While not "terrific," "LADDER 49" is at least much, much better than "BACKDRAFT." Joaquin Phoenix stars as a new firefighter in Baltimore, facing imminent death, while awaiting help at a horrifying disaster scene. The film, told in flashback, while awaiting help or a miracle, serves as a narrative of sorts, as to how he's gotten where he is. His early days, tragedies, love, finding a friend/father figure in John Travolta as his Captain, and more. Some of these caricatures work and some don't, but, for the most part the film's engaging, making it easy to forgive its shortcomings.
BUENA VISTA has provided a great 1080p/MPEG-4 transfer with 1.85:1 aspect ratio intact. It's a huge improvement over the standard dvd. Colors are richer, without any oversaturation. The compression artifacts plaguing the dvd are entirely gone now. Contrast is also excellent, providing deep blacks and grays in darker scenes. A great transfer!
BUENA VISTA has provided a PCM 5.1 mix. It's extremely aggressive during action scenes, and while there are numerous ones, there are also long dramatic scenes lacking much surround involvement. Ambient effects are lacking when there's not a fire going on, but for sound fans, there are probably enough fires in the film to impress.
All of the extras from the dvd have been carried over here, including the deleted scenes, presented in full 1080p!