PictureHaving viewed several discs by CJ Entertainment I must commend them on the quality of their work. This disc is yet another that produces wonderful levels of clarity and sharpness. Colour fidelity is close to perfect, and primary colours are particularly vivid when they appear. I say when they appear because almost all of the film is based at the time of military rule, and as a result all the children wore uniforms of black and white. The detail remains high throughout despite requiring such a high contrast range. Digital artefacts are limited to some edge enhancement. This is noticeable to the right side of dark objects against white backdrops, such as the school uniforms against the light sky. Otherwise a crisp, clear and very pleasing print.
SoundThe soundtrack boasts both a Dolby Digital at 448kbps, and a DTS at 768kbps. Both tracks are in Korean, and this dialogue heavy drama really does not require the heavy hitting of a DTS track, even at half bitrate, as the centre channel is really the only one to see any action. A few scenes allow the spaciousness that DTS is capable of to show through, such as Hyun-soo's trip with Eun-ju to the countryside, when tinkling streams and twittering birds flow around your viewing room, but these moments are all to brief. Still both tracks are perfectly capable, if uninspired.
ExtrasThis is a tricky one. The extras seem exhaustive and a second disc is provided) in order to fit them all on. The problem, as so often is the case with R3 discs for review, is that the subtitling does not extend to the extras and so if you can't speak Korean, they are frankly useless. I tried to make sense of what was going on but rapidly became frustrated, and then bored. I suspect most of you will too.
VerdictThis is a worthy and wordy drama that can stir up painful memories for anyone who has endured senior school. It provides a fascinating insight into 1970's Korea, but the sloppy pacing and uninspired script makes it hard to recommend. Combined with a wealth of Korean only extras makes this one for a Korean audience only.
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