Trinity and Beyond (The Atomic Bomb Movie)

Atomic Filmmakers (Behind the Scenes)


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Details At A Glance

General
Extras
Category Documentary Theatrical Trailer(s) None
Rating Other Trailer(s) None
Year Released 1995/1997 Commentary Tracks None
Running Time 91:57/49:08 minutes Other Extras Production Notes
Cast & Crew Biographies
RSDL/Flipper No/No
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region 2,4 Director Peter Kuran
Studio
Distributor

Magna Pacific
Starring Mr A
Mr H
Case Magna/Carlton
RRP $39.95 Music William T. Stromberg

 
Video
Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame MPEG None
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None Dolby Digital 2.0
16x9 Enhancement No Soundtrack Languages English (Dolby Digital 2.0)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 1.37:1
Miscellaneous
Macrovision ? Smoking Yes
Subtitles None Annoying Product Placement No

Plot Synopsis

    Trinity and Beyond is the story of the development of the atomic and hydrogen bombs by the United States. It utilizes mostly actual footage, with some CGI special effects. It is narrated by William Shatner, whose narration is not overbearing. Instead, the pictures themselves are allowed to tell the majority of this very compelling story - it is a fascinating and terrible insight into our recent history, particularly from an end-of-the-century perspective. It is frightening, appalling and humbling to consider that the most powerful atmospheric atomic detonation ever conducted during testing had 3000 times the destructive power of the Hiroshima bomb, which itself killed 40,000 people.

    Atomic Filmmakers is the story of the cameramen who worked for the military, documenting the explosions. It is interesting viewing, but nowhere near as compelling as Trinity and Beyond.

Transfer Quality

Video

    The video transfers of these titles are variable in quality, but basically they are much better than I expected them to be. Atomic Filmmakers in particular, had some very good quality footage.

    The transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1. It is not 16x9 enhanced. According to the IMDB, Trinity and Beyond is supposed to be exhibited in a 1.37:1 aspect ratio, so there is no panning & scanning here. Some of the shots in Atomic Filmmakers are presented in a letterboxed 2.35:1 format.

    There is a minor video glitch during the closing credits to Trinity and Beyond at 90:37, consisting of a brief horizontal green line across the image.

    The transfer was variably sharp. Generally, the elements are well-preserved, though some archival black and white footage is quite deteriorated. Some scenes are very grainy, but this is the fault of the source material. Shadow detail was poor, but this is also the fault of the source material. There was some low level noise in some portions of the transfer. All-in-all, I can definitively say that the overall quality of the image is more than satisfactory given the type of source material available for this production.

    The colours were variably rendered. Once again, the quality of the source material determined the quality of the colour.

    MPEG artefacts were occasionally noticeable, but were never a significant intrusion into the image. These occurred mainly with film elements that were very grainy - some of the grain had quite a blocky nature about it. Film-to-video artefacts were not noticed. Film artefacts were variably frequent, once again dependent on the quality of the source material, but no elements were unacceptable in this regard.

    Once again, I feel I should emphasize that the majority of this transfer is excellent given the quality of the source material - you may even recognize some early scenes from Godzilla!

Audio

    There is only a single audio track on this DVD - English Dolby Digital 2.0.

    The overall level of the soundtrack was quite high, and I turned the level down slightly to a more comfortable listening level.

    Dialogue was generally easy to hear. The narration was clear and pleasant to listen to. Some of the very old archival elements were muffled sound-wise, but no sound elements were anywhere near unacceptable.

    There were no audio sync problems with this disc.

    The music was composed by William T. Stromberg and, in a very ironic twist, performed by the Moscow Symphony Orchestra. The music suited the on-screen images, and at times triumphant musical cues were juxtaposed with scenes of enormous devastation and destruction, emphasizing the awful power of atomic weaponry.

    The surround channel was not used.

    The .1 channel received a large amount of signal from the processor. This soundtrack will rattle your room, once again emphasizing the destructive power of atomic weaponry.

Extras

    Only limited extras are on this disc.

What's Missing / What's Extra

    There seems to be two versions of this disc in Region 1; one with some additional 3D features, and a slightly less featured disc which is yet to be released but which has a lesser RRP. The Region 1 version has a listed running time of 120 for Trinity and Beyond - it is unclear whether this includes supplements or not. The Region 4 disc misses out on;     The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;

Menu

    The main menu is well laid out, and allows you to pick either feature. On the disc, the features run together, and Atomic Filmmakers immediately follows Trinity and Beyond. There is some background music for the main menu provided in Dolby Digital 2.0.

Cast & Crew Biographies

    These are quite short.

Production Notes

    These are reasonably lengthy, but add little information to what is available within the features themselves.

Summary

    Trinity and Beyond / Atomic Filmmakers is a very powerful, thought-provoking disc. The quality of the imagery is amazingly good, and the disc is well presented. Highly recommended, though the Region 1 versions are very tempting with their additional extras.

    The video quality is of variable quality, but remains more than acceptable at all times.

    The audio quality is good.

    The extras present are very limited.

[Addendum 22nd January 2000. Peter Kuran, the director of Trinity and Beyond, has contacted me in regards to the video quality of the Region 4 version of this DVD. He has graciously consented for his comments to be committed to the public record for posterity. Here is what he had to say.

"Many thanks for the review of the Trinity and Beyond DVD.  However, the version you reviewed is really not the best quality.  The Magna Pacific version is from a PAL conversion Beta SP (which was originally sent for the VHS version only) and I didn't know they were going to use it for a DVD. The region 1 DVD which is NTSC and is available in the US by Goldhil Home Media is a direct Digital conversion from the Digi Beta Master and is better quality.  Had I known that Magna Pacific was going ahead with their DVD, I would have sent them a Digi Beta PAL to grab from. Anyway, having never seen the Magna Pacific DVD, I can only take your word for it.
Pete Kuran
Director, Trinity and Beyond"]

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Michael Demtschyna
20th July 1999
Amended 22nd January 2000

Review Equipment
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