PictureThe disappointing thing about this 2.35:1 anamorphic transfer is that it is no improvement on the UK edition. The detail seen in the R1 editions has all but gone here and the print has a softness which makes any close up features appear smudged or blurred. Colours are natural enough with good saturation and blacks are solid. The print also has quite a bit of damage present ranging from dirt to white speckles which is seen almost throughout the length of the movie. With the recent UK re-release and now this advanced edition from Japan it appears there has been no work done on the European print master, unlike the Columbia print used for the American versions, disappointing.
SoundBoth the DTS (768kbps) and Dolby Digital (448kbps) soundtracks are rich and full of aggressive details. Surrounds are used throughout with split effects and ambiance, and the front sound stage is wide and involving. Dynamic range is superb with dialogue sounding natural and intelligible. Comparing the two flavours my opinion was that the DTS track just piped the Dolby version for overall dynamics and wideness of the soundstage, effects were better placed and the LFE channel was that little bit tighter. Comparing this disc with the UK edition shows no difference.
ExtrasOnce you manage to navigate the Japanese menus you will find 4 trailers, 3 behind the scenes shorts, cast and crew bios and design photograph galleries. The trailers and shorts have Japanese subtitles which cannot be removed by the remote, and the text features like the cast and crew feature are in Japanese text.
VerdictFifth Element just grows on you each time you watch and is great fun. This DVD edition is let down by a poor transfer like the UK disc, but the other features are well presented.
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