The Ring: Collectors Edition (2002)
Main Menu Introduction
Menu Animation & Audio
Featurette-Don't Watch This
Trailer-The Ring 2, Ring 2 - The Tape
Easter Egg-The Video
|Year Of Production||2002|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (67:34)||Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Language Select Then Menu|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Gore Verbinski|
Universal Pictures Home Video
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
In his review of the original Region 4 disc, my co-reviewer TonyR abstained from divulging any plot points and I intend to do the same, simply because this film is much more effective if first time viewers approach it with an open mind. If you really need some idea of the story, have a read of JohnL's great review of the Japanese film Ringu, of which this film is an English language remake. Suffice it to say that this is a very effective horror film, with believable performances and a superb atmosphere.
While I tend to prefer foreign language originals over Hollywood remakes, Ring is an exception for me. I still enjoy the tone of the original and the window of Japanese culture it offers, but the performances here are far superior, especially Naomi Watts. In hindsight, this film has such a dark atmosphere about it I find it amazing that director Gore Verbinski went on to direct the excellent Pirates of the Caribbean with Johnny Depp, such a vastly different film in many respects.
The release of this Collectors Edition roughly coincides with the theatrical release of the sequel, Ring 2. The follow-up to Ring sees the return of Naomi Watts as journalist Rachel Keller and is directed by none other than Hideo Nakata, director of the original Japanese language film Ringu and also the similarly themed Dark Water. With the original director at the helm, I am very interested in catching Ring 2 at the cinema.
I realise that most people who visit this review will be essentially looking for a comparison with the first Region 4 release of this film almost two years ago. With that in mind, I've made a comparison table of the two Region 4 releases for your reference. More detail regarding these differences can be found in the video and audio portions of the review.
|The Ring||The Ring: Collectors Edition|
|Soundtracks|| || |
|Aspect Ratio||1.78:1 (16x9 enhanced)||1.78:1 (16x9 enhanced)|
|Video Bitrate (Average)||7.7 Mb/s||6.14 Mb/s|
|Subtitle Languages|| || |
|Extras|| || |
|Release Date||June 27, 2003||April 6, 2005|
As you can see, the regular disc and the Collector's Edition each contain the same cut of the film and we still don't have a dts soundtrack like Region 1. As far as the transfer goes, the Collector's Edition has more video compression and no French language option. The menu systems and Easter Egg are virtually identical aside from the lack of scene selection menu animation in the CE. The main reason consumers may want to upgrade to the Collector's Edition is the inclusion of the excellent short film Rings, which acts as a segue of sorts between the first and second films. My synopsis of the short film Rings can be found in the extras section of the review, below.
This video transfer is decent, but appears to be slightly inferior to the previous release. I was distracted by some compression issues that are not evident in the original transfer of the film. On closer inspection I found the MPEG video bitrate to be lower than the earlier transfer.
The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, complete with 16x9 enhancement. This is relatively close to the film's theatrically exhibited ratio of 1.85:1.
The transfer is sharp and clear, with a great degree of visible detail. As TonyR pointed out in his review, shadow detail is limited at times but this would appear to be the director's intention. There was no low level noise evident in the transfer.
Most colours are muted and drab with little vibrancy. The film has been graded in post production so as to achieve this washed out effect, and it works.
I noted some MPEG grain on the wall at 6:35. As I established above, this transfer contains a higher rate of compression than that of the previous edition, with a highly variable video bitrate averaging 6.1Mb/s. The previous video transfer was encoded with a slightly more constant 7.7Mb/s. The aliasing is more pronounced in this transfer, such as the grille above the fridge at 6:06. Film grain is present to a small degree, but is never overly distracting. I noted a number of tiny film artefacts that are identical to those in the earlier release, confirming that this transfer is derived from the same source.
The English subtitle stream is geared for the hearing impaired and does a fine job. The black and white font is easy to read and follows the dialogue accurately.
This disc is dual layered (DVD9 format), with the layer transition placed during the feature at 67:34. The pause occurs in a silent moment between scenes and was completely transparent on my system. I believe the placement here is more appropriate than the first transfer.
There are two soundtracks accompanying the collector's edition of this film in Region 4. The default soundtrack is English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s) and a German option is available. Like me, you're probably saying "still no dts audio?".
The English dialogue is clear and distinct, with no obvious ADR or sync problems. Even during scenes with plenty of activity the spoken word is easy to discern.
Surround channel usage ranges from subtle to shocking and does a great job of keeping the viewer on their toes. The score occupies the rears a lot and occasionally gives a burst to jolt the viewer back to reality. Voices are generally confined to the front centre channel and don't stray to the surrounds too often.
The theme by Hans Zimmer is comprised of a simple string ensemble and piano, while the score itself features some passages by a full orchestra. As a whole, the music of the film is outstanding and makes for a very intimidating experience.
The subwoofer doesn't make itself felt until some way into the film, but it is used appropriately. At 54:50 the deep thud of horses hooves can be heard, and an explosion at 76:23 is equally effective.
|Surround Channel Use|
This handful of extras is preferable to the original release but hardly befits the Collector's Edition tag. The most glaring absence is the lack of any commentary from the cast or crew.
Jake (Ryan Merriman) is a high school student who finds himself welcomed into a clique of friends that record their experiences for several days after watching the tape, then pass their copy onto a new recruit for viewing. The film is effectively a diary of Jake's haunting seven days after watching the tape, and the desperation that consumes him when the end draws near. His friends are reluctant to help him because none of them have kept a video journal up to the seventh day, and they are very keen to push him to the brink in order to see what happens.
As an expansion of the Ring fable, this short film is indispensable to fans and makes for a great introduction to the second film. The direction by Jonathan Liebesman is fluid and keeps in line with the tension of the first film. The video is a little too compressed in places and is presented in 1.78:1, with 16x9 enhancement. A decent Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is included, encoded at 448Kb/s.
This is a pretty cool way of using deleted scenes and alternate takes: compile them into a short and spooky film. A similar feature was included on the Gladiator DVD. This extra is 16x9 enhanced and includes Dolby Digital 5.1 audio.
Presented in 1.33:1 and clearly intended for television, this short and lightweight featurette includes interviews with director Gore Verbinski and actors Naomi Watts, Brian Cox and Martin Henderson. It barely scratches the surface of this production, but includes some interesting comments from the cast.
There are three trailers in this section; the Ring 1 Theatrical Trailer (2:02) and the Ring 2 Theatrical Trailer (1:23), both presented with 16x9 enhancement. Also included is Ring 2 - The Tape (1:12). Apparently this is "the tape" that forms the basis for the sequel. It's presented in 1.33:1 full frame and unlike the Easter Egg tape it contains no player locks of any kind.
This is placed in the identical location to the egg that can be found on the original DVD. Once playback is started, your player is locked completely. Afterward, you are returned to the main menu and the sound of a phone ringing.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The Region 1 disc of 2003 included an English dts audio option. The recently released Region 1 CE contains the same first disc and a second disc of supplements. Region 4 still misses out on:
The Origin of Terror featurette is apparently a retrospective of the Horror genre and by some reports is a bit on the lame side. The inclusion of a dts soundtrack makes Region 1 the preferred version for me.
The video transfer is good, but is slightly more compressed than the original disc.
The audio transfer is excellent.
The extras include a short making of and an excellent short film that expands on the Ring universe.
|DVD||Denon DVD-3910, using DVI output|
|Display||Sanyo PLV-Z2 WXGA projector. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 720p.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Denon AVR-2802 Dolby EX/DTS ES Discrete|
|Speakers||Orpheus Aurora lll Mains (bi-wired), Rears, Centre Rear. Orpheus Centaurus .5 Front Centre. Mirage 10 inch sub.|