|Category||Drama||Theatrical Trailer(s)||Yes, 1|
|Rating||Other Trailer(s)||Yes, 1 - THX|
|Year Released||1997||Commentary Tracks||None|
|Running Time||187:22 minutes||Other Extras||Main Menu Animation
Main Menu Audio
Fox Home Video
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||MPEG||None|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.30:1||Dolby Digital||5.1|
|16x9 Enhancement||No||Soundtrack Languages||English (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384Kb/s)
English (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192Kb/s)
|Theatrical Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
Titanic is basically a movie in two parts. The first focusses on the story of a developing relationship between Jack Dawson (Leonardo DiCaprio), a penniless artist who won his passage on the Titanic in a card game, and Rose Dewitt Bukater (Kate Winslett), a young woman trapped into marrying a man she doesn't love. Jack is very much a free spirit, and Rose would very much like to be one. The movie turns abruptly into a more action-oriented movie as soon as the Titanic hits an iceberg and begins to sink.
Titanic is a connsumate movie experience. Glorious imagery, sublime music and a romance set against one of the greatest tragedies of the 20th Century are all blended perfectly by the deft direction of James Cameron.
The transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 2.30:1, marginally but noticeably different in framing to the correct theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1. It is not 16x9 enhanced. I note that the Region 1 version of this disc is stated to be in the correct theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1. It remains to be seen whether the Region 4 version has had the matting opened up further or had some of the side image lopped off or whether the two discs are actually in the same aspect ratio.
The biggest disappointment with this transfer was the lack of clarity in many of the images. I am used to seeing a myriad of fine background detail revealed by razor sharp DVD mastering, but this is simply not the case with this transfer. Fine background details are lost, particularly in outside shots. Any camera movement resulted in even more loss of image detail. There are also a number of scenes which appeared to be transferred a little overbright, with subsequent loss of image detail. I lay the blame for this lack of detail fairly and squarely on the lack of 16x9 enhancement. This is a movie that would benefit enormously from being 16x9 enhanced and indeed rumour has it that a 16x9 enhanced Special Edition is in the planning stages.
Shadow detail was good. However, there were a number of sequences, particularly to do with the deep dive footage of the Titanic that suffered significantly from low level noise.
The colours were quite variably saturated, with some scenes being richly coloured to the point of oversaturation and other scenes being pale and wan. To a certain extent, this was a reflection of the cinematographic choices made during the making of this movie, but I certainly recall a lot more evenness about the colours when I saw Titanic theatrically. Deep dive sequences were marred by quite significant chroma noise, particularly in deep blue-lit scenes.
No MPEG artefacts were seen. Film-to-video artefacts consisted of moderate amounts of aliasing, but not as much as I would have expected given the non-enhanced nature of this transfer. Wide shots of the ship were particularly affected by this artefact. Film artefacts, as would be expected from a new transfer such as this one, are simply non-existent. In fact, this is one of the high points of the transfer. This is an amazingly clean transfer.
This disc is an RSDL disc with the layer change placed at 104:00, between Chapters 17 and 18. It is quite inobtrusive.
I felt that the overall level of this soundtrack was a little lacking, and listened at 5dB above my normal reference level, which I found to be a much more pleasing listening level.
Dialogue was generally clear and easy to understand, thought at times it seemed to dip in volume unexpectedly when an on-screen action dropped back from the foreground. I found this somewhat disconcerting. At other times, it had quite a "thin" quality to it which was also a little disconcerting.
There were no audio sync problems with this disc other than a few scattered lines of marginal ADR sync.
The sumptuous musical score was by James Horner. It is very atmospheric and superbly tied in to the on-screen action. The visual and aural images complement each other perfectly in this movie.
The surround channels were used nicely by this soundtrack to create an enveloping soundfield without ever becoming overbearing or calling attention to themselves. The scale of this tragic event is beautifully recreated, and the listener is placed slap bang in the middle of it.
The .1 channel was used beautifully to augment the action sequences and the music. Deep powerful groans and creaks are supplemented by the subwoofer, making them all the more real.
The video quality is generally quite good, but it should have been much better.
The audio quality is very good but could also have been better.
The extras are limited and of poor quality.
© Michael Demtschyna
1st September 1999
|DVD||Pioneer DV-505, using S-Video output|
|Display||Loewe Art-95 95cm direct view CRT in 4:3 mode, via the S-Video input. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Audio Decoder||Denon AVD-2000 Dolby Digital AddOn Decoder, used as a standalone processor. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||2 x EA Playmaster 100W per channel stereo amplifiers for Left, Right, Left Rear and Right Rear; Philips 360 50W per channel stereo amplifier for Centre and Subwoofer|
|Speakers||Philips S2000 speakers for Left, Right; Polk Audio CS-100 Centre Speaker; Apex AS-123 speakers for Left Rear and Right Rear; Yamaha B100-115SE subwoofer|