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Old 02-01-2006, 18:24   #1
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Ran: Criterion vs. Warner Brothers UK R2 vs. Universal R4

I was all set to get the Criterion until I read the latest DVD Times review which contains comparison pictures.

Going by the review here and the DVD Beaver comparison here it clearly looks to red, this is despite the DVD Beaver review neglecting to even mention it (he's to busy gushing).

That said the Criterion does have some lovely extras. This bring me on to the Warner Brothers UK R2 which definitely looks better based solely on screen captures (it's a little bright though) IMO but many people say the Criterion is in fact sharper + is better encoded and of course it's missing most of the Criterion's extras.

Titus over at the Criterion forums also comments on (as others do):

Anybody else spotting some pretty noticeable edge enhancement on this disc? I haven't heard any complaints, but my copy seems to be suffering from it. Relatively pronounced at certain points throughout.

The Criterion's DD2.0 Stereo is supposed to have better range and clarity too. For more detailed information each DVD read the links above and in particular the comments at the end of the DVD Times review.

I can't decide between the UK R2 which is less than a tenner (but about to go OOP, try searching for it) or the Criterion with it's lovely extras.

With so many differing opinions I wanted to ask those who own both which they prefer and why? To get a general consensus.

p.s - For those who're interested (I am to an extent) the R4 is a clone of the UK R2 BUT has a DD5.1 remix instead of DD2.0, removable subtitles and the correct aspect ratio for the documentary (1.85:1 on the R4 and 1.33:1 on the UK R2).

Last edited by bradavon; 02-01-2006 at 18:31.
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Old 02-01-2006, 18:27   #2
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How do I add a poll? The option seems to be missing.
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Old 02-01-2006, 18:50   #3
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According to DVD Compare/Rewind, the R4 actually has a completely different transfer to the UK release, in addition to having the documentary in the proper aspect ratio.
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Old 02-01-2006, 19:03   #4
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I'm often dubious of DVD Compare's statements as they rarely back them up with any evidence. Oh yeah so they do:

"Same transfer as the French release, different to UK release."

That's rubbish as just looking at the DVD Beaver comparison you can clearly see the UK R2 is the same transfer as the French R2.

They often make statements such as this without saying where they sourced their information. Besides that's such a useless statement, it's hardly detailed + both come from Studio Canal anyway.

The documentary being cropped on the UK R2 doesn't really bother me, it's an extra.

p.s - Thanks btw.
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Old 02-01-2006, 20:10   #5
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Why not just go for the cheapest? unless extras are important to you in which case Criterion seems to win by default.
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Old 02-01-2006, 20:20   #6
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The UK release seems to be out of print, with not many online stores having any stock left. Not quite sure why though, unless there's a new edition planned...
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Old 02-01-2006, 21:30   #7
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If I did that Jimmy I'd get a bootleg and those are illegal + (usually) cack quality.

Yeah it's weird it was only released on the 3rd of May 2004.

Last edited by bradavon; 02-01-2006 at 21:31.
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Old 02-01-2006, 21:52   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aretak
The UK release seems to be out of print, with not many online stores having any stock left. Not quite sure why though, unless there's a new edition planned...
Ah. Would this have anything to do with Warner going seperate ways from french Studio Canal per chance?
John posted this over at Classic:
http://www.thedvdforums.com/forums/s...t=studio+canal

R2 Wickerman SE (Warner/Studio+Canal) has been stupidly cheap in the sales at moment. All apart of clearing deleted stock perhaps.

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Old 02-01-2006, 22:18   #9
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Wicker man SE was cheap in last years sales too I'm sure. Thanks Joey that really makes sense.

Last edited by bradavon; 02-01-2006 at 22:21.
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Old 02-01-2006, 22:26   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bradavon
Wicker man SE was cheap in last years sales too I'm sure. Thanks Joey that really makes sense.
No talking silly money like. £3 a think. If anybody can find Ran for 3 nuggets. Hell, I get a couple for birthday presents.

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Old 02-01-2006, 22:38   #11
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£3 where from? I can find it for £5.99 from CD-Wow.com (50p off!).
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Old 02-01-2006, 22:41   #12
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Might of been in HMV or Virgin Megastore last Tuesday in B'ham?

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Old 03-01-2006, 00:25   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bradavon
If I did that Jimmy I'd get a bootleg and those are illegal + (usually) cack quality.
That's a fairly daft response don't yer think mate?

In a situation where both discs have their merits and you're really struggling to choose between the two, it makes perfect sense to deduct the one that's of a higher price. Comparing this to being the same thing as opting for cheap knocked off boot legs instead of legitimate releases is a bit of a leap of imaginition.


Sometimes I think it would be better to go back to the days of 4:3 pan and scan TV broadcasts with massive print damage and mono soundtracks coz ironically people seemed to have a lot less to complain about back then.
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Old 03-01-2006, 20:17   #14
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Quote:
That's a fairly daft response don't yer think mate?
Yep but so was your response.

I posted to get some constructive feedback from people who own both, giving their opinions of which they prefer (thus far no one has done this).

I'll probably plump for the Criterion as overall it looks the better set. I think this is a case of really both being very good and we're essentially nitpicking to find problems when only minor faults really exists.
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Old 03-01-2006, 20:58   #15
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I decided to just go ahead and buy the Criterion yesterday, despite the fact I think the transfer looks poor. It's obviously the best overall package, so I can forgive the red tint.
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Old 03-01-2006, 21:15   #16
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I went with the Criterion, mainly because I got it for Christmas.

In any case, I didn't notice the red tinting until Noel's review had them side-by-side, but I thought the transfer looked lovely (I especially like the blood-drenched tone the sky at sunset has in one of the DVD Beaver screengrabs). Kurosawa's aims were far from the strictest realism, so go for whichever you think looks the prettiest. I'd also hold Criterion's optional subtitles as a major bonus - I loathe burned-in subs.
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Old 03-01-2006, 21:21   #17
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Thanks guys.

Quote:
In any case, I didn't notice the red tinting until Noel's review had them side-by-side.
Good point.
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Old 04-01-2006, 00:38   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bradavon
Yep but so was your response.

I posted to get some constructive feedback from people who own both, giving their opinions of which they prefer (thus far no one has done this).

I'll probably plump for the Criterion as overall it looks the better set. I think this is a case of really both being very good and we're essentially nitpicking to find problems when only minor faults really exists.
What exactly was daft about my response?

What makes you think others should rush out and blow their cash on both release just to tell you which they think is best btw? Maybe you should be the one to go and buy both and tell us what's best instead?

You admit yourself now that it's more a case of nit picking over this release. Which tbh was obvious from the start considering both releases are solid and you can't really lose with either, unless of course you want all the extras in which case the Crit wins. Otherwise just go for the cheapest of the two because neither version will disapoint. I don't really see what's so daft about this.
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Old 04-01-2006, 01:21   #19
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Despite the DVD Beaver adulatory review, the Criterion DVD release is not a great print. I've now got four copies: the original emetic Wellspring DVD, the improved Wellspring (2003), the French release (2003) and the Criterion (2005). The cleanest DVD transfer looks to be the French release which actually in terms of extras competes well against the Criterion - it also has an 80 page booklet. But I have a real soft spot for the improved 2003 Wellspring release which still looks great on my Sony Wega 32" set. The Criterion looks very good indeed on my little 17" LCD screen.
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Old 04-01-2006, 01:31   #20
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Thanks Bosque.

I'm a little confused, which do you prefer the Wellspring SE or Studio Canal French DVD? Why don't you like the Criterion?

Thanks in advance.

p.s - The French DVD does compete well against the Criterion but it does contain much more extras than were ported over to the UK R2 + R4, only the 70 minute documentary made it's way across.

Last edited by bradavon; 04-01-2006 at 01:33.
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