Based on the book by Sebastian Junger, The Perfect Storm takes us to Gloucester, Massachusetts and the world of the fishermen who brave the elements on the briney sea. They've seen storms before, tremendous storms, but never like the one that hit in October, 1991 with Force 12 winds and 100-foot swells that took lives and shattered dreams.
An annoying up-front promo for HD DVD must be skipped to get to the menu. The spiffy interactive menu includes the same special features as the previously released DVDs—three separate audio commentary tracks, an HBO "First Look" featurette, comments from eye-witnesses, a short segment on the score, conceptual art with commentary, a photo montage, storyboard gallery, the theatrical trailer, and cast and crew biographies.
As expected, the high-definition 2.30:1 HD DVD delivers excellent picture quality. Images are sharp, with fine detail and definition, and excellent balance in contrast and shadow delineation. Color fidelity is nicely rendered, with natural fleshtones, rich hues, and deep blacks. Hues are appropriately balanced for the gray, dreary weather during the storm, while the earlier scenes are more vibrant. The picture is very natural, with very little to complain about regarding pixel breakup, smearing, or other problems. This is a very nice high-definition experience. (Suzanne Hodges)
The Dolby® Digital Plus and Dolby TrueHD 5.1-channel encodings deliver an outstanding sonic presentation during active moments, with terrific expansiveness in the surrounds. Fidelity is certainly exemplary, and the tonal balance is perceptually neutral. Until the dramatic storm sequences kick in, the soundstage has a balance toward the screen, with the music providing much of the subtle surround activity. Otherwise, the soundstage comes alive with intensity and brute force, and all dimensions of the soundfield are energized, along with back surround channel utilization to further heighten the sense of space around you. Intelligibility can be somewhat challenging during moments when the dialogue competes with prominent sound effects. A ringing hum can be heard in some of the more quiescent scenes, which can be distracting. The disc also includes the original DVD's Dolby Digital Surround EX® encoding. (Gary Reber/Danny Richelieu)