PictureNo matter how much I would like to report that the image here is of reference quality, unfortunately this is not the case. There are a few nicks and scratches to the print that are noticeable throughout, although they did seem less apparent towards the end of the movie. The picture here does look a little on the soft side compared to more modern big budget releases, but overall the anamorphic widescreen picture is perfectly serviceable for a movie of 1990 vintage. Colours are generally fine, if a touch muted, and skin tones are faithfully rendered. I also looked long and hard for signs of edge enhancement and am pleased to report that it seems this bug-bear of many is pretty much non-existent here.
SoundTwo English tracks are included - Dolby Digital 378Kbps and DTS 1546Kbps - with, I suspect, the “full bit rate” DTS track attracting most potential purchasers to this two disc Special Edition. In all honesty neither audio track will fully test your system's abilities, although your sub-woofer will definitely have its moments - have a listen to the very beginning of chapter 11 as the spacecraft comes in to land and I promise you your house will shake to its foundations! Although the DTS option is my preferred choice here vocals do still sound a little edgy and unnatural and with most effects spread across the front soundstage the rears are left with little to do apart from fill in with music score for most of the time. I had high hopes when I saw the DTS logo, but ultimately felt a little disappointed.
ExtrasDisc one includes an audio commentary with Paul Verhoeven and Arnold Schwarzenegger and is well worth a listen - there are some interesting insights into the movie from both star and director. The main menu screen has English titles as well as Japanese and is easily navigated.
Disc two contains the bulk of the extras, of which the 30 minute documentary/featurette titled “Imagining Total Recall” I found the most interesting. The rest of the extras have a “filler” feel to them, but may be of interest to dedicated Total Recall buffs. I should also mention that the menus on disc 2 are in Japanese only, so may require a little investigation.
VerdictI enjoyed re-acquainting myself with Total Recall - it is one of those movies that has the ability to stand the test of time due to it being blessed with a quality storyline, solid acting performances and great, violent action sequences. Whether this Japanese 2 disc release, which comes with a clear outer plastic sleeve, is worth the price premium over the region 1 edition would depend on how important DTS is to you. Picture quality is pretty average by today's standards and despite its 1536Kbps DTS track audio is merely adequate. Anyone that requires evidence that there is more to sound quality than the measurement of bit rates would do well to take a listen to this DVD - full bit rate DTS or not it lacks all round finesse and is out-classed in every department (except perhaps L.F.E.) by most recent releases. That being said Total Recall has a top-notch storyline with adequate picture and sound. If you don't already own the DVD - buy it now.
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