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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.
The Exorcist (Peter Blatty's) (2000)

The Exorcist (Peter Blatty's) (2000)

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Released 13-Jun-2001

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror Main Menu Audio
Listing-Cast & Crew
TV Spots-4
Radio Spots-2
Theatrical Trailer-2
Audio Commentary-William Friedkin (Director)
Rating Rated R
Year Of Production 2000
Running Time 126:44
RSDL / Flipper RSDL Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By John Birkin

Warner Home Video
Starring Rowan Atkinson
Mina Anwar
James Dreyfus
Serena Evans
David Haig
Rudolph Walker
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $36.95 Music Howard Goodall
Graham Hutchings
Charlie Phillips

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 EX (384Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 EX (384Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary 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
English for the Hearing Impaired
Italian for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Some time ago, I had the pleasure of reviewing one of the all-time classic films in The Exorcist. For reasons probably not completely unrelated to making a fast buck, a revised version has been prepared and is currently doing the theatrical rounds at the moment under the title of The Exorcist: The Version You've Never Seen, The Exorcist: The Version You Haven't Seen Yet or The Exorcist (2000), depending upon which title is being used today. Thus we have the rarish treat of seeing a preview DVD of a film that is still playing on the big screen. This revised version restores into the film about eight minutes of footage that was deleted from the original version. Whilst much of the footage is slight, the two main restorations are Regan's initial visit to the doctor's for tests and the rather infamous "spider walk" sequence. Most of the rest of the restorations are minor things like a slightly different opening sequence.

    The film has generally been hailed as a great horror film, but clearly the continuing passage of time is not being kind to the film. Indeed, I started watching this DVD with a young visitor, and his reaction to the film was quite interesting. When it got to the scene of Regan holding up her night-dress and insisting that the doctors "f*** her", he pretty much fell on the floor laughing. Whilst it is to be admitted that a few later scenes started to have a little bit more impact, there really was nothing here that could really have been called terrorizing. Such is the change in attitudes over the past twenty-eight years that what was a highly disturbing film is nowadays nothing much more than an interestingly provocative film. That is not to diminish the stature of the film, for it certainly remains the best thing that William Friedkin has done and a classic of its era and genre. It simply does not now have the utterly disturbing nature to warrant an R rating: I have seen far more disturbing films given an MA rating.

    Since the film in its basic form has already been reviewed and the broad story has not changed in any way, if you wish to read a synopsis of the film and the performances contained therein, I suggest you read the earlier review. I certainly have no intention of rehashing those general comments since they remain basically unaltered. I also have no intention of detailing every mortal piece of restored footage either, for the simple reason that I don't see any great point in doing so. At the end of the day, I do not know the film that well and therefore would not be able to vouch for every inserted piece of footage anyway.

    All I am really going to concern myself with is whether or not the restored footage results in a better or worse film, and to be very blunt I have to admit that I really do not believe that the extended version of the film is any great improvement over the original.

    Certainly the added footage of the initial doctor's visit is appreciated as it makes more sense when in the later scene Regan asks what is wrong with her and Chris's reply refers to the visit. The spider walk footage however is less successful, especially as it only includes the walk down the stairs and does not include the bit where Regan chases Chris. That bit seems to have been replaced by a rather noticeable extended black scene change. Overall, it does not add anything to the film in my view and therefore is a pointless restoration. The revised opening sequence is a bit pointless until you hear William Friedkin's reasoning for the change and basically my reaction was "big deal".

    At the end of the day, is the revised version an improvement? Not really and I would suggest that if you already own the original Special Edition, there is not much point in trading it in. If you don't own the film yet, then I suppose the choice gets down to whether you want a better extras package or an extended film. My vote is with the better extras package, so I would advise that you grab a hold of the Special Edition version if you see it.

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Transfer Quality


    The original DVD was pretty impressive as far as the transfer goes for a film of its age. In some areas, this version seems even better but in others it shows no significant improvement at all. Broadly speaking, the first half of the film is quite impressive and demonstrates how well the film has been restored, whilst the second half is distinctly less impressive.

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

    Whilst there are still some rather obvious problems with the transfer, most notably some rather grainy patches most especially during the second half of the transfer, the restoration has in general resulted in a sharp transfer with some rather nice definition. I continue to be impressed by the level of detail earlier on in the film and the attic scene remains a standout. The restored footage fits in very well to the film and really does not stand out as being "new". I would suspect that there has been no additional work done on the source material other than to include the extra footage and the overall result is very much in accordance with the restored original version of the film. Shadow detail is very good for a film of this age. Clarity is generally pretty good until the grain starts setting in. Overall, this remains a reasonably impressive transfer.

    There is still no improvement in the colour palette on offer here and the nicely muted style of colour remains. This suits the film well and is quite believable. The only issue I really have with the colours is the fact that the blacks could perhaps have been a little more solid and even in tone, but that might be expecting too much in a film of this age. There is no problem with oversaturation in the colours at all, although there are some indications of colour bleed in the titles - nothing too serious though.

    There did not appear to be any significant MPEG artefacts in the transfer. There remain some problems with minor film-to-video artefacts, with a number of instances of aliasing here and there. These tend to be more noticeable during the first half of the film, and examples can be found at 8:03, 17:48, 18:22 and 21:47. There is also an instance of wobble in the image at 101:48. This is not really noticeable at all and is not especially distracting to the film. There remains a suitably impressive lack of film artefacts in the transfer.

    In the absence of noting any layer change during the programme, I would be tempted to suggest that this is a Dual Layer DVD. However, given the length of the film, I would suspect it is more of a question that I missed (sorry, failed to detect) the layer change.

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


    There are four soundtracks on offer on the DVD, being an English Dolby Digital 5.1 EX soundtrack, an English Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded soundtrack, and Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 EX soundtrack and an English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded soundtrack. I listened to the English Dolby Digital 5.1 EX soundtrack and the English Audio Commentary.

    Obviously with the Dolby Digital 5.1 EX soundtrack, this has been completely remastered and a more impressive sounding soundtrack it is as a result.

    The dialogue was generally clear and easy to understand throughout, still bearing in mind that some sequences involving the possessed Regan are supposed to be very guttural and thus a little indistinct. There does not appear to be any problem with audio sync in the transfer.

    The score is comprised of excerpts from relatively contemporary classical music by the likes of Krzysztof Penderecki and Hans Werner Henze, complemented by the originality of the well-known Mike Oldfield piece Tubular Bells. A most effective score, highlighted by now being able to hear the repeated Tubular Bells motif during parts of the film where it was previously not able to be heard.

    The big improvement in the Dolby Digital 5.1 EX soundtrack is in better use of the surround channels: there is distinctly more ambient noise through the rear channels especially. I would imagine that if you have EX capability, you are in for something of a treat here. The overall soundtrack seems to be much more open and clear, with a more natural balance to it. The bass channel still does not get a lot of overt use, but the overall feel it gives to the soundtrack is again much more natural. The overall result is to provide a somewhat more spooky feel to the film at times as the sound effects are much more obvious in the overall mix.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    In comparison to the extras package on the original Special Edition DVD, this is a most disappointing effort indeed.


    Nicely themed to the film and presented in full screen format, they come with nothing in the way of enhancement apart from that of the 16x9 variety.

Listing - Cast and Crew

    Just a single page listing of the main cast and crew members, and as such hardly justify classification as an extra in my view.

Television Spots - 4

    The four spots are listed as Most Electrifying (0:19), Scariest Ever (0:34), Returns (0:35) and Never Seen (0:34). They are all presented in a Full Frame format that is not 16x9 enhanced and with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. All represent variations on a theme that is not entirely noteworthy, but there is nothing much wrong with the technical quality.

Radio Spots - 2

    The two spots are The Devil Himself and Our Deepest Fears and are played over the menu, which is not the most exciting presentation ever. Acceptable technical quality again.

Theatrical Trailers - 2

    The two trailers are The Version You've Never Seen (1:51) and Our Deepest Fears (1:37). The former is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, is 16x9 enhanced and comes with Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded sound. The latter is presented in a Full Frame format, it is not 16x9 enhanced and comes with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. There is nothing wrong with them technically, but again are variations on a theme.

Audio Commentary - William Friedkin (Director)

    I don't know whether it is just me, but this seems a lot more boring than the effort on the original DVD. Whilst there is some reasonable background stuff, he also manages to fall into the "what's on screen now" mode which heightens the boredom a little. I can see what is on screen - I want to know why! Worth a listen at least once but not something that I would return to very often at all.

Notes - Awards

    Well if you did not know that the film won two Oscars and four Golden Globes, you do now.

R4 vs R1

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

    Whilst computer problems have left me unable to access the main review sites that I use for reference, from those I have checked out there seems to be little difference in any respect between the Region 1 and Region 4 releases, other than the Region 1 release comes in snapper packaging. Call it even.


    Currently residing at 164 in the Internet Movie Database Top 250 films of all time, The Exorcist is a classic film, and should be in every collection. If you have the original Special Edition then there is no need for you to change. If you do not have that version, I would suggest that on the balance that you should seek out a copy and only take this new version as a last resort. The choice basically comes down to eight minutes of extra footage and a slightly better soundtrack, versus a better extras package.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Ian Morris (Biological imperfection run amok)
Saturday, April 07, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-515, using S-Video output
DisplaySony Trinitron Wega (80cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationYamaha RXV-795
SpeakersEnergy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right C-2; rears EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL

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