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HTF REVIEW: "The Others" (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED) (with screenshots)


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#1 of 76 Ronald Epstein

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Posted April 23 2002 - 03:16 AM

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The Others





Year: 2001
Rated: PG-13
Film Length: 104 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Enhanced for 16x9 TV



"There is something in this house. Something
diabolic. Something which is not at rest"



2001 was an incredible year for Nichole Kidman.
With two remarkable performances in both Moulin
Rouge
and The Others, all doubts went
to the wayside as to how talented this actress was.
It's interesting to note that Nichole Kidman had
to select which of the two movies she wished to
campaign for an Oscar nomination. Though she
decided to opt for Moulin Rouge, her performance
in The Others is just as worthy of an Oscar nod.

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Grace (Nicole Kidman) is a wartime mother in
an isolated part of England, looking after her
two children under difficult circumstances.
Confined to a darkened manor, Grace is vigilant
about the windows being covered and the doors
locked to prevent photosensitive Anne (Alakina
Mann) and Nicholas (James Bentley) dying from
exposure to light. Grace vigorously tutors her
children in religion and morals, warning them
they'll end up in one of any number of Hells if
they're bad.

Did I also mention that the daughter is seeing
dead people roaming around the house?

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The movie opens on the arrival of three new
servants to replace those who recently left
without warning. Soon after, the daughter
begins to see supernatural "others" in the house.
She reports it to her Mother only to be punished
for telling lies. But the sightings persist and
strange things start occurring in the secluded
mansion amidst the fog that surrounds them.

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Though this movie has been compared to "The
Sixth Sense", it stands on its own as a drama
rather than a thriller. We never get any concrete
clues as to what is happening in this film, and
though the story certainly takes it time to
tell its tale, everything is set up so masterfully
that the film's final ten minute ending is a
surprise worth waiting for.


How is the transfer?


One of the biggest challenges to a DVD transfer
is special effects elements like Fog, which often
produce artifacts. Even dark scenes produce an
abundant amount of video noise into the picture.
I am happy to say with all these elements in place,
The Others comes off with perfection. Through
its softly lensed images, the transfer remains
clean and without any artifacts or noticeable video
noise. It's amazing to see how this wonderfully
warm transfer contributes to the eerie classiness
of this film.

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My biggest complaint is the 5.1 Dolby Digital
surround mix. Since the film has been dedicated
to one disc (with extras put on a second), the
soundtrack could have easily benefited from the
addition of a DTS track which would have helped
enhance the surround field. Though the Dolby
Digital track sounds very clean and robust, it
suffers from sounding too tight. There is no
sense of sound expansion within the sound field.
The rears channels are sparingly used, and there
is a total lack of LFE channel activity. A horror
thriller such as this depends on eerie sound to
invoke fear into its audience. Except for the
occasional sounds of slamming doors and creaking
floor boards, the surrounds really never contributed
to the film's eerie ambience. I firmly believe a
DTS track would have fared better.


Special Features


The folks at Disney have released The Others
as a 2-disc Collector's Series edition, arriving
in a handsome (but bulky) package.

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Pop in the disc and you are greeted with ghostly
light and images that sweep across the screen,
fading into a single shot of a candle lamp burning.
The menu selections lie beneath.

Disc One is dedicated to the entire film.
The only extras you will find on this disc is
Sneak Peeks which contains trailers for
Serendipty; Texas Rangers; Imposter; Kate and
Leopold
and Zulu Warriors. There are
also promotional montages for Dimension Films
and Miramax Films as well as for the film's
original soundtrack.

Something interesting to point out is the very
clever method of Scene Selection for this
DVD. A book opens up with live-action scene
selections placed on each page of the book. By
turning the book's pages, you come to a new set
of scene selections. It's quite an elaborate
addition to this DVD.

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Disc Two contains all of the film's bonus
material with menu selections placed against an
eerie backdrop image of Nichole Kidman.

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A Look Inside The Others is an original
television piece produced by Dimension Films.
Unfortunately, this piece suffers with showing
more of the film's footage than behind-the-scenes
footage as well as being a bit too praising of
its own self. Otherwise, it is comprised of all
the principal actors as well as Director Alejandro
Amenabar talking about the film's storyline. This
featurette only quickly touches upon the scoring,
production design and costumes.
(length: approx. 21 minutes)

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An interesting Visual Effects Piece touches
upon the different chroma key layers that are
added to a particular scene. Using multiple window
panes, you can see the transformation of live
action filmed against a blue screen and all the
elements that are added in final production.
(length: approx. 4 minutes)

Many people would never have believed this, but
there really is a disease related to the photosensitive
storyline presented in the movie. Xeroderma
Pigmentosum: What is it?
explores this very
rare disease that affects under 1,000 children
worldwide and 150 in the United States. Meet
Katie Mahar, a beautiful little girl who at the
age of 6 months became an X.P. Patient, when it
was discovered her skin was badly burned by
outdoor brightness. Her parents describe her
early years, diagnosis, and total disbelief that
such a condition existed. To cope with the
dangers, the Mahars locked their doors, switched
to low-lighting in the household, and blocked the
windows. All of this was a necessity in protecting
their daughter. With lack of supporting
organizations, the Mahers sought out other kids
that had the same disease in order to help their
own daughter cope, thus the creation of Camp
Sundown
, which became an immediate success
for these children and their families.
(length: Approx. 9 minutes)

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An Intimate Look At Director Alejandro
Amenabar
takes us on location for the first
major piece of behind-the-scenes footage. The
Director explains the scenes to his actors before
yelling "Action". The piece ultimately becomes
a montage of the Alejandro directing different
key scenes as we watch the action behind the
rolling cameras. One interesting above shot
reveals that the entire house was built on a
soundstage as we see the wooden planks that
comprise the maze-filled rooms.
(length: 8 minutes)

The Others Still Gallery contains dozens
of publicity photos from the film that you can
easily browse through using your DVD remote.

The film's Original Theatrical Trailer
is also included.


Final Thoughts


I actually wonder why Disney chose to put
this film on two discs. The bonus material
is very sparse compared to other 2-disc Special
Editions. It actually would have made more
sense to include an extra bonus disc if only
the extra bandwidth was used for a DTS track.

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Still, I highly recommend The Others as
it stands as a supreme psychological horror
film that creates an atmosphere of fear and
foretelling danger through character, dialogue
and setting. The film works mainly due to the
controlled and convincing performance by Nichole
Kidman.

Not to be missed!

Release Date: May 14, 2002

Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner

 

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#2 of 76 Ron-P

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Posted April 23 2002 - 04:23 AM

Just yesterday I was wondering when we will see your reveiw on this film. Thanks Ron.

I've heard a great many comments, your reveiw confirms those.

Quote:
Though the Dolby Digital track sounds very clean and robust, it suffers from sounding too tight.
This is typical of DD tracks. It's too bad that a dts track is not provided. But, I will still buy this DVD.


Peace Out~Posted Image
You have all the weapons you need...Now fight!


#3 of 76 Dan M

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Posted April 23 2002 - 04:31 AM

This is indeed a MUST HAVE disc if there ever was one

I found The Others to be one of the best horror movies to come out in quite a while.

Whatever shortcomings the dvd may have, the movie makes up for it

IMO of course

#4 of 76 JulianK

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Posted April 23 2002 - 04:38 AM

The movie is great, but having a two disc edition with less than an hour's worth of bonus materials is pretty insulting. It also makes you wonder why it's taken so long to put together!

Spending more than twice as long on a featurette about Xeroderma Pigmentosum than you do on a featurette about the film's special effects is a joke, right?

#5 of 76 Joseph J.D

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Posted April 23 2002 - 08:37 AM

Despite the lack of a DTS track and sparse extras for such a large package, I will indeed pick up this DVD. I have never had a chance to see the film- and judging from the word of mouth, I really should have. No matter, I plan to rectify this as soon as this 2-disc set is in my hands. Thanks for the review Ron.Posted Image
Recently watched- In Time, Solomon Kane, Friday The 13th(2009), The Sessions, Freddy vs. Jason, Monty Python's The Meaning Of Life, Jason X, Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday, Friday The 13th Pt VIII:Jason Takes Manhattan, Godzilla Vs. Biollante, Ninja II:Shadow Of A Tear, Friday The 13th Pt VII:The New Blood, Non-Stop(2014), Friday The 13th Pt VI:Jason Lives, Batman: Mystery Of The Batwoman

Currently watching- Planet Earth, The Twilight Zone: Season 1, Cheers: Season 6, True Blood: Season 2, Gatchaman: The Complete Series, Simon & Simon: Season 3, Beauty and The Beast: Season 3
 

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#6 of 76 Inspector Hammer!

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Posted April 23 2002 - 08:51 AM

Thanks Ron! I saw this masterful film in theaters and it's one of my most eagerly awated titles so far this year. Extra's, no extra's, don't really care, it's the movie itself that I want. Scary stuff.
"That's Jack Bauer!!!!!! He's coming for me!!!!!" - Charles Logan

#7 of 76 David Ruiz

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Posted April 23 2002 - 09:09 AM

Thanks for the review, Ron. I didn't want to purchase this DVD, because of the lack of DTS, but your review, is forcing me into buying it anyway!

I only pray, that they won't release it next month with a DTS track, because then I'll be really angry. (Even though, I would be happy that it has a DTS track).

#8 of 76 Blaine Skerry

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Posted April 23 2002 - 09:30 AM

I've been waiting for this film since I saw it last summer. Great review, Ron. Now, if only HORROR OF DRACULA is released this year I'll be in video heaven.

#9 of 76 Aaron Croft

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Posted April 23 2002 - 09:32 AM

Let me play you all a song on the worlds tiniest violen.

This looks great! I can't wait for this DVD, I didn't catch it in the theaters, but I will buy it sight unseen.

-Aaron
----------
Aaron

#10 of 76 Brett C

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Posted April 24 2002 - 08:32 AM

Due to the DTS track not being present(was in the specs when announced) I'll be waiting to see if a Better version comes out in another region before I even think of picking this up. Absolutely no excuse for a DTS track not being included!!! Posted Image

#11 of 76 Richard Kim

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Posted April 24 2002 - 08:54 AM

Missed this one theatrically, but I'll definitely be picking this one up, DTS or no DTS.

#12 of 76 Malcolm R

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Posted April 24 2002 - 09:18 AM

Due to the DTS track not being present(was in the specs when announced) I'll be waiting to see if a Better version comes out in another region before I even think of picking this up.

Didn't you say in the other thread, that you started, that you've already got the Region 3 DTS version? What more are you looking for?
The purpose of an education is to replace an empty mind with an open mind.

#13 of 76 Oscar

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Posted April 26 2002 - 09:58 AM

Well, I loved this movie, and though i was dissapointed with the exclution of a DTS track, I will still buy it.
And with DD tracks sounding to robust its normal.
Great review Ron!, though many times i disagree with you on your DVD reviews.Posted Image

#14 of 76 Paul Chi

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Posted April 26 2002 - 10:27 AM

I can't wait to buy this dvd. Thanks for the review Ron! I wonder why the extras are so slim and it doesn't make any sense that there no dts. Oh well!

#15 of 76 todd stone

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Posted April 26 2002 - 10:31 AM

Awesome, I never saw this movie yet I hear it's good.
Lo, there do I see my mother, and my sisters, and my brothers, Lo, there do I see the line of my people, back to the beginning, Lo, they do call to me, they bid me take my place among them, In the halls of Valhalla,where the brave may live...

#16 of 76 Carlo Medina

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Posted April 26 2002 - 10:49 AM

Normally I steer clear of horror/thriller films (weird since I read King and Barker). But my girl loves these kinds of movies so I guess I'm committed to purchasing this one. Posted Image

#17 of 76 JulianK

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Posted April 26 2002 - 12:48 PM

According to the draft review on Doug Pratt's website (DVD Laserdisc Newsletter) there's a sticker on the wrapper of this disc that claims that the extra features run for "1.5 hours".

It sounds to me like something substantial got dropped at the last minute, ala Dogma.

Anyone want to bet that we won't be getting a Vista Series re-release of this sometime next year?

#18 of 76 Ronald Epstein

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Posted April 26 2002 - 09:16 PM

Todd,

This is really a great film, much in thanks
to Nicole Kidman's performance.

It's very slow. The story takes its time
in unfolding. Along the way, the film slowly
builds momentum. The last 10 minutes is the
payoff.

Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner

 

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#19 of 76 Henry Colonna

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Posted April 27 2002 - 07:43 AM

This is a FANTASTIC movie. I'm glad to hear the transfer was good. If you haven't seen this one, don't rent it. You'll want to watch it again and expose it to other people! This is one you'll play over and over!

BUY IT!!

#20 of 76 Steve Clark

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Posted April 27 2002 - 07:57 AM

I am in the camp that could care less about DTS and extras. Just give me a good horror movie with a bare bones DVD that is well done, meaning a high quality OAR transfer and DD, and I am happy.