Beowulf DVD Cover Art
SRP $29.98 2.35:1(16:9) DOLBY DIGITAL 5.1 PARAMOUNT
 
Beowulf HDDVD Cover Art
SRP $39.98 2.35:1 DOLBY DIGITAL PLUS 5.1 PARAMOUNT
 

ef on the hd-d

PARAMOUNT has released the extremely innovative "BEOWULF" on dvd and hd-dvd.  This reviewer admits to having low expectations for the movie after finding Director Robert Zemeckis was filming it in the same technical style of "POLAR EXPRESS."  The technology behind this kind of filmmaking just feels like cheating in some way, much like the crappy films of Ralph Bakshi.  But, with great surprise, "BEOWULF" is refreshing and even bold in its aspirations, and it's actually a very good film.  Derived from the famous tale of the monster, Grendel, the heroic Beowulf and Grendel's alluring mother, this tale is told with a very deft hand. Zemeckis utilizes music, imagery and performances to culminate in an original, disturbing and exhilarating film experience.  Having seen the film twice, it absolutely loses some of its impact when not viewed in 3-d, but it's still quite good, and worth owning.

The cast is terrific, and even a "basically" animated Angelina Jolie is more exciting to watch than most actresses today. Anthony Hopkins and the rest are perfect, but its the "storytelling" technique that is key to the films power, and even without a huge theatrical presentation, home theater owners will enjoy.

PARAMOUNT has presented the correct 2.35:1 aspect ratio for this release (with 16:9 enhancement)for dvd and hd-dvd. The hd-dvd offers AVC MPEG-4 for its 1080p presentation.  Transferred directly from its digital source, the hd-dvd offers pristine quality. Everything is flawless here! The detail in every scene, provides that "pop off the screen" effect(just short of 3-d)one hopes for with high-def. Colors vary in their intensity, but always appear "just right." Deep blacks offer incredible detail in even the darkest cave scenes! One of the best looking hd-dvds ever released!  The dvd offers a spectacular transfer as well. While there are some artifacts present, absent on the hd-dvd, this is still one of the finest looking dvds released in '08, thus far. Colors, detail and contrast are nearly flawless!

PARAMOUNT has provided incredible soundmixes for this release. The hd-dvd offers a Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 mix that puts any other hd-dvd or blu-ray to a challenge. From the very beginning, low bass effects mix perfectly with great dynamic range of multiple layers of other effects. The score is ominous and unsettling, enhancing the unusual atmosphere. Discrete and panning effects engulf the audience, creatively throughout. A GREAT MIX!!! The dolby digital 5.1 mix offers an equally effective experience.  While the dynamic range isn't as profoundly impressive as the hd-dvd, it still packs a whallop and will fully engage any viewer from beginning to end.

There are great extras, offered on both formats. Deleted scenes, a 22 minute featurette with interviews, and more are offered, all in high-d

vd.