PictureWhen I came to roll this version, almost immediately after watching the UK region 2 version, the first things to hit me were the black level and a slight reddish tinge to the print. Compared with the PAL UK region 2 release this NTSC version appears at first to have a far better contrast level, (my review equipment was recalibrated to PAL for the UK version and back to NTSC for this one), but the longer I watched the more I tended to notice a very slight amount of crushing on shadows, as well as a slight loss of detail in certain scenes. The transfer to this NTSC disc appears to have used the same source as the UK disc, with the same film noise, dropouts and occasional scratch lines. As with the UK region 2 disc, these are not too distracting and are to be expected in a film of this age. Encoding on this disc seems to be at a higher bit rate with fewer instances of visible banding, (here the different IRE - black - level helps out the picture quality a little), and little evidence of macro blocking. The different running time also seems to be the result of NTSC conversion as I could see no obvious differences in the version on offer.
SoundThis set offers the choice of an English DD 5.1 mix, a Japanese DD 2.0 mix and, setting this release apart from the UK region 2 version, a DTS 5.1 mix. The DTS 5.1 mix appears to be the same as the UK DD5.1 version, although I thought I did detect a slightly higher audio level on the rear channels and a slight bias toward use of the LFE on this version, (certainly the 20th Century Fox intro delves down into your subs reserves on this release).The Japanese 2.0 mix shows that bad dubbing can run both ways, with the voice artist playing John Wayne certainly being a case in point. Finally the DTS 5.1 soundtrack will probably be the main reason to hunt down this release.
ExtrasAlmost identical in structure to the UK R2 version, the supplemental disc carries the same two interesting documentaries; “Hollywood Backstage Special - The Longest Day” & ”D-Day Revisited”. Both documentaries are identical to the UK release with the same, disappointing, lack of chapters on the “D-Day Revisited” documentary and both come complete with burned in Japanese subtitles. Interestingly, this seems to be one of the few cases where the UK edition has an extra feature not found on the Japanese edition. Navigating the menus, I noticed that one of the four trailers found on the UK R2 was missing here. The omitted trailer is that of “The Thin Red Line” with trailers for “The Longest Day”, “Tora! Tora! Tora!” and “Patton” still present. All menus on both discs are written in Japanese and, as with the UK release, are static.
VerdictIf you're trying to decide between the UK release and this version then you should really ask yourself how much you want the DTS soundtrack. Picture quality is comparable between the two versions. Packaging on this edition is very nicely done but, although a booklet about the film is included in the package, I can't tell you anything of the contents - with the exception of publicity stills and a map of the landing sites - since, like the disc menus, it is entirely in Japanese.
Our Review Ethos
To comment on what you've read here, click the Discussion tab and post a reply.