PictureDreamworks have provided a theatrically correct 1.85:1 aspect anamorphically enhanced for widescreen TVs picture with an average bitrate of 5.59. It is a near perfect picture digitally with only the occasional blemish from the negative causing any concern. The image is pin sharp with superb detailing, with as much water on show detail levels had to be spot on and I can confirm they are just that. In fact the detail is so good it even shows up makeup on Dorfman's face when he is in hospital. I never spotted any smearing or blurring anywhere, quite excellent. Colours are well reproduced too, though the film is shot with a muted blue tone, there is never any bleed and everything looks as it should. Contrast and brightness levels are well set giving excellent blacks still containing sharp detail. Digitally too there was never any trace of compression problems or any edge enhancement, grain too was nowhere to be see. The only thing to drop a mark was some print damage as specks and flecks visible in some scenes.
As an added bonus I also viewed this film through an NEC TV670 projected to an eight foot screen. The image never lost any detail, even at this size, even though it did have a slightly grainy look I put this down to the projector, not the transfer. Colours and contrast were still spot on with still no compression or edge enhancement visible, the print damage was far more evident on the big screen than on my 32 inches.
SoundThe disc has been given two English sound tracks both Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 surround. Both are well defined clear and precise. I was somewhat disappointed by the 5.1 offering though, since most of the action was steered towards the front three, with little for the rears to get excited about. However, when they were used the room was filled with a satisfying experience. The centre speaker played host to the dialogue, no direction used here. When the rears came into play, there were some excellent effects; there is plenty of water swashing around the room as well as the score to really add depth to the sound. The LFE does get one or too good thumps in, but is mostly used to underpin the sound stage. The clarity of the sound is sublime; the film concentrates on mid to high top end then brings in heavy deep bass to hold it all together. The effect is very dramatic, and one of the better uses for the rumble. In all an average effects sounding track, maybe one to show off the bass depth that your system can achieve, but not one for the surround experience.
ExtrasIntroduction to Rings has producer Walter Parker talk us through the ideas and inspiration to Rings, it is short and to the point, if unnecessary. Unlike Rings itself which is a precursor to the film proper. We follow the seven days of Jake after he watches the video tape, the aftermath of which opens the film. It is an excellent short, far better in fact than the film itself, being both eerie and creepy. Shot in the same tone with the same music it looks and feels as if it should be part of the main film, only it's much, much better.
Next up are four featurettes, Cast and crew, Special effects, Samara eye to icon and Power of symbols that all look to have been filmed at the same time, and split up to fill the menu. All run approximately six minutes in length contain a huge amount of film footage as well and short sound bites from the principle cast members and crew; all one watch features. Of them all I preferred listening to Rick Baker on the special effects, though it is very brief.
The second page has a fifteen minute HBO first look special, once again contains plenty of film footage as well as interviews with all those with a name. Nothing new here and we've all seen this type of advertising before on any one of the entertainment channels.
There are numerous deleted and extended/alternate scenes with no explanation as to their excise; but I'm thinking timing since all are reasonably talky and, with the exception of one hospital bit, don't fill any plot holes or offer anything new to the film.
Cast and crew biographies and the production notes are a few well written pages that contain a fair amount of information, if you can get past the awful font used.
Finally there are some previews for films coming soon or already in theatres or DVD, amongst them Red Eye, The Island, Unleashed and Gladiator 3 disc.
VerdictWell it looks like I have an answer to my question, a remake of a sequel is awful. I point the finger of blame at the Hollywood machine for not only polluting a terrific franchise but also the director that made them in the first place. If you want the Ring, stick to the originals as the remakes aren't a patch on them. As a DVD, Dreamworks have a fine package, not least of which is the terrific Rings; whilst not worth buying just for this, perhaps the package is worth the asking price.
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