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Search: For:
Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Catch 22
Catch 22
Paramount
List Price: Unknown [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted May 27, 2001 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

Director Mike Nichols and writer Buck Henry ("The Graduate") combine again to write one of the best war movies released, a dark, surreal comedy about a soldier(Alan Arkin) trying desperately to get off the base he's stationed at in the Mediterranean. Wells brings together an all-star cast, including Jon Voight, Bob Newheart and Orson Welles.


The DVD

VIDEO: Paramount generally does a fine job with the 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation of "Catch 22". The film has some evidence that age has caught up with it, but for the most part, this is another fine effort from the studio. Sharpness and detail are generally quite pleasing; a few scenes seemed soft, but the 31 year old movie often looks crisp and well-defined.

Continuing to discuss the problems of age, there are some problems apparent throughout, but it seems like there may have been some restoration done along the way from the film's release. There are some print flaws in the form of light marks and scratches (as well as some grain), but in less quantities than I would expect from a film this old. Nichols explains that the scratches on the opening credits were there from the very begining. No pixelation or edge enhancement appears for a very natural and very enjoyable viewing experience.

SOUND: As per usual, Paramount has included a Dolby Digital 5.1 re-done edition of the film's sound mix, which was originally mono. The audio quality is definitely not as pleasant to listen to as the picture quality is pleasant to watch. The 5.1 adds slight activity to the film's presentation, but certainly doesn't make a night-and-day difference. The problem is really the audio quality; in general, it's fairly thin and brittle, but there are times when it becomes harsh and uncomfortable to listen to with some definite concerns. I was able to listen to the film and understand it, but it just wasn't always pleasing to listen to.

MENUS:: Menus are very basic and non-animated, with film-themed backgrounds.

EXTRAS:
Commentary: Director Mike Nichols is joined by director Steven Soderberg("Traffic", "Erin Brockovich") for a commentary track that's worth at least a rental of the disc. Although I'm rather dissapointed that Soderberg has apparently chosen to provide a commentary here rather than for his own "Traffic", I'm so pleased with the result that I don't mind - as much. Soderberg and Nichols take a step down memory lane as the director - with Soderberg playing interviewer - is able to remember a great deal of absolutely classic stories from the set, as well as some general film history from the time. Soderberg is also very well prepared, and is extremely familiar with the film.

The two go into a fascinating amount of detail about the history of filming and minute details about the day-to-day obstacles that faced the production. Soderberg obviously admires Nichols' work, but thankfully offers sincere, quick praise of certain scenes and moves the discussion along to pull more information out of Nichols. There's little to nothing in the way of pauses of silence, and the two are able to carry the commentary throughout the entire film. It's a great, great track well worth a listen.

Also: Photo gallery, trailer.

Final Thoughts: "Catch 22" is an excellent film from Nichols. Although the DVD presents the video quality quite well, the audio is sometimes rather harsh. The commentary between Soderberg and Nichols is wonderful though, and definitely makes the disc worth a look.

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