Having previously released the theatrical version of David Fincher's "ZODIAC" on dvd, PARAMOUNT is now releasing the "Director's Cut" on both dvd and hd-dvd. There's really nothing notably different in both versions, less than 5 minutes of changes, a prolonged fade-to-black, to indicate a 4 year passage of time, some extensions,etc. Nothing that will wow a fan of the original. What is notably different, are all the extras! An audio commentary with Fincher, alone, and another commentary with Robert Downey Jr. Jake Gyllenhaal, James Ellroy and James Vanderbilt. Both commentaries are great, although nearly 3 hours can be trying at times!
Both dvd and hd-dvd offer the correct 2.35:1 aspect ratio. The dvd sports 16:9 enhancement, and looks the same as the previous, excellent transfer for the theatrical cut. While grainy in spots, the image is often more colorful than Fincher's previous works. The attack by Zodiac at a lake, early on in the film, showcases just how well-crafted the transfer is, creating a colorful, surreal world, with incredible detail. Contrast is impressive, offering fine detail in darker scenes.
The hd-dvd is notably better than the dvd in terms of depth and overall clarity. Still soft in numerous scenes over a three hour film, the majority of the film has a gritty but well detailed look. While light and shadow play against one another in scene after scene, the wonders of high definition resolution are well represented throughout this transfer. A great transfer!
A dolby Digital 5.1 mix is presented on dvd, and Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 on the hd-dvd. Being a procedural investigation/thriller, much of the film is dialogue-heavy, with emphasis on the center channel. Still, surrounds kick in effectively on occasion, and the impact is often quite intentionally eerie. Separation effects are used to a large degree on the front speakers, and music is well rendered, with excellent dynamic range throughout. The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is top notch for this kind of film. However, the Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 mix offers better overall fidelity and use of bass.
There are a great number of extras included on this 2 disc set. The commentaries are offered on the 1st disc, with the feature film. The 2nd disc offers a behind the scenes documentary, split-screen comparisons and a feature-length documentary covering the investigation.
Another great documentary focuses on the prime suspect.
All of these are offered on the dvd and hd-dvd special edition, however, the hd-dvd offers everything in hd, except for the split-screen comparison.