Sixth Sense, The: Two Disc Collector's Edition (1999)

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Released 2-Jun-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Menu Animation & Audio
THX Trailer
THX Optimizer
Featurette-Reflections From The Set
Featurette-Between Two Worlds
Featurette-Moving Pictures: The Storyboard Process
Featurette-Music and Sound Design
Featurette-Reaching the Audience
Featurette-Rules and Clues
Deleted Scenes-4 + introduction
Trailer
Biographies-Cast & Crew
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1999
Running Time 102:58
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (42:35)
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By M. Night Shyamalan
Studio
Distributor

Walt Disney Studios Home Ent.
Starring Bruce Willis
Toni Collette
Olivia Williams
Haley Joel Osment
Case Amaray-Transparent-S/C-Dual
RPI $44.95 Music James Newton Howard


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
Czech Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Dutch
Czech
English for the Hearing Impaired
Czech Titling
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

     As with most people who saw The Sixth Sense for the first time, I was completely awestruck and surprised by the movie's twist. Even after knowing the twist, a second viewing to comment on this new special edition DVD release did not detract from my enjoyment of the movie. Everything about this movie is sensational, from the phenomenal acting of all involved, to the spooky musical score, and even the use of colour.

    The movie, superbly written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan, details the story of psychologist Malcolm Crowe (Bruce Willis) and his emotional journey with young patient Cole Sear (Haley Joel Osment). Cole is a boy gifted (or cursed) with the ability to "see dead people". Tormented as anyone would be in this circumstance, Cole slowly opens his emotions to Malcolm as their relationship grows, while he still keeps his secret from his hard-working mother Lynn (Toni Collette).

    Cole and Malcolm together try to determine the meaning behind Cole's gift, with the movie gradually revealing the sadness and despair in both their lives. The movie is truly scary and suspenseful at times, with goose bumps erupting on many occasions on this particular reviewer. It is also a deeply moving and sad movie, displaying both the loneliness that people feel and the love (and hate) between family members.

    All performances in this movie, from the main stars to the five minute role of Donnie Wahlberg, are sensational. The way in which the actors approached the movie emotionally, as described in the extras package, is dedication personified. People talk about how the conversation between the characters played by Al Pacino and Robert De Niro in Heat was so powerful, but I believe that pales in comparison to the conversation between Cole and his mother towards the end of the movie. I personally do not know of a scene that is more powerful or poignant than that quiet exchange between mother and son. Both Collette and Osment show why they both deserved to be nominated for Academy Awards in their corresponding Supporting Roles category.

    This DVD release is excellent, and further enhances the enjoyment of a terrific movie.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality of this release is excellent, with only minor flaws.

    The movie is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, which is only slightly squarer than the original theatrical ratio of 1.85:1, and is 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer provided is quite sharp throughout the movie, with only one or two instances where the frame does tend to look a little soft. Grain is noticeable in a couple of scenes, particularly against white or grey backgrounds, but is not too distracting. Black levels are excellent, with deep blacks where appropriate, as exhibited in the dark opening scene in the wine cellar and the many other lowly lit scenes. Shadow detail is also exceptional, with quite a lot of detail being visible in the dark. For a movie such as this, a lack of shadow detail and the presence of low level noise would have distracted and ruined the suspenseful mood of many of the scenes, and thankfully shadow detail is spot on and low level noise is absent.

    Colours are generally muted throughout, but this is an artistic decision, and not a fault with the transfer. Occasionally colours will spring to life, such as the vivid reds and greens of flowers, some clothing, and stained glass windows. One example of vivid colour against the drab surroundings occurs at 11:52 as Cole opens the door into the church. The bright red of the door is in stark contrast to the grey and muted colours of the surrounding buildings. As is revealed in the extras, the use of colour in this way is most definitely deliberate. Skin tones are also fairly muted, but never seem unnatural.

    Film artefacts are minimal, with only one or two instances where I can recall catching glimpses of black or white flecks. Due to the sharpness of the transfer, there are a number of occasions where film-to-video artefacts such as shimmering and aliasing become quite distracting. The horizontal blinds to the left and right of screen at 10:33 exhibit a disturbing shimmering effect, and the camera is not even moving, and so was very distracting. An example of a large amount of aliasing occurs at 12:07 against the church benches as the camera slowly moves through the church. Luckily these are the worst examples in the movie and other instances are minor. Edge enhancement is only noticeable on one or two occasions against buildings, but overall the transfer is thankfully free of this artefact.

    A number of subtitles are provided with the DVD, with the English subtitles following the onscreen dialogue fairly closely.

    This is an RSDL-formatted disc, but again I have failed to detect the layer change. The layer change for the previous release occurred at 42:35, which would appear to occur at a scene cut. In any case, there is no disruption to the flow of the movie.

    Looking back at Michael D's review of the initial release of this movie, I believe that this transfer may be slightly better. All the comments regarding sharpness and the level of detail in the dark scenes are consistent between both transfers. However, I had a close look at the scenes Michael indicated had noticeable grain (eg. door at the top of the circular stairs and the fridge in the dinner scene). Both these scenes do not exhibit the distracting grain that Michael described, so I can hazard a guess that this release may be an improvement.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    An English DTS 5.1 (768 Kb/s) and an English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384 Kb/s) soundtrack are provided with this new release. I listened to both options, and both are very good, with the DTS track again winning out due to reasons explained below. Start pet hate rave - Why do DVDs still insist on confirming that the user has selected DTS with that ridiculous DTS explanation and confirmation screen? Surely the use of DTS is widespread enough for DVD producers to remove this nuisance. As recently indicated in our poll regarding the DTS capabilities of our site visitors, DTS is now very much a part of most home theatre systems today - End pet hate rave. A token Czech Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded (192 Kb/s) track is also provided.

    Dialogue is usually clear and easy to understand. On a couple of instances, the dialogue was a little hard to hear, particularly when Cole is talking quietly, but these are not really an issue with the transfer. I could not detect any audio synchronisation problems.

    The musical score by James Newton Howard is where this movie excels, with the music appropriately creepy, suspenseful, or powerful to enhance particular scenes. The opening bars really set the mood for the remainder of the movie, with notes that I found reminiscent of the subdued opening to Aliens. Then the strings come alive for a brief moment as the title appears and it really does make the hairs on your neck rise.

    Surround activity is a little subdued, but the surrounds do come alive from time to time. The score and appropriate ambient effects emanate from all speakers at crucial times in the movie to provide a very enveloping soundstage that effectively heightens the emotion of a scene. One good example is at the beginning of the movie as Malcolm approaches the bathroom, where the score slowly increases in volume across all speakers, effectively increasing the tension at the same time.

    The subwoofer is not called into action too often in this movie, but when it does it does so with appropriate power. One excellent example of its use occurs at 35:48 where Cole's teacher slams his fist down. The score is at its peak, the dialogue is at its peak, and then the slam of the fist is followed by deep rumbling bass much like an explosion. The combination works exceptionally well.

    As with many other releases featuring a DTS option, the DTS track is provided at a noticeably louder volume. However, even after compensating for the volume difference, the DTS track still sounds fuller, with more clarity, and a more powerful lower end. I used the scene above with the teacher to do a comparison as it involved dialogue, musical score, and subwoofer use. The DTS track sounded much clearer, with greater clarity and wider soundstage in the musical score, and more powerful but refined bass. This is not to say that the Dolby Digital track is not good ,because it is, but the DTS track just provides a more enjoyable aural experience with the movie, and that is essential for a movie like this.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    There are a number of very good extras on the second disc, but most were included in the original release. The new extras are worthy inclusions, though. The video and audio quality is on par with a good TV presentation. However, it is a shame that the extras presented at an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 are not 16x9 enhanced. It is also disappointing to note that an audio commentary by M. Night Shyamalan was not recorded for this special edition release. An audio commentary would have capped off this release perfectly.

Reflections from the Set - 39:13

    Shows various interviews with the cast and crew on the set. I found the most fascinating part of this featurette to be the interview with Donnie Wahlberg discussing how he approached the short role he had in the movie. In fact, the way in which the entire cast prepared emotionally for this movie was incredible, and it shows on-screen. This is a new extra that is not present on the original release of the DVD.

Between Two Worlds - 37:23

    A fairly interesting documentary about the spiritual world and supernatural phenomenon, with references to other movies about ghosts, such as Ghost and The Exorcist. This is a new extra that is not present on the original release of the DVD.

Moving Pictures: The Storyboard Process - 14:52

    Shows the process that Shyamalan used to prepare and visualise various scenes in the movie, such as the "lady in the kitchen" scene, and the "reflection in the doorknob" scene. The comparisons between the storyboard pictures and the corresponding movie scene are quite interesting. This featurette was included in the original release of the DVD.

Music and Sound Design - 6:35

    A short featurette that discusses the superb use of music and sound throughout the movie. It was interesting to note that a lot of sound effects were taken from the sound of people breathing. Scenes are played with just sound and music to highlight their use. This featurette was included in the original release of the DVD.

Reaching the Audience - 3:31

    A short featurette about the opening of the movie and how it opened against competition such as the Blair Witch Project, and how everyone was pleasantly surprised that it opened at #1 at the US box office. This featurette was included in the original release of the DVD.

Rules and Clues - 6:01

    Various members of the crew discuss the rules that applied throughout the movie for interactions with the ghosts, and the many clues (some subtle and some not so subtle) that they included. I would suggest not watching this before watching the movie if you have not seen the movie. This featurette was included in the original release of the DVD.

Deleted Scenes

    Toy Soldiers - 3:14

    Visit to Mr. Marschal - 6:14

    Return to Mr. Marschal - 1:40

    Extended ending - 3:26

    Each scene is preceded by an introduction given by Shyamalan, discussing the reasons behind him cutting the scenes from the movie. These are the same deleted scenes included in the original DVD release.

Publicity

    Contains the theatrical trailer and two TV spots. These are the same as those included in the original release.

Filmmakers' and Cast Biographies

    Mildly interesting text about the cast and crew. These are the same as those included in the original release.

R4 vs R1

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

    This Region 4 release appears to miss out on:

    Apart from the above, the new release is identical to the Region 1 release. The differences are minor and I would recommend the Region 4 version.

Summary

    The Sixth Sense is one of my favourite movies. I was totally awestruck after first viewing it at the cinemas, and I am no less impressed upon viewing it again on DVD. Even knowing the twist did not detract from my enjoyment of the movie. The DVD treatment given is adequate, and for fans that don't have the original release, go out and grab a copy of this new special edition.

    The video quality is excellent, with only a few distracting flaws.

    The audio quality is very good, with the DTS track being the option of choice.

    The extras are quite enjoyable and informative. It is a shame that no audio commentary is included.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Chanh-Khai Ly (My biodegradable bio)
Tuesday, June 03, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDOnkyo DV-SP500, using Component output
DisplayRK-32HDP81. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
Audio DecoderOnkyo TX-SR600 with DD/DD-EX/DTS/DTS-ES matrix and discrete.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-SR600
SpeakersKef KHT 2005 5.1 Home Theatre System

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Comments (Add)
It's altered from it's original aspect ratio, and yet you recommend the R4?!?! - Uncanny Antman REPLY POSTED
M.A.R- R1 release of THE RECRUIT is one of recent release! - YANG REPLY POSTED
1.78 / 1.85 - Anonymous REPLY POSTED
I can't believe what I'm reading...(Here come da rant) - Uncanny Antman
I gotta say - Capt Argo (My bio, is nothing to write home about !)