"SE7EN - Can anything more be said about what a great film this is???? Well, now, YES because New Line's new Double DVD is a fantastic package and a MUST for any fan of the film. The film has once again been remastered from the original film elements and it has never looked better -- even better than the old Criterion laserdisc. Colors, shadowings, sound, contrast have all been adjusted for optimum effect (one of the extras on disc 2 shows the before-and-after on several scenes). Just check out the green lamps in that library scene - WOW! The film is on Disc 1 and there are 4 separate commentary tracks...the most interesting one in my opinion is Track 2 which discusses the genesis of the project from script, to selling it to a studio and the fight to retain the original ending. Fincher is always interesting, but hearing Andrew Kevin Walker discuss his inspiration for writing the script and the struggles to get it made is even more fascinating. The voice behind one of the most original screenplays in years is pure genius. "Extras"-filled Disc 2 features deleted scenes (including the original opening)...most of which are just slightly extended scenes from the film (you see more of "Pride", etc.). There is also an alternate cut of the ending with different shots that was test-screened to an audience plus a storyboard of a different ending that was never shot. All of these come with or without commentary. An analysis of the opening credit sequence offers different angles and commentaries on 3 variants of the sequence. There are still galleries with commentaries by the photographers. Yes, "Sloth" victim's decay is included in the photos (unfortunately, not as clearly as it was presented on the Criterion LD) as well as John Doe's notebooks and lair. There is only one theatrical trailer (where are all the tv spots, etc. that were on the LD?????) and a short EPK. There are also some DVD-rom features on both discs (script-to-scene, etc.) to round it all out. Only downside is that a lot of the extras on the Criterion LD are NOT INCLUDED HERE in any form. Although Criterion holds the rights to their original commentary track (Featuring Fincher, Pitt, Freeman, Rob Bottin , Walker, etc) and some other extras, surely NEW LINE owns the rights to the tv spots and other such promo materials. Where, for instance, is the great gallery of original artwork and poster concepts that so playfully used the number 7 or the sins as the backdrop???? New Line created these so why aren't they included here? The Criterion disc also had out-takes and many other things not included here, so don't ever toss that disc out! It's sure to be valuable some day. And with this DVD, which also includes items NOT on the Criterion LD, they combine to make the ultimate "SE7EN" collection."
Let he who is without sin try to survive.
ozeman | Sydney , Australia | 06/14/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Seven is a very disturbing thriller about a serial killer,John Doe(Kevin Spacey), killing people via examples of the seven deadly sins - gluttony, greed, sloth, lust, pride, envy and wrath. The story begins with Detective Mills (Brad Pitt) being assigned to Detective Somerset (Morgan Freeman). Detective Somerset is due to retire at the end of the week, and Detective Mills is moving up in the world, and is to take Somerset's place. This is a very disturbing movie. It will keep you enthralled and glued to your seat for the entire 127 minutes. Indeed, I was staggered that I never once lost concentration or was bored with this movie.This is a movie with an unexpected ending that is absolutely unpredictable and which is not at all a "Hollywood" style ending. The disc itself. The movie is presented in its origianl form, 2.35:1 aspect ratio, letterboxed not Anamorphic.The picture is dark in itself however the detail is quite good and crisp with very few problems (odd shimmer effect in certain scenes). The sound is recorded in Dolby Digital 5.1 which has no audio sync problems and the use of the surround mainly during rain sequences adding tone. The track was bass heavy in spots and gave the .1 channel a working. There is a small section of extras , a 6 min featurette, production notes and Star bios. My only complaint is this disc however a FLIPPER, yes it is on 2 sides!, split after the conversation between Morgan freeman and Gweneth Paltrow in the coffee shop. Just as suspense is building the film requires a turn over. Please note film distrubutors this is annoying and in the age of DVD unnecessary.I hope that the film is re-released as a dual layered film and includes some of the extras from the Lasedisc version. All said and done the film is one of the best, along with Silence of the Lambs, in its genre and the disc even with its faults is a qaulity purchase."
Septenary of Horror.
Themis-Athena | from somewhere between California and Germany | 05/30/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
""At first sin is a stranger in the soul; then it becomes a guest; and when we are habituated to it, it becomes as if the master of the house." - Tolstoy.
Although not originating from the bible, the concept of deadly sins is almost as old as Christian doctrine itself. Theologians like 4th century Greek monk Evagrius of Pontus first compiled catalogues of deadly offenses against the divine order, which 6th century pope Gregory the Great consolidated into a list of seven sins, which in turn formed the basis of the works of medieval/renaissance writers like St. Thomas Aquinas ("Summa Theologiae"), Geoffrey Chaucer ("Canterbury Tales"), Christopher Marlowe ("Dr. Faustus"), Edmund Spenser ("The Faerie Queene") and Dante Alighieri ("Commedia Divina"/"Purgatorio"). And in times when the ability to read was a privilege rather than a basic skill, the depiction of sin in paintings wasn't far behind; particularly resulting from the 16th century's reformulation of church doctrine, the works of artists like Hieronymus Bosch and Pieter Bruegel the Elder brought the horrific results of humankind's penchant to indulge in vice back into general consciousness with surrealistic eloquence, reminding their viewers that no sin goes unseen (Bosch, "The Seven Deadly Sins") and that its commission leads straight into a hell reigned by gruesome, grotesque demons and devils whose sole purpose is to torture those fallen into their hands (Bosch, "The Hay-Wagon" and "The Last Judgment;" Bruegel, "The Triumph of Death" and "The Tower of Babel").
More recently, the seven deadly sins have been the subject of Stephen Sondheim's play "Getting Away With Murder" and a ballet by George Balanchine ("Seven Deadly Sins"); and on the silver screen the topic has been addressed almost since the beginning of filmmaking (Cabiria , Intolerance ). Thus, "Se7en" builds on a solid tradition both in its own domain and in other art forms, topically as well as in its approach, denouncing society's apathy towards vice and crime. Yet - and although expressly referencing the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas, Chaucer and Dante - David Fincher's movie eschews well-trodden paths and grabs the viewer's attention from the beginning; and it does so not merely by the depiction of serial killer John Doe's (Kevin Spacey's) crimes, which could easily degenerate into a mindless bloodfest that would defeat the movie's purpose. (Not that there isn't a fair share of blood and gore on display; both visually and in the characters' dialogue regarding those details not actually shown; but Fincher uses the crimes' gruesome nature to create a sense of stark realism, rather than for shock value alone.) In addition, Doe's mindset is painstakingly presented by the opening credits' jumpy nature, his "lair"'s apocalyptic makeup and his notebooks, all of which were actually written out (at considerable expense), and whose compilation is shown underlying the credits. The movie's atmosphere of unrelenting doom is further underscored by a color scheme dominated by brown, gray and only subdued hues of other colors, and by the fact that almost every outdoors scene is set in rain. Moreover, although screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker explains on the DVD that the story was inspired by his observations in New York (and the movie was shot partly there, partly in L.A.), it is set in a faceless, nameless city, thus emphasizing that its concern isn't a specific location but society generally.
Central to the movie is the contrast between world-weary Detective Somerset (Morgan Freeman) who, while decrying the rampant occurrence of violence in society, for much of the movie seems to have resigned himself to his inability to do something meaningful about this (and therefore seems to accept apathy for himself, too, until his reluctant final turnaround), and younger Detective Mills (Brad Pitt), who fought for a reassignment to this particular location, perhaps naively expecting his contributions to actually make a difference; only to become a pawn in Doe's scheme instead and thus show that, given the right trigger, nobody is beyond temptation. As such, Somerset and Mills are not merely another incarnation of the well-known old-cop-young-cop pairing. Rather, their characters' development over the course of the film forces each viewer to examine his/her own stance towards vice.
Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt perfectly portray the two detectives; while Freeman imbues his Will Somerset with a quiet dignity, professionalism and learning, muted by profound but not yet wholly irreversible resignation, Pitt's David Mills is a brash everyman from the suburbs with an undeniable streak of prejudice, a penchant for quick judgment and a thorough lack of sophistication, both personally and culturally. Notable are also the appearances of Gwyneth Paltrow (significantly Brad Pitt's real-life girlfriend at the time) as Mills's wife Tracy and ex-marine R. Lee Ermey as the police captain. Yet, from his very first appearance onwards, this is entirely Kevin Spacey's film. Reportedly, Brad Pitt especially fought hard for his casting; and it is indeed hard to imagine "Se7en" with anybody other than the guy who, that same year, also won an Oscar for portraying devilish Keyser Soze in "The Usual Suspects": No living actor has Spacey's ability to simultaneously express spine-chilling villainy, laconic indifference and limitless superiority with merely a few gestures and vocal inflections.
While "Se7en" can certainly claim the "sledgehammer" effect on its viewers sought by its fictional killer, the punishment meted out to Doe's victims - taking their perceived sins to the extreme - pales in comparison to that awaiting sinners according to medieval teachings. (Inter alia, gluttons would thus be forced to eat vermin, toads and snakes, greed-mongers put in cauldrons of boiling oil and those guilty of lust smothered in fire and brimstone.) Most serial killers have decidedly more mundane motivations than Doe. And after all, this is only a movie.
"Sin ... engenders vice by repetition of the same acts, [clouding the conscience and corrupting the judgment.] Thus sin tends to reproduce ... and reinforce itself, but it cannot destroy the moral sense at its root." - Catechism of the Catholic Church (1994).
Also recommended: Getting Away With Murder Red Dragon (Widescreen Collector's Edition) The Silence of the Lambs (Two-Disc Collector's Edition) Cabiria Intolerance The Divine Comedy (The Inferno, The Purgatorio, and The Paradiso) The Canterbury Tales (Penguin Classics) Aquinas: Selected Writings (Penguin Classics) Bosch : C. 1450 1516 Between Heaven and Hell (Basic Series : Art)"
"SE7EN" Reasons to buy this DVD...
Frank | Philadelphia, Panama | 12/22/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I thought this movie was incredible the first time I saw it - I love films that DON'T end the way you expect them to, that don't follow the safe and true path, so if you don't already own the videotape or the original DVD release, that alone is a great reason to buy (or at least rent) this new DVD.We'll start off there...1. It's simply a great movie. A modern classic. The screenplay is just brilliant. The characters are developed and complex. Screenwriter Walker hit upon a great idea and ran with it. (And I am bitterly jealous.) Even if New Line were able to get away with making it into just another cheesy cop flick, the idea would have been intriguing. Walker went the extra mile, though, and pushed himself to try new twists and turns. Kudos to him and directory David Fincher, Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman and everyone else who pushed to keep the plot's integrity. The acting is superbe, Gweneth Paltrow is a true angel and Kevin Spacey (yes, lovably average-looking Kevin Spacey from "American Beauty") just resonates with evil.2. It's not just my assumption that New Line tried to "emsculate" (my word) the "SE7EN" script; it's on the record now with the "Stars" commentary track. It's never been easy to get a movie made when it cuts against the grain (just ask Terry Gilliam). Studio suits are notorious whimps when it comes to trying out new stuff, as Fincher, Pitt and Freeman attest to. Though the suits may not think so, I think the director and actors are being nice - they don't name so many names. But they do talk about the battle with the studio to keep the picture from being watered down and turned into just another blasé film version of a TV cop show. Plus you get to feel like one of their buds as they talk fairly candidly about what was going on during production, their thoughts and feelings about the story, etc. It is particularly interesting to list to Morgan Freeman analyse his character's psyche and hear how he came to certain acting choices - a gem for other actors. The "Stars" audio track is often quite funny, too, as with Fincher and Pitt's observations about how the dead GLUTTONY guy was "enhanced" (again my word) to recompense the actor for having enduring hours of make-up and playing a stiff.3. Speaking of commentaries, the "Sound" commentary track with Fincher, Author Richard Dyer, composer Howard Shore and sound designer Ren Klyce is an enlightening treat, one I've never experienced before (though I don't own every DVD out there). They explain the complex process of applying the different continuous sounds of the city and music in a digestible fashion. It'a fascinating, too, to watch the movie with the background noise brought to the fore and the dialogue and up-front sound effects cut out. Very surreal.And tying into that...4. The sound has been remixed for the home theater, and it will blow you away. There's background noise everywhere, just like in a real city. It's crisp, it's clear, it's there in your face (or rather your ear, if you prefer). Why, their creation is alive! It's aliiiiive!5. The "Story" commentary track with Fincher, Dyer, screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker, editor Richard Francis-Bruce and New Line production president Michael De Luca breaks the story down piece by piece. This track alone should be a film school student's dream come true; it dissects the movie nearly scene by scene. Wannabe screenwriters and movie directors should listen to this track over and over again.6. The picture quality on this new DVD cannot be overstated. It has been transferred from the original negative and it is simply sumptuous. It's not a post card, mind you, and it's not meant to be, but it no longer has that "ER" faded feeling to it, either. For example, the all important color RED really JUMPS OUT out at you from the darkness now, adding to the creepiness of the moment. When something is supposed to be disgusting, again like the dead GLUTTONY guy, it is. It's just so real and vivid, like you're there in the moment. It's unlikely that many movies will ever get the loving treatment "SE7EN" has received for this new DVD release, and it's a shame. This makes those movies that have been rushed out onto DVD to make a quick buck (and there are plenty of them) look that much crappier. (Ever see "Splash" on DVD?) That's why people who love movies, and not greedy MBA schmucks, should run movie studios.7. Although I've watched the movie's original opening (I think they could have kept it in, but with the new vibrating title sequence), there's still a ton of stuff on the second supplemental DVD I haven't yet had time to explore. I have the "Fight Club" DVD, though, and even though that's a different studio (Fox), I am confident that David Fincher will not let me down, so my 7th reason for getting this DVD two-pack is all the fun exploring all the extra stuff, such as extended scenes, the fourth "Picture" commentary track, and veiwing the dead GLUTTONY guy frame by agonizing frame. (If that's your thing, Sicko.)This film may actually convince me to put off my mother's heart transplant so I can buy a DVD-ROM.(Shut up, Mom! No one lives forever! Geez.)"
Seven-A disturbing and entertaining DVD
Paul | Los Angeles, California USA | 01/04/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In 1995, Director David Fincher joined Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt in
the years most disgusting, tense and talked about films. Seven is a
look into a persons liking for gore and blood, all done through the
theme of the 7 deadly sins. Unlike Fight Club, another Fincher film,
Seven was made right before the DVD format was introduced. The
initial release of Seven on DVD was less then spectacular. The New
Line Platinum series is visually one of the most stunning releases to
come along in a while. Sonically, this release will surround you with
sound elements of such clarity and depth, it may seem too real at
times. The 2 disc package is similar to the Fight Club package. It
has two nicely designed discs in an attractive package. The menu
design on the discs are very impressive. What may seem confusing at
first becomes quickly understandable and easy to navigate throughout.
Disc 1 has the movie along with commentary by David Fincher, Morgan
Freeman and Brad Pitt. It also has commentary by the Screenwriter,
the Editor, a Professor of Film Studies and the new Line President of
Production. These commentaries are very insightful, informative and
entertaining to listen to. The scene selections are nice, shown with
still pictures and a title of each sequence. Disc 1 also has a simple
'color bars' setup. Picture quality of this movie is outstanding to
say the least, especially if you compare this release with the
previous DVD release. The original negative was used this time, and
the darkness of this film has never looked so incredibly clear.
Contrast and colors are beautiful...not too saturated for this type of
film, but quite stunning. Sharpness is well executed throughout the
film and I found it hard to see any grain or dirt on the picture.
This is obviously a first class transfer and the anamorphic widescreen
picture is superb. Sound quality is even more amazing. When you go
to your setup in the menu, you have a choice of English or French
subtitles. You also have a choice of stereo Surround Sound, Dolby EX
Surround Sound or DTS ES Surround Sound. Whatever type of system you
have, this film shines. If you have a surround system with a great
subwoofer, you will not believe your ears. This film has been rebuilt
from the ground up and remixed for DVD. Effects elements and
atmospheric sound effects will simply blow your mind. Dialogue is
clean and clear. The sound department responsible for this soundtrack
should be applauded. They did a superb job. Disc 2 has a bunch of
extras that will keep you busy for quite a while. The first extra on
the disc is an "exploration of the opening title sequence."
You get to choose from different angles and different audio options
while watching this sequence. You can watch an early storyboard
drawing of the title sequence, a rough version of the opening and the
final version of the opening title sequence. You can choose from a
surround mix, a Dolby EX mix that was made just for this DVD, or a
high quality 24bit/96Khz stereo mix. It's amazing how many options
you get to pick from just to watch something about the opening title
sequence! You can also listen to commentary by designer Kyle Cooper
or the Sound Engineers Brent Biles and Robert Margouleff. Wow! The
next pick on Disc 2 is where you get to see "Deleted Scenes"
and "Extended Takes" from the film, all with or without
David Finchers commentary. There are seven scenes to choose from and
are all fascinating to watch while listening to the commentary. The
next pick on Disc 2 are the "Alternate Endings." You have
your choice of the original "test" ending with or without
David Finchers commentary. You also can look at an animated
storyboard of an unshot ending. This was done really well and both
offer subtle differences and insight into the ending that is in the
film. Next, you can look at a bunch of Production Design stills with
commentary. This was also done very well, considering how amazing the
Production Design really is for this film. You next have choices of a
bunch of other still photographs from the film, including John Doe's
photographs, Victor's decomposition, police crime scene photographs
and production photographs. These come all with commentary, and this
is the first disc where I actually enjoyed still photos on a
DVD....very well done. Another choice you have on Disc 2 is called
'The Notebooks." This is a very informative sequence of stills
with commentary on how those infamous notebooks were created. When
you choose "Promotional Materials," you can watch the
theatrical EPK or the movie trailer. As with most DVD's, you can
choose "Filmographies" where you can see the resume's of all
the actors and many crew members. Finally, for all you technical
people out there, you can choose "Mastering for the Home
Theatre." This is a fantastic look into the film to video
transfer of Seven, as well as the color correcting, telecine, audio
mastering and mixing of Seven for the theatre as well as the remixing
for the DVD. All are played with scenes from the film comparing the
last release and this release of Seven. The commentary is both
educational and entertaining to listen to. In conclusion, Seven is a
must have DVD. Picture quality is outstanding. Audio quality is
fantastic, and the extras are wonderful. If you loved Seven in the
movies, or want to replace your old DVD release with this one, buy
Seven and prepare yourself for 2 hours of amazement. If you are a
lover of crime thrillers then get this disc. If you enjoy Morgan
Freeman, Brad Pitt or David Fincher then get this disc. It would be a
sin NOT to get this DVD! Enjoy!