|Category||Action||Theatrical Trailer(s)||Yes, 1 - 16x9, Dolby Digital 5.1 448Kb/s|
|Rating||Other Trailer(s)||Yes, 2
1 - 16x9, Dolby Digital 2.0 320Kb/s
2 - 16x9, Dolby Digital 5.1 Aurora
|Year Released||1999||Commentary Tracks||Yes, 1 - Peter Hyams (Director)|
|Running Time||117:01 Minutes||Other Extras||Cast & Crew Biographies
Cast & Crew Filmographies
Featurette - Spotlight On Location
Featurette - Revelations (Visual Effects)
Menu Audio & Animation
Music Video - Everlast: So Long (4:34)
Music Video - Rob Zombie: Superbeast (3:56)
Roadshow Home Entertainment
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||MPEG||None|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Dolby Digital||5.1|
|16x9 Enhancement||Soundtrack Languages||English (Dolby Digital 5.1, 448 Kb/s)
English (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 320 Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 320 Kb/s)
|Theatrical Aspect Ratio||2.40:1||
|Subtitles||English for the Hearing Impaired||Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
As regular readers are doubtlessly aware, I really cannot stand films where the characters demonstrate mass stupidity, and the screenwriter demonstrates that he has no idea of what he is writing about. In any case, the plot goes a little something like this: At some point in 1979, a child by the name of Christine was born and chosen to bear the child of Satan in the last hour of the year 1999. When you stop and think about that, it stinks of being consistent with the fear-mongering that was prevalent last year, with the Christian-owned media assuring us with great sincerity that the so-called millennium bug will burn down our houses, rape our household pets, and pull out our nose hairs. Speaking as someone who worked in the information technology industry during that time, let me tell you exactly what did happen during that time: absolutely nothing. Of course, when a prophecy fails, as has just about every single one contained in the Bible, both Old and New Testaments, the believers in that prophecy generally split into two groups: those who stop believing it, and those who embellish on it by saying that Event X was really supposed to happen. Now that the millennium bug prophecy has failed, and it was known that it would fail since mid-1999, we are being annoyed by believers who go on with this garbage about how the new millennium doesn't actually begin until 2001. If a death cult cannot get its story straight the first time, then I am sure you can imagine how credible they look the second time around.
The most hilarious moment is when the Catholic church dispenses members of its Mafia branch to go and terminate Christine, lest the prophecy be fulfilled and the Devil's child be born nine months later. I don't know about you, but I can think of a far better solution to this particular problem. Just get one twenty-year-old from the Priesthood, give him Christine's address, a bottle of Moet, some tickets to a John Williams recital, a suite at the Hilton, and let the both of them copulate until they fall unconscious. As far as I am aware, it's pretty damned difficult to impregnate a woman, regardless of the supernatural powers that I often believe I possess at this time of year, when she's already pregnant. Anyway, Jericho Cane (Arnold Schwarzenegger), a private security guard, finds himself protecting Christine York (Robin Tunney, whose most memorable performance is in The Craft, another film where the vapidity of the story annoys me) after saving her from the Catholic ministers who want to kill her, from The Man (Gabriel Byrne). Along the way, he and his co-worker, Bobby Chicago (Kevin Pollak) stop and exchange pleasantries with the police and some members of the priesthood, particularly Father Kovak (Rod Steiger). None of the events here really matter, as they are just designed to move the action from place to place until the showdown between Jericho and a CGI Devil that looks like something I often see in front of me during this time of the year. When all is said and done, I am sincerely hoping that the next Arnie flick that is supposed to be unleashed upon us according to the biography, On The Sixth Day, is a lot better than this.
The colour saturation is excellent, with a wide range of natural-looking tones that complement each other wonderfully. On some occasions, the skin tones had a little too much red in them, but this was only apparent in the darker scenes of the film, which leads me to believe that this was a deliberate effect. In any case, it makes the lack of detail in dark scenes more tolerable. MPEG artefacts were completely absent from the transfer, which is the previously mentioned benefit of the large amounts of black to be found in this transfer. Film-to-video artefacts were technically absent except for two small occurrences. Having said that much, the wobbling of the camera during some sequences is actually deliberate and annoying. If I took Peter Hyams and shook him about as roughly as I felt my head had been shaken after viewing this film, I'd probably wind up in court pleading insanity. There were almost no film artefacts, with the only noticeable one being a white ring at 29:35.
This disc is presented in the RSDL format, with the layer change taking place between Chapters 19 and 20, during a fade-to-black that appears to be an actual part of the film rather than the artistic butchery that Roadshow Home Entertainment have a reputation for, at 83:32. The placing of the layer change is great, as the placement makes it very hard to notice unless you know exactly where it is.
The score music in this film is credited to John Debney, and while it is not especially wonderful, it does lend a sense of urgency to the onscreen action, which is especially important when the events of the film do not have much of a flow. The more reflective and mournful sequences of the film were accompanied by some rather haunting choral music that made a lot of use of what sounds like a ten-year-old boy chanting. The only negative aspect I can think of for this score music is that it starts to sound a little repetitious at times, especially towards the end of the film. All in all, it gets those sections in the brain that interpret the emotion of the film's scenes working a certain way, which helps the effect immeasurably.
The surround channels get an awesome amount of aggressive use for ambience, music, and the plethora of special effects that accompany the action. The highly active surround presence completes the task of placing the viewer right in the middle of the action, with the constant use of directional effects creating an excellent soundtrack that reminds a man like myself why I have all this audio-visual equipment. The explosion sounds in the film seemed a little disappointing, however, with their dynamic range not being quite open enough, although I didn't really notice it that much to be quite honest. The subwoofer had a whale of a time supporting the film from start to finish, but there were only a few scenes when it actually went into action-film mode. This is not a bad thing, however, as the subwoofer was so seamlessly integrated into the soundtrack that it was hard to tell exactly when it was active and when it wasn't.
The video quality is excellent as far as reflecting the source material is concerned. It's a pity the source material is hampered by such directorial intent.
The audio quality is reference material, pure and simple, with surround and subwoofer usage that just doesn't get any better.
The extras are comprehensive.
|DVD||Grundig GDV 100 D, using composite output; Toshiba SD-2109, using S-video output|
|Display||Panasonic TC-29R20 (68 cm), 4:3 mode, using composite input; Samsung CS-823AMF (80 cm), 16:9 mode/4:3 mode, using composite and S-video inputs|
|Audio Decoder||Built In (Amplifier)|
|Speakers||Panasonic S-J1500D Front Speakers, Philips PH931SSS Rear Speakers, Philips FB206WC Centre Speaker, JBL Digital 10 Subwoofer|