Studio: Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Rated: Not Rated
Film Length: 139 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 anamorphic
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 (Japanese)
Subtitles: English, English (SDH)
US DVD Release Date: September 23, 2008
Movie: 2.5 out of 5
Dororo is based on the manga comic by Tezuka Osamu, best known for Astro Boy. This live-action adaptation is directed by Akihko Shiota, and stars Satoshi Tsumabuki as Hyakkimaru, a samurai who hunts down and destroys the demons that stole parts of his body prior to birth. After he kills the demon, the stolen body part is restored. Hyakkimaru is joined by a sidekick, Dororo (Kou Shibasaki), a woman raised as a man. I am not real sure what to make of Dororo as a movie. It borrows heavily from other stories and movies, such as the baby being abandoned in a basket floating downstream (Willow, which also stole this from the story of Moses), coming across a room full of eggs laid by one of the demons (Aliens), one of the demons even looks like a guy in a lizard suit (Godzilla), and the battle sequences have a Kurosawa feel to them. The locations in New Zealand are beautiful to look at, but the visual effects are often cheesy (especially the fight with the two demon dogs). The action sequences work (I especially liked how the demons exploded after being conquered), but the story gets bogged down at times with exposition. The movie looked and felt like a pilot for a television series (Tokyo Broadcasting System co-financed with Toho), especially with the unresolved ending, which includes the title card “Twenty-four Demons To Go.”
Video: 4 out of 5
The box lists the aspect ratio as 1.85:1, but the anamorphic video appeared as if it was opened up to 1.78:1. Early on, the cinematography has an oversaturated color palette, with heightened greens, but as the film continues, the colors become more subdued, particularly during daytime exteriors. Black levels are decent, and the video has a nice film-like quality to it, with minimal compression artifacts and noise.
Audio: 3 out of 5
For an action epic, the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, encoded at 448 kbps, is rather front heavy, and the LFE channel isn’t used too effectively. The audio is crisp and clear. Nothing to really complain about, but nothing to get excited over, either.
Special Features: 0 out of 5
There are no special features provided on this DVD release.
Overall: 3 out of 5 (not an average)
Even with my complaints regarding plot and visual effects, I still found Dororo to be an entertaining piece of Japanese filmmaking.
Toshiba 56HM66 DLP HDTV
Sony Playstation 3
Yamaha HTR-5940 Home Theater Receiver (in 5.1 configuration)
Yamaha NS-AP2600 Home Cinema Speaker Package
Yamaha YST-SW010 subwoofer