Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden? (2008)

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Released 1-May-2009

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Documentary None
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2008
Running Time 90:01
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Morgan Spurlock
Studio
Distributor
Icon Entertainment Starring Morgan Spurlock
George Bush
Alexandra Jamieson
Dick Cheney
Donald Rumsfeld
Daryl Isaacs
Laken James Spurlock
Case ?
RPI ? Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    Anxious expectant father Morgan Spurlock, of Super Size Me and 30 Days fame, sets his sights on hunting down today's bogeyman, Osama Bin Laden, in a desperate attempt to protect his future family. That is Spurlock's excuse for a broad theatrical documentary on the US foreign policy and Islamic terrorism, at any rate.

    Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden follows the same style of presentation as Super Size Me, albeit with an obviously more generous budget. Spurlock travels through Egypt, Palestine, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan, playing the dumb American in search of answers as he interviews a variety of friends and relatives of known terrorists and average citizens of the countries he visits. Between interview segments, simplified explanations of the various bits of background politics are provided along with amusing animation. It all makes for good entertainment, but the explanations lack depth and the investigations fail to provide any real insight into the situation or the location of the man in question.

    In the end, about all Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden has to say adds up to nothing more than common sense - by far the majority of Muslims are decent human beings and governments all over the place are hypocritical and corrupt. At least Spurlock has an entertaining way of putting it.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The film is presented in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio and is 16x9 enhanced.

    The film looks to have been shot digitally and the image reasonably clear and sharp throughout, particularly given that so much of it was shot on location (and in some hairy ones at that). There is a good level of shadow depth. The colour looks quite natural.

    The video appears rather jerky throughout the entirety of the film, which appears to be due to to some heavy interlacing artefacts. The interlacing effect can easily be seen by pausing the video. The effect appears worst when there are subtitles on screen (probably due to the subtitles being completely static, but the surrounding video being heavily artefacted). Many scenes feature noticeable edge enhancement, along with corresponding halos around interview subjects. There is no sign of film artefacts in the transfer.

    There are hard-coded English subtitles for anyone speaking in a foreign language or speaking English with the slightest accent, but not control available over the subtitles (let alone an ability to turn them on for all dialogue).

    This is a single layered disc, so no layer change interrupts the feature.

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

Audio

    A single English Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (224 Kbps) audio track is present for the film.

    The dialogue is clear and easy to understand. The audio and video look to be well synchronised throughout.

    There is nothing really in the way of music save for a few well placed songs that play rather briefly, particularly the country rock "Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden" theme.

    The audio is a very flat stereo mix, which seems unlikely to have been the film's theatrical presentation no matter how basic the surround usage. Admittedly there isn't much call for surrounds in a documentary, although this particular documentary has a number of high-concept animatics that would have been really enhanced with decent sound. The subwoofer barely registers anything in the rather dull mix.

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

Extras

    Nothing. Nada. Zip.

R4 vs R1

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

    The Region 1 edition of the film includes about 15 minutes of additional interview footage and an alternate ending, making it the clear winner of this comparison.

Summary

    An entertaining documentary that really has nothing to say. The DVD presentation is mediocre and the disc is bare bones, however.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Adam Gould (Totally Biolicious!)
Friday, May 29, 2009
Review Equipment
DVDSony Playstation 3, using HDMI output
Display Samsung 116cm LA46M81BD. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL).
Audio DecoderPioneer VSX2016AVS. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX2016AVS
Speakers150W DTX front speakers, 100W centre and 4 surround/rear speakers, 12 inch PSB Image 6i powered sub

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