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DVD Review HTF REVIEW: Enemy of the State (Extended Unrated) HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Discussion in 'DVD' started by DaViD Boulet, May 15, 2006.

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  1. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]
    Enemy of the State
    Extended Edition

    Studio: Buena Vista Year:1998 Rating:URAspect Ratio: 16x9 encoded 2.35:1 Audio: 5.1 DD English SpecialFeatures: Making-of featurette, Deleted Scenes, Theatrical Trailer ReleaseDate: May 16, 2006




    Feature...


    Enemy of the state is a rare film where good ideas collide with good execution in a action-packed experience that preserves the credibility of a serious attempt at film-making. In other words, this is not another Hollywood “action movie” of the week that’s here to day and forgotten tomorrow.

    The subject matter is also uncannily germane to present-day politics…questions about an individual’s right to privacy balanced against the government’s need to observe personal behavior to protect itself against the threat of terrorism. The film manages to build on these controversial themes without feeling cliché, and many experts provided assistance to ensure that the film approximates real technological ability…and this comes through and contributes to the believability of the film all the more.

    Acting is simply superb. Will Smith and Gene Hackman have an almost uncanny chemistry and the whole cast ensemble looks and behaves “real”. Enemy of the State also brings with it a fair share of suspense. While not quite reaching the same intensity, I couldn’t help but think of Training Day as I watched this movie on DVD.

    I’m typically not drawn to action films of this type, and when I do it’s usually because the film ends up being much more than an “action film”. If you like Braveheart, Hunt for Red October, and Training Day, then Enemy of the State deserves your exploration. If you’ve already seen and love this movie, you’ll be thrilled that the picture and sound quality afforded on this R1 DVD do the film justice.



    note: this is the "extended" and "unrated" version of the film. This DVD is my first time viewing this movie so I can't comment about the additional footage or how it affects the flow of the movie experience, but I hope that others more familiar with the theatrical cut can offer their input for the rest of us.



    Picture...

    Excellent.

    While not as razor-sharp on my 106” screen as some top-mastered Warner Brothers live-action titles like Matrix Reloaded, Enemy of the State comes through clear, clean, and utterly film-like. Disney might be turning a new leaf…as this DVD (along with Crimson Tide and Con Air) preserves a great deal of fine object detail and doesn’t appear to have suffered from overzealous HF filtering as have most live-action Disney DVD titles to date. I see no obvious edge-artifacting in the form of halos, compression seems clean overall and the image is smoothly rendered and has preserved its natural, film-like character. Blacks are solid though contrast seemed to lack the dynamics of some other films which I suspect is a consequence of the film-style more than digital mastering. Sadly, my projector bulb has started to drop off its light output dramatically the last 2 weeks (a new bulb is on order) so I can’t attest to the level of color saturation and depth, but I hope to amend that shortly when my new bulb arrives!

    I can say this: the film-style of Enemy of the State is a genuine craft. Scenes are edited with confidence and there’s a dynamism to the cinematic style seldom scene in typical Hollywood films these days. On a wide-angle viewing system, the result is a dramatic and awe-inspiring immersion in visual stimuli.

    Good Job Disney.



    Picture Quality: 4.75 / 5

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]


    Rating Rationale...


    Rating Key:

    SCORE Description 1-2 An absolute abomination. Hurts to watch even on a 32” 4x3 480I TV. Think Outland or Jean De Flourette (scan-line aliasing, chroma noise, dotcrawl, PAL-NTSC conversion artifacts etc.)-- truly horrid. 2-3 Has some serious problems, but one can at least watch it without getting a headache despite all the problems though you might try to talk your guests into picking a different movie to watch if you have a large projection screen. Think Kill Bill Vol 1. 3-4 Good or at least "acceptable" on a big-screen, but not winning any awards and definitely room for improvement if you view the image wide-angle (though smaller-screen viewers may be quite content). Think the first extended cut of Fellowship of the Ring...decent picture but still some HF filtering and some edge-halos. 4-5 A reference picture that really makes the most of the DVD medium and shows extraordinary transparency to the film-source elements limited only by DVD’s 720 x 480 resolution. Non-videophile observers can't help but remark "WOW" and ask you if they are watching HD. Think The Empire Strikes Back, the Fifth Element Superbit or the new Toy Story 10th Anniversary Edition.



    Viewing Equipment:
    Currently running DVDs on my OPPO DVD player (Faroudja deinterlacing) which scales to 720P, feeding my BenQ 8700+ PJ via DVI, projecting onto a 106” 16x9 Dalite HiPower screen, viewed from approximately 1.6 screen-widths distance. Well mastered DVDs produce a stunningly film-like image in this scenario, and lesser-mastered material quickly shows its flaws.






    Sound...


    I have no other version of this title to compare, but I can say that without comparison this 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack does not disappoint. The sense of immersion in sound is wonderful…many scenes come alive with a 360 flood of sound that enhances the on-screen visuals. Surround activity is well employed and this is one of those classic “demo discs” that maintains its sense of dignity without giving way to gimmicky mixing tricks. Dynamics are bold and the soundstage is wide with good frequency response. I did notice that at times I wanted to turn up the center volume a bit to raise the vocals but I’ve been playing with my audio calibration lately and need to make sure that I have the right ‘basline’ in my AVR before making any critical remark about the disc mastering on this point. Vocals are smooth and clean without sounding bright or flattened. A very “DTSish” sounding Dolby Digital track (if you know what I mean).


    Sound Quality: 5 / 5

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]



    Listening Equipment:
    B&K AVR 212 processor/receiver driving my Onix-Rocket Loudspeaker system.



    Special Features...


    The features aren’t winning any special-edition awards for quantity, but what’s here is welcome and actually interesting to view.



    • [​IMG] Documentary: A very nice 20 minute 4x3 doc that was made during the making of the film accompanies this feature. Lots of cool behind-the-scenes stuff and interviews with cast and crew. Better than average, I’d recommend anyone who watched the movie watch this doc…but don’t watch the doc until *after* you’ve seen the movie (even if you’ve seen the film before). Watch the DVD feature film first to preserve the sense of mystery.


      [​IMG] Deleted Scenes: There are a handful of deleted scenes presented from archived 4x3 video source material. Interesting and fans may enjoy.


      [​IMG] Trailer: Yep. You get a 4x3 encoded trailer for the film. An actual trailer on a Disney DVD!





    All Together...


    My high recommendation of this film stems from the fantastic MOVIE experience that Enemy of the State can offer. It’s an outstanding film—well conceived, well written, well acted, and well filmed. The standard-definition presentation on this DVD does a great job of replicating a film-like experience within the confines of DVD’s 720 x 480 pixels, and the 5.1 DD soundtrack is outstanding. Bonus features are slim but worth watching. If you don’t already have this title in your collection, I can’t recommend you go out and purchase this disc strongly enough. This is one of the few DVDs that I would encourage someone not to pass while they wait for an HD release. It’s too good to wait, and you’ll make a friend or family member happy when you finally do upgrade to an HD release and pass this DVD edition along.



    Highly Recommended
     
  2. Neil Joseph

    Neil Joseph Well-Known Member

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    Hmmm. I saw this once years ago and thought it was pretty good but... your review has increased my interest. I may have to check out this title. Thanks for the review.
     
  3. Frank@N

    Frank@N Well-Known Member

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    I'm excited about this latest round of catalog reissues, but the cover art for 'Enemy' and 'ConAir' is really poor.

    Black and Grey with a quarter of the cover wasted on "UNRATED EXTENDED EDITION"?

    Someone should get canned over these covers.
     
  4. Magnus T

    Magnus T Well-Known Member

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    I'll stick with my R2 copy, which seems to be the better choice anyway. It's anamorphic, has a great 5.1 track and, more importantly, is the theatrical cut (which is probably the director's cut since this release is only labeled "unrated extended edition" not "unrated director's cut").
     
  5. Steve Christou

    Steve Christou Long Member

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    Thanks for the review David. I remember not being overly impressed with this film the first time I saw it. I think 'dull' and "gloomy" were the words that came to mind on first viewing, not being a huge fan of Will Smith didn't help either. But reading your review has got me interested in giving it another shot, and Gene Hackman's always worth watching.
     
  6. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Well-Known Member

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    Magnus,

    does the R2 have DTS? I seem to remember hearing about some other region with DTS.

    Let's hear what someone has to say who can compare the extended cut to the original. This is a welcome to all to share...normally we don't get into "movie reivews" in this forum but given this extended version of the film, it's a key issue everyone interested would like to know more about...so share!

    dave [​IMG]
     
  7. Magnus T

    Magnus T Well-Known Member

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    As far as I know, no release has DTS of this movie. Face/Off and Con Air reportedly has DTS on the Region 3 releases.

    I'd be more than willing to take screengrabs from the R2 edition, but I don't have any place to store them online.

    Edit: The R2 release has 5 deleted scenes, located in the special features menu. R1 UEE has only 2. I'm willing to bet that the UEE has the three scenes missing incorporated into the movie.
     
  8. ErichH

    ErichH Well-Known Member

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    David

    Thanks for the review. As with any Gene Hackman stuff, it rates for me. It's loose folow up to The Conversation make's this a must have. The difference between Coppola & Tony Scott is wide, but I'll get it. Guess I'll have a great excuse for Crimson Tide as well. Tony Scott week it is.

    E
     
  9. george kaplan

    george kaplan Well-Known Member

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    Hopefully someone with the current version who buys this can weigh in. I need to know if the PQ is improved enough to warrant a double dip.
     
  10. RickER

    RickER Well-Known Member

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    I have never seen this movie, and was on the fence. Guess i will add it to my basket tomorrow along with Con Air and Crimson Tide.
     
  11. Frank@N

    Frank@N Well-Known Member

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    Stopped by my local WalMart to check for the Bruckheimer Trio out today.

    To my pleasent surprise, they had all three for $12.34 total.

    Even better, the cover art shown on the web was replaced and each came with fancy foil slip covers.

    That really tipped it for me and I threw down for all three for $40. Not bad.

    EDIT: OMG, inserts!!!
     
  12. Colin Jacobson

    Colin Jacobson Well-Known Member

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    Yes, it is. The original DVD's a mess, while this one looks pretty good. Not flawless, but a solid "B" transfer.
     
  13. AL KUENSTER

    AL KUENSTER Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the review David, I may pick this title up since I only have the WS LaserdiscAC3 which sounds quite good, but video not up to dvd standards. I'm thinking the earlier dvd was no anamorphic, I could be wrong.
     
  14. george kaplan

    george kaplan Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the info Colin. [​IMG]
     
  15. Travis Brashear

    Travis Brashear Well-Known Member

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    I wish! [​IMG]
     
  16. Matthew Marino

    Matthew Marino Well-Known Member

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    I watched the new version last night. I haven't seen the theatrical cut in a while but this didn't seem terribly different. Here are a few things I noticed added in:


    -Jack Black's character elaborating on his obsession with the Nanny
    -Will Smith in his motel room after being rejected from the fancy hotel
    -The surveillance team posing as maintenence men to bug Will Smith's office
    -After leaving Brill's aparement there's a new scene inside the van. Will Smith offer's Gene Hackman his choice of food and Hackman asks him a few questions.


    Overall the changes were subtle and I don't think they will really change anyones opinion of the film. It's basically the same movie with some added perks.

    As far as picture quality, it's definately better than the previous release. The colors are more pronounced, there's less compression and, of course, it's anamorphic.
     
  17. Erin C

    Erin C Well-Known Member

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    Finally watched the extended version earlier today
    Seth Green disappears halfway through the film. What happened to his character?
     
  18. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Well-Known Member
    Reviewer

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    Borrowed a friend's copy when it originally came out years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it but never added it to my collection. Sounds like I need to rectify that oversight.
     
  19. Colin Jacobson

    Colin Jacobson Well-Known Member

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    Had to go plan to take over the world with Dr. Evil...
     
  20. Michael Osadciw

    Michael Osadciw Well-Known Member

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    LOL...awesome, Colin...
     

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