Jump to content



Sign up for a free account to remove the pop-up ads

Signing up for an account is fast and free. As a member you can join in the conversation, enter contests and remove the pop-up ads that guests get. Click here to create your free account.

Photo
Blu-ray Reviews

HTF Blu-ray Review: STARGATE: 15th Anniversary Edition



This topic has been archived. This means that you cannot reply to this topic.
20 replies to this topic

#1 of 21 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

Michael Reuben

    Studio Mogul



  • 21,769 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 12 1998

Posted October 28 2009 - 04:24 AM

Posted Image Posted Image
 
Stargate (Blu-ray)
15th Anniversary Edition
 
 
Studio: Lionsgate
Rated: PG-13/NR
Film Length: 121 min./130 min.
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
HD Encoding: 1080p
HD Codec: AVC*
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 7.1; French DD 5.1 (theatrical only)
Subtitles: English SDH; English; Spanish
MSRP: $29.99
Disc Format: 1 50GB
Package: Keepcase with lenticular slipcover
Theatrical Release Date: Oct. 28, 1994
Blu-ray Release Date: Oct. 27, 2009
 
*Several reports now confirm that the disc available from at least some retail outlets contains a VC-1 encode of the film and features. There is no indication that a different transfer or soundtrack was used, or that this retail disc omits any of the special features discussed in the review. Further discussion is available in posts following the review, which is based on a disc provided by Lionsgate that is, to all appearances, a standard retail disc. This information is reported up front in the interest of full disclosure.  (Updated on Oct. 29, 2009) 
 
 
Introduction:  
 
Stargate may be second only to Terminator 2 in the number of times it’s been released on laserdisc and DVD, and it’s still never looked good. The closest we’ve come so far is a Blu-ray release of the director’s cut in 2006 (featureless except for a commentary). Now, almost 15 years to the day after the film appeared in theaters, Lionsgate is issuing a deluxe Blu-ray containing both the theatrical release and the director’s cut (now rechristened an “extended” cut) with a host of new extras. Will fans finally be able to see the film as they remember it? Read on.
 
 

 
The Feature:
 
Does anyone not know the story of Stargate? A quick review (mild spoilers for those not familiar):
 
Egyptologist Dr. Daniel Jackson (James Spader) is an outcast among his scholarly peers, because he stubbornly insists that the ancient Egyptians couldn’t have built the pyramids. Jackson is recruited by a mysterious woman, Catherine Langford (Viveca Lindfors, in the last film she made), to decipher the hieroglyphics on a huge cover stone found by her father in Egypt when she was a little girl. The cover stone is kept in a secure military facility.
 
When Jackson cracks the hieroglyphic code, it turns out to be the key to activating a device found under the cover stone: the Stargate, a huge metallic ring of alien origin that opens a gateway to a planet on the other side of the known universe. Jackson bluffs his way into accompanying a military team on a reconnaissance mission led by Col. Jack O’Neill (Kurt Russell), who has been selected for the mission because, unbeknownst to all but his superiors, O’Neill is so consumed with grief over the recent death of his son that he doesn’t care whether he lives or dies.
 
After passing through the Stargate, Jackson, O’Neill and their team find themselves on a desert-like planet resembling ancient Egypt and inhabited by an agrarian society speaking a language that Jackson recognizes but can’t quite make out. It turns out that these are descendants of humans brought to the planet by “Ra”, an alien who has extended his life for thousands of years by inhabiting a human host (Jaye Davidson, still best known for The Crying Game). Long before human history was recorded, Ra established himself as a god reigning over Earth, using the Stargate to bring slave laborers to this distant planet to mine it for the powerful mineral of which the Stargate is composed. When the Earth population rebelled and overthrew him, Ra retreated to his mining colony, leaving behind the pyramids and stories of the sun god on which the ancient Egyptians based their religion.
 
The arrival of Jackson and O’Neill convinces Ra that human civilization has advanced enough to threaten him anew. After capturing or killing all of their team, Ra decides to use the Stargate to transport explosives to Earth with sufficient destructive force to decimate it. The only way that Jackson and O’Neill can stop Ra is to convince the leader of the planet’s population (Erick Avari) and his son (Alexis Cruz) and daughter (Mili Avital) to mobilize their people for a new rebellion.
 
Stargate was the second of five collaborations between director Roland Emmerich and writer-producer Dean Devlin. It may not have achieved the box office of their two subsequent sci-fi/adventure collaborations, Independence Day and Godzilla, but it’s a better film. Part of the reason is that it was made when filmmakers were truly excited by the new CGI tools available to them (Jurassic Park was the year before; True Lies the following year), but had not yet become so dependent on the computer that practical effects were being abandoned. The resulting marriage of techniques gives Stargate a weight and authenticity that later CGI-driven films increasingly lack.
 
Stargate also benefitted from imaginative casting. Putting Kurt Russell in an action role wasn’t a stretch after his stint with John Carpenter in the Eighties, but pairing him with James Spader, then primarily known as the unconventional star of Sex, Lies and Videotape, was a creative leap of faith that paved the way for other nerd leads in action films such as Nicolas Cage’s chemical weapons expert in 1995's The Rock, or Jeff Goldblum’s programmer/environmentalist in the Devlin-Emmerich production Independence Day, or even Matthew Broderick’s paleontologist in their remake of Godzilla. None of these were obvious leads for action films (although Cage subsequently made himself over as one), and Spader in Stargate is their progenitor. It’s his unexpected reactions, off-kilter demeanor and bizarre line readings (“Oh! We each get a tent”) that keep Stargate interesting between the big set pieces. (In one of the new documentaries on this Blu-ray, Devlin recalls how Spader spontaneously invented the moment where Jackson pauses in wonder before entering the Stargate. Devlin says it’s his favorite thing in the film.)
 
The rest of the cast is similarly off-beat, whether its Lindfors spicing up the crucial early scenes of exposition (watch the knowing smile with which she responds to Col. O’Neill’s declaration: “I’m here in case you succeed”), or Davidson looking exotic as Ra, or John Diehl and French Stewart playing members of O’Neill’s squad and managing to convey the sense that these are fully rounded individuals with lives beyond the immediate situation in which we find them. Mili Avital does a remarkable job as the requisite love interest (and a key player in the story, as it turns out), given the fact that it was her first American film, not one of her lines is in English and she was cast after shooting began. And Erich Avari puts such a distinctive stamp on Kasuf, the leader of the planet’s human population, that he hasn’t been able to escape the role since then.
 
Prior versions: A complete history of Stargate on disc would take too long, and besides it’s easy to summarize: terrible. The title seems to have been cursed by Ra. The first laserdisc had to be recalled and repressed because of an audio problem, and every subsequent iteration on LD or DVD has been inadequate in some way.
 
At NTSC resolution, Stargate is a visual nightmare. It’s full of scenes – in the sand-blown desert wastelands, in Ra’s shadowy palace, even in the swirling autumn leaves outside Col. O’Neill’s house – that resist all the tricks used by telecine colorists to disguise the limited resolving power of 480p video. It didn’t help that the DVD versions were derived from transfers made with LD in mind and were therefore riddled with edge enhancement and other forms of artificial sharpening. Even worse, compressionists were usually forced to sacrifice both bandwidth and space for the sake of a redundant DTS track that added nothing to the film’s sonic experience other than volume. The additional compression layered new artifacts into an already artifact-laden image.
 
Stargate has been available in two versions since 1996, when Emmerich oversaw the creation of a director’s cut LD, of which he approved the transfer after reportedly being dissatisfied with the original LD transfer in 1995. It was also for the director’s cut that Emmerich and Devlin first recorded their commentary on a 1999 DVD release by Artisan (subsequently acquired by Lionsgate). Approximately nine minutes longer, the director’s cut adds a number of scenes throughout the film, but its most significant change is to restore a prologue showing Ra’s first visit to Earth in prehistoric times. In the theatrical release, this event is shown only in flashback at a much later point in the film. The director’s cut also extends the sequence in which archaeologists discover the Stargate to include the additional discovery of one of Ra’s soldiers fossilized beneath it. Both of these additions suffer from the same flaw, in my opinion: They reveal too much too soon. The film is better off without them.
 
The most recent edition of Stargate on region 1 DVD is the so-called “Ultimate Edition” released by Artisan in 2003. It contained, on separate discs, the theatrical and director’s cuts, with the Emmerich/Devlin commentary on the latter and various other special features.
 
In 2006, Lionsgate released the director’s cut and commentary on an otherwise featureless Blu-ray disc using MPEG-2 encoding with DTS-HD sound. Watching this disc was the first time I had seen anything on a TV screen that even remotely resembled the film Stargate.
 
 
 
Video:
 
I’m focusing primarily on the theatrical cut, because this is the first time it’s been available in hi-def and, frankly, because I prefer it. If you compare this disc to the 2006 Blu-ray, it is immediately obvious that this is a new transfer and not just a re-encode of the earlier version. I’m sure there will be those with nits to pick, but I find this transfer superb. I have a personal list of visual “torture” scenes, including, e.g., any close-up of Katherine’s necklace, the scene of the two soliders arriving outside Col. O’Neill’s home and just about any scene involving a sandstorm. Every single one of them looked solid and detailed on this transfer. In fact, detail looked so good that I could see sparkle in the desert sand that simply hadn’t been visible before.
 
The color densities and overall values look better than I remember seeing in a long time. Emmerich disliked the original LD because it was too bright, and the 2006 Blu-ray struck me as committing the same error (though to a lesser degree). The tones of this transfer are pitched more toward the darker and richer end of the spectrum. The desert scenes have a more golden tinge, and the overall pallette is warmer with a dialed-down white level.
 
Fleshtones and facial detail are excellent, as are dark scenes such as those inside the “bunker” beneath Ra’s palace. Best of all, the opening title sequence, which has generally been a bore on home video, because the detail and textures on the mask of Ra over which the camera was scanning just weren’t well enough presented to be interesting, now have the correct density and color balance. That sequence alone demonstrates the degree of improvement over the previous Blu-ray and every version that preceded it.
 
Grain haters may object, because there’s plenty of grain on view. But hey, it’s the desert, remember?
 
 
 
Audio:
 
Stargate had been previously remixed for DTS-ES 6.1 discrete; so the inclusion of a lossless track in 7.1 is no surprise. I’m only set up for 5.1, but that was plenty impressive. This is the clearest, cleanest and most detailed version of Stargate I have ever heard, and there is always something happening. Whether it’s the rain pouring down when Katherine recruits Jackson, the throb of machinery at the military base, the ever-present wind in the desert, or the sounds of the Stargate dematerializing a few people at the left while you watch scientists monitor the process on your screen, this track constantly gives you aural information beyond your field of vision.
 
Then, of course, there’s the journey through the Stargate itself. For many years I enjoyed letting it surround me and lift me out of my seat, but then the novelty wore off. This mix is a different experience altogether. It doesn’t so much lift you out of your seat as pull your attention back and forth through different sonic layers, simulating the journey that the travelers are supposed to be taking. I don’t think I’ve ever before heard so many strands of the experience so clearly, not even when I first heard it in a DTS-equipped movie theater. When you’ve got fidelity this good, who needs volume?
 
Yes, the dialogue is well-presented, and David Arnold’s somewhat overemphatic score sweeps you along like the old friend it is. But the immersive effects are the real revelation of this track.
 
 
Special Features:
 
Features marked with an asterisk appeared on the Artisan “Ultimate Edition” DVD.
 
Deciphering the Gate: Concepts and Casting (7:50) (HD). This and the following two featurettes make up a single documentary called “History Made”. The principal interview subjects include Emmerich, Devlin, Avital, Avari, effects supervisor Patrick Tatopoulos and Egypt advisor Stuart Tyson Smith (who compares himself to the character of Jackson, but without the space travel). In this first section, Emmerich and Devlin recall developing the script together and securing financing from foreign sources after being turned down by every American studio. (Sound familiar?) They also talk about their casting choices, some of which had to be pursued (Kurt Russell turned them down repeatedly).
 
Opening the Gate: The Making of the Movie (10:10) (HD). The difficulties of shooting in the desert are a major topic, but the single biggest subject is the insistence by Devlin (a self-confessed Trekkie obsessed with linguistic authenticity) that the characters in the film speak genuine Egyptian, which sometimes led to significant delays on set, while Smith translated, and often drove the actors crazy (Avari is especially funny on this point). There are a few seconds of interesting footage of Jaye Davidson speaking the Egyptian dialogue in an undubbed voice that will sound truly odd to anyone used to hearing the electronically manipulated voice of Ra in the finished film.
 
Passing Through the Gate: The Legacy (4:29) (HD). Reflections by Emmerich, Devlin, Avital, Avari and various Stargate fans on the film’s continuing influence, including its ongoing impact through its afterlife in series TV. Emmerich looks genuinely thrilled that people still tell him they like the film. And any true fan of the film should be able to guess what question Avari is asked the most. (He kindly gives the answer as well.)
 
Note: I noted occasional “combing” throughout these three sections, usually at transition points between the contemporary footage shot in hi-def and the historical on-set footage, which is of varying quality. Such flaws may be all but unavoidable when stitching together disparate sources, but in any case they are only a minor distraction.
 
Gag Reel (3:15) (SD). A better name would be “parody reel”. This intricately choreographed joke features appearances by Kurt Russell, Roland Emmerich, physical effects supervisor Kit West and dozens of other crew, and it parodies numerous familiar moments from Stargate to the accompaniment of the all-too-familiar soundtrack. A great antidote for those who think that filmmakers take themselves too seriously.
 
“Master of the Stargate” Interactive Trivia Challenge. Exactly what it sounds like: a trivia game for multiple players. I leave this for others to explore at their leisure.
 
Bonusview™ Picture-in-Picture “Stargate Ultimate Knowledge” (extended cut only). Exploiting Blu-ray’s advanced capabilities, this feature allows the viewer to play the extended cut with a PIP at the lower right containing both interview and on-set footage. Much of the interview footage appears to date from the film’s production. Absent this PIP format, it might have ended up on the cutting room floor of a documentary production, which doesn’t make it any less interesting. Also, a substantial portion of the material is recycled from the documentaries and featurettes provided as separate extras. As is often the case with PIP features, they are a distraction from the main film, because they cover too much of the frame. Eventually someone will figure out how to let the user control both the PIP window’s size and its placement.
 
*Commentary by Writer/Director Roland Emmerich and Writer/Producer Dean Devlin (extended cut only). This is the same commentary that appeared on previous DVDs, including the 2003 “Ultimate Edition” and the previous Blu-ray. In the interest of conserving time, I have not listened to it again, but I recall that it’s an interesting and informative commentary.
 
Note that you may have trouble locating this commentary. It appears as an option (under Setup, Audio) only after you have selected the extended cut under “Play”. At that point, it replaces the French 5.1 language track, which doesn’t reappear until the theatrical cut has been re-selected. It’s an odd design for a menu and one that’s likely to confuse more than a few viewers.
 
*The Making of Stargate Documentary (23:33) (WS but SD; on the “Ultimate Edition”, it was enhanced for 16:9). This documentary was organized according to specific elements of the film (e.g., the Stargate, the desert, the so-called “mastadge” creature the travelers encounter on the planet, the pyramid structure, etc.) and how they were achieved. Perhaps the most entertaining participant is visual effects supervisor Jeffrey Okun, who seems to take an almost child-like delight in the things that go wrong.
 
*Is There a Stargate? (12:11) (SD). A profile of Erich von Däniken, author of Chariots of the Gods, and a brief overview of his theories. The documentary footage of various phenomena claimed by von Däniken as evidence of prehistoric visits by extra-terrestrials is entertaining. Whether it convinces anyone is a different question.
 
Trailers. The film’s original theatrical trailer is included. It is 1.85:1 and in 16:9 widescreen, but to my eye it has not been remastered in high definition. The “international trailer” present on the Artisan “Ultimate Edition” has not been included. Available either at startup or under a separate entry labeled “Also available from Lionsgate” are trailers for: Planet Hulk, Hulk vs. Wolverine/Hulk vs. Thor, The Spirit, The Forbidden Kingdom and Battle for Terra. They can be skipped at startup with the “chapter forward” button.
 
Internet enabled. Although there is no menu entry for any form of BD-Live (or “LG Live” as it’s called on other discs from Lionsgate), the disc does indicate that it is checking for updates if your player is connected to the internet. There may presumably be additional content at a future date.
 
 
 
In Conclusion:         
 
Fans have waited a long time for a really good version of Stargate, but the wait is finally over. Will this be the last time the film gets released on disc? If you believe that, I have some ugly roast lizard for you that tastes like chicken. Bwah, bwah! (Anyone who doesn’t get that reference isn’t a true fan.)
 
 
 
 
 
Equipment used for this review:
 
Panasonic BDP-BD50 Blu-ray player (DTS-HD MA decoded internally and output as analog)
Samsung HL-T7288W DLP display (connected via HDMI)                                                  
Lexicon MC-8 connected via 5.1 passthrough
Sunfire Cinema Grand amplifier
Monitor Audio floor-standing fronts and MA FX-2 rears
Boston Accoustics VR-MC center
SVS SB12-Plus sub
Posted Image

COMPLETE list of my disc reviews.       HTF Rules / 200920102011 Film Lists

#2 of 21 OFFLINE   Terry Hickey

Terry Hickey

    Second Unit



  • 399 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 21 2001

Posted October 28 2009 - 05:05 AM

I purchased this because I prefer the theatrical cut also.  Both audio and video of the theatrical cut were great.
 

#3 of 21 ONLINE   Neil Middlemiss

Neil Middlemiss

    Screenwriter



  • 2,737 posts
  • Join Date: Nov 15 2001
  • Real Name:Neil Middlemiss

Posted October 28 2009 - 05:09 AM

Hi Michael - I wasn't planning on picking this one up (since I was doing ok with the blu-ray version I picked up for less than $10) but now I must head to Amazon and order it immediately. Thanks for helping me spend more money! /img/vbsmilies/htf/smile.gif
"Equipped with his five senses, man explores the universe around him and calls the adventure Science" – Edwin Hubble
My DVD Collection

#4 of 21 OFFLINE   Walter Kittel

Walter Kittel

    Producer



  • 4,777 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 28 1998

Posted October 28 2009 - 07:13 AM

Pretty much what Neil said.  I think I own just about every home video release of this title, so what is one more? 

Nice review, as always, Michael.

- Walter.

Fidelity to the source should always be the goal for Blu-ray releases.

#5 of 21 OFFLINE   Steve Christou

Steve Christou

    Executive Producer



  • 14,392 posts
  • Join Date: Apr 25 2000
  • Real Name:Steve Christou
  • LocationLondon, England

Posted October 28 2009 - 11:39 AM

I remember the first Stargate DVD I bought 10 years ago, it was almost unwatchable, moire patterns, jagged edges, halo effects, it was ghastly. The video was better. And I didn't much care for the longer version, which simply made the film seem um longer. /img/vbsmilies/htf/smile.gif

Nice review Michael. Another must buy on Blu for me.

Dave hören... auf, wille stoppen sie Dave... stoppen sie Dave... Mein gehirn geht... Ich bin gefühl es... Ich bin gefühl es... Ich bin ängstlich Dave... Guter Nachmittag. Ich bin ein HAL 9000 computer. Ich wurde funktionsfähig am HAL-Betrieb in Urbana, Illinois auf January 12 1992.


Lord of the Hubs


#6 of 21 OFFLINE   ManW_TheUncool

ManW_TheUncool

    Producer



  • 5,870 posts
  • Join Date: Aug 18 2001
  • Real Name:ManW

Posted October 28 2009 - 12:55 PM

Ugh!  Can't believe I might actually have to re-dip on yet another Stargate release -- I was kinda hoping this reissue would still be subpar w/ only slight improvements (more like the T2 reissue), expecting yet another improved release another few years down the line.  May Ra's curse be upon you, Mike! /img/vbsmilies/htf/smiley_wink.gif"> <br /></span>
<br />
Still, I think I'm gonna hold out for some time until the price is "right".  I like the movie, but it's not exactly a top priority.  And I wouldn't be surprised if this release also gets price slashed quickly enough. /img/vbsmilies/htf/tongue.gif

Thanks for the review (and tempered good news)... I guess...  <img alt=

_Man_

Just another amateur learning to paint w/ "the light of the world".

"Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things..." (St. Paul)

#7 of 21 OFFLINE   David Coleman

David Coleman

    Supporting Actor



  • 762 posts
  • Join Date: Jan 05 2000

Posted October 28 2009 - 01:08 PM

 Amazing disc, definite increase in quality audio/video-wise. 

Video-wise, all the overblown colors and lack of detail are gone. What you get is sharpness, fine grain, excellent natural looking colors and fine detail.

Audio-wise, you definitely get an improvement and this is one very detailed mix which is cleanly represented in the DTSMA track. 


#8 of 21 OFFLINE   Joseph J.D

Joseph J.D

    Screenwriter



  • 2,686 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 04 2001

Posted October 28 2009 - 01:21 PM

Definitely picking this one up and kicking my Ultimate Edition DVD to the curb. Judging from your review of this disc, this will mark my final time of purchasing this film.  Can't wait to get it.  Thanks Michael. /img/vbsmilies/htf/thumbsup.gif

Recently watched- Nosferatu: The Vampyre, Battle Beyond The Stars, Invasion Of The Body Snatchers(1978), Ransom, Dragonheart, Tomb Of Ligeia, Bloodlust: Subspecies III, Gorky Park, The Last Man On Earth(1964), Lost: Season 6, Transformers Age Of Extinction 3D, The World's End, Toy Story Of Terror!, X-Men: Days Of Future Past 3D, Bloodstone: Subspecies II, Snowpiercer, A Nightmare On Elm St Pt 2

Currently watching- Planet Earth, Cheers: Season 6, True Blood: Season 2, Gatchaman: The Complete Series, The Equalizer: Season 2, Tales From The Crypt: Season 2, WKRP In Cincinnati, Season 1, Arrow: Season 2

 

Irina Asanova - "KGB have better cars, you know."
Arkady Renko - "Ah, but they don't always take you where you want to go, do they?"


#9 of 21 OFFLINE   Carlo Medina

Carlo Medina

    Lead Actor



  • 9,735 posts
  • Join Date: Oct 31 1997

Posted October 28 2009 - 02:23 PM

I'm the "one PS3 owner" reporting a VC-1 encode on my Tuesday Best Buy purchase. Below is my crappy iPhone screenshot. To avoid potentially confusing the PS3 I didn't click on "Info" until the feature had started, and it clearly reports VC-1. I'm running a 60GB PS3 (one of the first gens) with firmware 3.01. I'm also certain it's the new 15th anniversary disc because the menus are totally different, I have all the extras Michael references above, and the subtitles work correctly (as opposed to my original disc) and as I noted in the other thread I can definitely tell a picture improvement, including a better fade/transition in the film element with the Ra opening statue dissolve into the ancient Egypt encampment, as well as decreased gate weave on the opening credits. My disc information is (pasted from the other thread):
Quote:
 FYI here are the numbers on the inner ring (viewed from the playing side of the disc) of my Stargate 15th anniversary BD, maybe you can compare them to yours? I wouldn't expect Lionsgate to use 2 different encodes simultaneously but you never know...

M5 A026267.1.B VD01
M5 A026267.1.A VE03   <- this number is backwards (actually mirrored/reversed) above the previous number

didn't Posted Image

XBox Live: TheL1brarian (let's play Destiny on XB1)


#10 of 21 OFFLINE   Rik1138

Rik1138

    Auditioning



  • 4 posts
  • Join Date: Oct 28 2009

Posted October 28 2009 - 02:56 PM

This is the version currently in stores (it is VC-1, _every_ piece of video on the disc is VC-1).  Apparently Lionsgate has created another version of the disc somewhere that used Mpeg2 for the main menu loop, and AVC for the feature...  And that's what they sent out for review.  I'm not sure if that version will be released eventually or not (or maybe they didn't mean to actually send that version for the review... it might have just been created for testing purposes).

If anyone buys a copy in a store and it's AVC, please let us know.


#11 of 21 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

Michael Reuben

    Studio Mogul



  • 21,769 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 12 1998

Posted October 28 2009 - 04:23 PM



Quote:
Originally Posted by Rik1138 

(it is VC-1, _every_ piece of video on the disc is VC-1)

 
That's interesting, because why would anyone bother to re-encode the two documentaries (Is There a Stargate? and The Making of Stargate) that are simply being ported over from the "Ultimate Edition" DVD? On my copy they're the same MPEG-2 versions they were previously, whereas the new features are AVC (except for the "gag reel" and menu, which are also MPEG-2).

I've suspected for a while that something was up with this disc, because it was down to the wire to get review copies. I had the review up less than 24 hours after receiving the disc, which is a personal record (and one I don't plan to repeat again soon!). In the end, all we can do is review what we're sent.

To answer other questions asked in the announcement thread: We weren't sent "check" discs but discs that are, at least to all appearance, standard retail versions with regular cover art and packaging. We were sent two discs. Adam Gregorich has the other copy, which he's checked, and like the one I reviewed, it's AVC.

On startup, the sequence of events is as follows:

    [*]Checking for updates (via internet);[*]Loading logo (an image of the Stargate);[*]Lionsgate intro;[*]Lionsgate disclaimer re: commentary;[*]Trailers;[*]Menu.

Now, since I've gone ahead and provided that in complete detail (and folks around here will confirm that I'm pretty fussy about reporting this sort of thing accurately), how about telling me why it's relevant? /img/vbsmilies/htf/smile.gif
(I just looked at your edited post in your other thread, and it sounds like you're someone who worked on this Blu-ray. Can you be more specific about your role?)

We've written to Lionsgate asking for further explanation. Let's see what the inquiry produces. In the meantime, as Carlo and I discussed in the other thread, there's at least some comfort to be taken from the fact that the choice here appears to be between two high-end codecs (as opposed to, say, AVC and MPEG-2). Still, I'm sure the screenshot jockeys will have hours of fun with this one, and it's only a matter of time before someone somewhere pronounces that one version "blows away" the other one.
COMPLETE list of my disc reviews.       HTF Rules / 200920102011 Film Lists

#12 of 21 ONLINE   Adam Gregorich

Adam Gregorich

    Executive Producer



  • 14,888 posts
  • Join Date: Nov 20 1999
  • LocationThe Other Washington

Posted October 28 2009 - 07:07 PM

Michael: The version I have blows away the version you have.....wait, they are both the same.  On well it doesn't matter my copy is still better than yours and I have the screen grabs to prove it! /img/vbsmilies/htf/biggrin.gif

#13 of 21 OFFLINE   ManW_TheUncool

ManW_TheUncool

    Producer



  • 5,870 posts
  • Join Date: Aug 18 2001
  • Real Name:ManW

Posted October 28 2009 - 07:13 PM


Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Gregorich ">

Michael: The version I have blows away the version you have.....wait, they are both the same.  On well it doesn't matter my copy is still better than yours and I have the screen grabs to prove it! </div></span></div>
Can I get a free swap of my inferior (1st release BD) for whichever one is inferior between your review copies?  Should be an even swap since they're just inferior anyway, no? /img/vbsmilies/htf/smiley_wink.gif <br /></span>
<br />
_Man_<br />

					
					<br />
					
				</div>
				
				
								
				
					<div class= Just another amateur learning to paint w/ "the light of the world".

"Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things..." (St. Paul)

#14 of 21 ONLINE   Adam Gregorich

Adam Gregorich

    Executive Producer



  • 14,888 posts
  • Join Date: Nov 20 1999
  • LocationThe Other Washington

Posted October 28 2009 - 07:17 PM


Quote:
Can I get a free swap of my inferior (1st release BD) for whichever one is inferior between your review copies?  Should be an even swap since they're just inferior anyway, no? Posted Image Posted Image
 
Your Jedi mind tricks won't work on me Man (Doh! right genre, wrong movie)

#15 of 21 OFFLINE   JediFonger

JediFonger

    Producer



  • 3,941 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 02 2006

Posted October 29 2009 - 02:37 AM

thanks for the review michael =). are the audio options different for theatrical vs. DC?


#16 of 21 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

Michael Reuben

    Studio Mogul



  • 21,769 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 12 1998

Posted October 29 2009 - 02:42 AM



Quote:
Originally Posted by JediFonger 

are the audio options different for theatrical vs. DC?
 
Not in the primary English-language track (DTS 7.1 lossless). The only difference is in the secondary track; see the discussion under Special Features, Commentary.

COMPLETE list of my disc reviews.       HTF Rules / 200920102011 Film Lists

#17 of 21 OFFLINE   joshEH

joshEH

    Producer



  • 3,040 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 14 2006
  • Real Name:Josh
  • LocationRoom 303, The Heart O' The City Hotel

Posted October 29 2009 - 04:13 AM

I'm definitely going to pick this one up very soon, as I held off on the last BD release, but there's something interesting I was wondering about, reading that review:

I happen to own Compton's excellent The Secrets of Stargate CD-ROM, released not long after the film hit theaters, and which featured simply a *TON* of behind-the-scenes interviews with the cast/crew that have not seen the light of day in any subsequent official release. 

Might the "Bonusview Picture-in-Picture Stargate Ultimate Knowledge" Blu-Ray video track happen to contain any of this footage from the CD-ROM release? It was great stuff, and it'd make sense to recycle most of it for a future release...but sadly, that hasn't happened yet up to this point, to my knowledge.

"Pablo, please take Chet's corpse into the other room, and then fix Mr. Hallenbeck a drink."


#18 of 21 OFFLINE   Rik1138

Rik1138

    Auditioning



  • 4 posts
  • Join Date: Oct 28 2009

Posted October 29 2009 - 07:11 AM



Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Reuben 

That's interesting, because why would anyone bother to re-encode the two documentaries (Is There a Stargate? and The Making of Stargate) that are simply being ported over from the "Ultimate Edition" DVD? On my copy they're the same MPEG-2 versions they were previously, whereas the new features are AVC (except for the "gag reel" and menu, which are also MPEG-2).

On startup, the sequence of events is as follows:

    [*]Checking for updates (via internet); [*]Loading logo (an image of the Stargate); [*]Lionsgate intro; [*]Lionsgate disclaimer re: commentary; [*]Trailers; [*]Menu.
Now, since I've gone ahead and provided that in complete detail (and folks around here will confirm that I'm pretty fussy about reporting this sort of thing accurately), how about telling me why it's relevant?  

Well, they just sent us tapes, so we encoded everything ourselves and stuck with VC-1 throughout.  Nothing was provided 'pre-encoded'.  That also provided me the opportunity to encode the audio at a slightly higher bitrate (I assume the DVD was probably 192kbs, I did the audio for the bonus at at least 224kbs...  Not much of a difference, but I tried...)

I asked about the startup order of the disc becuase I figured if someone else did a version of the disc, it would be different.  Ours does this:
LG Logo & disclaimers
Trailers
Loading icon (no internet checking)
Main Menu

So that would be a quick way to tell what version of the disc you are watching as it starts up.

I did the low-level authoring (and audio encoding) on the VC-1 disc (basically, everything except the Java code).  We spent about two months getting everything perfect (like, for example, the studio neglected to mention that there's a line of dialog that's different between the two cuts, not just footage.  If I didn't know the film so well, this would have been completely missed on this release...).  I think in our effort to make it perfect, we may have annoyed the studio a little (a lot of back and forth about things).  They suddenly had another facility start doing the work about 2 or 3 weeks before the release date, all they would say is 'for another market' (of course, with all of our information on how to do it correctly...).  But this is apparently what you got.  They only asked for source assets (tapes, etc), no encoded assets were provided to the other facility.

Another thing we did differently was handling the features that are only present on one version of the film or the other.  When you select 'Setup' on our disc, you get these options:
English 7.1 DTS
French 5.1 (Theatrical Version Only)
Commentary (Extended Cut Only)
and Subtitles.
That way, it doesn't matter what version of the film you have selected,  you see all the options.  If you select 'French', the version of the film you are playing will automatically switch to Theatrical (if it isn't already).  If you pick Commentary, the version changes to Extended automatically.  From your review, I seem to remember you said these option aren't even visible if you have the other version of the film selected...

BTW, how do you start the actual film?  On ours, if you select 'Theatrical', it starts right away.  But on your version, you wouldn't have a chance to then go ever and select French...  How does that work?



#19 of 21 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

Michael Reuben

    Studio Mogul



  • 21,769 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 12 1998

Posted October 29 2009 - 07:32 AM

Many thanks! That's fascinating stuff. From your description, it appears that I've been watching your work, even if the final encode was done by someone else -- so please accept my compliments on a job well done! /img/vbsmilies/htf/thumbsup.gif


Quote:
Originally Posted by Rik1138 


Another thing we did differently was handling the features that are only present on one version of the film or the other.  When you select 'Setup' on our disc, you get these options:
English 7.1 DTS
French 5.1 (Theatrical Version Only)
Commentary (Extended Cut Only)
and Subtitles.
That way, it doesn't matter what version of the film you have selected,  you see all the options.  If you select 'French', the version of the film you are playing will automatically switch to Theatrical (if it isn't already).  If you pick Commentary, the version changes to Extended automatically.  From your review, I seem to remember you said these option aren't even visible if you have the other version of the film selected...

BTW, how do you start the actual film?  On ours, if you select 'Theatrical', it starts right away.  But on your version, you wouldn't have a chance to then go ever and select French...  How does that work?

 

Starting the film is handled the same way on this disc. Select "Theatrical" or "Extended", and the film begins immediately. What's handled differently (and here you guys planned better) is that the audio menu never lists more than two options. It's either English 7.1 DTS & French DD 5.1 or English 7.1 DTS & Commentary. The former is the default; so if you want the commentary, you have to first choose to play the extended cut, then change the audio option to "commentary" on the fly. The design you've described is superior, obviously.
COMPLETE list of my disc reviews.       HTF Rules / 200920102011 Film Lists

#20 of 21 OFFLINE   Arild

Arild

    Supporting Actor



  • 734 posts
  • Join Date: Mar 15 2003

Posted October 29 2009 - 11:20 AM


Quote:
Originally Posted by Rik1138 

(like, for example, the studio neglected to mention that there's a line of dialog that's different between the two cuts, not just footage.  If I didn't know the film so well, this would have been completely missed on this release...).
Good to know. IIRC, that part did get screwed up on one of the earlier DVD releases.