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Old 03-27-02, 04:46 PM   #1
Matt Stevens
Needs to contact an admin about multiple accounts
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: USA
Posts: 839
new HIGHLANDER dvd is surprisingly good

I now have the DVD and while I am not happy with the exclusion of the original soundtrack, the Edge Enhancement on the transfer is nowhere near as bad as feared. There are a few shots with obvious and annoying "force-field" like halos, but they are very few (most are during the beginning of the training sequence). I hate hate HATE Edge Enhancement, so you can be confident that I am not going easy on the transfer.

Compared with the horrendous Artisan DVD and the exceptional THX 10th Anniversary Laserdisc, this new transfer is the clear winner. There is more detail, more vibrant colors AND, most importantly, an absence of artificial noise and compression artifacts. The video bit rate is always above 7 mbps, giving the grainy film enough bandwidth to playback without falling apart, as the old DVD did (just compare the opening scene where the wrestlers walk down the aisle into the auditorium. The old DVD broke up into massive macro-blocking, similar to a VCD!).

HIGHLANDER is a grainy film. It was both an intentional look and a limitation of the film stock used. Thankfully, Anchor Bay did not pull a HEATHERS SE on us and use DVNR to smooth the picture out to nothingness. That would have resulted in LESS detail.

So when you watch this DVD, be aware of the fact that the picture looks exactly like it was shot: Grainy.

Extras on the single DVD are sparse. Anchor Bay pulled a real cheapo on us by releasing the extra music segments in the limited edition. That's a shame. But we do get two of the three U.S. theatrical trailers in anamorphic widescreen. The second of the two is noteworthy for only showing three scenes from the film, almost without cutting. It's interesting, but would have been more effective if it was Connery/Ramirez narrating.

So, since we are not going to get any other version of this great film for years to come, go ahead and place your order. I am a picky bastard, as many of you know, and while I am heartbroken that the soundtrack changes/screw-ups remain, I will take this version over the similarly flawed laserdisc any day of the week. And of course, to hell with the old VHS version. It was unwatchable.

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