WSR Detailed LaserDisc Review

Bird On A Wire
Genre:Action Adventure

Reviewed In Issue 30 Of Widescreen Review® Stars:
Mel Gibson, Goldie Hawn, David Carradine, Bill Duke, Stephen Tobolowsky, Joan Severence

WSR Review Scores
Picture Rating: 3
Sound Rating: 3
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Reference Systems
Critics' Composite Score:
Internet Links


DVD General Information
(Studio/Distributor): MCA/Universal Home Video
(Catalog Number): 41026
(MPAA Rating): PG13
(Retail Price): $34.98
(Running Time In Minutes): 110
(Color Type): Color
(Chaptered/Scene Access): Yes
(Closed Captioned): Yes
(Theatrical Release): 1990
(LD Release Date):
(THX® Digitally Mastered): No

Credits Information
(Director): John Badham
(Screenplay/Written By): David Seltzer, Louis Venosta & Eric Lerner
(Story): Louis Venosta & Eric Lerner
(Music): Hans Zimmer
(Director Of Photography):
(Production Designer): Philip Harrison
(Visual Effects):
(Costume Designer):
(Editor): Frank Morriss
(Supervising Sound Editors):
(Re-Recording Mixers):
(Executive Producers): Ted Field & Robert W. Cort
(Co-Producers): NA
(Producers): Rob Cohen

DVD Picture Information
(Principal Photography): Super 35
(Theatrical Aspect Ratio): 2.40:1
(Measured LaserDisc Aspect Ratio): 1.85:1

DVD Sound Information
(DVD Soundtrack): Dolby Digital Surround
(Theatrical Sound): Dolby Stereo A
(Theatrical Re-Issue Soundtrack):
(Remastered Dolby Digital):
(Remastered DTS Digital Surround):
(Additional Languages):

WSR Narrative Review
Story Synopsis:
Bird On A Wire teams Mel Gibson and Goldie Hawn in this engaging action-comedy. Rick Jarmin (Gibson) had been in the FBI Witness Protection Program until he is spotted by his old girlfriend Marianne Graves (Hawn). Before he can be given a new identity, the man he helped put in jail—plus a few others—are out to get both he and Marianne, and the madcap cross-country chase begins.

LaserDisc Picture:

LaserDisc Soundtrack:
(Surround Bass Below 50Hz):
(Aggressive System Surround):
(Intense 25Hz Bass):
(Deep Bass Challenging):
(Aggressive 0.1 LFE):
(Holosonic Soundfield):
(Aggressive Split Surround):
(Center Back Surround Imaging):
(Directionalized Dialogue):
Superb Sound Effects Recording Quality:
Superb Music Score Recording Quality:
Superb Special Visual Effects Quality:
Superb Color Fidelity:
Superb Cinematography:
Reference LaserDisc:
Collector Edition:
DVD To LaserDisc Comparison:
The DVD is not anamorphic, and looks similar to the LaserDisc (previously released, but not reviewed). Images are slightly sharper with more fine detail and definition. Color fidelity is not as fully saturated or colorful as the LaserDisc, but exhibits accurate fleshtones, rich and warm colors and deep, solid blacks. The DVD exhibits good clarity, but appears to have been sourced from a composite master, due to obvious NTSC artifacts. Moiré artifacts are quiet apparent on both versions. Contrast and shadow delineation are nicely rendered. There is virtually no noise apparent on the DVD, but slight noise and artifacts are noticeable on the LaserDisc. Overall, the picture is generally pleasing, though mediocre. The original Super 35 photography was composed in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio, but the LaserDisc and DVD have been reframed at 1.85:1. The DVD soundtrack is credited as Dolby® Surround, though only two channel stereo is passed through with dual monaural phase problems. The LaserDisc matrix PCM soundtrack, however, is true Dolby Surround. Surround presence is nicely enveloping, often aggressive in character. Dialogue sounds generally natural though, at times, not very well integrated spatially. The music score has an expansive soundstage, but sounds a bit dated. Dynamic impact is wanting in the explosive scenes which lack deep bass.