The Myth (San wa) (2005)

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Released 8-Feb-2007

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Deleted Scenes
Interviews-Cast & Crew
Audio Commentary
Featurette-Behind The Scenes
Featurette-Making Of
Music Video
Trailer
TV Spots
Gallery-Photo
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2005
Running Time 120:35 (Case: 122)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (59:30)
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Stanley Tong
Studio
Distributor
JCE Entertainment
Madman Entertainment
Starring Jackie Chan
Hee-seon Kim
Tony Leung Ka Fai
Mallika Sherawat
Ken Lo
Case Amaray-Transparent-Dual
RPI ? Music Gary Chase
Nathan Wang


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Cantonese dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
Cantonese Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Cantonese Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement Yes
Action In or After Credits Yes

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

Plot Synopsis

    Tormented by dreams of a past life in which he was a noble general who fell in love with the Emperor's concubine, Jack the archaeologist (Jackie Chan) heads off to India to uncover the truth behind his dreams. His best friend William, an physicist who believes Jack's dream may be linked to the anti-gravity research he is conducting, finances the expedition and heads along too.

    The pair cause a ruckus at a temple they are investigating-cum-looting, and are split up. Jack goes on the run with the aid of an Indian princess (played by Bollywood star Mallika Sherawat) and makes a few Bollywood-inspired detours, complete with singing and dancing.

    Jack eventually makes his way back to China and reunites with William to continue their search for the truth to Jack's past life, immortality and a mysterious anti-gravity meteorite. Along the way, Jack's dreams complete the story of his past life and forbidden love in the era of the Qin dynasty.

    Don't let the thought of Jackie Chan as an archaeologist raise any expectations that The Myth is a long-overdue continuation to the Armour of God movies. The Myth if Chan's stab at the comparatively big budget effects laden epic, along the lines of House of Flying Daggers. Alas, for better or for worse, Jackie Chan has proven again that he can never stop being Jackie Chan and making "Jackie Chan movies".

    Some Jackie Chan fans will be a little put of by the amount of wire work and CGI that help The Myth along. Again, this comes back to the question of expectations. There are some great choreographed action scenes, including one very memorable piece on a conveyor belt covered in glue, but the film is aiming to be a wire-fu epic rather than just another Jackie Chan movie.

    Jackie's action/comedy style never really gels with the grand wire-fu epic and the movie winds up feeling a bit like a bunch of disparate scenes from different movies have been chopped together. Each of the scenes are good, although the Qin dynasty aspect is a tad underwritten and occasionally confusing, but the whole does not live up to the sum of its parts. That's not to say this isn't an enjoyable ride, far from it. This failed experiment is well worth a look, but it is definitely a case of rent before you buy.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video is presented in its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio and is 16x9 enhanced.

    The video suffers from severe interlacing artefacts that are present in virtually every frame. These artefacts give the video a blurred appearance whenever there is much movement, particularly when the camera is moving or Jackie Chan's precise physical routines are in motion. Given that the film does not appear to suffer the usual PAL 4% speedup, this is likely to be the result of a poor conversion to PAL from an NTSC transfer. There is also a noticeable amount of macro blocking and aliasing visible in some scenes, particularly in the scenes set in ancient times (such as at 2:40 and 66:24). These scenes tend to be very elaborate and involve a lot of intricate detail, a lot of which has been lost in the transfer.

    There is a moderate level of grain visible throughout the film, but it is at a fairly even level and not particularly distracting. The colours in the film are incredibly eye catching, very bold and elaborate, but are let down somewhat by the blur-factor which prevents them from appearing as crisp as they should be. There is a good level of detail in the darker areas of the video.

    The English subtitles are a bold yellow and very easy to read. They line up well to the Cantonese language track, but not the English dub. It is also worth noting that there are no Cantonese subtitles on this disc, despite a portion of the original, primarily Cantonese, language track being in English - so this is a portion of the film that anybody relying on the Cantonese dialogue may have difficulty understanding.

    This is a RSDL disc. The layer change occurs at 59:30 but was not noticeable on my equipment.

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

Audio

    There are 4 audio tracks present, Cantonese/Mandarin/English DTS 5.1, Cantonese/Mandarin/English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448 Kbps), English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224 Kbps) and Cantonese commentary in Dolby Digital 2.0 (224 Kbps).

    The dialogue is clear and easy to follow on each of the audio tracks, but has obviously been post-recorded as the ADR is noticeable on all 3 main language tracks.

    The score is quite powerful. It suits the film and sounds great on each of the tracks. A few brief dropouts are audible on each of the tracks however and are noticeable because of brief drops in the music.

    The surrounds get a good workout, but occasionally the dialogue panning is a little extreme - the dialogue moves almost entirely to different speakers as the video cuts to different camera angles (such as at 60:53). The subwoofer gets a great workout throughout the film, not just used for booms and bangs but for subtle environmental effects such as waterfalls.

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

Extras

    This release is a 2 disc set with the feature, including audio commentary, on the first disc and the extras on the second. There are heaps of extras to be found on this disc and many are quite worthwhile.

Audio Commentary with Director Stanley Tong, Producer Barbie Tung and Art Director Oliver Wong

    A pretty decent commentary with the the creative team behind the film. The commentary itself is Cantonese with English subtitles, which means viewers can actually listen to the regular movie audio and read the commentary. There are plenty of anecdotes, many revolve around the creative challenges of implementing such a high concept film and the difficulty of location shooting, including actually finding locations - to the extent that a number of scenes were shot in Jackie Chan's own HK office!

Deleted Scenes (4:17)

    Two short (the first is only 13 seconds!) deleted scenes, neither of which add much to the plot or change anything significantly.

Making the Myth Featurette (15:21)

    An interesting "Making Of" featurette that focuses mostly on the adventure of filming in India (in particular filming in the 700 year of Humpy temple region that had never been open for movie filming before), the stunts and the special effects. This featurette features a Cantonese language track and yellow English subtitles

Behind the Scenes Featurette (85:13)

    Raw video footage taken behind the scenes during production during 14 different parts of filming. This is presented in a full frame 1.33:1 aspect ratio and has no voice over introduction or anything similar that explains what is going on, just a few English subtitles when something worthwhile can be heard in the footage. Nonetheless, it does provide an interesting look at the production process, the select use of green-screen and stunt choreography - but there is a lot of filler in-between interesting glimpses. Worth a look, but have your finger ready on the fast forward button.

Interviews

    Lengthy interviews with a variety of cast and crew members. Many of these interviews actually consist of the interesting bits from a few interviews cut together, such as the Jackie Chan interview that combines an on-location interview in India and one in his office back home.

    There are interviews with:

Theatrical Premieres Featurettes (22:40)

    A look at the premieres for the film held in Hong Kong and at the Cannes Film Festival.

Music Video for Endless Love, sung by Jackie Chan and Kim Hee-Seon (4:51)

    A rather generic music video for the lead song form the film.

Original Trailers

    A teaser trailer (1:02), two theatrical trailers (2:18 and 2:12) and TV spot (0:31). Each trailer is in a wide aspect, but none are 16x9 enhanced.

Production Stills

    84 16x9 high resolution production stills that can be navigated with the remote.

R4 vs R1

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

    This title is not yet available in Region 1. The Region 4 2-disc version is near identical in content to the 3-disc Region 3 Limited Collector's Edition. The difference between these two versions being that Region 3 misses the English language dub track but has an additional trailer, "Best Scenes" featurette, a second version of the Music Video and a fancy cardboard box packaging that includes a 5" Terracotta figurine covered in "earth" - the idea being that purchasers become archaeologists themselves and can uncover the figurine!

    There is also a 2-disc "Standard Edition" in Region 3 that misses the interviews and about 30 minutes of behind the scenes footage, but features the additional trailer, "Best Scenes" featurette and second version of the Music Video.

    I am unaware of whether the extra features on the Region 3 versions have English subtitles, but several (such as the behind the scenes footage) don't really need subtitles. Both Region 3 editions are NTSC and reviews suggest they do not suffer the same video interlacing issues of the PAL transfer, which is enough to favour the Region 3 in any comparison.

Summary

    Jackie Chan's attempt at a wire-fu epic is somewhat of a failed experiment, but an enjoyable failure. It seems you can put Jackie Chan in any kind of movie, but you can't stop him being Jackie Chan - whether or not it really fits.

    The video transfer is riddled with artefacts and appears to blur during scenes involving much movement. The audio is very good. There are plenty of decent extras on the two discs, but no amount of extras could make up for the substandard video presentation.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Adam Gould (Totally Biolicious!)
Thursday, March 22, 2007
Review Equipment
DVDLG V8824W, using S-Video output
DisplayLG 80cm 4x3 CRT. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderPioneer VSX-D512. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-D512
Speakers150W DTX front speakers, and a 100W centre and 2 surrounds, 12 inch PSB Image 6i powered sub

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
note on 3-disc Hong Kong "r3" version--it's all-region / r0. n/t - Anonymous
About the R0 HK releases... - pat00139