to choose from so that's interesting. The 3 ages also not a great improvement picturewise. After that, it starts to get better, Seven chances is amazing the image is clear with a lot of detail, good improvement against the DVD. The Navigator, very good also much clearer image than the DVD on the old set. Go West and Battling Butler, the image was pretty good ans stable on DVD and now it's a little better, a little more detail and clarity. The General, amazing!! this is the masterpiece improvement and it's my favorite movie, so I was happy when I saw that.

College, the print was good and now it's better, this one is a very good improvement. Steamboat Bill Jr. the movie looked good on DVD and now it's more clear so another good improvement here. Overall, the picture quality on theses features movies and shorts is better than DVD at different degrees, I learned by comparing DVD movie by blu-ray movie that Kino is not Criterion, they don't spend a lot of money on improving the quality of there titles. I know they could but restoration is expensive and I accept the fact that they're doing what they could. There is an improvement but it could have been a little better. I'm still happy because these classics never looked better and some of them looked amazing, almost every film got a 5.1 DTS ausio track, the extras are great and they gave me a few audio commentaries on my favorites Buster features so I loved that. The packaging is wonderful too, the box contains 4 discs and everything is in there. So my final words are, if you're a fan of Buster and you don't have the other box-set it's a no-brainer that this is a must buy. But if you have the old DVD box-set, you need to be a big fan of picture quality like me or be a big a fan of sound quality because the improvement is there but the old DVD set can do the job too.

Kino has re-packaged their Buster Keaton Blu-ray releases into this space saving set by removing the original packaging. 3 to 4 discs are housed in 4 plastic cases and placed in a slip-case.

This price will save you about $100 as this Ultimate Collection contains the nine single discs and the 2-disc 'Lost' collection that retail for $35 each, And the 3-disc shorts collection that retails at $48. That makes this a $398 value!

The restorations vary from major upgrades to just sharper images over the past DVD releases.

See my reviews under the individual titles for more specific details:

Buster Keaton Short Films Collection: 1920-1923 (Three-Disc Ultimate Edition) [Blu-ray] (3-disc set)

Battling Butler / Go West (Ultimate 2-Disc Edition) [Blu-ray]

The General [Blu-ray]

The Navigator: Ultimate Edition [Blu-ray]

Our Hospitality: ULTIMATE EDITION [Blu-ray]

The Saphead: Ultimate Edition [Blu-ray]

Seven Chances (Ultimate Edition) [Blu-ray]

Sherlock Jr. / Three Ages [Blu-ray]

Steamboat Bill, Jr. [Blu-ray]

Lost Keaton: Sixteen Comedy Shorts 1934-1937 [Blu-ray] (2-disc set)

The set also includes COLLEGE which is new to Blu-ray and not yet available individually, but is promised for March 2013.

College: Ultimate Edition [Blu-ray]

If you have been waiting to upgrade your old set, then this cost-cutting, space saving box set is for you. The only downside I see is that there are some disadvantages to buying box sets:

1) This set does NOT include the "KEATON PLUS" DVD that is in the "Art Of Buster Keaton" DVD set. It substitutes that DVD with a different collection called "LOST KEATON" which is his Educational Comedy collection. You will want to keep your old "KEATON PLUS" DVD to keep your collection complete. That DVD contains the only complete version of "HARD LUCK" (which is incomplete on the Blu-ray shorts collection), surviving scenes from the never completed cinemascope film "TEN GIRLS AGO", excerpts from the TV series "LIFE WITH BUSTER KEATON", Buster's first dramatic role in "THE AWAKENING", Buster's appearance on TV's "THIS IS YOUR LIFE", as well as a collection of Buster Keaton's TV commercials.

2) There is always a chance that one of the titles in this set may get upgraded in the future if any new 35mm master materials are found, you could buy that re-master but you have to keep the old version in this set.

BUT you do save $100 by buying this set, so these disadvantages are minor compared to the savings.

Buy The Ultimate Buster Keaton Collection (1920) Now

I agree that casual fans should be fine with the old Kino sets, but to a real fan like myself, this is kind of like Coin Collecting when you have the opportunity for a better specimen in the context of your specialty, you grab it. To my mind, if there is a better copy of the Keaton silents out there, it would simply eat at me, and I won't stop until I can play them, perfectly restored, on demand, in a classic theater with live music at my beck and call. Until that point, I go with the best available, and yes, I know that this makes me Kino's idea of a really soft target. It is what it is.

Read Best Reviews of The Ultimate Buster Keaton Collection (1920) Here

No comments:

Post a Comment