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Ring, The

Paramount // PG-13 // March 20, 2012
List Price: $22.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Neil Lumbard | posted April 7, 2012 | E-mail the Author


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The Ring Blu-ray Review


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Have you heard the story of the haunted videotape? People
say that it carries a curse with it. The idea might sound silly to some
younger
audiences today, but The Ring
introduced a terrifying concept: after viewing a video with frightening
and
seemingly random images it led to a phone call with an ominous and
foreboding
voice on the other end of the line. An unsettling message would be
delivered: that
you had seven days to live. What did any of that mean? And what would
you do
with only one week left to figure out the mystery?


style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 115%; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">The
Ring's
style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 115%; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">
opening sequence sets the tone as dark and disturbing from
the get-go when a household with two teenage girls winds up having only
one remaining. You find out about the
eerie videotape right away and while it initially sounds like a
practical joke
the end of the evening suggests otherwise.


style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 115%; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">The
film is effective in establishing the eerie mood quickly
and this has a massive impact on how things flow from thereon out.
Rachel
Keller (Naomi Watts) is an investigative journalist. Rachel's niece is
the
teenage girl in the beginning of the film. Rachel decides that she has
a story worth
investigating when she finds out that other teens had died in a
similarly
bizarre way on the same evening. She overhears teenagers talking about
the
cursed video while at the passing for her niece and she decides to
solve the
mystery herself. This leads her to the cabin where the teenagers
watched the
video and she too sees it. A phone rings. She picks it up. Seven
days.


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style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 115%; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">Rachel
now wonders if the urban legend is true and she feels
the pressure of a time limit to solve the mystery and resolve her
potentially endangered
fate. She decides to seek out the help of ex Noah (Martin Henderson).
They shares
a son named Aidan (David Dorfman) who is beginning to act strange
following the
death of the niece. Not before long, the stakes are raised to
protecting the
entire family and the mystery deepens as Rachel learns of a young girl
who might
just be the connection to everything that is happening. Her name's
Samara and
she appears to have a tragic past.


style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 115%; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">The
Ring
style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 115%; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">
is one of the best made scary-movies to come out of Hollywood. The
production excels
in its design and scope. There is no shortage of amazing cinematography
by Bojan
Bazelli. Gore Verbinski turns in one of his most impressive efforts as
director
(though I'm fond of the underrated The
Mexican
and most people would probably argue Pirates
of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl
is his best film
- and they are possibly correct in that assessment). The screenplay by
Ehren
Kruger and the original story upon which this film has been based in
somewhat
simple in reflection but those are often the best stories that can be
told. The
story benefits from being well crafted from conception (its
screenwriter, Ehren
Kurger, can tend to be hit and miss on projects but with The
Ring
he adapted the original story with a reasonable degree of
faithfulness).


style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 115%; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">When
I saw the film for the first time (in theaters) I was
with one of my sisters and her phone rang during the movie at the style="">exact moment from the opening sequence
where it began to ring in the actual film. We both jumped
out of our seats! The
Ring's
startlingly effective filmmaking wants to create goosebumps
on
viewers by relying upon a classic mystery storytelling method without
ever succumbing
to an abundance of sick gore or conventional horror film expectations.
This
helps it to stand out as a true classic of the genre.  style=""> 


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style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 115%; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">The
Blu-ray:


style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 115%; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">Please
Note:
style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 115%; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">
This edition is currently
available only as a Best Buy exclusive.


style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 115%; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">The
images used in this review are from the
previously released DVD edition.


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align="center">style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">Video:


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">The Ringstyle="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";"> has
been a highly anticipated catalog title release
for the Blu-ray format for years now and it is nice to see the film
find its
way to release at last. Fans won't be disappointed with the wait style="">because this is without a doubt one of
the absolute best top-tier catalog title releases the
format has ever seen. The
clarity is astonishing, the color reproduction was mind-bogglingly
good, and
the transfer seems to be free from any print problems at all. Viewers
won't be
able to tell a difference between the high-quality nature of this
quality
presentation and many currently-produced blockbuster releases. The
bitrates are
also unbelievably high and I noticed many moments where it hovered
around 40-50
mbps consistently. Those types of bitrate numbers are incredible. style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">This is
one of the
finest transfers I've ever seen for a catalog title.


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">Audio:


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">You
won't feel skipped out on by the audio. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
surround
sound mix may be a notch below the flawless video presentation but it's
awfully
close to being a total match. When it needs to kick in the LFE the
surround
usage does exactly that but it doesn't rely only upon crazy-cool
surround
effects. There are so many moments where it depends upon the
atmospheric and
haunting score by Hans Zimmer (one of my favorites from the generally
more
action-oriented composer). The soundscape is enveloping and it doesn't
disappoint.


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">5.1
Dolby Digital audio is included in Spanish, French, and Portuguese.
Descriptive
audio is also included.  Subtitles have
been provided in Spanish, French, Portuguese, and in English SDH for
the deaf
and hard of hearing.


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style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">Extras:


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">The
first thing you will notice about this release
is the insanely awesome slipcover included. The cover-art is
holographic and
includes two images of Samara on the bottom half of the artwork. It's
one of
the best slipcovers ever made. I don't think that is an exaggeration.


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">The
original DVD release of The Ring
was somewhat
lackluster in the extras department. This release remedies that initial
disappointment
somewhat (even if one of the inclusions was an extra included on style="">The Ring Two DVD release - which is also
worthy of a Blu-ray presentation).


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">The
majority of these bonus features are presented
in High Definition (though a few are available only in
480p and look almost identical to poor-quality Standard
Definition - an non-anamorphic piece even slips into the mix).


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style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">Rings style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">(16:42,
1080p) is a short film promoted as connecting
some of the dots between The Ring and
The Ring Two.


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">In this
short there are teenagers finding out
details about how viewing the ring video gives them seven days to live
while
also experiencing weird and baffling happenings around them. These
teens record
their experiences, share them, and get someone else to view the video.
It's a
disturbing concept, even if it is something which remains largely
unexplored in
the brevity of the work. The ending is unnerving (to say the least) and
while this
short film doesn't feel essential to the Ring universe it is a curious
and
interesting bonus feature aimed squarely at serious fans of the
franchise. It
was a nice upgrade to include it in superior 1080p High Definition for
this
release.


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">Don't
Watch This
style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";"> (15:26)
showcases footage
left on the cutting room floor of the film.


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">Cast
and Filmmaker Interviews (7:58) is a pretty standard promotional piece
but the
comments from a few of the cast members and director are reasonably
interesting.


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">The
Origin of Terror (4:00) has the cast and crew talking about the
relevance of
urban legends and how the story of The
Ring
fits into that mode of storytelling.


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">Cursed
Video
style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";"> is
promoted as being
included on this release but I couldn't find it on the menu. It should
be a
hidden easter-egg.


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">Theatrical
Trailer (2:10, 1080p) is actually a surprisingly dated promotional
trailer. I'd
forgotten how silly some of the advertisements were for this movie.
Having said
that, revisiting movie trailers is a lot of fun and I'm glad a nice
print of
the trailer is on the release.


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style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">Final
Thoughts:


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">The Ringstyle="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";"> is
still one of the scariest and most unnerving
remakes. It isn't quite as effective when compared to the original, style="">Ringu, but it does a more than merely effective
job in bringing the material to an American audience. Naomi Watts had
already been
in tons of movies prior to making this one (including Mulholland
Dr.
) but I can't help but feel as though it helped her
career to star in this film. At the time it seemed as though she
started to be
much more popular afterwards.  The
Ring
remains an ominous creation
with more of an interest in telling a good story than relying on
shock-factor
alone. That's why this is still considered such a classic example of
horror
filmmaking today.


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">If you
enjoyed in back in 2002 there's a good chance you'll
still consider this effective now. And if you are new to experiencing style="">The Ring... just make sure that you don't
have a phone near you while you watch it. Enough said?


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">Highly
Recommended.
style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">



Neil Lumbard is a lifelong fan of cinema. He aspires to make movies and has written two screenplays on spec. He loves writing, and currently does in Texas.

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