PictureBoasting a particularly nice print, this transfer is everything we should be expecting from a recently released movie, Well for the most part anyway. Image quality is sharp with no graininess present, it occasionally suffers from halos, although not to that large an extent. Colours are rich and vibrant, especially some gorgeous shots of the island that you'll wish you were there. From Don Cheadle's Peach Orange clothing, through the amazing greens of plant life and blues of the sky and ocean (which are stunning), colour rendering is spot on. Blacks are deep and solid, while the details are crisp and clear. Flesh tones, and there are a lot of them (particularly of Ms. Hayek), are absolutely spot on, considering the variety of skin tones on display. The only problem is that during one or two scenes, the compression begins to show and things get a little fuzzy (during the street carnival in particular). This is a particular shame, as without it, this would be an absolutely marvellous transfer, but as it stands, it's a very impressive one with very minor flaws. Still, with this minor grips, it's shouldn't detract from viewing.
SoundWhen I first started the disk, I was impressed with the soundstage immediately, with a nice bass guitar coming from the centre speaker. It then quickly encompassed me with a rather good soundtrack, containing clean, crisp vocals, both from the actors and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. This was maintained all the way throughout the movie, with nice surround usage, both musically and effects wise, with some nice panning and good depth to the soundstage. The soundtracks has some good bass present, especially for some of the music, the LFE doesn't get too much of a workout, but when it does, it's very noticeable. The only criticism I would have is during the underwater scene, it's not as convincing as Saving Private Ryan or Castaway. Still, that's a pretty tough benchmark to live up to, but otherwise it's a really nice soundtrack, especially towards the end.
ExtrasNo extras were present on the review check disc, I have been advised by EIV that the print and sound are the finished article for the retail discs, but extras sadly were not finished in time for this review copy. For a list of what to expect see the information at the top of the review.
VerdictBrett Ratner almost has a similar reputation as Paul W.S. Anderson does amongst film fans, as both generally get a hard time. However, whereas the first movie Anderson made (Event Horrizon) is arguably his best to day, Ratner seems to actually be improving. Sure the story is simple, but the characters are charming enough and it is light hearted all the way through, so much so that even the villain suggests his chauffer burn a copy of a Mama & The Papas CD for Max. It's totally a bubblegum movie, but sometimes bubblegum movies aren't so bad, especially with Salma Hayek showing as much here as she did as Santanico Pandemonium, but for most of the movie's running time, you should consider this a guilty pleasure.
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