THX Ultimate Demo DVD Review


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Originally a much sought after Laserdisc containing the infamous "WOW! Montage" we now have a DVD version. This disc was produced to demo THX audio capabilities. The DVD contains a number of clips from Lucasfilm movies, THX trailers (including the Simpsons and Pixar ones), short documentaries, audio only clips and audio/video tests.
There's a rolling demo which plays the clips and trailers. First off is the Pod race from Phantom Menace, this is no different to the actual film. Next some THX trailers. Then comes the "WOW" Montage", produced in 1990, which contains well edited clips from the Original Star Wars Trilogy, Indiana Jones and Willow. Next are the audio only clips.

There are some documentaries discussing the reasons behind the THX certification which are informative. But the best documentary is the one showing the work involved in putting together an audio mix for a movie, this includes a pretty hilarious scene from Star Wars with David Prowse speaking the Darth Vader lines in his West Country accent.

Being a THX demo disc you would expect the picture to be stunning but unfortunately it is not. The Pod race appears to be the exactly the same as the DVD movie as the edge enhancement is terrible.

The "WOW! Montage" appears to be the master used for the Laserdisc as the image lacks definition, and has noticeable interlacing although it is anamorphic. There is plenty of noticeable mpeg artifacting although edge enhancement is not noticeable. The Indiana clips show how much worse it is compared to the excellent recent DVD movie releases.

The rest of the material is obviously video based and shows it. Overall a pretty disappointing effort from THX.

Well you'd would think this would be the ultimate audio workout for your audio system but again it disappoints. The WOW demo audio is pretty light weight, there are actually a 5.1 and DTS soundtracks, the DTS version being louder and has more *oomph*. The Pod race is the same as the DVD movie version so it gives the best audio workout on this disc.
The audio only clips are good, particularly the jungle scene which uses all the sound channels effectively.

There are much better DVDs out there for demoing your audio and visual system, all but the Star Wars movie clips are now available on DVD. But if you are dying to see the Star Wars clips or would like to see the documentaries then track this DVD down on EBay.

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