In my second round of Sony PSP UMD movie previews I am taking a look at two titles previously released by Buena Vista Home Entertainment with Kill Bill: Volume 1 and Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.
The one thing that is immediately noticeable, and a primary reason why I wanted to take a look at Buena Vista’s releases for the PSP, is the inclusion of special features on the Kill Bill release. Now these features aren’t exactly mind-blowing, and they are the same features you will find on the DVD version, but it is a simple matter of added value that makes this worth mentioning. Based on future UMD releases by Buena Vista it also seems to be the one studio that will continue to special features to their releases… more on that in a bit.
As for the video and sound quality of these two films they are excellent. Both films are presented in widescreen format as Pirates of the Caribbean uses up the entire screen with a standard 1.78:1 aspect ratio, while Kill Bill goes a bit wider as it is presented in its theatrical format of 2.35:1. Even though the Kill Bill presentation uses a smaller amount of the PSP screen it still looks great.
As I mentioned in my previous round-up the one noticeable issue with movies on the PSP is in relation to the action and how good it looks on the smaller screen, and with both of these features being action features it was a good chance to put this complaint to the test once again, and I am happy to say that both have no major issues. Yes, there are times where it does get a bit blurry and your eyes can’t follow the action on the small screen, but that is limited to about one or two seconds in a couple of the action sequences making it hardly an issue you should dwell on.
The audio for both features is fantastic, as long as you are using the supplied headphones. I have come to a realization that watching a movie on the PSP can only really be appreciated in a dimly lit area while using the headphones; they really bring out the most of the experience and are extremely clear. I have also noticed that the PSP’s speakers don’t seem to be nearly loud enough to enjoy a movie compared to games. Movie require a much louder soundtrack than a game and the only way to truly get that is through the use of the headphones.
On the bonus feature front, there aren’t any additional features for Pirates of the Caribbean, but Kill Bill comes with a 25-minute making-of featurette and a couple of music videos by The 5, 6, 7, 8’s, the band performing on stage just before the battle between The Bride and the Crazy 88s. Neither one of these are all that special, but it is a sign of things to come, plus if you are in a spot where you only have a few minutes to waste and a game is out of the question and you won’t be able to get a movie in, it doesn’t hurt to have the special features in your arsenal.
As for my impression of these two movies themselves, I love them both, I own the DVD versions of each film and can’t wait for Pirates of the Caribbean 2 and 3 and will be reviewing the UMD version of Kill Bill: Volume 2, which does contain the deleted scene involving David Carradine taking on Michael Jai White and his henchman. The scene is great and it is nice to know that it will continue to live on in additional formats.
As far as Buena Vista’s upcoming release slate of UMD movies there is plenty to look forward to, most noticeably the following, which will all have special features for you to check out: Hostage, Cursed: Unrated Edition, Gone in 60 Seconds and Tron.
For those of you that own the Sony PSP, I think it is important to consider your purchases as far as movies and games go considering how much they cost and Kill Bill and Pirates of the Caribbean are certainly two titles I can confidently recommend for your collection. Pirates is a load of fun and with Kill Bill you can just forward to your favorite action sequences if you haven’t got time to watch the whole thing as it is told in individual chapters, each of which can be watched independently if you must.
You can also stay up-to-date with all the upcoming UMD movie releases by checking in over at the RopeofSilicon DVD Central and also stay tuned this week as I will be previewing the first five UMDs coming from Lions Gate Video as they are releasing Open Water, Saw, Terminator 2, The Punisher and Van Wilder on June 24th.