Thursday, August 26, 2004

Passion of the Christ DVD Release

Some thoughts on the forthcoming Passion of the Christ DVD release, which must be selling at an extraordinary rate since it's already at number 2 in's list. This review at DVD Answers is by Richard Schuchardt and it includes some very favourable comments on the technical side, though it also wonders about the release having no extra features:

The Passion of the Christ
The Passion of the Christ is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen and there is very little more to say on the subject. Simply put, this transfer is outstanding and had no flaws that I noticed. The image is full of detail and brings the haunting death of Christ to the screen with amazing accuracy. Colours are true and vivid while the blacks were solid. I did notice a little bit of grain during some of the darker scenes but the grain levels never proved to be distracting. Due to the lack of extras this transfer doesn't suffer from compression artefacts, and edge enhancements were nowhere to be seen. Overall this is a top class transfer which no doubt benefits from the decision to keep this release free of extras. In some ways this transfer is what you would expect from a Superbits title . . . .

. . . . It is becoming a rarity these days for high profile DVD releases to be barebones releases. More often than not most titles are released as two disc packages, so it was a big surprise when MGM announced that The Passion of the Christ was being released with no extras. The reason for this is still not clear, but it has been suggested that Mel wanted this release to focus on the movie only. As can be seen below the transfer and soundtracks benefit from the additional space. The more cynical among you will say that this release is a money making exercise in preparation for the expected special edition release next year. Either way, this release comes with no extras and only time will tell if we are to see a special edition release.
An article in USA Today looks at the attempts to cash-in on the release:

A 'Passion' for title tie-ins
By Thomas K. Arnold

I am a bit puzzled by this article's announcement of a DVD release for The Greatest Story Ever Told, though, since there was a major DVD release for this back in 2001 in a restored version with special features. I had a look to see if I could find anything on this new release on the web and I cannot, though I did come across an interesting piece on the release of that restored version over three years ago:

Restoring The Greatest Story Ever Told
Millimeter, March 1, 2001

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