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DVD Reviews

HTF REVIEW: The Fifth Element: Ultimate Edition (RECOMMENDED)



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#1 of 56 OFFLINE   Aaron Silverman

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Posted January 11 2005 - 05:12 PM


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#2 of 56 OFFLINE   Gary Burdick

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Posted January 11 2005 - 07:53 PM

edit: looks like they aren't faulty after all Posted Image

#3 of 56 OFFLINE   Steve Christou

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Posted January 11 2005 - 10:40 PM

Great review Aaron, I'm still waiting for my copy to arrive.
But you didn't mention that this is actually a 2-disc Superbit edition, or isn't it?
And another reviewer claims that the picture quality is an improvement on the previous Superbit release.

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#4 of 56 OFFLINE   Aaron Thorne

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Posted January 12 2005 - 02:09 AM

The superbit logo is on the case indicating that disc one is the same transfer as the previous superbit release.

Funny how Sony markets superbits with the "high video bitrate, no wasted space for extras and extravagant menus." Then release two films that are superbit with cool menus and special features.

Anyway, thanks for another great review Aaron. Posted Image

I viewed Leon for the first time last night and didn't notice any issues due to the missing pull down flag. Great film by the way, much better than the USA cut.

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#5 of 56 OFFLINE   MikeEckman

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Posted January 12 2005 - 02:52 AM

I dont normally dispute what the reviewers say because I know I dont have the high end equipment to critique things like transfer quality, etc, however, unless this is a different transfer, I can't believe that this video transfer would get anything lower than a 5/5. Everytime I demo my HT system, chapter 8 (the New York jump scene) on this movie is my reference point. I have used this on my old Sony analog WEGA and my highscan digital WEGA that I have now. The amount of colors, the sharpness, and the overall clarity is top notch. As my collection grows bigger and bigger, I watch less and less supplements. As much as I would like to buy this new SE, I am having a hard time justifying it since I already have the original Superbit with dts. Hmm, good review, but I disagree on the transfer quality.
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#6 of 56 OFFLINE   Aaron Silverman

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Posted January 12 2005 - 03:50 AM

Thanks for the comments, everyone!



Let me explain why my video rating wasn't higher. There are three reasons:
  • Edge enhancement. It's not bad, but it's there.
  • Source material issues. Small amounts of film damage are visible throughout the film.
  • The 3:2 pulldown flag error may cause issues for people using certain types of equipment, especially HTPCs.
Aside from those three issues, the image is fantastic. As you say, the colors and detail are top-notch. I simply took other things into account. Had there been less edge enhancement and had the film damage been cleaned up, it would have gotten a 4.5. If, in addition, the 3:2 pulldown flag was encoded properly, then my video rating would have most likely been a 5.

I hope that clarifies my methodology. If anyone else has any issues with anything that I wrote, please feel free to post -- I am more than happy to discuss! (After all, that's why we're here, right? Posted Image )
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#7 of 56 OFFLINE   Steve Christou

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Posted January 12 2005 - 03:58 AM

This site compares different versions including the previous Superbit edition.

DVD.Debate Comparisons

They also claim the picture quality is an improvement over previous editions...

"First up, the new Ultimate Edition seemingley does the impossible and improves on the old SuperBit Release. Though essentially the same transfer as that previous release, I found the colours, black levels and contrast on the new disc subtly but noticeably improved, giving the image a real depth. Detail levels are consistently high, with clothing textures, individual hairs, background details and the like always visible and pin sharp. There is light amount of grain throughout, but this helps give the transfer a natural, film-like look, and is never distracting. Compression artifacts are kept to a minimum, with only the slightest blocking in the backgrounds of some shots, and no motion blurring. Edge enhancement is also kept in check, with just the text on the opening credits showing anything noticeable. The original SuperBit transfer has long been praised as a real demo piece, and this new release can definitely claim the same, as it easily surpasses its predecessor."

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#8 of 56 OFFLINE   Aaron Silverman

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Posted January 12 2005 - 04:25 AM


It depends on your equipment. As I said, my setup is completely unaffected by it.

The Home Theater And High Fidelity website has an extremely detailed rating system for pretty much every DVD player (hardware and software) on the market. Their listing shows whether a particular player will have trouble with this issue. Go to http://www.hometheat...in/shootout.cgi and look up your player. Check whether it passes the "3:2 Cadence Video" flag test.
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#9 of 56 OFFLINE   David_Blackwell

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Posted January 12 2005 - 04:32 AM

Good review. I was waiting and waiting for this one to pop up.
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#10 of 56 OFFLINE   Aaron Silverman

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Posted January 12 2005 - 04:42 AM

Thanks, David! Sorry it took so long -- I am still working through a pile of 12 screeners that I received all at once. (All but one of them have a decent amount of extra features, and many of them are 2+ hours in length, so it's slow going.)
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#11 of 56 OFFLINE   Kain_C

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Posted January 12 2005 - 05:57 AM

Odd, the store I work at had to pull ALL of the copies of Fifth Element SE because of NO AUDIO TRACK. Don't know if it's a bad batch or what but I didn't see anything here about it. I may make a new thread on it.

#12 of 56 OFFLINE   Gary Burdick

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Posted January 12 2005 - 07:26 AM

Some people on imdb said they had this problem. Superbit DVDs usually(at least in my experience) play the DTS track by default. Both Leon and Fifth do this. They need to switch to Dolby to hear the movie if they don't have a dts decoder.

#13 of 56 OFFLINE   Neil Joseph

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Posted January 12 2005 - 08:56 AM

Thanks for the review. As I still have the SB version, I will do some comparisons of my own tonight.
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#14 of 56 OFFLINE   Mark_TS

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Posted January 12 2005 - 09:05 AM

The VOB files are dated Nov, 2004 -same as LEON-UE must have had 1. the same faulty equipment doing the transfer or 2. the same just-starting-in-the-business transfer technician still, from my set -a 32" Sony-it looks a hair better than the previous Superbit.
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#15 of 56 OFFLINE   RobertDigilio

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Posted January 12 2005 - 09:42 AM

Bad News: On a whim, I just checked Resident Evil: Apocalypse with GSpot....it also seems to have the pulldown flag error on both the 16:9 and the 4:3 versions! Again, it only seems to be present in the first .VOB file of each version (VTS_02_1.VOB and VTS_05_1.VOB). Anybody dare check out Spidey 2? How many titles are F'd up? CTS has dropped the ball... EDIT: Actually after checking it in DVD2AVI, only the very beginning of the first .VOB file of RE: Apocalypse is not flagged Progressive. When the Screen Gems Logo appears, however, it switches to Progressive. GSpot doesn't seem to distinguish changes within the .VOB file. Could this also be the case with the Fifth Element? I don't have it yet so I can't check...

#16 of 56 OFFLINE   Aaron Silverman

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Posted January 12 2005 - 10:07 AM

That is possible with both Fifth Element and Leon. I plan to research the issue further.
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#17 of 56 ONLINE   Carlo Medina

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Posted January 12 2005 - 10:46 AM

I was worried at first when I heard about the 3:2 problem (with my Panny RP91 not exactly lighting up the scoreboard on Hometheaterhifi...). But I just recently watched Res. Evil: Apoc and didn't notice any 3:2 problems with the naked eye. So maybe there's hope that Leon and 5th Element won't exhibit their problems on my player....

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#18 of 56 OFFLINE   Ron Reda

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Posted January 12 2005 - 10:54 AM

Carlo, I have the same player and couldn't locate it with the search...I must be doing something wrong.
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#19 of 56 OFFLINE   Aaron Silverman

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Posted January 13 2005 - 05:04 AM

Cross-posting from the Leon thread:

There is a distinct possibility that the "errors" on these discs (now apparently including Resident Evil 2) is really just due to a quirk of the software I used to check it. I'm not sure what the deal is with the problem that DVD Beaver's review noted, though.

This weekend I hope to figure it out for certain with some different software. I would go ahead and buy it if you want it -- you can always wait until next week to open it, pending verification of whether this is truly a problem or not.
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#20 of 56 OFFLINE   Felix Martinez

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Posted January 13 2005 - 06:24 AM

Universal was practically raked over the coals with this prob on their Meaning of Life DVD, and they made good with a replacement disc. Koch Lorber's excellent final DVD of La Dolce Vita also corrected a 3:2 prob present in the initial screener sent out to the media. These new high profile titles should have been authored correctly - especially if prior versions were encoded with the proper 3:2 flag. I do notice the addition of a Trivia Track for both special editions of Fifth Element and Leon. I wonder if this is the culprit...? It shouldn't be, but I recall MGM's Valley Girl: SE from a few years ago was mis-flagged (among other probs) and also had a Trivia Track.





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