‘Giorgio Moroder Presents Metropolis’ Blu-ray Review
The Movie itself:
With all the praise Metropolis gets now it’s hard to believe that Fritz Lang’s most famous work was initially met with mixed emotions back in 1927. The fault lies heavily on the studio who forced Lang to cut down his science fiction masterpiece with the misconception that it would have been too long and drawn out. This action caused the movie to run a bit disjointed and left audiences unfulfilled. Due to all of this, restoration was repetitive and extensive throughout the 80’s and 90’s for this film until we finally received the definitive edition, The Complete Metropolis. However, no version of Metropolis was as unique as one 80’s restore, Giorgio Moroder Presents Metropolis. This release of Metropolis took Lang’s original masterpiece and splashed shades of color over certain scenes and added an 80’s pop soundtrack to somewhat revolutionize the experience. Needless to say, it made for some interesting cinema.
The movie takes place in a dystopian society in 2046 where Freder and Maria attempt to overthrow the powers that have come to establish such an unbalanced society where the poor work underground to fuel the great city of Metropolis and the few “chosen” to live above ground act like ancient olympians in the city’s beautiful center. The movie is an artistic look at something people feel has become more and more real in that there’s a divide where the rich feed off the poor leaving the misfortunate no hope. Metropolis takes it even further by literally placing the working class beneath the feet of the wealthy in the above ground/underground division.
Either way you view it (literally) – the originally released theatrical cut, the many restored editions throughout the 80’s and 90’s, the definitive The Complete Metropolis, or even this unique Giorgio Moroder Presents Metropolis version – you are viewing cutting edge cinema that has been an inspiration for some of the greatest science-fiction works throughout the years including Logan’s Run, Blade Runner, Gattaca, Brazil, and even The Matrix. While most science-fiction movies of the silent era were much less original and focused on robots and aliens, Metropolis broke the boundaries by fictionalizing a society that would take place some one hundred and twenty years later and using a post-apocalyptic formula that has become the norm for science-fiction today.
Lang himself didn’t just do the inspiring as his story is loosely based off of many works of literary fiction he had enjoyed over the years. He also drew from real life cities for his powerful City of Metropolis which was inspired by the likes of New York City and other, biblical metropolises like Babylon and even the vast Roman Empire.
The inspiration from the many 80’s artists on board Giorgio Moroder’s new soundtrack for the film changed everything in 1984. The goal was to make Metropolis a sensation beyond the science-fiction nerds and film restoration geeks and to essentially bring the silent science-fiction masterpiece to the MTV generation. Moroder’s plan worked, to a degree. All Moroder did was take the movie and overlay the musical work of others in place of the score. On top of that, he simply added color (monotone) in certain scenes to help better set the tone of the scene. The movie did earn plenty of attention and musical artists were ecstatic to have their work on a piece of cinematic history.
Looking at the completed product it’s safe to say that Giorgio Moroder Presents Metropolis changed the movie considerably without changing it at all. The end result is still exactly the same, a society repaired by the hard work and determination of a certain few. A dramatic, dark dance throughout that seems to be ahead of its time. However damaging this move seemed to many fans ofMetropolis it did help push the movie back into the spotlight, and with perfect timing toonas Hollywood was at the height of a science-fiction era that nobody will soon forget.
Metropolis is a fantastic film and Giorgio Moroder Presents Metropolis is simply just another way to enjoy it. The movie is still the same in the end, but the music and color have changed enough to make me consider this a separate film altogether. Those who can see it as just another sample of Fritz Lang’s masterpiece without thinking it destroys the original film will find some joy in Giorgio Moroder Presents Metropolis.
Kino had released The Complete Metropolis nearly a year prior to this film, unfortunately for me I hadn’t visited either one of them until recently. The Complete Metropolis is a sensational looking Blu-ray as there has been plenty of work put into restoring that version of the film. And althoughGiorgio Moroder Presents Metropolis doesn’t look bad by any means, it’s very evident it didn’t get the same treatment. The Mpeg-4 encode for Metropolis is solid and has a nice three-dimensional image to it. The problems are how dark this presentation is. Scenes are much darker than expected and this flushes out much of what is going on in the background. The print is also very dirty, with plenty of scratches, dirt and distracting noise. Overall, the video presentation for Giorgio Moroder Presents Metropolis has been cleaned up, but I do have to admit I was expecting a bit more from this release.
Giorgio Moroder Presents Metropolis has a sensational English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track. The music carries the entire workload just like one expects in a truly silent film. The variety of 80’s pop does sound good across all five speakers with bass trembling nicely and the digital sound of the era broadcasting wonderfully throughout the room. There is never a time when a speaker doesn’t do its job even when the movie is depending on silence to tell its story. A fantastic job all the way around.
Giorgio Moroder Presents Metropolis hits Blu-ray with only three extra features. As minimal as the extras on The Complete Metropolis seemed, this will make you realize how awesome that release’s features are.
- The Fading Image (HD): A behind the scenes look at Moroder’s work on scoring Lang’s Metropolis.
- Trailers (HD): Trailers for both The Complete Metropolis and Giorgio Moroder Presents Metropolis.
- Gallery (HD): A very short art gallery.
Giorgio Moroder Presents Metropolis is a unique look at a classic movie. The addition of 80’s music replacing the original score, along with adding some colorful shading doesn’t change the overall tone of the movie but it does change the experience. The hardest part of watching this is revisiting it after seeing The Complete Metropolis with the new found footage. Other than that, this Blu-ray boasts strong video and some quality audio. Metropolis fans have to experience Giorgio Moroder’s take at least once.
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