Ring , The: Collector's Edition DVD Review
PictureThe Ring is presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio anamorphically enhanced widescreen transfer. Almost identical to the original release, it is a solid visual representation, with keen attention to detail and decent coverage of the digital wizardry on offer. Given the many tones that the picture is subjected to - mainly offered in a green-heavy clinical yet eerie way - it is a wonder that the transfer comes across this well. Sometimes softness is intentional, but it never detracts from your enjoyment of the picture, and the only quibble would be a negligible amount of grain that runs throughout the feature - which doesn't interfere with your viewing pleasure either. The aforementioned colours are well presented, and part of an unusual if not broad palette that includes some solid, deep blacks. Overall it is a largely good transfer.
SoundJust like the transfer, the audio mix has not been refined, but - as with the transfer - that is largely because it was perfectly good in the first place. The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix here, whilst not quite as good as some of the best DTS tracks out there, is one of the better Dolby efforts I have come across. It is a solid affair that offers up some nice, throaty depth and LFE action when required. The dialogue is key, and is always well-represented and coherent, with good spatial use and directionality. There are also some nice sound effects used that are powerfully wielded to scare you efficiently. The aforementioned screechy scratchy noises that relate to 'The Ring' itself are also presented particularly well. It is a solid, almost exceptional audio track.
ExtrasThe biggest determining factor for a re-release would have been a commentary, and without that, some might wonder why bother? Well, let me tell you, if you are a fan of the first film and are looking forward to the next one, this particular DVD release is a must buy. And if you don't already have a copy of the Ring, there is even more reason to get it because it has all of the features included from the first release, as well as the new stuff. The original release had two main extra features - a deleted scenes montage entitled Don't Watch This which presents a collection of deleted and alternative scenes that are edited together with an eerie Ring backing track and some footage from the weird Ring video itself. None of it is amazing, but it is a very novel and refreshing way of presenting average deleted scenes, and it makes them much more watchable. In addition to that, the other extra that is carried over from the first release is the Ring video itself. Here it is available (like previously) as an Easter Egg whereby you press down on the main menu until none of the main options are selected, and then press enter. It plays the two-minute Ring video which cannot be stopped - short of switching off your DVD player - until it has finished.
New to this release there is an eight-minute Making Of Featurette that features interviews with the main cast, talking about the characters that they portray. Naomi Watts and Brian Cox are both there, along with all of the other supporting actors and the Director. It is a nice featurette that has a little fluff - in the way of footage from the final film itself - but always uses it appropriately to punctuate the soundbites.
There are also trailers for both Ring films (a teaser for the upcoming Ring 2) and the Ring Video from the sequel, which is considerably more strange - if that is possible.
Most importantly though, and the must-buy aspect of this release, is the short movie entitled Rings, which offers some semblance of a bridge between the two movies. Shot in the same style as the movies themselves (although with perhaps a little more handheld use) it traces the lives of a group of Ring cultists who dare one another about who can last the longest after having seen the mysterious video. It is a surprisingly effective and downright gripping endeavour, especially considering its brevity and no-name cast. Although it may not tie in directly with either movie, hopefully it will smoothly lead on to the sequel, and it certainly makes for necessary viewing if you like the main film in the first place. So for those disappointed with the lack of commentary, this little film more than makes up for it and is a strong contender for the single best extra I have ever come across on a DVD.
VerdictSure, remakes are not entirely necessary, but this is certainly one of the better efforts - recommended as a particularly effective Naomi Watts vehicle. It has heralded a whoel bunch of new horror remakes, almost all of which have worth - but not the originality of The Ring. This re-release has near-identical technical specifications but also has a wonderful surprise package of extras that immediately get my wholehearted recommendation. If you're into the whole Ring thing, you have to get this.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £17.99
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