SRP $29.98 2.35:1(16:9) DOLBY DIGITAL 5.1 PARAMOUNT
SRP $39.98 2.35:1 DOLBY TrueHD 5.1 PARAMOUNT

The story to "NEXT" is based on a story by Philip K. Dick(Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep), and while three screenwriters tried their hand on this script, the narrative, the narrative is frequently problematic, not knowing what kind of film it wants to be. Making matters worse, Director Lee Tamahori must be related to Michael Winner, as both may be two of the worst directors that somehow have managed to get more work!  He's proven in the past, to be able to make a bad film from a decent script, and now he proves what can happen when given a bad script. It's not a good thing!  Nicolas Cage plays a magician in Vegas, working third-rate hotels, but having the real psychic ability to tell the future. The catch is that he can only see a few minutes at a time.  The convoluted plot has government agents trying to get his help in thwarting a nuclear explosion after finding terrorists are about to set a bomb off. Terrorists are also out to kill Cage, knowing he can possibly stop them. Jessica Biel is quite pretty and likeable, but she's wasted in this film and there's absolutely no chemistry between her and Cage, even though they're supposed to become soul mates. AARGH!

PARAMOUNT has provided the correct 2.35:1 aspect ratio for this release. Colors are generally solid, but the various hues of the production design cause frequent oversaturation. There were a few compression artifacts and grain appears infrequently, but there is also a surprising amount of depth at times. The hd-dvd is presented with a 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 transfer with 2.35:1 aspect ratio.  It's consistently sharper than the dvd in scene after scene, with greater color levels and deeper blacks and grays.  The detail is notably better, with many scenes offering sensational depth. However, there are more than a few instances wherein the image appears flat, a disappointment for a high-def transfer.

PARAMOUNT has provided a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix for the dvd. It's not impressive. For as much action taking place in the film, the mix is basically lackluster, with surround speakers and discrete effects. frequently coming across as subdued. Separation effects do exist, but they lack the power the action scenes call for, creating an atmosphere that's pretty flat. Dialogue is always intelligible and free from distortion. The HD-DVD offers a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix.  This audio mix is like night and day over the Dolby Digital mix found on the standard dvd. Surrounds are notably more aggressive and deeper than on the dvd. There are creative panning and discrete effects. The music and dialogue are consistently well balanced. Dialogue is always intelligible and free from distortion.

Both dvd and HD-DVD offer a variety of featurettes, however, the HD-DVD presents its extras in full 1080p.