DVD Title
The Sword of Doom
International Title
Sword of Doom
DVD Length Original Length
121 Minutes 121 Minutes
Company Year of Manufacture
Criterion 2005
Language Subtitles
Japanese English
Region Number of Discs
1 1
Aspect Ratio Sound
2.35:1 (Anamorphic) 1.0 Mono
Extras
. Menus (English)
. Chapters (24)
. 3 page essay by Geoffrey O'Brien found in the booklet
Captures
Review

After a string of solid releases in 2004, with DVDs such as Onibaba and The Lower Depths, Criterion, sadly, drops the ball on their first release of 2005. The company's The Sword of Doom simply fails to excel in any particular area, with a meager video presentation, an adequate audio presentation, and almost no real extras to speak of.


 Video: Star Rating

Considering the film's age, the video presentation to be found on The Sword of Doom is pretty middle of the road. On the positive side, the brightness level is set just right here, as details are mostly readily visible. Digital inconsistencies also appear to be under control here. Artifacting, a side effect of video compression, is unnoticeable on this disc, while the film looks generally sharp, without much visible edge enhancement.

Despite these positive aspects, the print itself has seen better days. The start of the film, for example, contains noticeable light flickering, a rabid change in brightness occurring near the border of the screen. Thankfully, this does diminish over time to the point where it's a non-issue, although other problems don't. True, there are no noticeable scratches during the two hour length time; however, the DVD does instead contain a very thick layer of grain through out the course of the movie. As expected, the grain is quite noticeable during the lighter scenes in the film, while the darker settings tend to mask this minor print damage. The Sword of Doom is presented in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1, and is Anamorphic for widescreen TVs.


 Audio:

The Sword of Doom contains a 1.0 mono audio track of the film in Japanese. The audio itself sounds very well preserved, or in this case restored, as no audible pops or crackles can be heard. As expected, the mono presention has its limitions. As always, a stereo or surround mix as an addition would have been nice, but seeing as how the film was originally presented in monaural, the 1.0 track more than gets the job done. The audio track is accompanied here with, removable, English subtitles. The subtitles found on this release are brand new and, as expected from later Criterion discs, is relatively spot on in terms of dialogue accuracy.


 Extras:

It's unfortunate to see a company that has strived to stock their discs with supplementary material score so low in this area. The disc itself is about as barebones as they come. There isn't a single extra to be found on the DVD, not even the film's trailer. In a bid to compensate, Criterion did stock the disc's booklet with a three page essay by critic Geoffrey O'Brien. The essay itself is short, but informative, and makes for a nice brisk read. Although it hardly counteracts the disc's lack of additional features.


 Overview: Star Rating
Bottom line, if one truly enjoys the film, or the genre, this disc is still worth a purchase. However, at the higher than normal prices that Criterion releases tend to go for, and the lack of anything significant about this release of the film, The Sword of Doom is a DVD that might best be reserved for a bargain hunt.
-Anthony Romero  
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