The Game (1997) HD-DVD

“Overall though, as a fan of ‘The Game,’ I’m sorry to report that not much care seems to have put into this one, making it one of the most underwhelming transfers of a major release I’ve seen in high definition.”

This quote is taken from Kenneth S.Brown’s review of the recently released HD-DVD of David Fincher’s thriller The Game (1997). Kenneth S.Brown is a reviewer for High-Def Digest website, a site which I have followed closely since the introduction of both HD formats. The site has been criticised by many for what they refer to as inaccurate reviews. These criticisms can be found on the AVS Forums.

Now, I am not one to be dragged into such a debate but after watching this HD-DVD last Saturday evening I am at a loss to see why the picture quality has been given a two out of five score. It may not be the best quality HD-DVD release but it still has a beautiful, faithful transfer that is a definite improvement over the SD-DVD. Like many of Fincher’s offerings this is an intentionally dark film that has a very soft appearance. This is not because of the transfer, it is the style of the director. If you need any further convincing have a look at this comparison between the PAL SD-DVD and the HD-DVD posted on the AVS Forum. What is there to say? Surely reviewing of this standard will ultimately harm the sales of certain HD-DVD and Blu-Ray discs? The High-Def Digest site is always my first port of call when looking for reviews of recent HD releases. From now on I will take the reviews purely at face value.

What about the film? Well, it is a solid, well directed thriller that is vastly under-rated. Michael Douglas gives one of his ‘men in peril’ performances that he is so famous for though, unlike most of his films, he does not get to bed any starlets in this one (I thought this was a stipulation in his contract?). Watching this film has further increased my anticipation for Fincher’s upcoming film Zodiac (2007). The Game (1997) HD-DVD can be purchased from the ever reliable MovieTyme for ??12.99 and is currently on same-day-dispatch meaning that if you order before 3pm on a weekday you should get it the next day. Next up on my HD-DVD viewing list is Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) which has received a four and a half out of five review on High-Def Digest. I had a quick look at the disc earlier in the week and, like other HD-DVD releases I have seen, it is very true to the original look of the film. I just need to get round to watching it.

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