WSR Detailed LaserDisc Review

Doors, The

Reviewed In Issue 24 Of Widescreen Review® Stars:
Val Kilmer, Meg Ryan, Kyle MacLachlan, Frank Whaley, Kevin Dillon, Michael Wincott, Michael Madsen, Billy Idol, Kathleen Quinlan

WSR Review Scores
Picture Rating: 2.5
Sound Rating: 5
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Reference Systems
Critics' Composite Score:
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The Doors Special Edition is presented in an impressive velcroed tri-fold cover that opens like double doors with Saint Or Sinner, a twenty page booklet containing archival and production photographs and an original essay. The LaserDisc features an extensive 71 minute full screen supplemental section that contains widescreen segments of all different aspect ratios. Included is audio commentary on the making of the picture by director Oliver Stone, additional scenes, a featurette and the original theatrical trailer. An exclusive new documentary titled The Road Of Excess features original footage of The Doors and original music by Robby Krieger, as well as new interviews with Oliver Stone, Val Kilmer, Robby Krieger, Kathleen Quinlan, Frank Whaley, Richard Rutowski and Patricia Kennealy-Morrison. This is quite an magnificent package that is definitely a collectable.

DVD General Information
(Studio/Distributor): Pioneer Special Editions
(Catalog Number): PSE96-77
(MPAA Rating): R
(Retail Price): $$124.98
(Running Time In Minutes): 141
(Color Type): Color
(Chaptered/Scene Access): Yes
(Closed Captioned): Yes
(Theatrical Release): 1991
(LD Release Date): 4/97
(THX® Digitally Mastered): Yes

Credits Information
(Director): Oliver Stone
(Screenplay/Written By): J. Randall Johnson & Oliver Stone
(Story): NA
(Music): The Doors
(Director Of Photography):
(Production Designer): Barbara Ling
(Visual Effects): Industrial Light & Magic
(Costume Designer): Marlene Stewart
(Editor): David Brener & Joe Hutshing
(Supervising Sound Editors): Wylie Stateman & Michael Minkler
(Re-Recording Mixers):
(Executive Producers): Mario Kassar, Nicholas Clainos & Brian Grazer
(Co-Producers): NA
(Producers): Bill Graham, Sasha Harari & A. Kitman Ho

DVD Picture Information
(Principal Photography): Panavision
(Theatrical Aspect Ratio): 2.39:1
(Measured LaserDisc Aspect Ratio): 2.32:1

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

WSR Narrative Review
Story Synopsis:
Oliver Stone’s remarkable biographical film about the popular rock band from the 60s, and their self-destructive lead singer Jim Morrison (Kilmer in a critically acclaimed performance). Upon reaching superstardom, the “Lizard King” slowly separates himself from his girlfriend Pamela Courson (Ryan) and the band-guitarist Robby Krieger (Whaley), drummer John Densmore (Dillon) and organist Ray Manzarek (MacLachlan)—by living under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

LaserDisc Picture:
This is a new THX®-quality approved high-definition down-conversion transfer supervised by Oliver Stone and Director Of Photography, Robert Richardson. However, the 2.32:1 framed Super 35 picture is problematic. The picture exhibits grossly oversaturated color fidelity with reddish fleshtones and deep grainy blacks. Perhaps this is the look the filmmakers were striving for, but it looks more like sloppy work than art. Sharpness and detail is wanting, as is shadow detail. There is noise and minor artifacts throughout.

LaserDisc Soundtrack:
Featuring some of the most renowned music from The Doors, the soundtrack has excellent fidelity on both the Dolby® Digital 5.1 discrete and linear PCM matrix versions. However, the discrete is a creative disappointment because it often has absolutely no surround signal, even during some of the musical sequences. The matrix version by comparison always supports an enveloping sense of surround ambiance that creates a consistently more engrossing spatial experience. On a positive note, the discrete soundtrack does extend the soundstage wider across the front compared to the pulled-to-center effect of all matrix surround soundtracks. This effect is why sound designers typically and purposefully mix the discrete printmaster to the extreme width of the soundstage to compensate for the matrix. But why the sound designers opted for no surrounds is a mystery, and no artistic reasoning can rectify the loss. The end result is a hit-and-miss spatial soundfield experience. Further, the PCM matrix version sounds more resonant in the bass compared to the Dolby Digital presentation, as heard in the “Primo Vere” music scoring in Chapter 17. Dialogue is generally natural sounding, though slightly forward in presence compared to the other sound elements.
(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: