A Couple More DVD Reviews...Thoughts? [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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04-15-2004, 10:01 PM
First, let's get the bad one out of the way.....after waiting awhile for this one to come out, and after admitting to being a closet fan of these films since I was a kid, I finally picked up Universal's "Airport Terminal Pack," which bundles the four disaster films from the 70s including the Arthur Hailey novel-inspired (and horriby boring) original Airport, Airport 1975, Airport 77 and The Concorde: Airport 79. The package itself is beautiful and impressive, reminding me of the Escape From New York Collector's Edition box that recently came out; the films though, are packaged weird on the discs: there is ONE film PER side, so there are TWO DVDs in total with FOUR films. Airport and 1975 are on one disc, 77 and 79 are on the other. No artwork on the discs.

Now...for what you have all been waiting for....the original AIRPORT boasts a Dolby Digital 5.1 AND DTS 5.1 remastering....I watched the DTS version, naturally, and it absolutely sucked....NOTHING in the surround channels. Worse than the Jaws DTS which I routinely slap Universal across the asscheeks for....man, I had my receiver cranked up to way past MY reference levels and there was no rear information whatsoever. The entire mix is up front and volume levels are weak. Picture quality on this film was outstanding, however...you would never know this was a film from 1970....not a nick of debris anywhere.

Moving on, I have been watching Airport 1975 for the last hour or so, and I paused the DVD player to do this review....first, let me say that only the first Airport was offered in any kind of 5.1 sound; all the other films are in Mono 2.0. I tried watching Airport 1975 in stereo mode on my receiver, to override the center channel mono playback, but it sounded absolutely horrendous....mono sucks too, with the sound horribly crackled and muddy; volume needs to be cranked WAY up to hear any of the cheesy dialogue. EXTREMELY bad picture quality on Airport 1975, too, with TONS of grain.....Universal spent no time cleaning this one up. I havent gotten to the other films yet, but so far, I feel like my $26 and change investment in this set was a complete waste. First, Universal robs me of my money by putting out a defective Jurassic Park DTS disc, and now this travesty.

If anyone owns this Airport Terminal Pack, and has experienced the same or different ownership exhibitions, please share them with me....and, off the cuff, can anyone tell me if watching mono DVDs, whether they be 1.0 or 2.0, is a better experience in stereo mode? I was told that playing mono soundtracks through the main speakers creates a better soundstage and a "phantom center channel image" but I found that playing mono soundtracks just sound like complete **** in stereo....dialogue sounds completely misplaced.

Oh....for the other review....Warner Bros' "House on Haunted Hill" (1999) was a treat in the audio department....the visual transfer wont knock your socks off and looks like any other DVD image, but the 5.1 sound is pretty loud and aggressive, with sounds coming from everywhere creating a cool haunted house atmosphere. Geoffrey Rush is magnificent in Vincent Price's role from the original, and his wife, played by Famke Jannsen, was a piece of ass in that black and red dress. Still, you wanna really test your system out? Play the opening thunder scene where the "DARK CASTLE ENTERTAINMENT" logo comes across the screen before the film starts....loud thunder crashes in all channels around you, already creating the atmosphere.

After originally enjoying Jan Le Bont's "Haunting" remake in 99 better than this, I have come to like this film better....yet, NOTHING comes even close to the Haunting's DTS ES track.