A Star Is Born (Special Encore Edition) – Blu-ray Review

A Star Is Born is a 2018 American musical romantic drama film that was produced and directed by Bradley Cooper (in his directorial debut) and written by Eric Roth, Cooper and Will Fetters.  A remake of the 1937 film of the same name, it stars Cooper, Lady Gaga, Dave Chappelle, Andrew Dice Clay, and Sam Elliott, and follows a hard-drinking musical who discovers and falls in love with a young singer.  It marks the fourth remake of the original 1937 film, after the 1954 musical, the 1976 musical, and the 2013 Bollywood film, Aashiqui 2.

Talks of a remake of A Star Is Born began in 2011, with Clint Eastwood attached to direct and Beyonce set to star.  The film was in development hell for several years with various actors approached to co-star, including Christian bale, Lenoardo DiCaprio, Will Smith, and Tom Cruise.  In March 2016, Cooper signed on to star and to direct, and Lady Gaga joined the cast in August 2016.  Principal photography began at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in April 2017.

A Star Is Born premiered at the 75th Venice International Film Festival on August 31, 2018 and was theatrically released in the United States on October 5, 2018, by Warner Bros.  The film has grossed over $418 million worldwide and received critical acclaim, with praise for Cooper, Gaga, and Elliott’s performances and Cooper’s direction, as well as the screenplay, cinematography, and music.  It was chosen by both the National Board of Review and American Film Institute as one of the Top 10 Films of 2018.  The film has received numerous accolades, including five nominations at the 76th Golden Globe Awards, including Best Motion Picture — Drama, winning Best Original Song for Gaga’s “Shallow”.  The film also received eight nominations at the 91st Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Original Song.

The Film Itself (4.5/5):

Sitting down with A Star Is Born again, revisiting it with the longer musical performances in this particular release didn’t really change my previously published experience. The performances from both Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper were really well done, despite their predictable moments, giving viewers an extremely well grounded and generally pleasing experience. When my wife and I had previously watched this movie, the musical performances were some of our more favorite moments, and these extended moments that are available in this release allowed us to continue to appreciate those moments and enjoy the work the two had put into their work with the music.

Picture Quality (4.5/5):

The remake of A Star Is Born was brought to us from a completely digital shoot from Warner Bros. and the Encore Edition of the movie doesn’t really offer any kind of added visual benefit to the picture quality over the previously released Blu-ray version. The smaller amounts of noise are still present in some of the lower-lit sequences, but overall everything still looks really great and the shots that were used with the musical performances were still some of my personal favorites as they really did a great job at capturing the evolution of the relationship between Cooper and Gaga’s characters.

Audio Quality (5/5):

Packed with the same exact Dolby Atmos audio track that was provided in the original retail release, A Star Is Born continued to offer one of the better audible experiences that I’ve personally had the pleasure of having. With its immersion, particularly in those elements of the performances, really offer a soothing experience for viewers that have an Atmos setup at home. The transitions between the channels continued to be effortless, and the dialogue was still clean in this release and the characters were able to be heard and understood without any need to adjust the volume levels throughout.

The Packaging (2.5/5):

The Encore Edition of A Star Is Born comes packaged in the standard two-disc amaray case.  In that case, a Blu-ray disc featuring both copies of the movie, and a DVD disc featuring only the Theatrical Cut.  Each disc features the star icon associated with the movie, and the standard release text.  There is a digital copy that’s been included, as well as a slipcover that’s been made available in the original pressing of the release that features the same artwork as the case.

Special Features (1/5):

In lieu of really anything that’s worthwhile, the Encore Edition of A Star Is Born includes both versions of the film on the same Blu-ray disc.  The Blu-ray does include quick access to the various musical moments of the movie.  The DVD only comes packaged with the same musical moments, and the musical videos that were produced in conjunction with the film.

Technical Specs:

Video

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1

Original Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1

Audio

Encore Version & Theatrical Version

English: Dolby Atmos

English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1

English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1

English: Dolby Digital 5.1

Theatrical Version Only

English: Dolby Digital 5.1

French: Dolby Digital 5.1

Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1

Subtitles

English SDH, French, Spanish

Runtime

Encore Version: 147 Minutes

Theatrical Version: 136 Minutes

Final Thoughts:

A Star Is Born is a movie that I honestly didn’t think that I would enjoy before sitting down with the original retail release. But, Warner Bros. definitely proved me wrong with that release. This upcoming copy of the movie that’s coming out offers an additional 11 minutes of extra footage that wasn’t originally included. The audio and video presentation of this release was right on par with the earlier one, and offered no difference in presentation to the eyes or ears. If you’re on the fence about getting this release, I can definitely recommend picking it up. Especially if you have been waiting and haven’t already grabbed the earlier release as it does come packaged with both the theatrical release and this new encore release and you aren’t too into supplemental content. A Star Is Born: Encore Edition will be available on Blu-ray beginning on June 4.

Note: This Blu-ray was sent to us for review. This has not affected our judgement or editorial process in any way. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this process.

Doug

Movie lover, technophile, moderator of /r/dvdcollection and just your average, everyday movie viewer. Haven't heard of our subreddit? Check us out!

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