HTF UMD REVIEW: Predator

Discussion in 'Gaming' started by David Galindo, Jul 7, 2005.

  1. David Galindo

    David Galindo Screenwriter

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    [c]Predator (UMD)
    Region 1 • R • Subtitles: English • Available Now

    [​IMG][/c]

    One of my many favorite sci-fi movies makes it on UMD, and the results couldn’t be more disappointing.

    Thoughts on the Movie

    I’ve been looking forward to this UMD, simply because I never saw Predator completely all the way through. I had seen the end, most of the middle, never saw the beginning. Now that I have seen it in its entirety, I can say that I’ve really enjoyed it.

    I mean, just look at the cast. This cast certainly ranks high in the halls of bad-assery. You’ve got Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jesse Ventura, Carl Weathers, Sonny Landham as that crazy Billy guy… wow. Who would have thought two of these people would go on to be state governors?

    The Predator himself is quite amazing. Many people think that the movie is illogical because of him, simply because it doesn’t make sense that an alien would come to earth just to hunt humans. But it makes perfect sense to me… I mean, this guy is probably on vacation and hunts humans during the summer. What’s there to not understand? Isn’t man the biggest hunt of all?

    Well, I really enjoyed this movie. It was interesting how the men were not sent to kill the Predator, but rather they gradually realize they’re not in control, and fight back. I also liked the men and how their characters were fleshed out before we get to the meat of the story. I just dug this film.

    To rank Schwarzenegger’s movies, I would put Total Recall on top, the Terminator franchise next, and Predator in a solid third. Great movie.


    Video Quality

    We get another warning before the movie starts that the ratio was cropped to fill the screen. Again, why was the cropping necessary? The original ratio was 1.85, and it’s zoomed to 1.78. Why? While it’s not a huge travesty as a 2.35 to 1.78 would have been, it still annoys me.

    Thankfully, this movie looks much better than the tepid Napoleon Dynamite transfer. The colors look great, and one of the scenes in the movie takes place in a helicopter that’s bathed in red light. Usually reds are the hardest to pull off well on a DVD or UMD, especially after compression. I was pretty impressed by the look of the scene, and everything in the movie was sharp and detailed. When you first get a two second glimpse of the Predator in camo mode (when he kills the first man in the group), it will shock you. Not the special effects, but the clarity of the scene and the amazing detail the PSP screen put out. Oddly, that’s the only time the camo effect wooed me, but I rewound that scene several times.

    Good transfer overall, and hopefully Fox will keep future widescreen movies in their true widescreen formats.

    4/5
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    Audio Quality

    The movie, unfortunately, suffers from a overall lack of loudness (much like the National Treasure track). I had to turn the movie up to the max, as well as the UMD volume booster to +2, before I felt comfortable. Still, it is way too quiet at times, such as the briefing before heading to the jungle. Thankfully, the score sounds great on the UMD.

    There is something interesting to note though. Usually UMD movies use Atrac3+ audio for the movie, which is very loud at times and can really deliver some solid sound. But Fox, so far, has encoded their UMDs in stereo sound, which sounds a bit underwhelming. I have no idea why they are doing this, because Atrac3+ audio allows for some fake surround sounds, unlike stereo sound. In fact, there is no good reason why Fox uses stereo tracks except to save room on the disc, which would have been understandable if there were lots of extras. Except for the fact that…

    2/5
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    Extras

    …there are no extras. No chapter selection. Just two trailers you can watch (one of them, an old trailer for Aliens, is pretty cool). The menus are OK, and the score that plays in them sounds great, but what the hell is up with Fox for not putting a chapter selection menu? Not only that, but this UMD case has the cover art from the Predator special edition DVD, and there is not a single extra.

    I really hope that these titles were simply rushed and Fox will put more effort in their future releases, because so far, I have almost lost hope altogether in them. Next Fox movie I see that gets the same treatment as Napoleon and Predator gets a zero in this section.

    0.5/5
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    Overall…

    It really pains me to give such a low score to a great movie, but I have said before that this is a UMD review and not a movie review. Why Fox uses stereo sound is beyond me. Why they don’t include a chapter selection is puzzling. Why they crop movies that hardly need cropping is bamboozling. Why they don’t include just a tiny extra is perplexing. Why they expect people to pay $30 is simply mystifying.

    I really, really, really hope that Fox gets their act together. Until then, stay away from all UMDs with the Fox logo on it…you’ve been warned!

    1/5
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
     
  2. Jay Mitchosky

    Jay Mitchosky Producer

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    [​IMG]

    Just picked up the DVD SE the other day and it's a pretty solid transfer as well (all things considered with the quality of the elements).


    Can't understand that either.
     
  3. PerryD

    PerryD Supporting Actor

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    Obviously you have your own rating system, but a 1 star rating doesn't seem exactly fair for a UMD movie that entertained you and had very good picture quality, and no cropping (I think they accidentally put the disclaimer there, nobody considers modifying 1.85 to 1.77 cropping).

    Even with the audio rating factored in (I'm curious how different headphones would affect this rating, namely boutique earbuds like Etyomic or Shure, or the Pelican Headbanger Earsubs), I wouldn't have expected anything less than a 3 star rating. As far as using or not using PCM, I would have thought that UMD movies use something like dolby digital at 192Kbps or MP3 at 128kbps to store the sound, there would be no space on the UMD to stream PCM audio. I'd be curious on hearing more about the different audio streams available for UMD movies and their bitrates.

    As for ranking the Schwarzenegger movies, You'd have to put True Lies above Predator, I think I'd even put Conan the Barbarian higher also. T2 would be easily on top.
     
  4. David Galindo

    David Galindo Screenwriter

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    How could I forget about True Lies? Well, damn. Predator is my fourth favorite. [​IMG]

    The thing is, this movie would be a 2.5 easy if it were $15. But $30? True, you can find it for $20-25 at most stores. But I fail to see how this extremely bare bones movie warrents $30. Ive seen much, MUCH better UMDs for $30, such as Kill Bill.

    The movie entertained me, but like Ive stated before, I only factor in the UMD and not the movie into the score.

    And the technical specifications say Atrac3 and MP3 for games, and PCM for movies. So far Fox is the only company to use Stereo sound for UMDs.
     
  5. Dave Scarpa

    Dave Scarpa Producer

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    Especially when you can get the DVD for $8 bucks
     
  6. Scott L

    Scott L Producer

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    Forgive me here, but I'm confused at this part. Atrac3, mp3, and PCM can all be stereo. Can you explain this issue a little more?
     
  7. David Galindo

    David Galindo Screenwriter

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    Sorry, I had my facts wrong. Someone from Sony Computer Entertainment Europe corrected me and said they compress the original movie's audio into Atrac3 format. Fox just uses Stereo sound. Atrac3 seems to be the superior format for UMDs, since it sound very nice, while stereo is a bit bland.
     
  8. Scott L

    Scott L Producer

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    By stereo do you mean mp3 stereo? Stereo isn't a compression format.

    Not trying to be a pain, just want to understand. [​IMG]
     
  9. David Galindo

    David Galindo Screenwriter

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    Sorry, I meant that they compressed the stereo track into the Atrac+3 sound, whereas everyone else takes the 5.1 mix and recompresses it into Atrac+3 also.

    Thats my understanding, I think. [​IMG]
     

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