Dawn of The Dead (1978) DiviMax R1 Edition (dts) Review

Phil Hinton

Editor
Staff member
DawnOfTheDeadDivimaxR1.jpg


Andrew Smith reviews the recent re-release of Dawn of The Dead as a DiviMax edition.
Read the review Here

DiscEmporium.jpg
 

James45

Standard Member
I know reviews are subjective but 4 out of 10 for Dawn of the Dead is just plain wrong!:thumbsdow 7 out of 10 on the picture front is a bit iffy to, the transfer is stunning considering the source material.
 

docsmith2k1

Active Member
James the transfer is stunning considering the source material, a fact I stated in the review, but we have said before in these forums that PQ and indeed SQ is best judged against the current best available, irrespective of the age of the print, and therefore I think 7 is fair.
Your right reviews are subjective - a point I also made in the review on more than one occasion. Being a "classic" movie most people will have seen it before and will know whether they want to own it or not. The decision therefore is whether you want to own this version. The print is great, the sound is awful. But I feel I am repeating myself now.
Andy
 

Kevo

Well-known Member
Andy

If you were to review Jaws or Halloween now without seeing them at the time would you give them just as low marks?

4 out of 10 is for a classic is just NONSENSE.

Yes the make up and fx are a bit dodgy by today's standards but from a film point of view, I think it still stands up well.
 

James45

Standard Member
Originally posted by docsmith2k1
James the transfer is stunning considering the source material, a fact I stated in the review, but we have said before in these forums that PQ and indeed SQ is best judged against the current best available, irrespective of the age of the print, and therefore I think 7 is fair.

On that scale then I think perhaps 7 is being overly fair. Personally when reviewing, I rate video on the merits of the discs transfer alone (ie the standard to which the film image has been copied over into the digital format). The original film source of Dawn may not stand up to today's pin-sharp, hi-def, post-graded, hi-contrast blockbusters but the transfer to DVD is among the very best I have seen.

oh and by the way... I even cringed a tiny bit during the custard pie fight.:D
 

Phil Hinton

Editor
Staff member
James, I would agree with Andrew that reviews on the actual film are the reviewers opinion alone. It's not wrong in anyway and as a reviewer I would have thought you would know better than others how true this is. We all rate the PQ and Sq the same way, against the best that is available, an older title even if it has an outstanding transfer can't compete with the best on offer today so it would be wrong to score differently. I think scoring out of 10 is better than scoring out of 5, and 7 for an older movie to digital format is very fair.
 

docsmith2k1

Active Member
Kevo,
Jaws and Halloween are both superb movies both on their original release, and even when viewed today by a totally new audience. Dawn , however is laughable to me. I knew before sitting down to review it that it was held in great esteem by many movie lovers, but having never viewed it before I felt I could look at it with a fresh eye. It would have been much easier for me to "go with the flow" a praise it as a classic, I knew there would be dissenting opinions when I typed the words. I also knew my opinion would count for nothing to those who already love the movie, but I feel someone approaching this movie for the first time based on us 30 somethings raving about it would be disappointed. I still jump out of my skin when the guys head rolls out of the boat in Jaws even though I know it is going to happen. But at no point during Dawn did my interest rise above mild apathy. Calling it a classic imbues it with a strength and appeal it does not warrant IMHO of course.
 

o THE CHAD o

Active Member
one mans meat is another mans murder.

each to their own.
 

James45

Standard Member
Originally posted by THX 1138
It's not wrong in anyway and as a reviewer I would have thought you would know better than others how true this is.

My 'just plain wrong' comment was slightly tongue in cheek i admit, of course a critical opinion can never be wrong, it is the reviewers opinion as you say. I was just surprised by a 4 out of ten for a film that is widely regarded as a classic, and not just in the zombie genre.

Originally posted by THX 1138
We all rate the PQ and Sq the same way, against the best that is available, an older title even if it has an outstanding transfer can't compete with the best on offer today so it would be wrong to score differently.

This is a system I can't really understand... so you compare everything to whatever the current demo material is? What about something like Narc? The film is shot using tons of grain and colours were all over the shop, it is a fairly ugly film to look at but the DVD transfer is stunning. Would that get marked down because the director didn't want it to look like The Hulk or some other pin-sharp 'good-looking' feature? Surely that system is putting a black mark against artist choice.:confused:
 

Kevo

Well-known Member
an older title even if it has an outstanding transfer can't compete with the best on offer today

Oh but it can....

Have you seen the restored versions of Ben Hur or Singing in the Rain?

Puts a lot of the new films to shame in terms of PQ.
 

docsmith2k1

Active Member
James,

The picture is often "tricked up" to add mood or atmossphere when appropriate. I always comment on this in the review - but it has been agreed that the only way to score a disc is by the best in PQ available. A buyer can't be expected to know that a 1960 movie given 8 has worse PQ than a 2004 movie given 8. Therefore if it is an 8 it is irrespective of age. Source etc. The grain and yellowed washed out look in Narc is intentional so a good transfer of this would still warrant a good mark. The grain and washed out look of another movie mat not be intentional just a bad transfer. This would get a low mark.
 

James45

Standard Member
Originally posted by docsmith2k1
the only way to score a disc is by the best in PQ available.

But PQ is transfer all the way, the 'look', age or technical merits of a film surely can't influence it's picture quality score.

Originally posted by docsmith2k1
A buyer can't be expected to know that a 1960 movie given 8 has worse PQ than a 2004 movie given 8.

Surely you'd hope anyone would know that a film shot 45years ago would look different though. You can't mark a film down because of it's age.

Originally posted by docsmith2k1
Therefore if it is an 8 it is irrespective of age. Source etc.

Isn't that what I've been saying?!:confused:

The simple fact is that the divimax transfer of Dawn of the Dead has been beautifully done, the print is spotless, almost totally blemish free (near miraculous for a low-budget, 26-year-old film) and the picture is free of any digital artefacts that potentially could have been introduced during encoding. So marking it down because it doesn't look like Attack of the Clones (which is what Phil appears to be suggesting) seems crazy. The final score should be all about the transfer.

I'm not having a go I'm just trying to get my head around your marking system.:thumbsup:
 

docsmith2k1

Active Member
It's not my marking system it's our marking system. And you should mark a film down if it doesn't look as good as attack of the clones because otherwise you are introducing unecessary subjectivity. (Well they really should have done better 'cos the source is six months old, or lets cut them some slack because the movie is 40 yrs old.) I know your not having a go James, I value the discussion 'cos it was one of the first points I needed clarification on when starting to do reviews for the site.
 

docsmith2k1

Active Member
On a slightly different matter I am genuinely intereste to know why you think Dawn of the Dead is so great. I was expecting some kind of cathartic experience when watching it due to its hugh fan base. Is it one of those "it's so bad it's good" movies for you. Is it the associated memories of the first time you saw it. (I have a few movie that I thought were superb as a 16 yr old kid only to be totally disappointed when viewing them again as an adult - DePalma's Body Double springs to mind)
 

James45

Standard Member
I reviewed the divimax edition myself... although I'm not sure a link is allowed.;) Essentially Night... and Dawn... both use the zombie situation as a tool to address current issues. Night is fairly obviously addressing racism but Dawn covers all sorts... rampant consumerism, human nature and figures in authority.
And yes Dawn is one of those films i saw years ago and had fond memories of it, but i feel it still holds up. Yes it's low budget and fairly cheesy at times, but what Romero managed to create with his resources is really impressive.

I think we'll have to agree to disagree on grading picture quality though. For me a 10/10 or 5/5 picture rating simply suggests that the DVD video presentation of a film looks as good as it is possible for it to look. A clean, undamaged print encoded to digital format without introducing any artefacts into the picture, whether that film was made in 1914 or 2004.
 

Kevo

Well-known Member
Also why is there no mention of the excellent soundtrack by Italian electro rock band Goblin (which I have on vinyl and CD!)?

Just an overly technical view on the poor DTS sound.

Is this the version with the Goblin soundtrack replaced?

Hope not, just ordered it from Play!
 

James45

Standard Member
this is a US theatrical version where Romero used parts of the Argento's Goblin score, Argento's european cut Zombi uses the score in it's entirity.
 

Racquel Darrian

Distinguished Member
I watched this film last night and then have logged on to see this thread!

I have to go along with James.

I have three different versions of this film on DVD and IMO the picture on this new DVD could not be any better and would give it 10/10!

Stunning all round!
 

docsmith2k1

Active Member
Kevo,
Most of the soundtrack is unlistenable, James and Racquel - were going to have to agree to disagree about the PQ in terms of the overall mark, but if you read the review I think you will agree I have tried to convey the fact that it is a good coding. While it may be the best of it's vintage it could never be the best on offer and that is my remit when reviewing discs.
Still, it's always good to have a vigorous mass debate ;)
 

Philly112

Distinguished Member
Without wanting to get into the debate on the merits of the film, Docs' (and the other reviewers) way of scoring surely has to be the only objective way of looking at this.
If we were talking sound quality, are some of you guys saying that an immaculately transferred mono soundtrack should get a score of 10/10 for sound quality?
As someone who has never seen this film, I would personally want to know where the PQ quality was in relation to another film I had seen. So if Phantom Menace was 10/10, El Shyto Phylm 2/10, and this one 7/10, I would roughly know what to expect.
 

docsmith2k1

Active Member
Thanks Philly the cheque is in the post :)
 

Setenza

Well-known Member
I beleive the Mona Lisa is getting on a bit now. The colours are fading and the paint possibly cracking. Does this diminish it's impact?

I understand the need to give a technical critique of the PQ but it is a seperate issue to the films artistic merits and should not really impinge upon it.
 

Miyazaki

Distinguished Member
I can't fathom anyone giving this film 4/10. Also, and i'm not having a go, you might want to check your spelling and grammar more carefully, it was quite hard to get around the way you worded the summary and, for me at least, it reflects poorly on the reviewer, in any capacity, if they don't sort this out :smashin:
 

docsmith2k1

Active Member
Your right Guru, I should probably have given it 10 across the board and kept everyone happy. But I would have felt like the little boy in "The Emporers New Clothes". I thought it was awful, I can't see why everyone beleives it to be a classic, and no-one has been able to give me a lucid arguement as to why, except this nonsense about "considering the budget", "considering the age", well they aren't good enough reasons to label a movie a classic. It has ropey dialogue, lacks any kind of tension, is tedious in the middle third when the escapees "set up house" in the shopping mall, develops into slapstick when the biker gang appears, and considering it's a horror movie - is not frightening = 4/10
 

docsmith2k1

Active Member
Xusia,
I've said my piece about how we mark PQ. I think you may all be making allowances for a film you all love, that's fine, I'm sorry I don't love it too. But I don't make those allowances when doing reviews. In the words of Roy Walker I say what I see. It's great you all disagree with me but if you're trying to convince me I am wrong to dislike this movie comments like "I can't see how anyone could give this 4" are hardly compelling arguments for the defence.
 

The latest video from AVForums

Podcast: LG C1 Review, Apple Lossless & Dolby Atmos @ no cost, Sennheiser IE900 review + more
Subscribe to our YouTube channel

Latest News

Amazon in talks to acquire MGM Studios
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
Disney to close Fox Channel in UK
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
LG Display showcases OLED display technology at online SID 2021
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
Amazon Music HD drops subscription charge for lossless audio
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
GREAT! launches entertainment network on 25th May
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published

Full fat HDMI teeshirts

Support AVForums with Patreon

Top Bottom