Frequency (2000)

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Released 31-Jan-2001

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Main Menu Audio & Animation
Dolby Digital Trailer-Canyon
Scene Selection Anim & Audio
Theatrical Trailer
Deleted Scenes-4
Featurette-The Science & Technology Behind Frequency
Multiple Angles-Conceptual and Solar Galleries
Biographies-Cast & Crew
Audio Commentary-Gregory Hoblit (Director)
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2000
Running Time 113:44
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (35:28) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Gregory Hoblit
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Dennis Quaid
Jim Caviezel
Andre Braugher
Elizabeth Mitchell
Noah Emmerich
Case C-Button-Version 1
RPI $34.95 Music Michael Kamen


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.40:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    I was bitterly disappointed when I inadvertently missed Frequency at the cinema, as I had heard good reports about it. So, when I got the opportunity to review Frequency, I jumped at the chance.

    I played around with my own plot synopses for a while, but I found that I was either giving away too much or wasn't providing enough detail, so I finally settled on using the back cover blurb, so that I wouldn't unduly delay getting this review out.

    From the back cover blurb: "On October 11, 1999, one day before the anniversary of his father's death, 36-year-old jaded cop, John Sullivan, comes across his father's old ham radio. It is a night of bizarre weather, with the aurora borealis dominating the night sky and, as John plays around with the radio, he finds himself talking to a man who sounds strangely familiar. When he discovers the man is in fact his father talking to him on the same day, but in 1969, John realizes he has the power to save his father from dying and create the future that might have been. It is a chance that no loving son could pass up, but one that ultimately plays with destiny, bringing with it another terror for John's family to endure-one that must be fought on both sides of the time barrier."

    For those who liked the idea of Frequency, but like me didn't get to see it at the cinema, I recommend that you have a look at it on DVD.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer is extremely clear and sharp at all times and the shadow detail never wavers from being perfect. No low-level noise, edge enhancement or edge bleeding was noticed. At 71:00, the picture starts out rather dark and then changes back to the correct brightness level, just like in Looking for Alibrandi. What I found interesting about this brightness correction was that it was within 151 seconds of the one in Looking for Alibrandi!

    The colour was exemplary - beautifully saturated, rich and vibrant throughout.

    There were several occasions where some extremely trivial grain could be seen but you had to be looking very closely to notice it, so it's hardly worth a mention. There is one exception to this, at 108:57, where the grain becomes much more noticeable, but it is still a long way away from what I would classify as bad.

    I only spotted one possible MPEG artefact for the entire film, which was at 22:12. At this point, the picture appeared to suffer from motion blur, as all the objects in the background had three edges. Whether this is an MPEG compression artefact or inherent in the original film is unknown, but I would suspect that the former is the more likely culprit.

    I wish I could say that aliasing was not a problem with this transfer, but unfortunately it is, and it is a reasonably serious problem at that. It strikes regularly and is quite distracting. Scenes that contain any sort of camera movement are almost always affected. Fine, strongly contrasted objects like radio antennas, Venetian blinds and car chrome are the worst offenders. I took a close look at the aliasing on this transfer and found that it was being induced by interlacing artefacts, so the good news is if you have a progressive scan DVD or TV, then this transfer will be almost perfect. A couple of the more noticeable examples of aliasing can be found at 7:23, 10:28-10:33, 14:27, 30:45, 34:14, 95:37 and 101:47 when watching on an interlaced device. At 82:28 there is a strong moiré artefact on the TV set, but I believe this has been deliberately added to the TV set for aesthetic reasons.

    I only noticed half a dozen tiny film artefacts for the entire film.

    This disc is an RSDL disc, with the layer change occurring at 35:28 in Chapter 8. There is a short pause, which is mostly noticeable because the music stops, but it is well placed so it does not disrupt the flow of the movie.

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

Audio

    There are three English audio tracks on this DVD; a 448Kb/s Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, a 224Kb/s Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack and a 224Kb/s Dolby Digital 2.0 Director's Commentary. I want to praise Roadshow Home Entertainment for using the superior 448Kb/s audio stream here. I listened to the default English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack and then to the commentary track.

    I found the dialogue a little hard to make out on several occasions, so I found myself turning the volume up during dialogue-driven sequences and then down again for the action scenes.

    There were a couple of scenes where the dialogue almost seemed like it was out of sync, but it would then come good again even before the sentence had been completed. This made me wonder if the dialogue had been looped for these scenes. Either way, this is very subtle and infrequent.

    Michael Kamen's music score really ties this movie together, allowing you to seamlessly travel between 1969 and 1999.

    The surround channels were aggressively used for ambience, music and many special effects. The sound mix put you in the midst of the movie at all times.

    The subwoofer was quite active on many occasions and really added depth and punch to the soundtrack.




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

Extras

    There is a superb set of extras on this disc, but what is more impressive is the excellent quality of all of the extras. I cannot over-emphasize the excellent quality of the extras enough and everything is 16x9 enhanced. The Dolby Digital 5.1 Canyon trailer is shown after you press play.

Menu

    The main menu is excellent, visually and aurally. It is 16x9 enhanced and has film footage and theme music (Dolby Digital 2.0, 224Kb/s). I listened and watched it over and over again for about five minutes! There is a short lead-in clip before the main menu appears, which is also of excellent quality. The Main Menu selections are; Play Movie, Scene Selection (21), Special Features and Audio Options.

    All menus are 16x9 enhanced and the Scene Selection menu has audio and visual enhancement. The presentation and layout of the menus are exemplary. This is one top-notch disc in the area of menu presentation.

Theatrical Trailer (2:35 minutes)

    The theatrical trailer is of excellent quality, and is presented in the film's original 2.35:1 aspect and is 16x9 enhanced, with a 448Kb/s Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack.

Deleted Scenes (4)

    All four of the deleted scenes are of excellent quality (i.e. equal to the movie quality), presented in the film's original 2.35:1 aspect ratio and 16x9 enhanced, with a 224Kb/s Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. The deleted scenes are; John talks to Gordo (2:13), Frank & Julia Kiss (1:22), Toby Emmerich Cameo (0:36) and Frank & Shepard's Confrontation (1:23).

Documentary - The Science & Technology Behind Frequency (37:58 minutes)

    This documentary (which is not a making-of featurette) is excellent and is a must-see for anyone who enjoyed the movie. It is just brimming with interesting details. The four main areas talked about are; The Science & Technology behind Frequency, Ham Radios, Time Travel and Fighting Fires. The documentary is presented in various 16x9 enhanced aspect ratios. The picture quality of the interviews is a little soft, but it is still extremely good and is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. The film footage is presented in its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio. There are also a couple of pictures that are mail-slotted (black borders down each side of the 16x9 frame) to preserve their correct 1.33:1 aspect ratio. Audio is 224Kb/s Dolby Digital 2.0.

Multiple Angles - Conceptual & Solar Galleries

    This section contains the opening computer generated visual effect footage of the sun in four levels of completion, including the final film version. You can choose to play all four one after the other, or you can play each one individually. This feature makes use of multiple angles.

Cast & Crew

    This section contains Biographies and complete Filmographies for Dennis Quaid, Elizabeth Mitchell, Andre Braugher, Jim Caviezel, Noah Emmerich and Gregory Hoblit (Director). As with all the other extras, these are superbly presented.

Audio Commentary - Gregory Hoblit (Director)

    The commentary features Gregory Hoblit in the centre channel speaking over the film's Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. There were quite a few gaps in the commentary, but the content and quality of the commentary makes up for this. I personally found everything that Gregory Hoblit talked about to be informative and interesting.

R4 vs R1

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

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;     The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;     There is no mention of aliasing on the R1 reviews I read, but usually the R1 version will suffer more severely from this artefact than its R4 counterpart because of the lower number of horizontal lines and because of the 3:2 pull-down artefacts that are associated with the NTSC format. If you want the maximum number of extras, then the R1 disc is the clear winner here, but for me personally, I prefer PAL pretty much any day of the week, even if that means sacrificing a few extras.

Summary

    I rather enjoyed Frequency, but this is not a film for those who don't like Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Thriller flicks.

    For those who have a progressive scan setup this is a fantastic transfer which truly shines, but for those who have a normal interlaced TV set, the frequent aliasing will and does detract from the picture quality somewhat.

    The audio quality is excellent, but I found the dialogue to be a little on the quiet side.

    There is a superb set of extras on this disc, but what is more impressive is the excellent quality of all the extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Paul Williams (read Paul's biography)
Sunday, January 28, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDSony DVP-725, using Component output
DisplaySony Projector VPH-G70 (No Line Doubler), Technics Da-Lite matt screen with gain of 1.0 (229cm). This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS989
SpeakersFronts: Energy RVS-1 (3), Rears: Energy RVSS-1 (2), Subwoofer: Energy EPS-150 (1)

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