Saw II DVD Review
PictureEntertainment in Video has provided a theatrically correct 1.85:1 aspect picture that has been anamorphically enhanced for widescreen TVs. This is a lovely picture with just one or two spots that prevent a top mark. Just like the original film Saw 2 makes liberal use if coloured filters, green, yellow and blue are all bold and striking; the green coming off particularly 'thick' as only a high average bitrate can. With contrast and brightness levels set to give rich full blacks that only take on the merest hint of the filters, the depth is far into the screen. For the most part detail is sharp holding a decent edge, but there are some areas where softness does creep in, though this may be a fault of the original lighting and development rather than any authoring. Digitally I spotted no compression problems or edge enhancement, but there were a few instances of print damage and most off putting film grain. The grain is particularly bad on the outside shots, even though there are only two or three, and it is noticeable, with a thin veneer, on occasion in the studio shots too. However, these are small nitpicks because the picture as a whole is very good and a vast improvement over the original film.
SoundOnly the one sound track to choose from, an English Dolby Digital 5.1, thankfully it's a good one. The folks at Twisted Video certainly know a thing or two about sound and really turn the screw when it comes to ambience; there is plenty of action for all the speakers. There is a nice range too, plenty of decent bass holding together a full experience. Plenty of separation, when the house starts to creak, you have to make sure it's not your own living room! Dialogue is clear and precise and never in any danger of being drowned out from the action, the score too is given good representation through the speakers. It is a fine sound track, just a shame there are no alternatives.
ExtrasFirst up is the director and actor commentary, specifically Darren Lynn Bousman, Donnie Wahlberg and Beverley Mitchell (a red shirt) respectively. This was an enthusiastic chat, not too technical but pretty entertaining with Bousman and Wahlgerg taking the majority of the conversation while Mitchell chimes in with the odd 'blond' remark. Surprising amount of gaps for three people in a room but when the conversation is going it's really going, quite engaging and an easy listen.
Jigsaw's Game is a super-short featurette about the script of the film, comes off as more of a promotional tool rather than anything serious.
Of far more interest are the next four featurettes each one concentrating on a specific Jigsaw trap. Plenty of behind the scene footage and information as the cast and crew gleefully tell us about the various horrors invented for the film. All pretty light stuff but entertaining all the way.
Finally there is a storyboard to film comparison for four scenes lasting a few minutes each; Death Mask, The Furnace, Needle in a Haystack and Jigsaw's Lair. Never a huge fan of this type of extra, but I liked the novel way in which they are presented even if the storyboard pictures are rather poor.
VerdictAs sequels go Saw 2 is a cut above your average, whilst keeping enough the same it has still managed to retain its individualism and most of the twists and turns keep you guessing. As a DVD EiV has provided a very good product with excellent picture and sound even if it is a bit light on any decent extras, there is more than enough for it to find a good home. I just wonder where the 'saw' comes in though.....
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