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Se7en  

Now this isn't a review of a lazy DVD. No we include this one here as a review of exactly how the DVD format should be used to its full potential. All you lazy film companies take note!

Seven is the story of two very different cops trying to catch a serial killer before he completes seven murders modeled after the deadly sins. This was David Fincher's second feature film as a director, however it is his first film that was not part of a movie franchise. His first film was Alien3. The film has a dark and eerie mood about it and had some very interesting set designs, cinematography and lighting. I was curious to see what they were going to do with the disc. I was not disappointed.

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The colors are beautiful on this disc and the darkened indoor images play much better because certain areas are now brightened up and others have been toned down. This gives the film more contrast and a much more dramatic film noir look. The colors are more rich and warmer than I remember them to be in the original film. The sound has been re-mixed expressly for home theater and it is incredible. There is so much atmosphere in this movie and the home theater really catches that. The rain all around during the outside scenes to the creaks and crevices in the dingy crime scenes are heard subtly through out, and it really pulls you into the film. The picture and the sound have been totally re-mastered from the original negatives of the film. Both the picture and audio transfers are some of the best I have ever seen or heard on a DVD.

Seven is the story of two very different cops trying to catch a serial killer before he completes seven murders modeled after the deadly sins. This was David Fincher's second feature film as a director, however it is his first film that was not part of a movie franchise. His first film was Alien3. The film has a dark and eerie mood about it and had some very interesting set designs, cinematography and lighting. I was curious to see what they were going to do with the disc. I was not disappointed. The colors are beautiful on this disc and the darkened indoor images play much better because certain areas are now brightened up and others have been toned down. This gives the film more contrast and a much more dramatic film noir look. The colors are more rich and warmer than I remember them to be in the original film. The sound has been re-mixed expressly for home theater and it is incredible. There is so much atmosphere in this movie and the home theater really catches that. The rain all around during the outside scenes to the creaks and crevices in the dingy crime scenes are heard subtly through out, and it really pulls you into the film. The picture and the sound have been totally re-mastered from the original negatives of the film. Both the picture and audio transfers are some of the best I have ever seen or heard on a DVD. The content on this disc is staggering. David Fincher is one of the first directors to go all out and use the DVD format to it's potential. There is a great commentary with Morgan Freeman, Brad Pitt and David Fincher. They look at the film and discuss production problems and changes to the characters and scripts. This interesting commentary is fun and easy to listen to. It would have been fine on its own. But no, they give you three more, different commentaries. There is another on the story aspects of the movie. Richard Dyer, a noted author, analyses the cop thriller genre while David Fincher, screenwriter Richard Francis-Bruce and New Line's President of Production Michael Deluca discuss the script elements and the history of the project. The next commentary deals with the look of the film. Set Design cinematography etc. Dyer, Fincher, The Director of Photography and the Production designer all contribute. Finally there is a commentary track for the sound designers, they look at isolated aspects of the sound effects music. Phew! I listened to the entire first commentary but I only listened to bits and pieces of each of the other three. They did sound interesting and I can't wait to get the chance to delve into them some more.

That's all the stuff that there is on the first disc. Now we will look at the second disc of content. The first feature allows you select between the rough-cut and the final version of the opening credits. There are many video and audio options here including some commentary. Opening credits however are opening credits. This didn't excite me much.

The extra scenes follow. There are a few scenes that I didn't list because they were over quick and not interesting. Some of the scenes have been deleted while others are extended from the original scene all of the scenes have director commentary available.

1 There is an alternate edit of the final scene. It is only slightly different than the real scene but it ends up the same way. Also, there are storyboards of an un-shot ending that is narrated by the director.
2 The original opening of the film shows Somerset looking at his retirement home. He takes a piece of flower wallpaper from the wall and puts it in his pocket. Then as the credits roll we were supposed to see a train ride from the sticks to the city. This was never shot so the scene was cut. That's a shame because it gives Somerset's retirement a bit more weight.
3 The scene where the two men ride from the gluttony crime scene is extended to include funnier dialogue.
4 My future is a scene with Somerset and Tracy, Mills' wife. The flower wallpaper from the country house falls from his jacket. She sees it and she talks about the differences between Somerset and Mills. Mills would think someone with flower wall paper is a "fag".
5 There is an extended scene where the Police Chief rounds up the swat team to raid Victor's apartment. Mills talks about the first time he shot a guy. 6 An extended look at the Pride murder scene.

The next features concentrate on the visuals. The first is a "slide show" of the production design sketches narrated by the set designer. The commentary is a nice change from the usual production stills offered on a DVD. Often they are boring and repetitive, the commentary here makes this a lot more interesting to watch. The next feature is the photograph section. The film used a lot of different still photographs in it, ranging from the crime scene photos to the photos that the killer took of his victims. The film looks at four sets of photos all with commentary from the photographers that took the photographs. Again this is more interesting that watching set photos with no commentary. The four sets of photos are John Doe's photos, Victor's decomposition, the crime scene photos and finally the production stills.

The original trailer and the original EPK are also included. The EPK is a 5-minute behind the scenes look/trailer of the film. Both of them are cool. The disc also has the usual cast and crew filmographies. (By the way, if anyone knows what EPK stands for drop me an e-mail.)

The next feature is by far the best on the disc. Mastering for the home theater shows how the sound and picture quality has been enhanced for the home theater viewer. You can actually jump from the old picture to the new picture, and from the old sound to the new sound to compare the difference, and there is a big difference. There is also a section where they show you how the color correction is achieved. This is one of the best features that I have ever seen on a disc. The color correction is done right before your eyes! It's a great look at how the re-mastering process is done.

What else needs to be said? This is one of the best discs out there. The film it self is a fantastically creepy thriller. The quality of the transfer is magnificent and David Fincher buries you under an avalanche of extras. This is a must own disc for any DVD fan. Go buy it!

Paul Ferris

The Wheel Deal Review

Reprinted with Kind Permission.

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