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THE NET ($30) is an entertaining, if implausible, high-tech thriller set in the world of computers. Sandra Bullock stars as Angela Bennett, a computer systems analyst who is given a piece of game software to debug and stumbles onto a backdoor in a security program that can give hackers access to major computer systems across America. Soon after receiving the software, Angela becomes a target of a killer who follows her on her Mexican vacation. Angela looses her identification during a failed attempt on her life, and returns to America to discover that someone else has assumed her identity and all traces of her life have been erased.

The only way Angela can regain her life is to discover the identity of the parties at the heart of the conspiracy. Sure there are holes in the plot that you could drive a speeding bus through, but THE NET does raise some disturbing issues about how people’s lives have become nothing more than information on computers, and how easily misinformation can disrupt or destroy their lives. In addition to the cute and plucky Sandra Bullock, the cast of THE NET also includes Jeremy Northam, Dennis Miller and Diane Baker.

Columbia TriStar Home Video makes THE NET available in both Letterboxed and pan and scan presentations on opposite sides of the DVD. The pan and scan transfer is actually full frame and will make an acceptable viewing experience for undiscriminating viewers. However, THE NET looks like a direct to video release in this format. Colors are very good on the full frame version and the image is well detailed. The Letterboxed transfer is great looking and features the 16:9 anamorphic enhancement for wide screen televisions. THE NET looks like a real movie with its 1.85:1 theatrical framing in place, and I certainly found it more enjoyable this way. Detail is excellent on the sharply rendered Letterboxed image. Colors appear fresh, natural and offer good saturation. MPEG-2 compression artifacts never called attention to themselves on either presentation.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack had a respectable mix, although the surrounds were not as active as they could have been. There was a good stereo image across the front and the dialogue was sharply focused in the center. Other soundtrack options include matrixed Dolby Surround, plus French and Spanish language tracks. Subtitles are available in English, Spanish and Korean.




DVD reviews are Copyright 1998 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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