PictureThis disc bears the DIVIMAX moniker. DiviMax is a high definition film transfer process to provide state of the art picture quality. Well I don't know about state of the art but the 1.85:1 anamorphically framed print is excellent, and considering the vintage of the original master it is quite remarkable. Colour are bold and bright with clean sharp edges, which unfortunately do have enhancement almost throughout. It is not distracting but when you look for it, it is invariably there. This was undoubtedly done to try to bring out detail from an ageing print, and to be fair it has done this. I have had the opportunity to review many discs from this era recently and have never seen one as good as this. Free from the effects of ageing and better than 80% of modern releases.
SoundAssuming you ignore the paragraph in this review where I say I don't like this movie believing me to be a moron, the second reason you may consider purchasing this disc is the fact it boasts a DTS soundtrack in 5.1 at 768kbps. Well I am sorry to burst your bubble twice in one review but the DTS track is comfortably the WORST I have ever heard, flicking over to the Dolby Digital 5.1 track at 448kbps provided no relief so I tried the Dolby Digital 2.0 and the original mono track both at 196kbps, and thankfully these were marginally better. Both DTS and DD tracks sound horribly compressed and tinny. Loud hissing of the kind heard on VCR tapes or cassettes before Ray Dolby invented his noise reduction circuitry is abundant. Loud gunshots echo around the room in a frankly painful manner. If anything exists on these tracks below 200Hz I will eat an edible hat. Switching to the stereo or mono tracks loses some of the painful sibilance on the surround tracks, but it still doesn't tempt any more bass out of the system. A truly dreadful listening experience. If DTS has any kind of quality control they would never have attached their badge to this.
ExtrasOnce you have flicked through the trailer, and original poster campaign shots, and the brief Romero biography you will sit down for a listen to the directors feature commentary. The commentary is excellent. It is presented in the form of a chat show with the DVD's producer, Perry Martin, questioning George and his partner Chris Romero and make-up artist Tom Savini. They generally talk over the movie with little attempt made to keep the discussion pertinent to the on screen action. I have found in the past that this works very well and as is the case here, usually produces an interesting and rounded discussion, which is often more revealing than a director or actor sat by himself or herself revealing only those things that they wish you to know. A superb chat track.
VerdictListen, this movie is a vintage movie, so let's face it you have probably already seen the film and decided that you do or don't like it, so my views on the flick are pointless, right. So if your going to buy Dawn of the Dead, would I recommend you buy this version. Well in the plus column is a beautiful DiviMax encoded print, which is probably better than the theatrical release, and an excellent feature commentary. In the minus column is a distinct lack of any other quality extras, and a soundtrack, be it DTS or DD that appears to have been recorded with tin cans and string.. Oh another thing this is the theatrical release, and I am told the directors cut adds over 20 minutes of footage and is a much better viewing experience. You pays your money you takes your choice. My money is staying in my wallet.
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