Presented in its original 1.78:1 aspect ratio, using the AVC/MPEG-4 codec at 1080p, Dungeons and Dragons: Wrath of the Dragon God doesn't even have quality video that would make you sit up and take notice. Shot on HD Video with Sony HD cameras the image certainly has that video look and feel to it: cheap.
Fair enough there is no grain and no hint of noise or blocking in the darker scenes but the image is flat, lifeless and continually soft. Colours are drab, whereas in the forest they could have been glorious. Depth of field is limited and there is some evidence of black crush on the lower end of the spectrum. Whites are rendered well with no hint of bleed or bloom. That lack of bleed can also be said about the colours so at least they are stable. Skin tones however are particularly pleasing.
There are no encoding errors to be found here, as mentioned earlier no noise or macro blocking. Equally there is no enhancement nor intrusive haloing around objects contrasted against a bright background. The softness of the image produces a flat frame, detail is not as good as it could have been in some of the shadowy areas in the darkened corridors or corners of various alchemists rooms. Uninspiring.
Financial constraints must have dictated that the audio on this feature was only going to be an up-front stereo track and that's exactly what we get once ported over to this disc. The English PCM track is crying out for some ambiance, directionality or movement from the rears but alas we get nothing like that here.
It's all up front and even then there's not that much that can be said about it. Dynamic range is a little limited with apparent clipping in the higher and lower tones. The middle ground fares well enough so the, at times, excruciating dialogue does come across fairly well. It's a rather narrow frontal sound stage with little to no separation at the front, no panning and, like the video, it feels a little lifeless.
No LFE track results in a lack of effect once the huge Dragon beasts descend, you'll be expecting a thump, you'll receive a little whimper. Could have been so much better.
- Table Talk - A Video Snapshot of D&D Gamers and their Experience. - 0:06:07 - 1080i/MPEG-4.
Of all the content on this disc I enjoyed this very short featurette the best, only because it reminded me of some of the people I used to play D&D with. Like the film it's not going to mean much to anyone out there who hasn't an interest in the game (other than to stare wildly), but for those with some knowledge of D&D this might raise a chuckle or two.
- Trailer. - 0:01:53 - 576i/MPEG-4.
As the name suggests.
Like the film, the video and the audio the extras are a little of a letdown, especially because there's so much information out there they could have included... character types, dice, Gygax. Pretty much barren here though.
Well it seems that the world will have to wait for a decent D&D film, the trouble is I don't think one can be done all that well. It's too participative an activity, not passive by any means. The original 2000 film was a complete let down and whilst this does have some additional D&D elements it's well short of the mark in terms of being a decent film or a decent disc release.
The video on this locked Region B release is lacklustre and the audio follows suit; ultimately you're left somewhat wanting. The extras are nothing to write home about so it's not as though you gain any major satisfaction from their minimal inclusion. If you're bored or you do have some sort of connection to the D&D gaming world then you might perhaps want to give this one a rent. As for everyone else out there then you're still best believing that D&D is still played by overgrown kids who perhaps smoke too much of the old Longbottom pipe weed.
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