WSR Detailed LaserDisc Review

Genre:Fantasy Adventure

Reviewed In Issue 22 Of Widescreen Review® Stars:
Billy Zane, Treat Williams, Kristy Swanson, Catherine Zeta Jones, James Remar, Patrick McGoohan

WSR Review Scores
Picture Rating: 5
Sound Rating: 5
Download WSR Review
Reference Systems
Critics' Composite Score:
Internet Links


DVD General Information
(Studio/Distributor): Paramount Home Video
(Catalog Number): LV328503-WS
(MPAA Rating): PG
(Retail Price): $39.99
(Running Time In Minutes): 100
(Color Type): Color
(Chaptered/Scene Access): Yes
(Closed Captioned): Yes
(Theatrical Release): 1996
(LD Release Date): 11/9/96
(THX® Digitally Mastered):

Credits Information
(Director): Simon Wincer
(Screenplay/Written By): Jeffrey Boam
(Story): NA
(Music): David Newman
(Director Of Photography):
(Production Designer): Paul Peters
(Visual Effects): Robert Evans, Alan Ladd, Jr.
(Costume Designer): Marlene Stewart
(Editor): O. Nicholas Brown & Bryan H. Carroll
(Supervising Sound Editors): Tim Chau, MPSE
(Re-Recording Mixers):
(Executive Producers): Dick Vane, Joe Dante, Graham Burke, Greg Coote, Peter Sjoquist & Bruce Sherlock
(Co-Producers): Jeffrey Boam
(Producers): Robert Evans, Alan Ladd, Jr.

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): DTS & Dolby Digital
(Theatrical Re-Issue Soundtrack):
(Remastered Dolby Digital):
(Remastered DTS Digital Surround):
(Additional Languages):

WSR Narrative Review
Story Synopsis:
The Phantom, based on the characters created by Lee Falk in 1936, is the story of a boy at sea who witnesses his father’s murder. When he washes ashore on the jungle island of Bengalla, he vows to avenge his father’s death by battling piracy, greed and cruelty—thus creating the first generation of the Phantom, with each man’s son growing up to battle the despicable Sengh Brotherhood. Four hundred years later, an expedition led by an evil New York tycoon Xander Drax (Treat Williams), lands on Bengalla in search of the legendary Skulls of Touganda, ancient relics with magical powers. Drax’s intent is to rule the world and he needs the skulls to succeed. There are three skulls—one of gold, one of silver and one of jade—and when put together, they can harness an energy source that can give their owner power over the entire planet. The only one who can stop Drax is the latest heir of the generational Phantoms (Billy Zane) who is aided by a crusading newspaper gal (Kristy Swanson). The Phantom captures the comic-book hero on screen with terrific costumes and the spirit of the old matinee adventure serials.

LaserDisc Picture:
The THX®-quality assured picture has a 2.32:1 aspect ratio and looks terrific. Naturally rendered, colors are richly hued and vibrant with deep, solid blacks and accurate fleshtones. Images are sharp and detailed and contrast is outstanding. The picture is solid with no noise or artifacts.

LaserDisc Soundtrack:
Both the matrix PCM and discrete 5.1 Dolby® Digital soundtracks are effectively delivered with an aggressive surround presence supported with deep and powerful bass below 25Hz and directional sound effects. The discrete version’s subtle split surround ambiance effects better define each scene’s soundfield for a more involving holosonic experience. The terrific music score presents a wide and deep soundstage, still wider on the discrete version. The bass energy delivered by the .1 channel is not heard on the matrix version, though dynamic range is excellent on both. While the matrix version’s fidelity sounds overall better, the discrete is the better defined soundfield experience.
(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: