WSR Detailed LaserDisc Review

Primal Fear

Reviewed In Issue 22 Of Widescreen Review® Stars:
Richard Gere, Laura Linney, John Mahoney, Alfre Woodard, Frances McDormand, Edward Norton & Terry O’Quinn

WSR Review Scores
Picture Rating: 5
Sound Rating: 5
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Reference Systems
Critics' Composite Score:
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DVD General Information
(Studio/Distributor): Paramount Home Video
(Catalog Number): LV32832-2WS
(MPAA Rating): R
(Retail Price): $44.99
(Running Time In Minutes): 130
(Color Type): Color
(Chaptered/Scene Access): Yes
(Closed Captioned): Yes
(Theatrical Release): 1996
(LD Release Date): 10/9/96
(THX® Digitally Mastered):

Credits Information
(Director): Gregory Hoblit
(Screenplay/Written By): Steve Shagan & Ann Biderman
(Story): NA
(Music): James Newton Howard
(Director Of Photography):
(Production Designer): Jeannine Oppewall
(Visual Effects): DreamQuest Images
(Costume Designer): Betsy Cox
(Editor): David Rosenbloom, ACE
(Supervising Sound Editors): Bruce Fortune, MPSE
(Re-Recording Mixers):
(Executive Producers): Howard W. Koch, Jr.
(Co-Producers): NA
(Producers): Gary Lucchesi

DVD Picture Information
(Principal Photography): Academy Standard Flat
(Theatrical Aspect Ratio): 1.85:1
(Measured LaserDisc Aspect Ratio): 1.85:1

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

WSR Narrative Review
Story Synopsis:
Primal Fear is based on the novel by William Diehl and stars Richard Gere as arrogant, high powered Chicago attorney Martin Vail. Looking for a case that will further his career, he grabs the opportunity to defend Aaron Stampler (brilliantly played by Edward Norton), a penniless, stuttering altar boy from Kentucky who is accused of brutally murdering the local Archbishop. All the evidence points to Aaron, but Vail is confident that his shy and uncertain client is innocent and sets out to search for the truth.

LaserDisc Picture:
The picture quality is exemplary on this 1.85:1 matted transfer. Color fidelity is terrific with natural fleshtones, rich hues and deep, solid blacks. Shadow detail is excellent as is contrast. The picture is always sharp and detailed. There is no noise or artifacts for a pristine visual experience that is sure to please.

LaserDisc Soundtrack:
The soundtrack is superb with naturally rendered dialogue that is spatially integrated and aggressive surround envelopment. The discrete 5.1 Dolby® Digital soundtrack in addition to displaying its split surround capability, effectively uses .1 low frequency effects to create even deeper and more powerful bass than the matrix version. The music score is terrific and the recording quality is excellent with the discrete soundstage sounding wider. This is a beautifully constructed soundtrack that fully complements the suspense. The 5.1 version is preferred for its more precise soundfield delineation.
(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: