A remake to the 1962 "The Manchurian Candidate," this updated version stars Denzel Washington as the tormented Major Bennett Marco and Liev Schreiber as Sgt. Raymond Shaw. After the war, their lives took completely different turns, with Shaw living in the present as the Vice-Presidential candidate and Marco living in the past haunted with unpleasant and disturbing memories. Based upon the screenplay by George Axelrod and the novel by Richard Condon. (Tricia Littrell)
Special features include audio commentary with Director Jonathan Demme and Screenplay Co-writer Daniel Pyne; a 14-minute featurette, The Enemy Within: Inside The Manchurian Candidate; a 12-minute look at the cast; five deleted/extended scenes; two outtakes with optional commentary, ("Ellie's Interview With Stacey Newsome-Santiago" and "Ellie's Interview With Al Franken"); the three-minute Liev Schreiber screen test; Political Pundits with optional director commentary, which are 10 minutes worth of three different two-person political discussions; and the theatrical trailer and some previews.
The 1.78:1 VC-1-encoded HD DVD picture is gritty and dim, matching the subject matter well. Fleshtones have a slightly reddish hue, and while details can be impressive, the entire presentation is not always up to that standard. Shadow delineation and contrast are well balanced, with details in the shadows revealed well. Edge enhancement can become distracting from time to time, and specks of dirt on the source element appear sporadically throughout the presentation. (Danny Richelieu)
While the Dolby® Digital Plus- and DTS® Digital Surround™-encoded 5.1-channel soundtrack has an impressive mix at times, poor ADR integration, high pitched humming, and clipping distortion can distract from the experience. Dynamic range is impressive, and dialogue is recorded well other than those scenes that were obviously done on an ADR looping stage. The Dolby Digital Plus encoding provides slightly better fidelity over the DTS encoding, although it isn't dramatic. (Danny Richelieu)