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DVD Review HTF REVIEW: Heat - Two Disc Special Edition

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Herb Kane, Feb 9, 2005.

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  1. Herb Kane

    Herb Kane Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]
    Heat
    Two Disc Special Edition





    Studio: Warner Brothers
    Year: 1995
    Rated: R
    Film Length: 172 Minutes
    Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Enhanced Widescreen
    Audio: DD 5.1
    Color/B&W: Color
    Languages: English & French
    Subtitles: English, French & Spanish
    MSRP: $26.99
    Package: Two discs/Keepcase with cardboard slipcover





    The Feature:
    To celebrate its 10th anniversary, on February 22nd, 2005 Warner Home Video will release the long awaited, highly anticipated Two-Disc Special Edition of Heat. The film was written, directed and produced by Michael Mann (Ali, The Insider and most recently, Collateral). The film marks the first time that legendary actors Al Pacino and Robert De Niro starred together on the big screen. Heat also features Jon Voight, Tom Sizemore, Val Kilmer, Ashley Judd, Amy Brenneman and Natalie Portman.

    Heat is a somewhat of a throwback to the old and elaborate caper films - a true epic tale of cops and robbers that centers around two men. Seasoned Detective Vincent Hanna (played by Al Pacino) is dedicated to a fault. He is a man whose family comes only second to his obsession of police work. He is a member of the LAPD, assigned to the Robbery/Homicide Squad and investigates some of the city’s most serious crimes. Neil McCauley (played by Robert De Niro) is a career criminal who is the architect one of the largest and more elaborate robberies to take place in L.A. for some time. McCauley has recruited a number of loyal and longtime gangsters to assist in the plan as well a newcomer to the group, an unproven member who causes great turmoil for the gang. The result is a unique cat and mouse chase after the job doesn’t go quite as planned.

    I’m not going to spend a lot of time in the narrative section. Considering this is a re-release (the original single disc version was released in 1999), I suspect the vast majority of readers here are wondering how this disc compares to its predecessor. So let’s get right to it. Fortunately, I had the previous version, so I spent the majority of time comparing versions.

    One last thing… about the packaging. This very long film is once again jammed on a single disc. The feature as well as the commentary and three theatrical trailers all appear on the first disc. The discs are housed in a regular sized double keepcase without in an insert. Several months back Warner discontinued their use of Digipaks for their two disc special editions. While most people seem to be pleased with that decision, a few have commented, expressing their desire for the Digipak for these special features. It would appear that WB has come up with a practical decision to cover the keepcase with a cardboard slipcase, giving the initial appearance of the original Digipak at first glance. A number of other studios have been using these for awhile. I admit the Two Disc Special Edition Digipaks were elegant and distinct but I can't help but prefer these keepcases with the cardboard covers. So far I have seen them on the new Malcolm X, Chariots Of Fire as well as Heat. Great job WB.

    The Feature: 4.5/5
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]



    Video:
    Before I slam down the gavel, let me just say that I thought the initial release of Heat was fine. An early entry release to be sure, but fine. The one thing that troubled me with the disc was the sporadic nature of video quality. There are many scenes that look fantastic, but there are quite a few that are just so so. It would appear that compression artifacting was the biggest cause of the disc’s flaws.

    Now for the bad news… it would appear as though this is the exact same transfer. I went back over dozens of scenes i.e. indoor, outdoor, dark and bright shots and try as I might, I can’t see any difference between these two discs in any aspect. What would seem to back this up is some artifacting (which shows as light speckle or flicker) at the 14:33 mark with several vertical flashes on the right side of Jon Voight’s face (over his ear). Another identical flash takes place at the 52:42 mark when Neil is talking to Van Zant on the phone. The flash appears on the face of the thug standing behind him. These artifacts appear on both discs – identically.

    For those unfamiliar with the previous disc, all is not lost. This is still a pretty nice looking disc – it’s just not perfect. Colors look real and accurate perhaps slightly on the cool side. Obviously, filters were used and the parts of the film have a slight blue or sterile look to it. Black levels are as deep as imaginable and while whites were crisp, they had a tendency to be blown out – slightly blooming.

    Many scenes looked terrifically sharp but there are just as many that appear slightly soft, most notably on longer shots. Contrast and shadow detail appeared to be fine and there was a pleasing level of depth and dimension.

    There were slight traces of dust and debris but the print appeared mostly clean. While the image appeared to be solid and free of any shimmer or jitter, there was a significant amount of light speckle and flicker presumably due to compression issues. There was also a minute amount of edge enhancement, but only a slight amount.

    Even in instances when the same print is used, oftentimes there are instances of a smoother image – more refined etc. In this case, I can’t find any differences whatsoever.

    Still, not a bad transfer per se, but those looking to upgrade with the hope of a better presentation needn’t bother.

    Original version
    [​IMG]
    Two Disc Special Edition
    [​IMG]

    Original version
    [​IMG]
    Two Disc Special Edition
    [​IMG]

    Original version
    [​IMG]
    Two Disc Special Edition
    [​IMG]


    Don’t see much of a difference…? Neither do I. I’m not sure I feel comfortable giving this a solid 4. This fits in somewhere between a solid 3.5 and a 4.

    Video: 4/5
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]



    Audio:
    I enjoyed the audio portion of this disc, although it isn’t nearly the standout it used to be considering all the new releases that have surfaced since initial release. The DD 5.1 encoded track does a nice job and is on the slightly aggressive side.

    The track is crystal clear and free of any hiss or popping anomalies. The overall tonality of the track is natural. Dialogue was always exceptionally clear and bold even during the many action packed sequences and the score that showed up occasionally.

    There is a significant amount of range with regards to the dynamics of this track. As the shell casings ejected, the tinkling of the brass sounded like it was almost in front of you, while other noises like clanging plates and the racking of guns etc., all sounded very natural. I felt the gunshots were a tad on the anemic side, but perhaps we’re just spoiled in light of what’s been released over the past couple of years.

    There was an impressive use of surround material which helped with the envelopment, never sounding gimmicky or fake and LFE made a few decent appearances.

    The track still, after a number of years, sounds very good and will give your HT a commendable workout.

    Audio: 4/5
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]



    Special Features:
    In terms of comparisons, this version is what separates the men from the boys. The only special features to appear on the initial release were the three trailers for the film; “Surprise of a Lifetime”, “Two Actors Collide” and “Closing In”, totaling approximately 6 minutes.

    The new Special Edition has a number of new and interesting features starting with:


    Disc One:
    [*] A Commentary with Michael Mann starts by offering up a neat tidbit of trivia discussing how the MTA (the very first scene in the film) is the same stop that Max and Annie get off at, at the end of Collateral. Mr. Mann does an excellent job at keeping this very scene specific. The majority of what is discussed relates to trivia and facts connecting and setting up each scene. At three hours, I was forced to skim through this but if you’re a diehard fan of the film you’ll appreciate all the details.
    [*] The Theatrical Trailers that appear here are identical to the ones on the original version. They are:
    - “Surprise of a Lifetime” Duration: 1:59 minutes.
    - “Two Actors Collide” Duration: 2:27 minutes.
    - “Closing In” Duration: 2:15 minutes.


    Disc Two:
    [*] The Making Of Heat contains three features relating to the concept of the film. They are:

    - True Crime Michael Mann talks about growing up in Chicago and befriending Chuck Adamson, a retired Chicago detective who discusses his dealings with real-life career criminal Neil McCauley whose character and robberies served as the inspiration for the film. Ex-Chicago cop Dennis Farina appears as well as Tom Sizemore and Val Kilmer. Duration: 14:45 minutes.

    - In Crime Stories, Michael Mann discusses the screenplay and the 20 year hurdle it had to climb to finally receive a green light. The casting choices are also discussed. Duration: 20:25 minutes.

    - Into The Fire DP Daniel Spinotti starts this discussion. A number of issues are discussed including the shoot in Los Angeles as well as the training and preparation undertaken by the various actors. Duration: 24:01 minutes.
    [*] Pacino And De Niro: The Conversation is a short featurette with a number of cast and crew participants who discuss the infamous coffee scene with Pacino and De Niro in the diner. Jon Voight starts by offering a number of his personal recollections and others who appear are Pieter Jan Brugge, Ashley Judd, Tom Sizemore, Dante Spinotti, Michael Mann, Art Linson, Al Pacino and archived footage of Robert De Niro from a ’95 interview. Duration: 9:55 minutes.
    [*] Return To The Scene Of The Crime is a road trip to a number of the actual places and locales that were used in the film. Duration: 12:03 minutes.
    [*] The final special feature is a group of Deleted Scenes, eleven to be exact. They are:

    - Season’s Starting Early. Duration: 00:33 minutes.
    - Nicest Guy On The Block. Duration: 00:39 minutes.
    - Albert and Hanna. (alternate take) Duration: 00:18 minutes.
    - Shakedown. Duration: 1:28 minutes.
    - Murder in C-Block. Duration: 00:35 minutes.
    - Let’s Dance. Duration: 00:45 minutes.
    - Late Arrival. Duration: 00:38 minutes.
    - Where’s Ana? Duration: 2:18 minutes.
    - Double The Worst Trouble. Duration: 00:40 minutes.
    - Nate Delivers. Duration: 1:11 minutes.
    - No Response. Duration: 00:31 minutes.

    All deleted scenes are 2.35 and are enhanced.

    The special features are an interesting and informative group.

    Special Features: 4/5
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    **Special Features rated for the quality of supplements, not the quantity**



    Final Thoughts:
    Heat is a film that has virtually taken on a cult-like status. Needless to say Pacino’s performance is outstanding and while De Niro is one of my favorites from the last thirty or so years, his newer films have done very little for me. But this case, he is again, terrific. Heat is complex film with many engaging sequences that brings the supporting cast front and center, all of whom do a wonderful job. The film is long at almost three hours, but you’ll find it moves at a pretty rapid pace. Shot in and around Los Angeles, this is another beautiful film to look at, something Michael Mann has become famous for. Perhaps not as stylistically pleasing as his recent film, Collateral, but Heat is by far, the better film.

    For those of you who glance and suffer through my reviews on a regular basis, you’ll know I’d never recommend a disc based solely on extras. In the case of Heat, there is no difference in terms of the A/V presentation, so if you’re looking to upgrade on those grounds, save your cash. I’ve laid out the special features as best I can and they are indeed a healthy assortment, so an upgrade based on features alone is a decision you’ll have to make. If you didn’t buy the original version, then this is an easy decision.

    Overall Rating: 4/5 (not an average)
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]





    Release Date: February 22nd, 2005
     
  2. ChrisMatson

    ChrisMatson Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the thorough review. I was only going to upgrade for a noticeably improved A/V experience--looks like I don't have to.
     
  3. Nick Graham

    Nick Graham Well-Known Member

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    Well, I was kind of hoping for a new transfer, but the current one isn't that bad. The sound I assumed would be the same, as much as I (cue eyerolling) would like to have this movie in DTS.

    I wonder if the transfer on the Japanese DTS edition offers any improvements over its region 1 counterpart. Either way, I have a feeling I'll be picking this up.
     
  4. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Well-Known Member

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    Great review, Herb! I'm disappointed that the transfer is the same, but I'm not surprised.

    As good as the disc looks, it can't hold a candle to the image I saw in the theaters. There are certain scenes I always check out -- first on the laserdisc, then on the DVD -- and no version to date has the detail to do justice to some of Mann's and Spinotti's more elaborate compositions. I guess we'll just have to wait for HD-DVD. [​IMG]

    M.
     
  5. Ric Bagoly

    Ric Bagoly Well-Known Member

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    MINE
     
  6. Jason Hennigan

    Jason Hennigan Well-Known Member

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    I must say that I'm surprised and disappointed that there isn't an improvement in the presentation of the film over the first DVD.

    I had been planning on picking this one up, but without the improved presentation, I'll have to give it some more thought.
     
  7. ArthurMy

    ArthurMy Well-Known Member

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    I picked it up today and will be watching it tomorrow. I'm curious to see if I like it better - I really didn't think that much of the film when I saw it in theaters. A lot of that has to do with Mr. Mann's out-of-control running time of three hours. I didn't have the other DVD, so I'm sure I'll be okay with this one. I just hope that, for me, it's a better viewing experience than ten years ago.
     
  8. Dave H

    Dave H Well-Known Member

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    I sold my previous version assuming this would be a new transfer --- Warner is usually very good about these things. I guess I'll have to find a cheap copy of the original release because I am not going to pay more money for extras. [​IMG] to Warner!
     
  9. Bernhard

    Bernhard Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the review!
    It's a pity they didn't improve the A/V aspects but I will still get it for the extras.
     
  10. Mark Cappelletty

    Mark Cappelletty Well-Known Member

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    I cannot wait. Maybe my favorite movie of the 90s. Didn't mind the transfer before-- thanks for the heads-up, Herb!
     
  11. Sean Patrick

    Sean Patrick Well-Known Member

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    this is bad news for people with large displays and projectors. the old dvd's transfer just doesn't hold up when blown up like that...VERY noisy.
     
  12. Keith I

    Keith I FoS

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    Guess the IGN DVD article was wrong when they said it was remastered. Maybe it was remastered. This is good to know as I can keep my original version and save money to get others on my wish list that day (lots of them!).
    -
     
  13. Shane Martin

    Shane Martin Well-Known Member

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    After reading their review of Ray and the discussion following it, I'll take the word of our reviewers here over IGN.
     
  14. Lev-S

    Lev-S Well-Known Member

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    Anybody elese think that the Original transfer seems to be a tad sharper and more colorful?
     
  15. Joe Kamsan

    Joe Kamsan Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the review, Herb. You just saved me some money. I'll wait until his title is release on the next format. I didn't double dip on Leon either. I think these studios are trying to milk us for as long as they can.
     
  16. JonZ

    JonZ Well-Known Member

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    Even without a new transfer, I was hoping improvments in compression/authoring technology would make for a better looking disc.
     
  17. Mark Bendiksen

    Mark Bendiksen Well-Known Member

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    Well, I sold my old copy on Ebay a few months ago in anticipation of the 2-disc SE. I'll still buy it because his is one of my all-time favorites; I do wish they had revisited the transfer, though.
     
  18. R. Kay

    R. Kay Well-Known Member

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    I had thought I read somewhere that there was an hour or so of deleted scenes.

    hmm ... bummer.
     
  19. CraigL

    CraigL Well-Known Member

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    Looks like i'm keeping the DTS Japanese disc and adding this for the extras. I'm a whore for them. Thanks [​IMG]
     
  20. Jaxon's Dad

    Jaxon's Dad Well-Known Member

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    Sort of OT. One nit with your review Herb: This is not the first film to star both Pacino and DeNiro. They both were in The Godfather Part II, albeit never in the same scene together. Certainly, Heat is the first film in which the pair have acted on screen together. Just being picky.
     

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