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    DVD Video - Reviews [Se7en]


    Seven (Special Edition)

    Release Date:

    Studio: New Line
    Year: 1995
    Run Time: 127 minutes
    Rating: R
    Starring: Brad Pitt, Kevin Spacey, Morgan Freeman, Richmond Arquette, Leland Orser, R. Lee Ermey, Gwyneth Paltrow, Richard Roundtree, Richard Schiff, John C. McGinley
    Directed by: David Fincher
      Movie Summary: [Horror, Mystery/Suspense]

        Using the seven deadly sins as the denominator that links an ingeniously heinous series of murders, director David Fincher has created a modern horror masterpiece. A pair of homicide detectives are unstoppable as they seek the most intelligent and criminally creative adversary they have ever encountered. Stunningly photographed, "Seven" is immediately distinguishable as one of the most terrifying motion pictures of our time.

    DVD Details
    • Widescreen: 2.35:1, Enhanced for 16X9 TVs, Color, 6.1 Dolby Digital EX, 6.1 DTS ES, Surround, Additional Languages: French, Closed Captioned, Region 1
    • Multi-Angle, 2-Disc Set, Four Audio Commentaries, Deleted Scenes, DVD-ROM: Printable Screenplay, Penetrating the killer's mind, Exploration of the Seven Sins, Photo Galleries featuring Production Designs, Stills, Crime Scenes, "John Doe's" notebooks, filmographies, trailers, DVD audio/video mastering, Trailer and Electronic Press Kit, Alternated Endings, Exploration of the Opening Title Sequence: Multiple Angles, Audio Mixes, and 2 Commentary tracks
    See Full Disc Details...

    Reviewer: Sean Kelly [Staff]


            L et he who is without sin try to survive, indeed. Can one who is self-righteous possibly realize their self-righteousness? If they could, what form do you suppose their realization would take? Itís numbing to think how disturbed a person can become. Is it genetic? Is it a learned behavior? What kind of experiences would somebody have to go through in order to feel isolated into societal reclusion? What would it take to push them over the edge, to make them feel that they could make it all right again on their own? And just how far away is that edge from any of us anyway?

    As a homicide detective you might find yourself asking such questions on a regular basis. What could possibly be so horrible to drive assailants to such atrocious behavior? David Fincherís Seven explores the progression of homicide detectives who are hot on the heels of a twisted, self-righteous maniac seeking personal redemption in the atonement of sins of those around him. Released in 1995, Seven became an instant cult sensation with a gruesome glimpse into the perturbed nature of Man, religion and the sarcastically hypocritical world in which we live. The film is not virgin to DVD, however - it saw the light of DVDís blue laser in early 1997, but the release was a Ďflipperí: it had to be flipped over midway through to play the remainder of the film, and had little in the way of extras to boot.

    Well things have certainly come a long way since the early dawn of DVD, and New Lineís release of the special edition, two-disc set Seven comes with a truckload of features to set the record straight. After over three and a half years of suffering from the originally scantily dressed release, the movie hits shelves again whispering promises of compensation. The first of the two RSDL discs contains pure, unadulterated film. The fact that the recording is on RSDL alone beats the previous iteration of the titleís release: no more flipping. Add to the same disc four individual commentary tracks with the stars, the director, audio and visual effects masters and youíve got a sweet deal. The disc also contains what now seems to be trademark New Line DVD production work with a Dolby Digital sound track to accompany the main menu, not unlike that on their release of The Cell.

    The audio / video quality on this title is nothing less than superb. Can a middle-class, white-collar worker use the word Ďsuperbí? The digital audio tracks are crystal clear with distinctive channel separation, bringing rain, atmosphere, society and environment in from all around. As clean and pretty as they are, the film itself does not contain enough in the way of pounding action sequences to really showcase the strength of the production work leaving you to enjoy only the more carefully crafted, finer sounds. The video contains a respectable transfer, clean and free of film aberrations, clearly the result of meticulous work by remastering this transfer from the original negative, but I canít help but think that Sevenís video quality became something of a victim to the ever-relentless scan of MPEG2 encoding at times. There are some DVDs out there that contain amazing transfers such as Bram Stokerís Dracula which reproduces incredibly high quality video, but it seems that with todayís added features, such quality must be difficult to accommodate in certain situations. Sure the title is on RSDL, but it also contains six audio tracks (theatrical Dolby Digital EX, DTS and four individual commentary tracks), all of which also occupy valuable data space that could otherwise be used to accommodate lower MPEG compression levels, and thereby better definition image.

    Once youíve finally had your fill of watching the film five times, once with each commentary and once without, you should be about ready to switch over to disc two. Yes, unfortunately youíll have to get up out of your chair just as with the original release, but this time youíll want to. Iíve never been terribly comfortable using the word Ďflabbergastedí in context so suffice it to say that the second disc is truly astounding.

    Disc two is comprised of solid features, top to bottom. Aside from the theatrical trailer, the only feature on the disc that is not a video reel accompanied by commentary is the filmography section. Some of the features contain optional commentaries from multiple sources, switchable in mid-playback with the DVD remote ĎAudioí button, as well as multiple video versions/angles, also switchable on-the-fly with the ĎAngleí button. While this is a clever, nifty trick, in practice itís clearly a futile effort to switch video and audio tracks in the middle of any given sequence since it is simply confusing presented non-contiguously. The features might have been better presented as selectable video and audio tracks at the onset, rather than permitting real-time manipulation. There is a segment that provides some insight into the mastering of the DVD content for Seven, both audio and video. Both segments are accompanied by tremendously insightful commentaries, but I most appreciated the video transfer bit where you actually watch the video editor make subtle changes to the presentation, highlighting the level of detailed work that is involved in the process. The clip for John Doeís notebooks is also interesting in that it reveals the startling amount of attention and work that went into that part of the production. Yet as crucial as the notebooks were to the story, I never saw them as having such a significantly prominent presence in the film as to warrant such excruciating drudgery. Sure, the books were involved in a number of scenes, but it seems to me that they could have gotten away with considerably less exacting effort. New Line takes production stills and photo galleries to new heights, integrating the images into actual video reels and overlaying them with narration from the artists who took the snapshots, explaining techniques, philosophy and the general meaning of life. Most interesting I thought was the sequence of black and white images produced for the ĎGluttonyí scenes where the photographer discusses the different types of film and techniques used to obscure the photos for their characteristically chaotic appearance.

    The entertainment factor of disc two is an easy 8.0 on the Richter scale, with literally hours of engrossing sequences to indulge. With all the video and audio clips contained on it, itís no wonder the thing is RSDL. With all the excitement and fuss over the long-awaited release of DVD-18 format (a double-sided RSDL disc, led by the releases of The Stand and Aquaria), Iím somewhat dismayed that releases such as this double-disc Seven donít take advantage of it. Itís hip, itís cool, but itís infrequently used simply because production of DVD-18 in volume is not yet cost-effective. The highly anticipated release of Terminator 2: Judgement Day Special Edition initially went into production as DVD-18, but when manufacturing could not keep up with requirements, they switched to a double-disc RSDL set in mid-production. And far be it from New Line to re-make Artisanís mistakes, theyíve gone the safe route with the two-disc set from the get-go.

    From the standpoint of features, Iím overwhelmingly satisfied. I now know a few times more than I ever wanted to about the production of both this film and DVD. I have to wonder how things could have been done differently in order to afford the highest of video quality from lower compression levels. It almost seems like the producers could have gotten away with a wholly additional copy of the film on the second disc, devoted entirely to commentary tracks, for which the video quality would only have had to have been marginal at best. This at least would have left the first disc completely dedicated to primary DD and DTS tracks and high quality video. Even so, as it is, the presentation is perfectly acceptable and rather good throughout a majority of the film, certainly much better than many titles long since past. Armed with a lethal arsenal of extras, the set is sure to please any cold-blooded killer collector.


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    Individual Ratings
    Video Audio Content Movie
    8 8.5 9 8.5
    Ratings Based on Scale of 1 - 10 (10 being Best)

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