Premonition (Yogen) (2004)
Menu Animation & Audio
Featurette-Making Of-Visual FX
Interviews-Cast & Crew
Trailer-The Eye; Spider Forest; Shinobi
|Year Of Production||2004|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (42:05)||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Norio Tsuruta|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.85:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||Yes, Polaroids.|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
While returning from a family holiday, workaholic father Satomi (Hiroshi Mikami) stops the car to use a payphone while his wife and five year old daughter Nana wait impatiently on the side of the road. Standing in the cramped booth, he comes across a dirty scrap of newspaper that includes a photo of his young daughter, accompanied by a story detailing her unfortunate death in a roadside accident. Too stunned for words, he steps out of the box to show his wife, when the aforementioned accident happens right in front of his own eyes. The newspaper clipping is lost in the mayhem that follows, and poor Satomi is written off by those around him as a nut case.
Three years and a divorce later, Satomi is eking out his existence in a small, lonely apartment and working as a school teacher, although he now has an understandable aversion to printed media and chain smokes like there's no tomorrow. A spate of recent teen knifings has got his class in a flutter and one of the students is having visions similar to the one he experienced years ago. Could there be a connection? Better still, his estranged wife, Ayaka (Noriko Sakai), has re-established contact, saying she has learned of a phenomenon known as The Newspaper of Terror via a renowned psychic who can project images from her mind directly onto Polaroid. What a talent! The clairvoyant specifically warns her of the dangers of pursuing the subject, however the couple reunite to start their own investigations in the hope of solving the riddle of their daughter's demise.
Directed by Norio Tsuruta (Ring 0: Birthday), Yogen is based on a 30 year old Manga by Jiro Tsunoda, titled Fear Newspaper. The story is a popular one in its native Japan, which made this a very highly anticipated film when production was announced. I don't feel that the standard of this production even remotely lives up to popular classics such as Ringu or Ju-on (The Grudge), which it is clearly trying to emulate. The film is tediously paced, only mildly thrilling, and suffers from a few questionable twists to the story arc. Why would an estranged wife of three years suddenly decide to take faith in the ramblings of her crackpot ex-husband? Why is it necessary to bombard attentive viewers with flashback sequences of scenes we witnessed only minutes earlier?
From the occasionally dodgy special effects (see the cartoon-like shattering glass at 7:15) to the extremely wooden performances from the main cast, this is a J-horror curio that may be most appreciated by die-hard fans only. With another director, the potential may have been there to develop on what is an interesting premise, however that potential is not realised here.
The transfer is presented in the film's original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1, complete with 16x9 enhancement.
The transfer shows an adequate degree of detail without appearing overly sharp. I couldn't find any evidence to suggest that this might be an NTSC conversion. Black levels are good, but are let down by minor compression issues. Some slight edge enhancement is visible around foreground objects in some scenes.
As is explained in the making-of, Premonition underwent significant digital manipulation and grading in the post production process. The film's colour scheme ranges from a strong sepia tone in the opening scenes to a heavily washed out appearance in the remainder of the film.
The video stream has been compressed at a highly variable bitrate, averaging 5.7Mb/s. MPEG compression issues are relatively consistent throughout the transfer and are quite noticeable on a big screen. Surfaces of a creamy texture are awash with MPEG noise, such as the light-colored shirt at 7:58, while some objects are seen to have visible compression grain surrounding them. I didn't note any dire film artefacts, however a minor degree of telecine wobble is present throughout the film.
An English subtitle stream is activated by default, comprised of a yellow font for spoken dialogue and white for translation of on-screen text, such as newspaper headlines. The subtitles are easy to follow and flow with the film accurately.
This disc is dual layered (DVD9), with the layer break situated during the feature at 42:05. The pause is perfectly placed during a silent fade to black between scenes.
A lone Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is provided, in the film's original Japanese language (448Kb/s).
The dialogue is distinct in the mix and never overpowered by effects or score. Audio sync is perfect. There are no ADR issues in the slightest.
The use of the surround channels extends to the usual effects such as explosions and passing vehicles. Scary bursts of the soundtrack score leap from the rear channels on occasion, as well as very creepy, subtle noises that draw the viewer in. Voices do stray to the surround channels on a number of occasions, in keeping with the placement of characters within a scene.
The score by Kenji Kawai (Ghost in the Shell, Dark Water) is fairly straightforward for the most part and doesn't live up to the magic of some of his other work. The score builds and releases in the right places, but isn't particularly memorable. The closing credits feature a tacky pop song that feels completely out of place with the film.
The subwoofer is used effectively to add rumbles in the right places, either to subtly build tension in a scene or augment explosions and other effects.
|Surround Channel Use|
The making-of is split into six parts that must be played separately. Each focuses on a particular scene in the film, looking at actors, make-up and special effects.
This featurette takes us through the various stages of animation and composite work needed to complete the main CG scenes in the film.
Director Norio Tsuruta and several cast members discuss the film and their respective characters.
The Director, Producer and main cast addressed the media soon after their film started production. They discuss the J-horror trend, the increasing popularity of Japanese films in the west and their hopes for the finished product.
The 'international trailer' from Lion's Gate gives away most of the film's surprises.
A short, yet effective promo piece.
Thirty stills taken from the film.
Trailers are included for The Eye, Spider Forest and Shinobi.
The reverse side of the slick is identical, but omits the unsightly ratings logos.
The Region 2 UK disc from Tartan is reportedly an NTSC conversion and includes additional Japanese audio options in Dolby Digital 2.0 and dts 5.1. It also includes the same special features.
Details of the Asian releases are unclear, however the Region 3 Korean disc (Region 3 Korean discs are often sourced from the Region 2 Japanese) does not have English subtitles. Our local version is good, if you want to make a purchase.
The video transfer is let down by some compression issues.
The audio transfer is good.
The extras are pertinent to the film.
|DVD||Denon DVD-3910, using HDMI output|
|Display||Sanyo PLV-Z2 WXGA projector, Screen Technics Cinemasnap 96" (16x9). 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-3806 (via Denon Link 3)|
|Speakers||Orpheus Aurora lll Mains (bi-wired), Rears, Centre Rear. Orpheus Centaurus .5 Front Centre. Mirage 10 inch sub.|