Aliens of the Sea (1999)
|Category||Documentary||Theatrical Trailer-1.33:1, Dolby Digital 2.0|
|Year Of Production||1999|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Sided||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Isolated Music Score Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (384Kb/s)
English MPEG 2.0 silent (112Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes, not really (credits roll on a pane to the right)|
Personally, this documentary did not do much for me, but those who enjoy films about nature and our environment may feel somewhat differently. If you regularly contribute to such organizations as Greenpeace in the hope that more familiar sea-creatures do not suffer to serve mankind's progressively worsening purpose, or if you're looking for something to watch whilst under the influence of drugs, then this disc is worthy of your attention.
MPEG artefacts may have been present on the disc, but it was hard to tell due to the small size of the suspects. The transfer is encoded at the bitrate of around five or six megabits a second for the most part, which is a bit of a surprise considering that we're talking about fifty minutes of footage per side. Given the nature of the documentary, I would have expected to see a bit rate of at least nine megabits a second for the most part, and the transfer does suffer for the bits it gets. In any case, the edges of some fish became blocky or shimmered into the background at times, which may have been the fault of the MPEG compression or the fault of the film-to-video transfer. Film-to-video artefacts were also a bit of a problem in the transfer, although these are probably more reflective of the materials used to shoot the film. Fine lines shimmered terribly during the first five minutes of the film, and some dot crawl was noted at one point, causing me to believe that this DVD may have been processed from composite source material. Film artefacts were not in the transfer at any point.
There are no subtitles on this disc, which leaves the people in the audience who cannot speak English out of luck. This is not a wise move for a disc that is to be distributed worldwide, but obviously the budget of the production was exhausted upon the source material and the locations rather than on production details.
The score music is credited to Gordon Reid, and continues the "aliens from under our sea" theme of the documentary in a comprehensive fashion. It is heavily reliant on dramatic and murky-sounding synthesizers common to films about alien environments and their ilk. While this score is not particularly impressive or unique, it does a great service to the film in question.
The surround channels were used in a somewhat limited but dominant fashion to create an immersive sound field, with the music being spread evenly through the soundfield, and the narrator being supported well by the centre and main speakers. Having said that much, we did have a very frontal mix where the centre and main speakers seemed significantly louder than the rears, although the rears certainly weren't left with nothing to do. The subwoofer had a fun time underscoring the music and the sounds of the ocean, although it did seem to be slightly overused at times, with every sound seeming to have a certain car-crashing-into-your-room sort of feel to it.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The video quality is good, but should have been a bit better considering how loose the MPEG compression could have been.
The audio quality is limited in surround mixing, but clear and sharp as listening to the sounds from the camera's point of view.
The extras are limited, but sufficient considering the nature of the title.
|DVD||Toshiba 2109, using S-Video output|
|Display||Samsung CS-823AMF (80cm). Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL).|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.|
|Amplification||Sony STR DE-835|
|Speakers||Panasonic S-J1500D Front Speakers, Philips PH931SSS Rear Speakers, Philips FB206WC Centre Speaker, JBL Digital 10 Subwoofer|