PictureFor some reason I was expecting a poor picture so I was pleasantly surprised by this video transfer, which is offered to us in anamorphic 1.85:1.
Dominated by shadows and dark imagery, this DVD could have been a mess, but thankfully it does an admirable job of rendering everything crisply and cleanly. The half-lit, moody scenes generally remain artefact free with little in the way of noise, and detail remains consistently good.
The colour palettes used are very dark, and the whole film has a cold edge to it, with many scenes having an evocative green tinge to them. As such, the colour saturation is good with little in the way of colour bloom, and edges remain crisp, albeit with some edge enhancement noticeable.The transfer looks cinematic and three-dimensional, with blacks and greys looking solid whilst still revealing fine detail, and although there is a grainy “feel” to the movie, I believe this is intentional.
The layer change is positioned at around 1:03:20, and though not in an action scene, it's slightly clumsy. Overall a solid transfer, which will look good on any calibrated screen.
SoundWe have the choice of watching The Ring in Dolby Digital 5.1 or DTS 5.1, and both mixes offer soundtracks which serve to heighten the tension and atmosphere of this shocker.
Very quiet in places, the movie is dominated by the front soundstage, which offers us crisp imaging and vocals, and oodles of atmosphere through some of the subtler sounds (footsteps in the water in the opening scene are a good example of this). LFE is sparse but used well to reinforce action onscreen and perhaps its most effective use is at moments where a low bass hum rolls through the room, portentous of scary moments to come.
I've mentioned that the soundtrack is very quiet at times and indeed this is true. Not that the movie suffers for this - everything is audible and clear, and the quietness serves to heighten the jumps when the soundtrack kicks in at some of the “video” moments. All five channels can go from almost total silence to a screeching wail in a split second, and this works very well.
Rears are used to reasonable effect throughout the running time: whilst never really drawing attention to themselves, they add ambience at suitable times, and reinforce the front channels when a burst of frightening decibels is required. From a personal point of view, I would have preferred slightly more aggressive usage here.Comparing the DTS and Dolby Digital tracks reveals some differences, though they are subtle. The DTS is slightly more forward in presentation, but I believe it's also slightly clearer: the scene where the marble jar crashes to the floor is a good example of this: it's sharper in DTS, and sounds more defined. Like I say it's a subtle difference, but it's there nevertheless. Regardless of this, however, overall both mixes are competent. The Ring probably won't feature as a demo disc in your system, as this offers a subtler soundtrack than your average blockbuster, but it does its job reasonably well.
ExtrasNot much in the way of extras, we have a “Don't Watch This” feature, which whilst interesting, is nothing more than a collection of deleted scenes spliced together to make a “short”. Otherwise we have the trailer for the original Japanese movie - “Ringu”.
VerdictSurreal in places, bizarre in others, this uneasy jumper comes complete with a good video transfer, solid soundtrack and is only let down by the lack of extras. Certainly worth your attention.
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