|Category||Disaster||Theatrical Trailer(s)||Yes, 1|
|Year Released||1997||Commentary Tracks||None|
|Running Time||103:56 minutes||Other Extras||Cast & Crew Biographies
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||MPEG||None|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Dolby Digital||5.1|
|16x9 Enhancement||Yes||Soundtrack Languages||English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
German (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Hungarian (Dolby Digital 2.0 )
Czech (Dolby Digital 2.0 )
Polish (Dolby Digital 1.0)
Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 )
French (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Italian (Dolby Digital 5.1)
|Theatrical Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||
Dante's Peak is set in the town of Dante's Peak, a small, pleasant community nestled at the base of a dormant volcano. Pierce Brosnan (Harry Dalton) is a volcanologist who is sent to the town to check out some suspicious seismic activity in the area. Linda Hamilton (Rachel Wando) is the town's mayor, and comprises the obligatory love interest.
Let's see now, can we guess the plot by the numbers? OK, well, the hero in these movies has to be right, whereas all the other experts have to be very very wrong. Check. Next, the hero in these movies has to develop a love interest, in this case a truly dismal one, since otherwise only men would be interested in this movie. Yep. Further, we need some sort of complication whereby the hero puts himself in harm's way to rescue someone. Done. What about sticking in a few last-minute gadgets that just happen to come in handy later on? Affirmative. And don't forget the escape timed to the split second. Definitely.
The story gets well and truly in the way of the special effects in this movie, which would be just fine if the story was considerably less irritating than it is. Of all the characters, by far the most irritating is the mother-in-law, who could have done with a swift kick up the backside, or, even better, a good editor in the cutting room. Even the special effects are on the cheesy side. Whilst very spectacular, they just aren't quite real enough to be believable. Models are clearly models, CGI sequences are clearly CGI sequences, buildings falling apart are clearly rigged to fall apart, and clearly the volcano is plonked in artificially.
The transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 2.35:1. It is 16x9 enhanced.
The transfer was razor sharp and crystal clear throughout. An excellent example of the clarity and definition of this transfer is exhibited by the end credits, which are the clearest and least artefacted of any end credits that I have ever seen. Shadow detail was magnificent, with copious amounts of detail present within the often quite dark picture. No low level noise whatsoever was present.
The colours were superbly clear and well saturated at all times. There are shots with murky colours and shots with vivid greens, and they are all perfectly rendered.
There were no MPEG artefacts seen. Film-to-video artefacts were essentially absent. Film artefacts were virtually non-existent.
This disc is an RSDL disc. The layer change takes place at 46:36, during Chapter 18. It is minimally disruptive to the on-screen action.
Subtitles are selectable on the fly, unlike the situation with Twister, which required you to return to the main menu to select subtitles.
There are eight audio tracks on this DVD; English Dolby Digital 5.1, German Dolby Digital 5.1, Hungarian Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded, Czech Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded, Polish Dolby Digital 1.0, Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded, French Dolby Digital 5.1, and Italian Dolby Digital 5.1. You cannot select the audio tracks on the fly and must instead return to the main menu to change audio options.
Dialogue was perfectly clear and easy to understand at all times.
There were no audio sync problems.
The score by John Frizzell is standard disaster movie fare, and adds to the ambience of the movie nicely without being exceptional.
The surround channels were used aggressively and frequently during the special effects sequences, creating an excellent enveloping soundfield. The first half of the movie, however, saw little surround activity after the opening action sequence. However, atmospheric effects were nicely used in the front soundfield for ambient sounds during this half of the movie.
The .1 channel received lots of signal from the soundtrack during the special effects sequences, though it had little to do in the early part of the movie. It was reasonably integrated into the overall soundtrack.
The video quality is sensational and is of reference quality.
The audio quality is very good.
The extras are limited, but what is there is nicely presented.
© Michael Demtschyna
24th June 1999
|DVD||Pioneer DV-505, using S-Video output|
|Display||Loewe Art-95 95cm direct view CRT in 16:9 mode, via the S-Video input. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Audio Decoder||Denon AVD-2000 Dolby Digital AddOn Decoder, used as a standalone processor. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||2 x EA Playmaster 100W per channel stereo amplifiers for Left, Right, Left Rear and Right Rear; Philips 360 50W per channel stereo amplifier for Centre and Subwoofer|
|Speakers||Philips S2000 speakers for Left, Right; Polk Audio CS-100 Centre Speaker; Apex AS-123 speakers for Left Rear and Right Rear; Yamaha B100-115SE subwoofer|