DVD Review HTF REVIEW: Crimson Tide (Extended Unrated) Recommended

Discussion in 'DVD' started by DaViD Boulet, May 15, 2006.

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  1. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    [​IMG]
    Crimson Tide
    Extended Unrated Edition

    Studio: Buena Vista Year:1995 Rating:URAspect Ratio: 16x9 encoded 2.35:1 Audio: 5.1 DD English SpecialFeatures: 2 Making-of featurette, Deleted Scenes ReleaseDate: May 16, 2006




    Feature...


    I remember the first time I saw Crimson Tide I thought to myself before the movie started “what a Hunt for Red October rip-off”. Despite that surface resemblance, Crimson Tide quickly proved to be a movie needing to pay no homage to any other film, and stands solidly on its own two feet. Gene Hackman’s performance is exemplary, and his relationship with Denzel is affecting. The story deals with the particulars of military protocols and nuclear weaponry, but in reality it’s a much broader story about what is the “right” decision and how our convictions, beliefs, and resolve to stand by them can appear right in one context, wrong in another, and heroic in yet another…even when the context changes by just a matter of degrees.

    If you haven’t seen Crimson Tide but have enjoyed films like Hunt for Red October, Patton, and Enemy of the State I’d heartily recommend you give the film a viewing. Those of you who know and love this film can rest assured that the DVD presentation on this R1 release does justice to the film. I’m sorry that I can’t compare the audio to the DTS laserdisc as I don’t have a copy, but without a doubt this new DVD edition delivers the best video presentation in a home media outside of hi-def and deserves your consideration.




    note: this is the "extended" and "unrated" version of the film. The first time I saw this movie was over 2 years ago so I can't comment about the additional footage or how it affects the flow of the movie experience, but I hope that others more familiar with the theatrical cut can offer their input for the rest of us.




    Picture...


    Outstanding.

    The Mouse has taken a turn. The last handful of live-action DVDs I’ve had to review have consistently impressed me, and Crimson Tide continues that pattern.

    What’s most impressive is the preservation of fine-object detail. The image lacks that “digitally filtered” look of many other Miramax/Disney live-action DVDs. While it’s still not as razor sharp as the Fifth Element Super-bit, it looks very, very film-like and the softness that is there in some scenes looks like natural film softness and not excessive digital processing.


    I see no haling around hard edges from EE. I notice no obvious compression noise or banding. There is fine film grain in some scenes and on the whole the image just looks and feels natural and film-like. It’s quite a satisfying experience when viewed wide-angle on my 106” screen and I expect that this image will meet with praise from many HT fans who have long bemoaned the 4x3 lbx DVD that was released early on in the format’s life.

    If you’re looking for a DVD that feels transparent to the film-source, this new edition of Crimson Tide is a good example. Job well done.


    (p.s. my bulb has taken a dive for the worse so once I get my new bulb later this week I’ll do another quick-view and add to the comments here).



    Picture Quality: 4.95 / 5

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]


    Rating Rationale...


    Rating Key:

    SCORE Description 1-2 An absolute abomination. Hurts to watch even on a 32” 4x3 480I TV. Think Outland or Jean De Flourette (scan-line aliasing, chroma noise, dotcrawl, PAL-NTSC conversion artifacts etc.)-- truly horrid. 2-3 Has some serious problems, but one can at least watch it without getting a headache despite all the problems though you might try to talk your guests into picking a different movie to watch if you have a large projection screen. Think Kill Bill Vol 1. 3-4 Good or at least "acceptable" on a big-screen, but not winning any awards and definitely room for improvement if you view the image wide-angle (though smaller-screen viewers may be quite content). Think the first extended cut of Fellowship of the Ring...decent picture but still some HF filtering and some edge-halos. 4-5 A reference picture that really makes the most of the DVD medium and shows extraordinary transparency to the film-source elements limited only by DVD’s 720 x 480 resolution. Non-videophile observers can't help but remark "WOW" and ask you if they are watching HD. Think The Empire Strikes Back, the Fifth Element Superbit or the new Toy Story 10th Anniversary Edition.



    Viewing Equipment:
    Currently running DVDs on my OPPO DVD player (Faroudja deinterlacing) which scales to 720P, feeding my BenQ 8700+ PJ via DVI, projecting onto a 106” 16x9 Dalite HiPower screen, viewed from approximately 1.6 screen-widths distance. Well mastered DVDs produce a stunningly film-like image in this scenario, and lesser-mastered material quickly shows its flaws.






    Sound...


    Just outstanding. Really. Crimson Tide delivers one of those 5.1 Dolby Digital tracks that could sell surround systems in any high-end AV boutique. The sound is immersive, seamless, and always in good measure to the on-screen context so it never comes across as gimmicky or distracting. Whether it’s thunder crashing behind you during a rain-storm (I actually wanted to look outside to make sure it wasn’t really raining) or whether it’s the subtle acoustics echoing around the walls of the submarine, sound is mastered with absolute precision and the 5.1 pallet is used to perfection.

    The mix is bold, dynamic, and with a wide frequency response. Dialogue is clear and clean and never sounds thin. But for me the most impressive aspect is the coherence of how the 5.1 speaker array fuse together so seamlessly. Bravo.

    Absolute Demo Material.

    note: I don’t have the DTS laserdisc to compare. I would assume that the full-bit-rate DTS laserdisc would sound superior, but without direct comparison this 5.1 DD soundtrack does not disappoint. Remember…you’re going to buy this again on Blu-ray anyway! [​IMG] )


    Sound Quality: 5 / 5

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]



    Listening Equipment:
    B&K AVR 212 processor/receiver driving my Onix-Rocket Loudspeaker system.



    Special Features...


    The features aren’t winning any special-edition awards for quantity, but what’s here is welcome and actually interesting to view.



    • [​IMG] Documentaries: There are two, one is about 10 minutes and the other is about 5. Both are worth watching and are contemporary with the making of the film so there’s lots of behind-the-scenes and interviews with cast and crew. Recommended for even casual viewers…but don’t watch until *after* you’ve seen the feature film!

      [​IMG] Deleted Scenes: There are a handful of deleted scenes presented from archived 4x3 video source material. Interesting and fans may enjoy.





    All Together...


    Crimson Tide finally comes to R1 viewers with a nice new 16x9 video presentation. The image is outstanding in quality…far superior to Buena Vista’s traditional live-action DVDs. Coupled with great 5.1 DD sound and a handful of worth-watching bonus items, this is an easy recommendation for first-time buyers or for anyone wanting to upgrade to a 16x9 copy to make better use of that HDTV screen. If you don’t need to own this film you may want to wait for the eventual Blu-ray release, but for anyone on the fence I’d encourage you to sell your old copy and buy this new disc at an affordable price to get you through in the meantime.



    Recommended
     
  2. Aaron Silverman

    Aaron Silverman Executive Producer

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    Great review, David!

    I'm interested in hearing people's views on the new cut of the film. I enjoyed it (the original cut, that is), but I thought that it would've been infinitely more interesting if the ending had gone in another direction.
     
  3. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    I'd also like to learn what has been extended in this version
    as well and if it adds anything to the film.

    Terrific review as usual, David!
     
  4. Steve Christou

    Steve Christou Long Member

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    This is more like it, thanks David. Probably my favorite Tony Scott film, great performances by Gene Hackman and Denzel Washington. Hans Zimmer's memorable theme music the icing on the cake. My copy should be here any day now. [​IMG]
     
  5. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    Steve,

    be sure and report back your impressions not only of the AV quality but also of the extended cut versus the original...

    thanks!!!

    dave
     
  6. ErichH

    ErichH Screenwriter

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    David, thanks for the review. No brainer grab for me.

    E
     
  7. Eric_R.

    Eric_R. Stunt Coordinator

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    Can't wait to get this, thanks for the review.
     
  8. Michael Osadciw

    Michael Osadciw Screenwriter

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    wasn't there an issue with the original aspect ratio being incorrect on the first release? or was that on the laserdisc? ...the years and information is blending in my head these days...so, does the aspect ratio look correct on this title?

    Thanks for the review!
    Mike
     
  9. JonathanYu

    JonathanYu Auditioning

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    It's a pity that the new extended version did not include DTS!
     
  10. Qui-Gon John

    Qui-Gon John Producer

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    The problem with the first release was it was non-anamorphic.
     
  11. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    Yes, DTS would have made this release absolutely a must-buy. Agreed. (though if you haven't enjoyed the DTS laserdisc the DD on this DVD might satisfy you until Blu-ray w/DD+/DTS-HD etc.).
     
  12. Paul.S

    Paul.S Producer

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    John Co: Finally, huh?!! [​IMG]

    After all that waiting and as batsh*t as I am for this movie, what's making me succumb instead of waiting for the announcement of Di$ney's first BD slate is some recent b-day gift certs.
     
  13. Shane Dodson

    Shane Dodson Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm not sure I understand how these two statements are reconciled...



    Other than this confusion, good review.

    Regards,

    - Shane D.
     
  14. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    Oops! A copy/paste snafu from my Enemy of the state review...editing now...
     
  15. Vegas 1

    Vegas 1 Supporting Actor

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    Thanks David! Now should I get this title or wait for Blu-rayHmmmm! The DTS laser does sound quite good as most of them do.
     
  16. Sean Cauley

    Sean Cauley Stunt Coordinator

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    There's not a lot to the new cut, but some decent moments. SPOILER WARNINGS, OF COURSE:

    I believe there's a little extra at the beginning of the movie, in the scene where Ramsey (Hackman) introduces Hunter (Washington) to the other officers at the Naval base (I don't recall the TV interview with the Russian rebel leader and Gandolfini's comment about the female reporter).

    Then there's an addition of the Captain requesting that the XO discuss COB's (George Dzundza's) weight after another overweight officer has a heart attack during the fire, and the meeting between Hunter and COB has some decent dialogue about the different managerial styles of Ramsey and Hunter, and a plea from COB that Hunter be the flexible one (this is of course before the major conflict with the interrupted EAM broadcast).

    Finally, there are a few moments before the Naval Review Board gives its verdict where we see Hunter, Ramsey and COB awaiting their turn to testify, and Zimmer (Matt Craven) leaving in a huff after his testimony. This clarifies that Hunter is the last to be called before the board, and explains his surprise that he's not asked to testify before the verdict is given.

    The deleted scenes (separate from the film) are: the full length of the TV reporter's interview with the Russian leader (on its own, without the scene of the Naval officers viewing it on TV); a slight extension of the movie trivia scene between James Gandolfini and Viggo Mortensen on the bus to the shipyard; and a longer cut of the waiting-to-testify scene, where we see that Mortensen's character testifies before Craven's, and that none of the men (even Mortensen and Washington, whose characters are friends) speak to each other as they come and go.

    The behind the scenes stuff is pretty good, as mentioned above, though short. "The Making of Crimson Tide" is EPK all the way, and "All Access: On the Set of Crimson Tide" is a fun bit of B-Roll with some funny tongue-in-cheek interviews (like Denzel Washington pretending to be completely unfamiliar with director Tony Scott) and a really cool sequence where Hackman and Washington rehearse one of their most tense scenes (the one where they're yelling over each other as each tries to relieve the other of duty).

    All in all, a decent package, and glad to have it, but a little disappointing given how many times a rumored full-blown special edition was on and off the schedule over the years since the original, non-anamorphic edition was released. Kind of like the anemic special edition of Office Space was a bit of a letdown, but better than the original.
     
  17. Paul.S

    Paul.S Producer

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    Nice--thx for the comments on the new footage, Sean.
     
  18. Chris Will

    Chris Will Screenwriter

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    Anyone notice that on the DVD cover art, the sub at the bottom is not the type of sub featured in the movie? It looks more like something out of U571.
     
  19. David Coleman

    David Coleman Supporting Actor

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    I can easily see why the extended material was cut from the film. However I really did like the scene between COB and Hunter.
     
  20. Qui-Gon John

    Qui-Gon John Producer

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    Hadn't noticed before, but you're right. That is pretty lame!
     

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