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PLEASE NOTE: Michael D's is currently in READ ONLY MODE. Anything submitted will simply not be written to the database.
Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
Dante's Peak: Special Edition (1997)

Dante's Peak: Special Edition (1997)

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Released 5-Mar-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Disaster Menu Audio
dts Trailer-Piano
Featurette-Making Of-Getting Close To The Show
Audio Commentary-Roger Donaldson (Director) & Dennis Washington (Prod Des)
Gallery-Production Design Sketches
Theatrical Trailer
Gallery-Storyboards/Scenes-Digital Domain Still Plates
Storyboards-Pyroclastic Flow Sequence
Gallery-Steeple Collapse Sequence
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1997
Running Time 103:53
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (79:22) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Roger Donaldson

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Pierce Brosnan
Linda Hamilton
Case ?
RPI $36.95 Music John Frizzell
James Newton Howard

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English Audio Commentary
English Titling
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Dante's Peak: Special Edition is the same enjoyable popcorn disaster movie as previously released, presented on a DVD that is superior to the original release.

    Dr. Harry (Pierce Brosnan), a vulcanologist with the US Geological Survey Department (USGS), is dispatched to a scenic and peaceful small town named Dante's Peak. The USGS has become concerned with some disturbing data that they have been tracking, and think that the long-dormant Dante's Peak might be 'ready to rumble'. Once there, Harry meets the town's mayor, single mother Rachel (Linda Hamilton). Similar to the small town of Jaws, the small town is currently obsessed with commercial development, and they don't want to hear any bad news. By now, most viewers would realise where this story is heading, and although it might be considered rather predictable, its a great launching pad for the plethora of visual and sound effects that we also know are coming.

    While some elements of the story seem far-fetched (like driving across molten lava), if one suspends disbelief, and ignores some of the now cheesy-looking SFX, this is still a very enjoyable Friday Night Flick.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality


    The transfer of the original DVD was considered to be of reference quality, and this transfer is equally sensational.

    The transfer is presented in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1. It is16x9 enhanced.

    The image is sharp and detailed throughout, and the black level and shadow detail are excellent.

    A rich palette of well saturated colours are on display, and the skin tones are accurate.

    This is a beautifully authored disc, and there are no problems with MPEG artefacts. I note that very rarely there was a slight shimmer on a few objects, such as car grilles, but there is no problem with aliasing, or with film-to-video artefacts in general. Film artefacts appear infrequently throughout, but they are tiny black or white flecks.

   Only English subtitles are present on the disc, and they are accurate.

    This is a RSDL disc, with a clumsy layer change badly placed in the middle of a tense scene, at 79:22.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    The original R4 DVD contained eight audio tracks: 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. The Special Edition boasts both English Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1 audio options. I preferred the DTS option, for what seemed a stronger presence in the surrounds and LFE channel. I note that the R1 DTS version has the DTS 5.1 audio encoded at 1509Kb/s, whereas our Special Edition has DTS 5.1 encoded at only 768Kb/s.

    The dialogue quality and audio sync are excellent on both audio tracks. There were a few audio drop-outs.

    The musical score is credited to John Frizzell, and it is a suitably dramatic. The movie's theme is credited to James Newton Howard.

    The surround presence and activity is very aggressive and immersive, when required to be so. The rear speakers are used to help carry the score, and surround effects, such as at 41:52, when both the score and the sound of a circling helicopter are pumped through the rears.

    The subwoofer is also used very effectively to support the volcanic eruptions, earth tremors, and related explosions.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    The original R4 release only had a trailer, production notes, and cast & crew bios. This edition adds some of the original R1 extras. Unless stated otherwise, all extras are presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio.


    A very simple menu, presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio.

Theatrical Trailer (1:22)

Getting Close To The Show (62:18)

    A 'making-of' extra, featuring interviews and some behind-the-scenes footage.

Feature Commentary

    Director Roger Donaldson and Production Designer Dennis Washington discuss various aspects of the production.

Production Storyboards

    This extra compares the 'hot springs' scene in storyboard form to the final movie sequence.

Production Design Sketches

Pyroclastic Flow Sequence

    More storyboards.

Steeple Collapse Sequence

    A series of stills.

Poster Campaign

    More stills.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    As far as I can tell, there is currently no R1 Special Edition. What they have is a DTS edition, without extras, and a Dolby Digital edition, which is pretty similar, except that we have both Dolby Digital and DTS audio options.


    Dante's Peak is a predictable but enjoyable disaster movie, as long as you don't expect too much of it.

    The video quality is excellent.

    The audio quality is very good.

    The extras are decent.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Brandon Robert Vogt (warning: bio hazard)
Wednesday, February 19, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-535, using S-Video output
DisplayGrundig Elegance 82-2101 (82cm, 16x9). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationSony STR DE-545
SpeakersSony SS-V315 x5; Sony SA-WMS315 subwoofer

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