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Iíve read a whole lot of nasty reviews of the movie GHOST SHIP ($28) and really canít understand why the critic savaged to film so badly. Sure, the movie isnít great cinema, but I actually found it to be a fun, albeit somewhat mindless, horror outing. GHOST SHIP makes use of the standard haunted house premise, but instead of being landlocked, the film takes the audience out for a bit of sea cruise. Like the legendary Marie Celeste, GHOST SHIP tells the story of a derelict ship with not a soul on board. Enticed by aerial photographs of an ocean liner adrift in the midst of the Bering Sea, a salvage team takes a chance that on the ship being worth a small fortune to them.

Once they actually find the ship, the leader of salvage team is shocked to discover that the derelict is none other than the Antonia Graza a luxurious Italian ocean liner that mysteriously disappeared forty years earlier. With no signs of what befell the passengers and crew of Antonia Graza, the salvage team begins exploring the rusting hulk, in search of something that would make their excursion to the middle of nowhere worth the effort. What they find is a rather sizable shipment of gold bars, something that will make each of them wealthy beyond their wildest dreams. However, before the gold can be offloaded, the ghostly inhabitants of Antonia Graza make it impossible for the salvage team to leave the liner, as well as extending a deadly and eternal invitation. The cast of GHOST SHIP features Gabriel Byrne, Julianna Margulies, Ron Eldard, Desmond Harrington, Isaiah Washington, Alex Dimitriades, Karl Urban, Emily Browning and Francesca Rettondini.

Warner Home Video has made GHOST SHIP available on DVD in a 1.78:1 wide screen presentation that features the anamorphic enhancement for 16:9 displays (a separate full screen version is also available, but not reviewed here). I have to complement Warner on the DVD, because this is an out and out superb transfer. The image is supremely crisp and utterly well defined, which brings out each and every ghastly, gory detail of the filmís production design and special effects (got to love that bloody opening showstopper). Colors are garishly vibrant; especially the reds, plus all of the hues are perfectly rendered, without noise or fuzziness. Blacks are pure and velvety, while the whites are crisps and stable. Contrast is very smooth, shadow detail is excellent and the picture produces a great sense of depth. Digital compression artifacts remain completely out of sight throughout.

GHOST SHIP comes with a great sounding Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack. The sound design heaps on tons of atmosphere, which enhance the ghoulish goings on. Sounds come out of everywhere, creating an enveloping aural experience the places the viewer right in the middle of the action. Dialogue reproduction is first rate, with every word spoken in English being completely understandable. In addition, all the voices are rendered with a genuine sense of character. The bass channel is deep and commanding, without sounding artificially boomy. Fidelity is excellent, which allows the filmís score and incidental music to shine. A French 5.1 channel track is also encoded onto the DVD, as are English, French and Spanish subtitles.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the DVDís interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as the DVDís supplement materials. Max on set: Ghost Ship is a fifteen minute look behind-the-scenes that features clips, as well as cast & crew interviews. Secrets Of The Antonia Graza presents the viewer with a bit of a puzzle to solve, before it unlocks four vignettes. Visual FX Featurette offers a five-minute look at the filmís miniature and special effects work. A Closer Look At The Gore takes the viewer up close and personal for a five minute tour of the filmís splatter and dismemberment. Designing the Ghost Ship is another five minutes on the filmís production design and sets. A music video for Mudvayne's song Not Falling, as well as a theatrical trailer and cast & crew filmographies close out the supplements.

GHOST SHIP may not be the greatest horror film to come down the pike, but I sure had popcorn munching good fun while watching it. Warnerís DVD looks and sounds great; so if you are a horror fan, this is a DVD you will want to check out.



Ghost Ship (Widescreen Edition) (2002)


DVD reviews are Copyright © 2003 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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