The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: DreamWorks - 2002
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 115 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, French/Spanish/Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, English, French, Spanish, Portuguese
Starring: Naomi Watts, Martin Henderson, Brian Cox, Jane Alexander, David Dofrman, Amber Tamblyn
Directed by: Gore Verbinski
Music by: Hans Zimmer
Written by: Ehren Kruger
Region Code: A,B,C
Blu-ray Disc release Date: March 20, 2012
"Before you die, you see the ring"
It begins as just another urban legend-the whispered tale of a nightmarish videotape that causes anyone who watches it to die seven days later. But when four teenagers all meet with mysterious deaths exactly one week after watching just such a tape, investigative reporter Rachel Keller (Naomi Watts) tracks down the video...and watches it. Now, the legend is coming true, the clock is ticking and Rachel has just seven days to unravel the mystery of The Ring.
In a small town in the Pacific northwest there are whispers of a strange videotape containing bizarre and haunting images. It is said that after watching it viewers receive a telephone call in which they are warned they will die in seven days. After the simultaneous deaths of four local teens rumored to have watched the videotape, journalist Rachel Keller (Naomi Watts), the aunt of one of the ill-fated teens, investigates the matter. She travels upstate to the cabin where the teenagers stayed and comes across the videotape which she watches. Afterward she receives the same warning phone call and begins experiencing ominous visions and dark dreams. In the meantime her young son Aidan, a troubled child, has been drawing pictures of strange places and people that coincide with Rachel's ominous visions. Realizing she must solve the puzzle of the video Rachel begins tracking it down. With the seven day countdown looming Rachel enlists the help of ex-boyfriend Noah. As they dig deeper into the mystery of the tape and the background surrounding its images they discover a foreboding evil that began with a little girl named Samara. In order to prevent more deaths (including their own) and stop the evil from spreading they must uncover the truth about Samara. Unfortunately they fail to realize that what they are dealing with is an evil that runs deep, dark and longs for revenge.
The Ring is a remake of the 1998 Japanese film Ringu by Hideo Nakata. I haven't seen Ringu but have heard it is the better of the two films. The reason that I haven't bothered to see it is because I find The Ring to be plenty creepy enough. The story builds nicely and the suspense/horror is of the goose bump raising variety. I like the elements of mystery surrounding the videotape, Samara and the unraveling nature of the narrative. The integration of the supernatural isn't such that it bombards you with unnecessary attempts at false frights but rather builds upon its inherently creepy aspects that work on you throughout and jab at key moments that prove pretty disturbing. After seeing it the first time, I remember having a restless night thinking about how/what emerged from that well. I like Naomi Watts and enjoy her performance in this film as well as the sequel that followed. Young David Dorfman is equally deserving of praise as the disquieted and haunted Aidan. Honorable mention goes out to Brian Cox in his brief but memorable portrayal of Samara's father. One of these days I will have to check out Ringu but frankly have no desire for anything that disturbs my much needed slumber. As for The Ring, it's a favorite that I have owned since it came to home video. I was surprised when it showed up for review on Blu-ray (the release from Paramount is a Best Buy Exclusive) and am pleased to report that it has replaced the DVD in my video collection.
The rating is for thematic elements, disturbing images, language and some drug references.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
The Ring comes to Blu-ray Disc from Paramount Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 37 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.7 mbps.
This film intentionally uses stark visuals to convey the director's vision. Filtering is applied to create the chromatic aesthetic that represents the mood of select sequences throughout the presentation. The majority of the film has a teal bluish cast with colors consisting primarily of shades of dark blue, gray and black with splashes of muted secondary hues and reserved levels of contrast. The effect isn't always natural but works well. Whites are detailed with bright highlights and blacks are fairly deep with acceptable gradational quality in shadows and darkened areas. Images are cleanly rendered with very good to excellent detail that is easily discernible in close ups and mid-level distant camera shots. Long range visuals aren't definitively resolved which affected depth perception during wide angle camera shots but I didn't find it to be a problem. The video isn't always razor sharp, but in all but a few instances has defining structure, enriching clarity and perceivably enhanced resolution that surpasses the standard definition DVD in every regard.
This is a solid DTS-HD Master Audio mix that renders this soundtrack well. Dialogue is firmly planted in the center channel and clearly renders voices and effects with appropriate distinction and balance within the front soundstage. Low frequency effects aren't foundation shaking but the subwoofer is kept busy as it works in tandem with the rest of the system to convey the low level bass impact as dictated by the film's elements. Dynamic range is good which lends subtle distinction to low level sounds and gravity to broader ones. For a film such as this I find it surprising how front oriented the audio sound mix however the entire system kicks in when necessary which adds to the chill factor.
- Don't watch this - THE video in its entirety (15 minutes)
- (HD) Rings - 16 minute short film
- Cast/filmmaker interviews - 8 minutes
- The origin of terror - 4 minute documentary on urban legends
- (HD) Theatrical trailer
The Ring is a remake of the 1998 Japanese film Ringu by Hideo Nakata. It's a chiller thriller that doesn't fall into the scream until you're hoarse variety however its unraveling blend of mystery coupled with disturbingly creepy elements of supernatural horror are enough to raise goose bumps. It comes to Blu-ray from Paramount Home Entertainment as part of a Best Buy Exclusive that offers gratifying high definition audio/video that discernibly improves upon the standard definition quality found on the DVD. The bonus material is ported over from the previous DVD release and proves only mildly interesting. As a fan I am pleased to add The Ring to my Blu-ray collection.
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