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DVD Title
Shall We Dance?
International Title
Shall We Dance?
DVD Length Original Length
119 Minutes 136 Minutes
Company Year of Manufacture
Miramax 2005
Language Subtitles
Japanese English, French, Spanish
Region Number of Discs
1 1
Aspect Ratio Sound
1.85:1 (Anamorphic) 5.1 Surround
Extras
. Menus (English)
. Chapters (18)
. US Shall We Dance? behind the scenes, with interviews, feature (11 minutes)
Captures
Review

This disc made me fairly glad that Miramax hasn't decided to release more Toho films (in this case distributed) on DVD, although I still wouldn't mind if they finally released Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989), as they dropped the ball on this disc. This release's prime objective is made fairly clear: it's out to sell the US remake of the film. This type of thing is likely familiar to some readers, as Dreamworks' Ringu disc could be accused of the same thing. However, at least Dreamworks was respectful to the original film, while Miramax holds no reservation in cutting 17 minutes out of the movie here. To be truthful, the video and audio presentation here are more than acceptable, but it's hard to gush about such things when so much of the film has been edited out. The final nail in the coffin for this disc is the extras, which amount to little more than a 11 minute commercial for the US remake.


 Video:

In most regards, Miramax did a fine job in regards to the video presentation, although still not without its faults. The coloring here is one of the DVD's strong points, as it's very vibrant (seen here), with no noticeable discoloring. The brightness level, sadly, isn't handled as well here, as it's set just a little low, although it won't really detract from the viewing experience in anyway. As for digital inconsistencies, they are handled reasonably well here. There is some noticeable edge enhancement, as the film could stand to be a little sharper, but everything else is presented well. Unfortunately, the shape of the print used for the transfer could have been better. On the positive side, there aren't any scratches present here, but there is a noticeable layer of grain through out the film. The frame isn't always stable either, as it shakes slightly on occasion, something which is most noticeable during the opening titles.

Overall, the video presentation here is far from bad. However, what gives it the low mark here is simply that Miramax cut out such a large portion of the film. What is present here is the US version of Shall We Dance?, which was edited down in the first place as Miramax didn't believe that audiences would sit through a subtitled movie that was more than 2 hours in length. If one doesn't have a problem with this aspect, then the video quality found on Shall We Dance? should be more than adequate to viewers.

The film is presented here in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is Anamorphic for widescreen TVs.


 Audio:

The best aspect of this disc is the audio presentation, found here in a 5.1 surround mix of the original Japanese audio track. The track itself sounds great, without any pops or crackles, although the speaker distinction is a little weak for a surround track, but this perhaps has more to do with the film than anything else, as the music would be the only thing to really give one's speakers a "work out".

The audio track here is accompanied by, removable, subtitles that are available in English, French or Spanish.


 Extras:

Why even bother? Yes there is slightly over 11 minutes of extra material on this disc, but it's all directed toward the US remake with Richard Gere and Jennifer Lopez. Furthermore, it's done in such a fashion that they are obviously trying to sell it, with everyone gushing over the movie to no end while providing no insight into the remake at all. Also, considering that this is being showcased on the original version of the film, would it have been too much to ask for one of the people being interviewed to at least mention the source material?

Miramax could have slapped about a hundred different things on this disc, even just a short interview with the director of the remake discussing what he liked about the original Japanese production would have been nice. As it stands, one can't help feel slightly cheated that this is all they felt like adding here. Also, why is the film's trailer absent? It's on the DVD to the remake, so it's not like they would have had to secure it either. Just feels like a slap in the face not to have it featured here.

Like other Disney discs, released internally or by the companies which they own, the film starts playing advertisements automatically when first inserted into a player, which have to be skipped or endured to reach the main menu. The ads in question on this disc are the "Miramax 25th Anniversary spot" and a trailer for the US remake of the film.


 Overview:

Bottom line, one's enjoyment of this disc will probably hinder primarily on if an edited down version is acceptable or not. If it is, then the bare bones aspect is still disheartening, but otherwise this is a pretty good release. If it isn't, one would probably do best to consider importing one of the overseas releases of the film.

- Anthony Romero  
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