Seven: Special Edition (1995)

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Released 8-Aug-2001

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Main Menu Introduction
Menu Animation & Audio
Dolby Digital Trailer-Canyon
Scene Selection Anim & Audio
Audio Commentary-D Fincher (Dir), B Pitt (Act) & M Freeman (Act)
Audio Commentary-R Dyer (Prof Film Studies/Auth), A K Walker (S/Writer),et al
Audio Commentary-D Khondji (DoP), A Max (Prod Des),R Francis-Bruce (Ed) et al
Audio Commentary-R Klyce (Sound Des), H Shore (Comp), R Dyer, D Fincher (Dir)
Isolated Musical Score-plus Commentary
Multiple Angles-Exploration of the Opening Title Sequence
Deleted Scenes-7 (with commentary)
Filmographies-Cast & Crew
Featurette-Production Designs
Alternate Ending-2 (with commentary)
Gallery-Photo-4 (with commentary)
Featurette-Theatrical EPK
Theatrical Trailer
Featurette-The Notebooks
Featurette-Mastering For The Home Theatre (4)
Rating Rated R
Year Of Production 1995
Running Time 121:32
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (62:54)
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By David Fincher
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Brad Pitt
Morgan Freeman
Gwyneth Paltrow
John C. McGinley
Case Amaray-Transparent-Dual
RPI $44.95 Music Howard Shore


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 EX (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English dts 6.1 ES Matrix (768Kb/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 No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Se7en is a film that revolves around the hunt for a serial killer by retiring Detective Somerset (Morgan Freeman) and his new partner Detective Mills (Brad Pitt).

    When the detectives are called to the murder scene of an obese man, it initially appears to be a standard case but when another murder occurs it becomes apparent that they are investigating a serial killer. The killer is labelling his crime scenes after the seven deadly sins; gluttony, greed, pride, lust, sloth, envy and wrath. He leaves clues for the police at each crime scene taunting the detectives, daring them to catch him.

    This film could have easily become a standard genre film but a collection of excellent performances coupled with a solid script and tight direction has resulted in an instant classic. The movie has not aged at all and the lack of any specific time references will ensure that this film continues to remain fresh for new viewers in the future.

    This movie was included in the first batch of DVDs released by Village Roadshow. The disc contained only a Pan & Scan transfer with Dolby Digital and MPEG 2.0 audio tracks. This release shows just how far DVD releases have improved over time and should be considered an essential part of any DVD collection.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Significant effort was put into the transfer for this DVD with a completely new master created from the original elements.

    The transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer shows excellent levels of detail and is extremely sharp at all times. Much of the film is shot in dark locations but this new transfer displays fabulous levels of shadow detail that are unavailable on any previous version. At no stage during the transfer was any low level noise detected.

    Using original elements for the new transfer resulted in all scenes having to be colour corrected again as the information used during the previous transfers was unavailable. The people that originally worked on the film, including the director, oversaw this new transfer. The result is very impressive with excellent colour representation throughout. The palette appears slightly washed out and some scenes show significant levels of blues or yellows that have been added to match different footage. The colours displayed add to the impression that the film makes and seem appropriate at all times.

    At no stage during the feature were any MPEG artefacts detected.

    A very small number of aliasing artefacts may be seen during the transfer. They occur for very short periods of time in striped awnings, brickwork and Venetian blinds. Examples of these artefacts may be seen at 48:18, 52:05 and 90:08 but they are only minimally distracting to the viewer.

    Film artefacts are extremely rare in this transfer with only three instances detected. These artefacts occur at 33:34, 97:18 and 100:32 for a single frame each and are not distracting to the viewer. Due to the new high definition master, film grain is barely perceptible during the transfer and never a problem for the viewer.

    Despite being listed as subtitles for the Hearing Impaired on the packaging, the single subtitle stream is a standard English set. These subtitles were very easy to read and appeared accurate at all times.

    The layer change occurs at 62:54 part way through chapter 21. This break occurs at a scene change and is only mildly disruptive to the viewer.

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

Audio

    The audio was remixed for this DVD release with new Dolby Digital and dts tracks created.

    This feature includes three different main audio tracks in addition to the four commentary tracks. The default track is a 448 kbps Dolby Digital 5.1 EX track, and in addition to this there is a dts 6.1 ES 768 kbps track and a Dolby Digital 2.0 192 kbps track. It should be noted that the Dolby Digital 2.0 track does not have the surround flag enabled. Despite its listing on the packaging, a separate dts 2.0 mix is not provided. I listened to all tracks provided in full and my preference would be for the dts track as it seems to provide a slightly larger soundfield and better separation, but all tracks are of excellent quality.

    The dialogue is always clear and easy to understand during each track.

    During a small number of scenes, such as at 3:00 and 15:04, some audio sync problems may be seen, but this is a result of ADR work and not a fault of the audio transfers provided. At no stage during any of the tracks were dropouts detected.

    The brilliant score provided by Howard Shore (listed as Howards Shore on the packaging) is extremely evocative and serves to heighten tension and provide excellent support for the on-screen action.

    The new audio mix extensively utilizes directional effects throughout the film with the surround channels being used continuously.

    The subwoofer channel is heavily used throughout to support the score as well as effects such as gunshots.

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

Extras

Menu

    The menu is provided at an aspect ratio of 1.78 and is 16x9 enhanced.

Audio Commentaries

   Four feature length audio commentaries are provided on this disc. The first three are Dolby Digital 224 kbps tracks while the fourth is a Dolby Digital 448 kbps 5.1 track with isolated music and sound effects.

Audio Commentary: The Stars

    This track features David Fincher, Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman discussing topics such as lighting, the new master, casting and locations. This is quite an interesting track but it is obvious that the comments by Morgan Freeman were recorded separately. There is a short one word break in the commentary during the layer change.

Audio Commentary: The Story

    This track features director David Fincher, screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker, editor Richard Francis-Bruce, New Line President of Production Michael De Luca and Professor of Film Studies Richard Dyer. During this track they discuss topics such the script and the changes made as well as the test screenings. There are some small gaps in the commentary but the information provided is interesting. Again it is obvious that separate recordings were combined for this track.

Audio Commentary: The Picture

    This track features director David Fincher, director of photography Darius Khondji, production designer Arthur Max, Richard Francis-Bruce and Richard Dyer. This combination of comments covers topics such as the types of lighting used and the reason for those choices as well as the process involved with new transfer. If people are interested in the more technical side of the film making process they should find this track interesting.

Audio Commentary: The Sound

    In another technical track, sound designer Ren Klyce and composer Howard Shore discuss the audio provided for the film. Additional comments by David Fincher and Richard Dyer are also provided. There is a short one word break in the commentary during the layer change.

Exploration of the Opening Title Sequence

    The extra provides three different angles of the opening titles sequence (2:51) as well as six different audio choices. The viewer can switch between a storyboard view, a rough cut as well as the final title sequence. Audio choices are between Dolby Digital 5.1 EX, dts 6.1 ES, Dolby Digital 2.0 (not flagged surround) and Linear PCM 96kHz/24 bit selections. Two audio commentaries are also included.

Deleted Scenes and Extended Takes

    This extra offered a number of additional scenes that were either cut or reduced in the final cut of the film. Each is provided at an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 with a Dolby Digital 2.0 track for both production audio and a Director's commentary.

    The scenes included are as follows:

Filmographies

    Complete filmographies are provided for actors Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, John C. McGinley, Kevin Spacey and Gwyneth Paltrow. Filmographies are also provided for director David Fincher, writer Andrew Kevin Walker, Cinematographer Darius Khondji, editor Richard Francis-Bruce, production designer Andrew Max, producer Arnold Kopelson, sound designer Ren Klyce, composer Howard Shore and still photographer Peter Sorel.

Production Designs (8:54)

    This extra examines the production designs for the sets of gluttony, greed, sloth, pride, lust, John Doe's apartment, the police station, the library and various vehicles. This is presented with a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is 16x9 enhanced. Two small MPEG encoding errors may be seen at 7:01 and 7:37 during this segment.

Alternate Endings

    Two different endings are provided in this extra. Both have production audio as well as a commentary provided in Dolby Digital 2.0. The first alternate ending, with a running time of 5:27, is shown at an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 and is 16x9 enhanced. The second ending consists of a series of story boards and has a running time of 7:30.

Still Photographs

    This series of extras examines the still photography done for the film by numerous groups. Each section is provided with commentary by either the photographer or the director and is displayed at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 anamorphically enhanced. This section is divided into the following parts:

    John Doe's Photographs (14:25)
    Victor's Decomposition (2:27)
    Police Crime Scene Photographs (5:37)
    Production Photographs (10:46)

Promotional Materials

    The promotional materials section consists of two separate sections. The first is a Theatrical EPK which is a standard short promotional item consisting of a short description of the film and interview segments with the stars. With a running time of 6:22, this segment is unusually presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with 16x9 enhancement, resulting in a windowboxed display on 1.33:1 displays. This segment is presented in the same way on the Region 1 version of this disc. The second item included in this section is the Theatrical Trailer (2:16) presented with a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack at an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 anamorphically enhanced.

The Notebooks (8:16)

    This featurette examines the creation and content of the notebooks found in John Doe's apartment and also seen during the introductory credits. This is presented with a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

Mastering for the Home Theater

    This interesting section investigates the process that was undertaken in producing this transfer for the DVD release. It is broken into four separate sections covering the audio and video mastering (8:36) as well as a section examining the colour correction process (14:18). The final section covers the telecine process and allows the viewer to select between the original and new transfers for three different scenes, choosing between both versions of the video and audio transfers. The scenes provided are Outside Gluttony (0:54), Inside Gluttony (2:21) and Coda (1:00).

R4 vs R1

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

The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;

The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;

    The only thing missing from the Region 4 disc is the DVD-ROM content. This includes a copy of the script with links to each chapter, a collection of 12 still photos, links to 7 fan sites, a one page reading list, and a still page from John Doe's notebook relating to each of the sins. As both the photos and notebooks are covered extensively in other extras, the reading list contains just a repetition of the book titles listed in the film, and a quick search of the web will locate a copy of the script and fan sites, this content is of no real loss. Consequently I would prefer the higher resolution of the R4 PAL transfer and Amaray case but either version would make an excellent addition to any DVD collection.

Summary

    Se7en is an excellent thriller that has not aged over time and will undoubtedly become a classic.

    The video transfer presented here is of reference quality and is significantly better than any version previously released on any format.

    The wide range of audio choices will show off this film to the best of any system's capabilities.

    An enormous quantity of high quality extras is provided with these discs, covering all aspects of the film and it's DVD release.

    The bottom line: This movie and its overall presentation is so good that I am inducting it into our Hall Of Fame.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Anthony Kable (read my bio)
Tuesday, July 31, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba 1200, using S-Video output
DisplaySony KP-E41SN11. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationFront left/right: ME75b; Center: DA50ES; rear left/right: DA50ES; subwoofer: NAD 2600 (Bridged)
SpeakersFront left/right: VAF DC-X; Center: VAF DC-6; rear left/right: VAF DC-7; subwoofer: Custom NHT-1259

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Comments (Add)
tidbit -
more detail? - REPLY POSTED
R1 vs R4 video quality - Ron