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Dante's Peak Blu-ray

United States
Universal Studios | 1997 | 108 min | Rated PG-13 | Jul 26, 2011

Dante's Peak (Blu-ray)
Large:


Video
Codec: VC-1 (19.96 Mbps)
Resolution: 1080p
Aspect ratio: 2.36:1
Original aspect ratio: 2.39:1

Audio
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit)
Spanish: DTS 2.0
French: DTS 5.1

Subtitles
English SDH, French, Spanish

Discs
50GB Blu-ray Disc
Single disc (1 BD)
BD-Live
D-Box
Mobile features

Playback
Region free

Price
List price: $19.98, Price history
Amazon: $9.68 (Save 52%)
Best Buy: $8.99 (Save 55%)  
New from: $7.69 (Save 62%)
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Movie rating
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
6.7
138
ratings.


Blu-ray rating
Video 3.2 of 53.2
Audio 4.0 of 54.0
Extras 3.5 of 53.5
Based on 8 user reviews

Movie appeal

 
Action100%
Thriller75%
Adventure36%

64%
popularity
772
collections
26
fans




Dante's Peak

 (1997)

Dante's Peak Blu-ray offers decent video and great audio in this fan-pleasing Blu-ray release

Four years after the death of his fiancée in a volcanic eruption, vulcanologist Harry Dalton is sent to investigate minor tremors in the town of Dante's Peak. When Dalton discovers two corpses while visiting the hot springs in the wood, he suspects something, and recommends that the town be put on alert, but is overruled by his superior. He remains with the U.S. Geological Survey team monitoring the mountain. He is attracted to the town's mayor, Rachel Wando, meeting her family. When the town's water supply is contaminated with sulfur he realizes that a lethal volcanic eruption is on the way.

For more about Dante's Peak and the Dante's Peak Blu-ray release, see Dante's Peak Blu-ray Review published by on where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.

Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Linda Hamilton, Jamie Renée Smith, Jeremy Foley, Elizabeth Hoffman, Charles Hallahan
Director: Roger Donaldson

» See full cast & crew


Dante's Peak Blu-ray, Video Quality

  3.0 of 5

Dante's Peak was Donaldson's second collaboration with cinematographer Andrzej Bartkowiak (the first was Species). Bartkowiak's breakthrough work in America was with Sidney Lumet, who famously hated showy camera work, which may be why Bartkowiak doesn't seem to have a signature style. He adapts to the material. Dante's Peak begins and end with major sequences that are murky and gray -- almost to the point of being black-and-white -- from blizzards of volcanic ash. For the sake of continuity and blending, the "normal" sequences in between can't be overly colorful or eye-popping, and they never have been. However, levels of black and white must be accurately maintained, or the "ash" scenes risk degenerating into shadowy muck.

The 1080p, VC-1-encoded Blu-ray from Universal successfully reproduces the correct levels of black and white and gets the colors right in between, but it's less satisfactory in other respects. Detail suffers noticeably whenever we move away from objects in the foreground. The effect is most obvious in long shots with numerous separate items in the background, such as the outdoor crowd that Rachel addresses just after Harry arrives in town; the individual persons are vaguely outlined and sometimes blur into one another, almost as if this were an image on DVD, not Blu-ray. The same effect can be observed when Harry is driving into town and people are visible down the street, and it's also evident when Harry and Rachel subsequently drive up the mountain -- the trees around them don't reveal the detailed leaf patterns that one expects to see in a film of this vintage and budget. I cite these examples, because they occur in broad daylight, where shadows and sufficient lighting should not be an issue, and because they occur early enough in the film that interference from volcanic activity (or, to be precise, the special effects used to simulate it) cannot be the cause. Nor is this phenomenon attributable to focal issues. The objects are in focus, but the transfer isn't sharp enough to capture them.

The situation appears to improve in the latter parts of the film, but that may simply be a function of unfamiliarity. We all know what crowds and forests look like, which means we know when they don't look right. But most of us can't make similar judgments about volcano craters, lava flows, ash storms or various other manifestations of the disaster depicted in Dante's Peak. If detail is similarly lacking in long shots, how would we know?

This does not appear to me to be a case where DNR or other digital filtering was applied, because the usual signs of such filtering are absent; there were no motion artifacts, and faces in close-up looked natural and detailed. It's more likely that the original image harvest was less than it should have been. Maybe someday it'll be redone. In the meantime this version is watchable, though by no means the best that Blu-ray can provide.

Addendum on Aug. 10, 2011: At least one viewer has reported seeing the kind of haloing around objects that is the telltale sign of artificial sharpening applied to make an image appear more detailed than it really is. The common term for this phenomenon is "edge enhancement", although it's a term I try to avoid, since it's often used loosely to describe a host of disparate phenomena. Since such sharpening has often been applied to precisely the kind of situations I described above, it is entirely possible that it has been applied to some or all of the Blu-ray of Dante's Peak. However, I myself did not notice any haloing, on a 72" screen from which I sit no more than 12 feet away. Still, different eyes see different things on different systems, and video sharpening tools are too closely associated with the issues I did notice to ignore the observation.


Dante's Peak Blu-ray, Audio Quality

  4.0 of 5

Fortunately, there's nothing to fault in the DTS lossless presentation of Dante's Peak's soundtrack, which does full justice to the rumbles, crashes, explosions and all-around mayhem of the volcanic eruption and associated earthquakes, structural collapses, fires and lava flows. Both the rear channels and the subwoofer get a workout during these sequences, although you won't hear much from them during the long build-up that consists mostly of dialogue and a hammily portentous score by John Frizzell (with theme by James Newton Howard).


Dante's Peak: Other Editions



Dante's Peak

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Dante's Peak Blu-ray, News and Updates



Dante's Peak Blu-ray Coming Up - April 22, 2011

In an early announcement to retailers, Universal Studios Home Entertainment have revealed that they will release Roger Donaldson's Dante's Peak (1997), starring Pierce Brosnan (The Thomas Crown Affair, After the Sunset) and Linda Hamilton (The Terminator, Shadow ...


Dante's Peak Blu-ray, Forum Discussions



Topic Replies Last post
Reach Dante's Peak on 7/26 92 Aug 17, 2011
Sneak Peak With George Lucas 7 Mar 16, 2008
Dante's inferno sound dropouts 4 May 16, 2010



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