The Fugitive: Special Edition (1993)

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Released 2-Aug-2002

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Main Menu Audio
Introduction
Audio Commentary
Featurette-Derailed: Anatomy Of A Train Wreck
Featurette-On The Run
Theatrical Trailer
Listing-Cast & Crew
Awards
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1993
Running Time 124:54
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (70:29) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Andrew Davis
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring Harrison Ford
Tommy Lee Jones
Sela Ward
Joe Pantoliano
Andreas Katsulas
Jeroen Krabbe
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $29.95 Music James Newton Howard


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
French
Italian
Dutch
Arabic
Spanish
Portuguese
German
Romanian
Bulgarian
English for the Hearing Impaired
Italian for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    One of the absolute earliest DVDs to be released by Warner Home Video in 1998, The Fugitive has now been re-released as a Special Edition with a host of extra goodies to entice us to part with our cash again. For those of you unfamiliar with the plot, a quick summary is in order.

    Harrison Ford stars as Dr. Richard Kimble in this movie-length feature based on the early 1960s television series of the same name starring David Janssen. When Kimble comes home from a night of surgery and discovers that his wife has been murdered and that he is suspect number one, his life is shaken up rather dramatically. Despite his protests of innocence and his ludicrous offering of a one-armed man being the real culprit, he is charged and subsequently found guilty of murder. Sentenced to execution by lethal injection, he is transferred by bus to the state penitentiary. Of course, not all goes to plan and the bus crashes, giving Kimble a chance to escape. Will he take the chance and use his new-found freedom to try and find those responsible for his wife's murder? Not if US Marshall Samuel Gerard has his way (Tommy Lee Jones in the role that won him a Best Supporting Actor Oscar). It is Gerard's job to track down all the escapees from the bus crash and bring them back to prison. Kimble proves more elusive than most and will resort to all manner of tricks and daring plans to escape capture. So begins a sizzling cat-and-mouse style chase with Gerard and his fellow Marshals hot on the trail, all while Kimble battles to find the real killer of his wife and more importantly the real reason she was murdered in the first place.

    This is the sort of film that doesn't ever seem to date and is just as enjoyable to watch the second, third, or fourth time around. No gimmicky special effects are on offer, just a solid script, liberal doses of humour from the superb main cast, a couple of breathtaking set-pieces, and a simple, yet eloquently related story.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    I did a quick comparison of this new transfer to the original and found this one much crisper, with less grain, and a more film-like feel to it. The original disc was crammed onto a single layer, and it showed. This new transfer is dual layered with RSDL formatting and the transfer benefits greatly from it. There was also a major compression problem highlighted in the original release that was subsequently fixed in remastered editions - thankfully this is also no longer a problem.

    Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, this transfer is 16x9 enhanced.

    This is a finely detailed and sharp transfer that exhibits few problems. The shadow detail during the dam chase sequence is a little poor, but this is pretty much guaranteed to be source-related and cannot be attributed to the transfer. There is remarkably little grain, and no low level noise.

    Colours are even and well saturated, with no problems to report. With the story taking place in Chicago towards the end of winter, there is a fairly pale and cold feel to many of the colours, so lots of vibrant shades are not expected.

    I saw no MPEG artefacts. Remarkably, I noticed only one film-to-video artefact, this being a minor shimmer breakout at 73:29 on the rear wall of the elevator. Film artefacts are present, but are very minor in size and number. In a word, this is a very clean print.

    There are lots of subtitle options, including English and English for the Hearing Impaired. I sampled both varieties extensively and while not being 100% accurate, they convey most of what is being said with ease.

    This is a dual layered disc with RSDL formatting. The layer change is at 79:29, right when Samuel Gerard is talking to the doctor in the hospital. Not a bad placement, although certainly noticeable.

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

Audio

    The original release featured a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, and it would appear from listening to both discs that this is the same soundtrack. There is significant separation across all front channels, with the opening credits being a real highlight and among the best opening credits I have seen.

    There are four audio tracks present; English, French, and Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks, and an English Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded commentary track. I listened to both English tracks in full.

    Dialogue is excellent, with no problems to report. Audio sync is spot-on.

    The score is credited to James Newton Howard. He was nominated for an Academy Award for his efforts on this score. With this being a film that really needs a decent score virtually all the way through the story to heighten and convey the sense of the chase, this effort is excellent and does not disappoint.

    There was not as much surround channel use as I was expecting. There were occasional bursts here and there, but nothing to get too excited over. Needless to say, when it is there, it is nicely immersive and subtle

    The subwoofer receives a decent work-out during the early train crash scene, but isn't overly noticeable after that.

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

Extras

Main Menu Audio

Introduction

    A brief introduction to the audio commentary. This sees vision of director Andrew Davis speaking to Tommy Lee Jones on the phone. Harrison Ford is also featured in a separate interview segment, albeit very briefly.

Audio Commentary

    I was quite looking forward to the commentary track for this film, as I was sure there must be a few amusing anecdotes and other fascinating bits of trivia about the filming to be heard. Alas, I was somewhat disappointed. The commentary features Director Andrew Davis and Tommy Lee Jones, though unfortunately not in the same room. They appear to be talking on the phone, though I'm really not sure why Tommy Lee is there is the first place given the actual amount that he speaks. Almost the entire commentary is by Andrew Davis, with Tommy Lee throwing in the occasional "oh yeah I remember this scene - it was cold". Some interesting tidbits pop up, but this is mostly a discussion of who the cast members are (right down to the extras) and where each location is. It becomes boring pretty quickly.

Featurette - Derailed, Anatomy Of A Train Wreck

    Some really neat behind-the-scenes footage showing the extent the crew went to to create the very real train crash that gave Richard Kimble his means of escape. This was all done for real, with no digital enhancements or CGI used to cut corners. Naturally enough, they only had one shot to get it right. This runs for 8:54 and is presented full screen. There are also English subtitles available for the Hearing Impaired. I have actually seen this before, but I can't for the life of me remember when or where. As a small trivia note - listen out right at the end, when there is discussion of the minor digital 'fix' that was applied to this new transfer. Apparently in a small part of the scene after the train crash, when Richard Kimble looks up, there is a crew member visible off to the right of the screen. This was apparently missed during all the original editing by the production crew. He was digitally 'edited out' for this DVD transfer.

Featurette - On The Run

    A more recent making-of featurette, made in 2001 and featuring interviews with director Andrew Davis and the producers. Running for 23:06, there is a stack of behind-the-scenes footage present here and a more retrospective look at the whole production. Also presented full screen with audio from a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. There are also English subtitles available for the hearing impaired.

Theatrical Trailer

    This is one of the best trailers I have ever seen. Running for exactly two minutes (2:00) it is presented in the original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and comes complete with 16x9 enhancement. Audio is Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded. Unlike many, many other trailers, it spoils nothing of the story. It really only shows footage from the first 20 minutes of the film and really sets up the suspense and chase factor.

Listing-Cast & Crew

    This is a quite disappointing single static page listing of the cast and crew. That's it - names only.

Awards

    Another boring one page static listing of the three major awards that the film won. Funnily enough, they were all for Tommy Lee Jones as Best Supporting Actor.

R4 vs R1

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

    Apart from the inclusion of the Italian 5.1 soundtrack on the Region 4 version, the Region 1 Special Edition is exactly the same. The Region 4 is therefore the disc of choice due to superior PAL formatting.

Summary

    The Fugitive is still a classic, some nine years after release. It is the sort of film that proves a simple storyline and superb acting will triumph over jazzy special effects every time.

    The video quality is excellent and a definite improvement on the original release.

    The audio quality is also quite good, though it appears to be the same soundtrack as the original release.

    The extras are not really top-shelf, though are a worthy addition to a classic film.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Darren Walters (It's . . . just the vibe . . . of my bio)
Tuesday, August 27, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDLoewe Xemix 5006DD, using RGB output
DisplayLoewe Calida (84cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationHarmon/Kardon AVR7000.
SpeakersFront - B&W 602S2, Centre - B&W CC6S2, Rear - B&W 601S2, Sub - Energy E:xl S10

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Comments (Add)
looks nice - DarkEye (This bio says: Death to DNR!)
Good to see...... - Andrew (Read my Bio.)