|Category||Action Romance||Theatrical Trailer(s)||None|
|Rating||Other Trailer(s)||Yes, 1 - DVD Teaser Trailer #1|
|Year Released||1995||Commentary Tracks||None|
|Running Time||128:23 minutes||Other Extras||None|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||No||MPEG||None|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1||Dolby Digital||5.1|
|16x9 Enhancement||Yes||Soundtrack Languages||English (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384 Kb/s)
French (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384 Kb/s)
|Theatrical Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
The tale is simple yet effective and compelling. Director Jerry Zucker has mixed in romance, adventure, action and drama in a masterful combination that is paced to perfection. The movie goes for more than two hours and never wanes. The combination of wonderful cinematography, brilliant scoring from composer Jerry Goldsmith and a typically fine performance from Sean Connery wrapped up in a timeless tale makes for a wonderful movie. I enjoyed it immensely.
The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and it is 16x9 enhanced. This is very close to the theatrical ratio of 1.85:1, and therefore perfectly acceptable as there are no significant compromises.
On the whole, the transfer just falls short of the usual high standard offered by Columbia Tristar. The image is at times soft, and other times quite sharp, making for a disjointed presentation. Shadow detail is acceptable, allowing just enough detail to be made out in the many dark scenes. There was more low-level noise than I am used to seeing from CTS, especially in the darker scenes. Bright scenes were, by contrast, generally excellent.
The colours are very natural, and at times stunning. This movie was filmed at Pinewood UK studios and in Wales, and the lush green scenery is captured to magnificent effect at every occasion.
There were no significant MPEG artefacts during this movie, although I would hazard that a higher bit-rate for the video would have seen improvements. However, at over two hours long this would have necessitated a dual-layer disc.
There are a disturbing propensity of film artefacts during almost the entire movie. These range from almost constant nicks and scratches to rather ugly blemishes, particularly around 40:52 minutes. These, combined with the low-level noise problem, give the impression that this transfer is made from a worn print and is quite disappointing.
There are two audio tracks: English Dolby Digital 5.1 and French Dolby Digital 5.1. Naturally, I listened to the default English soundtrack.
Dialogue was at all times clear and easy to understand. There was quite a lot of ADR voice looping given the nature of the on-location shooting, but this was never distracting.
There were no problems with audio sync during the movie.
High on my list of favourite movie composers is Jerry Goldsmith. His scoring to this movie is up to his highest standards, and is superb. It is very orchestral, and the various string and percussion instruments come across with breathtaking clarity, realism and fullness. There were many occasions where I was simply mesmerized by the music, and the final scene with King Arthur's burial at sea is astonishing.
From the very beginning scene, you know you are in for a thrilling surround presence. For the entire movie, the surround channels are used to brilliant effect. You are very much placed amongst the action, be it gross or subtle. The soundstage is very wide and deep, and the surrounds are integrated to the extent that sounds come from all positions, not just left-rear / right-rear. Music comes from all around, and often individual instruments are placed in the surrounds, which is marvellous. There are pans from rear-left to rear-right during the fighting scenes, and noises coming from phantom locations such as rear-centre and left-centre. I can't help but feel that this movie would sound even better if it were decoded using a 6.1 system, with an extra centre rear channel. It is that good.
The subwoofer was used sparingly but to good effect. It never called attention to itself, and added weight to the soundtrack as it warranted.
The video quality is quite variable, though at times very good.
The audio is extraordinarily good, and is of reference quality.
The DVD Trailer does not constitute an extra, leaving it with nothing at all in that department.
|DVD||Panasonic A350A; S-Video output|
|Display||Pioneer SD-T43W1 125cm Widescreen 16x9|
|Audio Decoder||Internal Dolby Digital 5.1 (DVD Player)|
|Amplification||Sony STRDE-525 Dolby Pro-Logic / 5.1 Ready Receiver, 4 x Optimus 10-band Graphic EQ|
|Speakers||Centre: Sony SS-CN35 100 watt, Main/Surrounds: Pioneer CS-R390-K 150-watt floorstanders, Subwoofer: Optimus 100-watt passive|