The Net

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Details At A Glance

Category Thriller Theatrical Trailer(s) None
Rating Other Trailer(s) Yes, 1 - DVD Teaser #1
Year Released 1995 Commentary Tracks None
Running Time 109:43 minutes Other Extras None
RSDL/Flipper No/No
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region 4 Director Irwin Winkler

Columbia TriStar
Starring Sandra Bullock
Jeremy Northam
Dennis Miller
Case Transparent Amaray
RRP $34.95 Music Mark Isham

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 2.0 , 192 Kb/s)
English (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384 Kb/s) 
French (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192 Kb/s)
French (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384 Kb/s)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
Macrovision Yes Smoking Yes
Subtitles English
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

Plot Synopsis

    When I first watched The Net many months ago, I thought at the time how much of an improvement it was over the VHS tape. Time has not been kind to this particular title from Columbia TriStar's back catalogue, and it would rank amongst the worst discs that has come from this stable.

    Angela Bennett (Sandra Bullock) is a systems analyst who works from home in Los Angeles. One day she is sent a disc containing a little something that somebody really does not want anyone to see or know about. They want to make sure that they get the disc back and to eliminate anyone who has knowledge of what it contains. First person to expire is a colleague of Angela's who just happens to die in a plane accident on his way to see Angela before she goes on holiday. They hire a charming assassin by the name of Jack Devlin (Jeremy Northam) to locate Angela, recover the disc and permanently eliminate Angela. Angela is located on the beach at Cozumel in Mexico, where a suitably contrived purse snatch results in Devlin reclaiming - albeit temporarily - the disc. He of course loses it again after a night of passion with Angela and an unfortunate run in with a champagne bottle. What follows is a ride that sees Angela lose her identity, her house, her job and the only person she trusts, her ex-shrink Alan Champion (Dennis Miller) as They try to recover the disc and eliminate Angela. They turns out to be a conspiracy involving a computer software company and a computer security program called The Gatekeeper which turns out to be anything less than secure and gives it developers access to highly confidential government files. Angela in her determination to reclaim her life discovers the conspiracy, downloads the details onto a single floppy disc, then e-mails it all to the FBI. All of which results in her getting everything back and the founder of the company responsible for The Gatekeeper being arrested for various charges.

    And if the plot sounds a little corny, you ought to see what these people can do with quite basic software! And quite what it has to do with the Internet I have no idea. This really was conceived as a way of gaining maximum exposure from the golden girl of the moment Sandra Bullock. Now don't get me wrong, but when the highlight of the film is Sandra Bullock lounging on a beach in a bikini, you know the film has got some problems. Believability is stretched to the limit at times. Jeremy Northam does a reasonable job as the bad guy here but the rest of the cast leave indelible blanks on the mind. This does really come across as if it was conceived on the back of serviette at an extended studio lunch. Definitely not one of the better efforts from Irwin Winkler.

Transfer Quality


    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, and it is 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer is not at all sharp and really lacks any sort of consistent definition. It is not an especially clear transfer and lacks the sort of clarity necessary to give some visual spark to the image. It is a dark transfer and at times shadow detail is quite shockingly poor.

    This is not a vibrant transfer at all, and the colours come up with quite a dark tone to them: skin tones are especially poor. At least the colours have been consistently rendered and some of the darkness could be removed by adjusting your display contrast, but that really defeats the purpose of DVD. There is a hint of oversaturation of colours at times, probably not aided by the dark transfer, but nothing too serious, and bleeding was not a problem at all.

    There were a number of MPEG artefacts noted, mainly the loss of resolution in some panning shots. Film-to-video artefacts were not too prevalent, although one section between 5:30 and 5:50 was noticeably suffering from shimmer. Film artefacts were also quite prevalent during the film, although these were never especially intrusive.

    There is a subtitle glitch in that the English subtitles default to on.


    The overall audio transfer, like that for Wolf, leaves a little to be desired.

    There are four audio tracks on the disc: the default English Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded soundtrack, an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, a French Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded soundtrack and a French Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. I listened to the English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack.

    The dialogue was not especially clear nor easy to understand, and I needed to adjust the audio level up a little to hear what was being said throughout the film.

    Audio sync did not appear to be a problem with the transfer.

    The music score comes from Mark Isham although it does not sound like his usual fare. The music supports the on-screen action quite well and does aid the overall film presentation.

    Whilst this is a 5.1 soundtrack, at times it sounded more like a 2.0 soundtrack. It seemed a little recessed, and the surround channels were not especially well used; indeed a lot of the time it almost sounded as if the surround channels were not being used at all. There is very little detail out of the rear channels. This is not an especially convincing sound picture at all.

    The bass channel got minimal use, mainly during action scenes. However the contribution of the bass channel was very limited even when it was expected.


    Well all you have is the original DVD teaser, which hardly excites at all - although it is interesting to note that at least one of the films included is still awaiting release.


    A not especially well themed menu, and devoid of enhancement of any kind.

R4 vs R1

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on:     Unless the need for a pan and scan version is overwhelming, there again seems little reason to prefer one version to the other.


    The Net is a Sandra Bullock vehicle that ultimately has to be seen as a failure. I would think that this would not even make it past quality control nowadays at Columbia TriStar as far as the transfer goes.

    The video quality is very average indeed.

    The audio quality is good, if a little lacking in the 5.1 mix.

    There are no extras to speak of.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Ian Morris
2nd November 1999

Review Equipment
DVD Pioneer DV-515; S-video output
Display Sony Trinitron Wega 84cm. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Audio Decoder Built in
Amplification Yamaha RXV-795. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Speakers Energy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL