PictureRe-Cycle is correctly framed at 2.35:1, 1080p using the MPEG-4/AVC codec and this is a good enough transfer but not one which is going to knock your socks off. A good ghost story relies on the use of shadows and whilst this feature has them scattered throughout there is some details to be found there but it is not the best that I have seen, there tends to be grey patches as opposed to deep silky blacks and some of the detail is a little washed out. Enough remains though to make out some interesting figures.
The image is rather artistic, the alternate dimension absolutely bleached of colour apart from a few important scenes. This lack of colour suits the nature of the land Ting-yin inhabits but it does make for a rather bleak looking affair. These desaturated colours though are held in check in their borders and on the whole I couldn't really see any enhancement to speak of around them.
Even though there are some crushed blacks and the pallet is limited this still has incredible depth to it, the steps Tsui navigates on her entrance to the alternate dimension, the fleeing hordes of zombies, the floating rocks in mid air all have a quality about them which allows you to almost reach behind. Encoding wise there's some slight noise in a couple of the stylised sky scenes but no blocking and the image, whilst being sharp enough, is somewhat soft at times. Much like the main feature this video has it's good and bad points, and is nothing to write home about.
SoundThe full on DTS-HD track is the one you definitely want to listen to in this instance; it has much more depth and clarity over its standard Dolby Digital 5.1 younger sibling. There's excellent clarity to the backing score and still the vocals come through sharp and distinct, even some which emanate from your surrounds, the whole frontal stage though is rich, wide and deep.
Like the shadows, any good ghost story relies on excellent use of audio and steerage to create a chilling ambiance and this film has it in spades. Footsteps in Ting-yin's apartment will wander from one left surround to your right, travelling over your head as Ting-yin examines her apartment for an apparent intruder, it's rather nicely chilling. There are similar scenes in abundance in the alternate reality with bodies hitting the ground all around you and with a welcoming but heart felt thwack as they hit the deck, moans from the dearly departed, the stampede of an encroaching army of zombies, placement and steerage is certainly handled well.
There is some sporadic use of LFE but it's not the deepest it could have been, but it does kick in well enough from time to time, just as you need that shock to get your heart thumping again. English subs are the order of the day though as there is no English track to choose from, and that in itself is no bad thing for me but might limit the appeal to some potential viewers. Really though you should give this one a listen as it does show how good sound design and mixing can enhance a films viewing experience.
- Making of Re-Cycle. - 0:15:41 - 480i/MPEG-2
This covers the extensive use of CGI which enabled this feature to be brought the big screen, the themes the Pang Brothers tried to convey, the locations they brought back to life, the people who might have been 'discarded' at some point. It's not a full on 'making of' as such and rather limited in releasing knowledge. Presented in Chinese with English subs.
- Deleted Scenes. - 0:08:42 - 480i/MPEG-2
A short selection of deleted and extended scenes. There's nothing new to be added here, the shots are rather soft and grainy with little to no post production. There is nothing in here worthy of any attention really.
- CG Renderings : Before and After. - 0:01:34 - 480i/MPEG2
This is where the majority of the extras should have been focused, but at just under two minutes there is no way that any justice can be done to some of the sterling shots found in this film
- Cast & Crew Q&A Session. - 0:08:25 - 480i/MPEG-2
A short question and answer session after a screening in Hong Kong, with the Pang Brothers, and Lee Sinje fending questions from the audience who have just seen the film. There's a lot of repetition from the themes mentioned in the making of short and how they tried to get these ideas on screen using visuals, colour and lost cities. Again in Chinese with English subs.
- Gala Premier, Interviews and Celebration Party.- 0:16:12 - 480i/MPEG-2
An enthusiastic presenter introducing an assembled audience to the players and directors of this feature. They are very proud that this film, the amount of oney it has made and the fact it has put Hong Kong cinema firmly on the map. There's short interviews with the directors and again much the same is said as we have heard before in this extra set. In Chinese with English subs.
- Theatrical Trailer. - 0:01:30 - 1080i/MPEG-2
As the name suggests.
VerdictRe-Cycle is a mixed bag in some respects, it certainly starts out as an interesting and chilling ghost story but then deviates from this path becoming more of a fantasy journey involving lost souls. If it had continued as it started then I would say well done, it just seemed to lose its way somewhat.
Acting is acceptable enough from the main players, the cinematography and extensive use of CGI is done well and allows a seamless world to be created which is quite believable. The disc quality is a little of a let down though, with only more than adequate video but much better audio which pulls you right into the frame. The set as a whole though is let down by the extras which really don't contribute anything of any interest.
Overall I would have to say that there are far better East-Asian horrors out there for your hard earned cash, it's worth a watch but I don't feel it has that many viewings in it to justify a place on those shelves of yours. Worth a look, but probably at the rental level.
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- Making of Re-Cycle. - 0:15:41 - 480i/MPEG-2