20th Century Fox/20th Century Fox .
R4 . COLOR . 187 mins .
MA15+ . PAL
Titanic anchors for the night.
Terminator, Terminator 2, Aliens, The Abyss, True Lies and now Titanic. James Cameron has become a popular director of late with his 'obsession for perfection' style of film making. His movies have entertained us both visually and aurally making this aspect his trademark - apart from his customary nuclear explosion.
From the outset of the making of Titanic, it wasn't sure whether this was to becomes Cameron's crowning achievement or the world's most expensive flop. It succeeded on all fronts and eclipsed everyones expectations.
Everyone knows the story so I'll re-cap on it briefly. Brock Lovett (Bill Paxton) is on a quest to recover the most famous blue diamon, the Heart of the Ocean, from the wreckag of the Titanic, when he comes across a painting of a naked female wearing the Titanic around her neck. This female is now over 100 years old and contacts Brock and his team to tell them the story of the Diamond and her adventure on the ship of dreams.
We are taken back to Titanic where we see Rose (Kate Winslett) trapped in the life as the daughter of a money hungry mother. She is about to marry Cal Hockley, a millionaire who treats with no respect. Rose wants to escape her position and meets Jack Dawson (Leonardo DiCaprio) who shows her how to live life to the fullest.
As Rose and Jack begin to fall in love, the Titanic takes on a giant ice-berg and loses, she is now sinking. It's up to our two lovers to find a way off the ship and live to love another day.
The biggest movie of all time is the result and now it's available on the best video format for all of us to enjoy.
Jack and Rose get to know each other
Ok, right from the outset, we are treated to a pristine transfer. Maybe a little too pristine to a certain extent.
The first thing you notice is just how clean the image is. In daylight, the sky is a perfect blue, no blemishes, no banding, just blue. Next you'll notice the sharp detail in all other areas of the picture.
Alot of discs out there do good transfers but use edge enhancement to improve the sharpness and detail of the image. If you add too much of this, the image begins to degrade. I don't know how they worked with this disc but the level of detail is perfect.
The colors are very rich in all areas, from the blues of the ocean and sky to the reds of the costumes to the browns and blacks of the engine rooms. It's amazing just how much work has been put into this transfer given the bit rate sits around 4-6 throughout the entire movie.
As for the faults, why I didn't give it a 9, the lack of 16x9 enhancement is always going to be a detriment to the transfer for those with 16x9 TV's but for the rest of us, we're very blessed.
Also, toward the end of the movie when the ship is on it's vertical journey, the black levels of the background are fine yet the black levels of the foreground aren't black enough. I'll have to sit through the movie again to make sure what of what I saw but then again it could be the calibration of my TV.
Due to the lack of 16x9 enhancement, you will notice some aliasing. This is customary with non enhanced discs, I'm used to it with laserdisc so it doesn't bother me so.
"I once caught a fish this big"
No-one can do a soundtrack like those found in a James Cameron film. Plain and Simple, well maybe Lucas and Spielberg. The soundtrack on this disc is exceptional, with the entire second half being demo quality.
This is an artificial soundtrack done right, if you know what I mean. Every possible object that can make a sound, does make a sound. Footsteps on the deck, hands sliding across a painting, tea cups being placed in their saucer, they're all there.
As for the ambience, well, there's always something going on around you. In the opening scene where the subs are deep down near the titanic, you'll hear the motors humming around you and then the little bubbles rising to the surface from all directions.
For all you bass fans, you're going to enjoy the engine room. In a small cinema setting like your lounge room, be prepared to feel a little more bass than what you'd get in the cinema. The 'bang' for your buck is tremendous.
I've always felt that the soul of the movie is the musical score and James Horners score is of an epic scale and at times very haunting. I've had the CD soundtrack for over a year now but having that same music with the images to go with it makes an immense difference.
Dialogue is always clear and at the correct levels. You can't help but feel that the amount of effort to get this disc right was enormous.
Jack first sets his eyes on Rose
If any of you have seen the trailer on the dts demo disc then you'll realise that the trailer on this disc is not the same one. The narration for this one begins as "Take a journey back in time". It is presented at 1.85:1 in 2 channel stereo. It's not the best quality video or sound so don't expect to tantalise your friends using this as a prelude to the movie.
The menu screen starts of as an animated menu but once you skip to the scene selection or setup, it becomes static.
As you insert the disc into your player you are forced to sit through a few 'ATTENTION' screens, right from here you can see just how good this disc is going to look. I know it's just a bunch of text on the screen but it's the best looking text I've seen.
Finally, you get the THX intro screen before the movie. Is this the first region 4 THX disc?
Down she goes.
I waited through the VHS release, then the laserdisc release until I had the dvd version. Am I disappointed? Not in the least apart from the 16x9 enhancement but I can live with that for now.
I can honestly say this movie had more impact on me watching it at home than on the big screen, I can't explain why but it did. It's a beautiful movie, one of my favorite 3 hour movies and a worthy addition to my collection.
The entire package of audio and video is a great combination to promote dvd and the movie itself, with it's huge success at the box office will ensure alot more people will show interest in this little thing we know of called 'dvd'.