PictureEmpire of the Sun was remastered back in 2001 with a 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. On the whole the image is a joy to behold with great attention to detail and wonderful cinematography by Alan Daviau. Although pretty sharp and detailed, the image can be a little soft a times with some grain visible in some scenes. Blacks are generally strong and natural skin tones all the way. No evidence of print damage and little or no edge enhancement.
SoundAs well as the new transfer, the audio too has had an overhaul, presented in both English 5.1 and 2.0. John Williams stunning score fills the room with a rich sound that is never overbearing and indeed raises the emotions in some of the more poignant scenes. The surrounds are not given loads to do but certainly deliver when required, especially during battle and crowd scenes. Dialogue as well comes across cleanly and concisely never having to fight with the soundtrack. French and Italian 2.0 tracks are also available in addition to English, Arabic, Dutch, French, Italian, Icelandic subtitles and English and Italian HoH subtitles.
ExtrasAll the extras are on Disc 2 and begins with the documentary “The China Odyssey” (49.09) narrated by Martin Sheen. It's presented in 1.33:1 full screen with an English 2.0 track and it provides an interesting historical insight into the events concerning Japans invasion of China and in particular Shanghai. It would have been nice to have a little more information regarding the production which looked pretty extensive but it is a perfect companion piece to a memorable film and a moment in history that seems to have been forgotten. The piece also has subtitles for 18 European and Middle Eastern languages.
The theatrical trailer is also available.
VerdictOverall, I would highly recommend Empire of the Sun for those who have not seen it, like myself until recently, or simply if you have not seen it for a while. A beautiful film with a great central performance and although there is only one main extra, it is well made and much more than a standard Hollywood making-of.
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