I think the widescreen DVD looks great, but I've never seen the laserdisc to compare. The packaging does note that it has a new transfer, and the sound has been remixed into Dolby Digital 5.1, which opens up the sound more than makes it directional. In addition to the theatrical trailer, there are some on-screen notes about director Raoul Walsh's war films.
I actually did a side-by-side comparison the other day between the LD and DVD...
The DVD looks absolutely fantastic in comparison -- the colors are significantly and visibly superior to the LD (and rendered correctly!), and the image is much sharper.
However, the LD is framed differently than the DVD is a couple of ways:
1) The LD displays a little extra picture information on both the top and bottom of the frame.
2) The "width" of the image is the same on both versions, but with a slightly different horizontal framing. For the DVD, the framing is slightly to the left of the LD framing -- there is a little extra image visible on the left side (which is not visible on the LD), and a little less on the right (visible on the LD).
I'm sure some people will now complain about the slight framing differences... whatever -- we're talking VERY small amounts here.
The DVD looks outstanding on its own, and looks even better after comparing it to the LD. It's definitely worth picking up!
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I also did a quick comparison between the LD and DVD versions on The In-Laws. The previous LD edition was released by Warner as a full-frame edition, while the new DVD has a 1.85:1 anamorphic transfer.
The differences were absolutely shocking, and the LD version closely resembled an old VHS transfer in comparison. The image was very soft, and at times took on an incredibly hazy appearance, as if the scene were suddenly being filmed through layers of gauze. In other instances (for example, the opening outdoor sequences), backgrounds were often so completely washed out that they disappeared into a blooming white palette that seemingly merges into the foreground. Further, the colors were extremely poor and didn't come close to representing the real color scheme for the film -- it was almost as if all the color had been drained and then the film colorized with a sepia-toned quality. Ick!
The DVD was a revelation, and is superior to the LD in every single respect! Every scene is now sharp and clear, and the colors and contrasts levels look they way they should. The DVD transfer doesn't suffer from any of the hazy sequences or washed out backgrounds that were in the LD transfer -- all the background elements washed out on the LD are fully visible now!
The DVD is definitely worth picking up if you like this film!