Top critical review
The DVD a step backward for a very good film?
on October 26, 2002
Don't get me wrong, I absolutely adore The Hunt For Red October (the movie itself I give 4 or 4.5 stars), but there are just a couple of things that niggle with the DVD (Region 4). DVDs are, or at least they have come to be considered, a step forward from the theatrical release. They usually provide just that little bit more than the theatrical release. Here the additional features include the trailer and subtitles for the hearing impaired (which, as I'll get to in a minute, is a very good thing). A bit light on for what has become standard in the additional features department. Okay that's not such a big deal, maybe a little bit of a let down, nothing more. As is the failure to fix up the SFX muck-ups in the end sequence - during the moonlit ride up the river in Maine. It's a shame that Industrial Light and Magic, who did the effects, weren't able (for what ever reason) to go back and fix-up the bad overlapping where trees and the river are seen passing through a ghostly opaque Alex Baldwin. And we know from the Special Edition of The Empire Strikes Back, that ILM now have the technology to fix up this problem. Okay, again this is not a problem, and indeed it could be argued that this maintains some integrity within the film. But the DVD doesn't get bonus stars/points over and above the theatrical release from me. Can it lose some? Well yes.
Firstly, the picture quality could've been better. Secondly, if you're going to have subtitles that translate spoken Russian could we get it right? I mean, it was entirely possible to get them right on the theatrical release. In fact, it was even possible to get it right with the "Subtitles for the hearing impaired", so why can't they replicate the subtitles from the original movie into the standard play on the DVD? It does make a difference when lines are missing. For example, the significance of having Dallas fly out of the water kind of loses impact (and bemusement) when you don't know what the Russian sailor is yelling out (i.e., "The Captain has frightened them out of the water!"). A real shame, a little slack and a little lame (was the person re-typing out all the Russian subtitles doing a little creative re-editing - well they shouldn't have - tut tut tut). If you've never seen it before, by all means buy this DVD, especially if it's the same price as the video because the sound is better on the DVD and it truly is a wonderful film. Just watch it with the hearing impaired subtitles on, because the ones on the standard play, well they [are disappointing].
The DVD of this 4 star film, gets 2.5 stars from me.