Red Dragon (HD DVD) (2002)

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Released 4-Dec-2007

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Menu Animation & Audio
Audio Commentary-Brett Ratner (Director) & Ted Tally (Screenwriter)
Featurette-Inside The Mind of a Serial Killer
Notes-Lecter's FBI File and Life History
Featurette-Anthony Hopkins: Lecter and Me
Short Film-Brett Ratner's Student Film
Featurette-Making Of-A Director's Journey
Featurette-Making Of
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Screen Tests
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Make-up application
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-The Leeds' House Crime Scene
Deleted Scenes
Storyboard Comparisons
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 124:19
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Brett Ratner
Studio
Distributor

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Anthony Hopkins
Edward Norton
Ralph Fiennes
Harvey Keitel
Emily Watson
Mary-Louise Parker
Philip Seymour Hoffman
Anthony Heald
Ken Leung
Frankie Faison
Tyler Patrick Jones
Lalo Schifrin
Tim Wheater
Case Amaray Variant
RPI $39.95 Music Danny Elfman


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital Plus 5.1
Japanese Dolby Digital Plus 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.40:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Japanese
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    While it was the third Hannibal Lecter film to be produced starring Anthony Hopkins, Red Dragon actually sits much earlier in the timeline of events that lead to The Silence of the Lambs, and later, Hannibal.

    We join the story just as FBI Agent Will Graham (Edward Norton) apprehends Lecter (Anthony Hopkins), but not without a struggle. Both are critically injured but they survive the confrontation, only to see Lecter tried, convicted and sentenced to life in jail in a very public trial. Once he recovers, Graham retires to a sunny beachside lifestyle that is soon interrupted by his superior, Jack Crawford (Harvey Keitel). Crawford approaches Graham regarding a new case that involves a psychopath who has killed two families, their murders linked by broken mirrors throughout their home. He recognises Graham's talent for getting into the emotional mindset of the killer and convinces him that his talent could help save many lives. Now lured out of retirement, Graham dives head-first into the Tooth Fairy (Ralph Fiennes) investigation, but soon hits a wall and is unable to progress the case. Who else could he visit for assistance, but his old nemesis, Lecter.

    Chilton is Lector's prison Chief and a wanna-be shrink to boot, who sees Lecter as not much more than a prize guinea pig. Graham achieves access to interview Lecter, who offers to help for a price. With the help of an inept reporter, Freddy Lounds (Philip Seymour Hoffman), Graham soon finds his very own family in immediate danger from the psychopath he is investigating. What exactly is Lecter's relationship with the Tooth Fairy, and how can Graham possibly stop the killings?

    Red Dragon was the first of Thomas Harris' novels to include the Lecter character, and was initially adapted to film as Manhunter - a largely inferior film in my opinion, but not entirely without merit. Brett Ratner (After The Sunset) is the director at the helm here, and the resulting film has a feel that segues nicely into the next film in the timeline; The Silence of the Lambs. While it's inevitably hard to match Lambs' superb, suspenseful atmosphere, Ratner does a very good job at maintaining an adequate blend of tension and style, creating what is arguably the second best film in the franchise.

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Transfer Quality

Video

Disclaimer: Please note that this disc has a video resolution of 1080p. It has been reviewed on a display device with a maximum native resolution of 720p. More information can be found here.

    The 1080p HD transfer is presented in the film's original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.40:1, within a native 16x9 frame.

    As far as HD transfers go, this is a little on the soft side in comparison to more recent productions. The image doesn't quite have that depth that makes sharper images leap off the screen, and this is especially visible in the fine text of the opening and closing titles. This is an overall dark film, and you'll find shadow detail and black levels are bold and suitably realistic.

    Colours are very well handled, from the sky blues to the deepest blood reds the transfer maintains colour consistency superbly.

    The video stream has been compressed via the VC-1 codec, and there are absolutely no compression faults visible. Film artefacts are often visible, usually in the form of specs of dust and dirt here and there. Some very slight telecine wobble is visible in the film's opening credits.

    An optional English subtitle stream is available and seems to follow the dialogue closely.

    This disc is HD-30 formatted.

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

Audio

    There are four soundtrack options accompanying this film on DVD, two of which are Audio Commentaries. The default soundtrack is determined by the viewer's choice in an initial language select menu. I listened to the film's original English language Dolby Digital Plus audio. A Japanese dubbed alternative is also included.

    The English dialogue is perfectly clear and always discernable above effects and score. The ADR is seamless. Audio sync seems problem-free.

    The use of the surround channels extends from subtle atmospherics such as wind in trees and forest noises at 40:08, to crackling fire at 108:37. The score can also be heard within the rear channels from time to time. Dialogue is generally confined to the front centre channel.

    The score by Danny Elfman is the subject of an isolated score soundtrack on this disc, complete with occasional commentary by the man himself. It's a very 'classic' feeling score, very much in the vein of Bernard Hermann.

    The subwoofer makes itself known when it really matters, especially during explosions and the like. At 66:18 a loud helicopter effect dominates the LFE channel to great effect.

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

Extras

    This HD DVD disc retains all of the worthwhile bonus material from the Red Dragon 2-Disc Special Edition DVD released several years ago. All extras are presented in standard definition, with non-widescreen enhanced video.

Menu

    The menu page is completely generic and features the familiar, shiny, animated Universal logo. A language select menu loads initially, followed by the main menu page. None of the typical Universal HD DVD trimmings such as My Scenes or a handy progress bar are included at all.

Audio Commentary- Brett Ratner (Director) and Ted Tally (Screenwriter)

    These two gents discuss most aspects of the filmmaking process in an interesting manner and explain their desire to stay true to Thomas Harris' novel. Ratner relates the story about his meeting with the producers (De Laurentiis) and how he came to get the job. A very good commentary this one; if you're familiar with Ratner's other commentaries you should know what to expect.

Audio Commentary- Danny Elfman (Composer)

    This is essentially an isolated score broken up by some spoken explanation by Elfman. Danny introduces each piece of music, his intentions as far as themes are concerned and how he portrays and enhances the film's emotional triggers. A very informative commentary for Elfman fans and anyone with an interest in film scoring.

Gallery- Lecter's FBI File and Life History

    There are more than twenty pages in all, detailing Lecter's troubled upbringing and known felonies to date.

Deleted Scenes (5:23)

    These are available with an optional commentary by Ratner, Tally and editor Mark Helfrich. When it all boils down, these were necessary trimmings that didn't really add anything of substance to the film.

Extended Scenes (2:28)

    Three brief, but interesting scene extensions that highlight the power of the editing suite.

Alternate Versions (4:34)

    Some slightly altered cuts of familiar scenes that illustrate the in-depth editing process. These are also presented with an optional commentary.

Featurette- Inside The Mind of A Serial Killer (8:16)

    Agent John Douglas talks of his recruitment into the FBI and their research into the profiling and rehabilitation of offenders. He discusses his meetings with an assortment of killers such as Manson and Speck. He ultimately offers us his analysis of the fictional character of Lecter and what probably made him the way he is.

Featurette- Anthony Hopkins: Lecter and Me (4:25)

    Hopkins explains his acting methods and how he came to originally accept the role. He discusses the character's popularity and how it has shaped his career.

Featurette- The Making of Red Dragon (14:18)

    A 'made for television' promo piece that includes interviews with cast, crew, Producers and Director Brett Ratner. Also includes behind the scenes footage, as all participants praise Ratner's energy and enthusiasm on the set.

Featurette- A Director's Journey: The Making of Red Dragon (39:25)

    This is a much more in depth making-of documentary that illustrates the production from day one of initial location scouting and pre-production. It is a very involving feature that covers all aspects of filmmaking process, with plenty of outtakes and behind the scenes footage.

Short Film- Brett Ratner's Student Film (3:37)

    Made in 1987 and completely silent, this simple student film depicts a young couple enjoying a romantic candle-lit dinner that soon goes awry.

Featurette- Visual Effects (4:25)

    A flurry of short clips showing visual effects tweaks that were made, some of them very subtle, with before and after film clips for comparison.

Featurette- Screen Tests (11:43)

    This piece shows the various hair, makeup and wardrobe tests that were performed in advance of principal photography. An informative commentary by Ratner, Dante Spinotti (Director of Photography) and Matthew Mungle (Makeup Effects) is included.

Featurette- Makeup Application (0:45)

    A very short clip, showing the complicated eye makeup that was applied with small mirrors in the eye pieces.

Featurette- The Burning Wheelchair (4:00)

    This behind the scenes featurette shows the amazing amount of preparation the poor stunt guy had to go through for the highly memorable flaming wheelchair sequence.

Featurette- The Leeds Crime Scene (3:37)

    A consultant from the L.A. County Sheriff's dept. assisted in the preparation of the scene. You know, the directions of blood splatters and stuff.

Storyboards to Final Film Comparison (8:38)

    A split screen comparison of several of the film's key scenes.

R4 vs R1

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

    This HD DVD disc is identical in content across the globe.

Summary

    Red Dragon is an indispensable chapter in Lecter's story, and a highly suspenseful piece of filmmaking from Brett Ratner.

    The video transfer is good.

    The audio transfer is great.

    The extras are recycled from the Standard Definition DVD.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Rob Giles (readen de bio, bork, bork, bork.)
Friday, January 25, 2008
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba HD-D1, using HDMI output
DisplaySanyo 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 DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVR-3806 (7.1 Channels)
SpeakersOrpheus Aurora III floor-standing Mains and Surrounds. Orpheus Centaurus .5 Front Center. Mirage 10 inch powered sub.

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
No salt -
'classic' feeling score??? -