DVD Title
War in Space
International Title
The War in Space
DVD Length Original Length
90 Minutes 90 Minutes
Company Year of Manufacture
Discotek 2006
Language Subtitles
Japanese, English English
Region Number of Discs
1 1
Aspect Ratio Sound
2.35:1 (Anamorphic) 2.0 Mono, 5.1 Surround
Extras
. Menus (English)
. Chapters (24)
. Trailer: The War in Space, Lupin the 3rd: Strange Psychokinetic Strategy, Mikadroid
. Interview with Teruyoshi Nakano (32 minutes)
. Photo Gallery
. 5 page booklet with information, concept art and poster images
Captures
Review

The second Toho DVD from Discotek definitely shows signs that Discotek could be another company to look out for, as they pack this disc with a lot of the content and transfers from the region 2 release while also providing subtitles and dub tracks. To that effect, the disc really excels across the board, boasting a good video and audio presentations while also featuring a great array of extras.


 Video: Star Rating

Discotek does a fairly good job with this video presentation, which looks to be derived from Toho's region 2 release of the movie. Overall, it's a pretty good presentation, as the movie looks very sharp without signs of edge enhancement while there is a nice distinct color range, although it's it does suffer from a very slight yellow tint while the contrast could have stood to be raised just a tad. The print used in the transfer also appears to be in great shape, though, as there is very little grain and hardly any scratches to be seen. Digital inconsistencies are slightly present in the form of some light pixilation on some of the darker backgrounds, but it's nothing too noticeable.

Unfortunately, there is a major problem with the video track in the initial run of this release that occurs around the 34 minute mark and stays for the duration of the feature. What happens at this point is that the video seems to slow down, like the number of frames being shown has been reduced. The ending result is a slightly jerky look to the film. Discotek has issued a warning on their site in regards to this "video encode" problem exists, and that they will issue replacements for those who send in their "defective" discs to them. It's a bit of a hassle, but worth it for those who might be unfortunate enough to get one of the first run DVDs.

The War in Space is presented in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1, or Toho Scope, and is Anamorphic for widescreen TVs. Unfortunately, the image has been "windowboxed" as thick black borders appear to the left and right of the image when viewed on a DVD-Rom, although other setups will view the video without problem.


 Audio:

Discotek presents the film with a pretty robust array of audio options that are sure to keep most happy. In total, there are three audio tracks present. The first is a very well done 5.1 surround remix of the movie in Japanese. In all honesty, it's hard to tell that this isn't the movie's original presentation format that it's done so well. Of course the speaker distinction isn't particularly impressive, but it does give the movie a little more depth that adds to the enjoyment.

Next up is a 2.0 mono track of the movie in Japanese, which is the movie's original presentation format. Nothing really goes astray with this track, other than that the volume is low in comparssion to the surround one, as it's a faithful presentation of the movie's original format. Finally, the last audio track is a 2.0 mono presentation of the movie dubbed into English. This track is sadly a little lacking, as the volume level here is very low and the voices sound a little muffled, like it was a couple generation old copy of the audio. Still the track will probably be of interest to some and it's nice to see it's inclusion, even if the dubbing job is remarkably awful.

The movie is accompanied by, removable, English subtitles that correspond to the Japanese or English tracks.


 Extras:

After the disappointing run of extras on the company's Lupin the Third: Strange Psychokinetic Strategy, it's nice to see them turn a new leaf here and pack this disc with a fairly good supply of supplemental material. The star attraction here is the 32 minute interview with special effects director Teruyoshi Nakano, which is complemented by production stills and conceptual art. This feature goes over nearly every ship in the film, discussing conceptual work along with how general special effects are achieved. The interview is fairly well done and very informative, even if his discussions of the importance of the movie to Japanese cinema seem very heavy handed. Anyone interested in the production, though, should make sure to check it out. The interview is conducted in Japanese, and complimented by removable English subtitles.

Next up is a wide selection of production and publicity stills related to the film. Unfortunately, all of these are in black and white, but there is a good number of them to mill over and some nice shots in the collection. Also included with this release is a nice five page booklet on the film, which includes a two page "essay" on the production with numerous quotes from the staff (very nicely constructed, and it's a shame no author appears to be cited), concept art, making of shots and a collection of posters. To round out the extras, the disc also contains three trailers to other Toho features, which include the live-action Lupin film Lupin the 3rd: Strange Psychokinetic Strategy (1974), Mikadroid (1992) and the movie's own trailer. Sadly, compared to the region 2 release this disc is lacking the audio commentary done by Goro Mutsumi, the actor who plays the infamous "Hell Commander". Perhaps this was deemed as too much to subtitle, or too expensive to license from Toho, but hopefully these audio commentaries do appear on future titles from them as they really are a joy to listen through.

On a final note, the menus here are also rather nice, particularly the main menu as the middle portion shows clips from the film while Hell Fighters strafe the screen ever so often. It's also a huge improvement over the rather mundane menus we have seen from Discotek in the past, and hopefully a sign of things to come.


 Overview: Star Rating
Bottom line, this is a really fantastic release from Discotek, who is showing promise as a company to definitely watch for quality releases of Toho titles.
- Anthony Romero  
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