PictureThe print here is identical to the UK R2 edition and the R1 Five Star Edition. The 2.35:1 anamorphic image has been well transferred with everything looking clean and clear. There are a few instances where some dirt and scratches are seen, but these are few and far between. Sharpness is good with plenty of fine detail on show and colours look well saturated with no problems present. Edge enhancement is visible in most light scenes around people's heads and straight objects, but this is not overly intrusive and overall the print looks good for its age. There are no obvious differences between the three editions of the movie I now own, the choice is yours.
SoundEveryone and their dog will be wondering how this R2 Japanese release compares with the recent R2 DTS edition, so what is it like? Well I will get this out of the way now; there is not a great deal of difference between the Dolby track (448kbps) and the DTS (768kbps) edition. To be honest I was hard pressed listening to a number of set pieces and quiet moments on A-B loop and flicking between the two on the fly, to hear any major differences at all. I would go as far to say if you own the already excellent R1 Five star or R2 Two disc, then keep a hold of them as they are just as good. Many of the DTS fans will be shaking their heads saying my tests are not scientific and just my opinion and they would be right, but listening at reference levels and using the best equipment I can afford which is far from budget territory I simply can't tell the two apart, sorry. If you don't own ID4 then get the UK R2 disc which has all the extras in English and the DTS track. If you want a cheap version which includes the Theatrical cut and a good Dolby Digital track (378kbps) then get the Five Star edition for the US. If you must be different and want the nice packaging it will be the Japanese R2 disc for you then.
ExtrasThe extras are identical to the R2 UK release with the text extras in Japanese. You have the original theatrical ending, Trailer and TV spots, three making of documentaries and a director's commentary. A nice two disc set, but nothing that hasn't already been released. Also included is a sneek peek at “The Day After Tomorrow” which is subtitles in Japanese.
VerdictThis R2 Japanese disc is good, it has great packaging and excellent AV presentation. It is however no different to the already available R2 UK disc which also has a DTS soundtrack. I would have to say that unless you need the collectable packaging, get the R2 UK disc.
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