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Sid & Nancy
SPECIFICATIONS
  • 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • English DTS-HD 5.1 Surround
  • English subtitles
  • 1 Disc
FEATURES
  • For The Love Of Punk
  • Junk Love
  • Theatrical Trailer

Sid & Nancy

Blu-ray
Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By: Alex Cox
Starring: Gary Oldman, Chloe Webb, Courtney Love
1986 | 113 Minutes

Release Information
Blu-ray | MSRP: $24.99 | Series: MGM
Fox Home Entertainment

Release Date: December 27, 2011
Review Date: January 8, 2012

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SYNOPSIS

Gary Oldman (Batman Begins) and Chloe Webb (The Newton Boys) execute performances that are "nothing short of phenomenal" (Los Angeles Times) as Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious and his unforgettable junkie girlfriend - two social misfits who literally love each other to death. In this "riveting biography of burnt-out-icons" (The Washington Post), award-winning writer/director Alex Cox (Repo Man) creates "a great film" (Siskel & Ebert) about the destructive lives of two 1970s punk legends.

Their love affair is one of pure devotion. Sid falls hard for groupie Nancy Spungen, who seduces him with her affection - and addiction to heroin. Their inseparable bond - to each other and their drugs - eventually corrodes the band, sending Sid & Nancy down a dark road of despair. Out of money, hope and options, the despondent two hit rock bottom while living in squalor at New York's infamous Hotel Chelsea. But their journey takes yet another tragic turn as they face their final curtain - and attempt to fulfill their destiny of going out in a blaze of glory!


PICTURE

Fox Home Entertainment and MGM present Alex Coxís Sid & Nancy on Blu-ray in the aspect ratio of about 1.85:1 on a dual-layer disc in a 1080p/24hz high-definition transfer.

It doesnít look spectacular but the transfer we get from Fox and MGM is an improvement over previous DVD editions, if only mildly in some cases. In comparison to the Criterion DVD released in 1998 the improvements are vast, but next to the collectorís edition released by MGM a few years ago the improvements are not as substantial. In how it presents the film, as in the intended look, it doesnít appear too different from the previous releases. Colours are still somewhat muted and dank, with the occasional pop of reds or blues. Blacks are a bit crushed with details getting lost. Like the previous MGM DVD the print used here is in better condition in comparison to the Criterion transfer that still had its fair share of marks and debris.

Detail isnít as sharp as I would have thought, though. The Criterion DVD still looks good for a non-anamorphic transfer when played on a standard 4:3 television but of course looks bad when blown up to fill a high-def television where compression artifacts are far more noticeable. This Blu-ray improves upon that edition, presenting a significantly cleaner image, but the improvements over the previous MGM DVD are negligible and I wouldnít be surprised if they were both sourced from the same master. Compression isnít as heavy as the DVD but thatís about the only significant upgrade I could see. Detail is fine but still a bit murky, close-ups look a bit soft, and lines arenít as clearly defined as one might expect for the format. On the other hand I didnít detect any significant artifacts, film grain is still noticeable, and overall it does look a bit more filmic thanks to the cleaner, less noisy presentation.

It definitely improves upon the Criterion DVD so for those who still only own that edition they may find it worthwhile to upgrade to this Blu-ray (but as Iíll go over in the supplements you may still want to hold on to that edition.) But for those that have the MGM DVD it will end up coming down to personal preference.

7/10

All Blu-ray screen captures come from the source disc and have been shrunk from 1920x1080 to 900x506 and slightly compressed to conserve space. While they are not exact representations they should offer a general idea of overall video quality.

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AUDIO

The DTS-HD MA 5.1 sounds to be basically the same as the MGM DVDís Dolby Digital 5.1 track, which is mixed similarly to Criterionís 2.0 track: itís 5.1 in name only and still sounds like a Dolby Surround track. It remains front heavy with most of the dialogue and sound focused to the center channel, with movement noticeable here-and-there going to the left and right speakers. Surrounds really only kick in during moments in clubs or where music is played. This is also the only area where I felt the track improved upon the Criterion: Music is far cleaner and louder, and actually sounds better than the rest of the track, which unfortunately sounds flat, lacking fidelity. Dialogue can be hard to hear (not helped by some of the mumbling that occurs) and sound effects have a certain artificiality to them. It could simply be just how the film was originally mixed but the music scenes sound so much better that it makes it seem a little odd and makes it easier to notice just how flat the track really is. Thankfully the disc has English subtitles for the hard of hearing, something the Criterion DVD lacked, though itís disheartening that I even had to consider turning them on, and eventually did.

6/10

SUPPLEMENTS

The Blu-ray simply ports over the supplements from the previous MGM DVD edition released in 2007, which are slight. First is a 16-minute featurette called For the Love of Punk, which features various critics, historians, experts, and people from the punk scene talking about the film in a quickly edited piece that doesnít offer much depth. Thereís a little discussion about Alex Cox, actors Gary Oldman and Chloe Webb, and how the film itself fits into Punk culture, as well as a little about the scene iteself. A little better (but not by much) is Junk Love, a 15-minute piece about the real relationship between Sid and Nancy, made up entirely of interviews with those that knew the two or are well versed on their history. This is fine enough but it was a little odd that pictures from the film are used instead of actual photos of the two (until the final few seconds of the piece at least.)

A theatrical trailer then closes the disc.

Sadly the supplements are a huge miss, and itís even more frustrating when one remembers Criterionís (still) rather impressive special edition, which featured a great group audio commentary that included Webb and Oldman, the infamous interview between Bill Grundy and the Sex Pistols, interviews with Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen, and a better making-of doc. The supplements on here feel rushed and almost like an afterthought.

3/10

CLOSING

The Blu-ray certainly beats the Criterion edition in the video and audio departments, though both areas are probably open to improvement since they donít offer a significant advancement over MGMís Colletorís Edition DVD. The supplements, on the other hand, are a major disappointment and feel like a rush job, and for that alone Iíll still hang on to my Criterion DVD, which had far more thought and care put into its features.




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