Malena (Miramax Region 1 vs. Spectrum Region 0 Special Edition)
Picture: Sound: Extras: Film: A-
Spectrum B B+ B
B+ B D
Director Giuseppe Tornatore’s 2000 film Malena, was one of my favorite films
from that year and among one of his finest pictures. The film also went on to gain 2 Oscar nominations that year,
although it did not win either. This is
a great coming-of-age film that is just beautiful throughout and also showcases
Monica Bellucci before she became as well known as she is now, especially after
appearing in The Passion of the Christ, Tears of the Sun, The Matrix
Sequels, and a few other hot spots.
While I would love to go on about how great this film is,
the purpose of this review is to compare the Miramax edition released in the
United States with that of the Special Edition released in Korea through
Spectrum. Even those without a Region
Free player can play this disc because it is a Region 0 disc, despite having a
Region 3 listing on its packaging.
First the Miramax edition, which was a bit of a downer
since it had no extras and a standard Dolby Digital 5.1 audio option and 16 X 9
enhanced 2.35 X 1 scope transfer, which looked sharp and detailed. The audio was a bit sparse and didn’t give
off the dynamics as it should have, but overall that edition was suitable for
the time. However, the Spectrum Special
Edition is just awesome in almost every aspect. This is a 2-disc version, with the movie being all on disc one,
and is also about 11-minutes longer as this is more like a directors cut of the
film, versus an edited down U.S. release.
Also, the Spectrum features three audio options, which
include a stereo mix, 5.1 Dolby Digital, and a preferred 5.1 DTS mix. The DTS mix is quite magnificent giving
depth and clarity to Ennio Morricone’s beautiful and sophisticated score. Finally, the sequences towards the end with
planes bombing the town actually sound realistic and involved, versus flat and
While I gave the score for the picture on the Miramax disc
more than the Spectrum this is really a preference. If you prefer a more saturated look with your films, than you
won’t mind the Spectrum, but if you like a sharper and more neutral color scheme
than you might prefer the Miramax.
Personally, I love the look on the Spectrum, despite it being a bit
softer from time to time, but the fact that there is better sound going on
helps take my worries away.
Now for the extras, which is hardly a comparison as the
Miramax disc only contains trailers for other films from Miramax. The entire second disc on the Spectrum
release is loaded with behind the scenes material, interviews, and other little
goodies that any fan will appreciate.
Beware though that there are no English subtitles for the extras, but in
most cases they are speaking English, so it doesn’t matter.
Let’s just face the simple fact that the U.S. never gets
some of the goodies that circulate elsewhere and even the case for the Special
Edition is quite nifty making this a must-have for any true fan of the
film. If you are really picky with the
picture than you might want to just go for the U.S. issue from Miramax or keep
your copy you have, but I’ll be dumping mine off next chance I get.
To purchase the Spectrum disc go to www.dvdasian.com.
- Nate Goss