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Reviewed January 18th, 2002 by Dan Jones


”Do you know why you're afraid when you're alone? I do. I do.”

Created for a measly fifty-five million dollars (believe it or not, that isn’t very much for a film), and grossing near three-hundred million dollars in the United States alone, The Sixth Sense was the summer/fall blockbuster to beat back in 1999. I have to expect that most of our readers here at the DVD Cyber Center are well aware of the huge twist at the ending of the film; if not, then I have to ask, where have you been? Nevertheless, to save those half-percent of you out there I will not reveal the climax of the film, just give the gist and head towards the DVD itself.

Produced by the now very successful director, M. Night Shyamalan, whom created Unbreakable a year later, The Sixth Sense is a psychological thriller slash ghost story that definitely hits on most levels. The film starts with Bruce Willis’s character, Dr. Malcom Crowe celebrating his achievements as a child psychologist, sharing a bottle of wine with his wife. During this time, a crash is heard from a distant room, Malcom of course goes to investigate, eventually finding one of his prior patients, Vincent Gray, near naked and heavily traumatized in Crowe’s bathroom. This of course, does not go well.

Flash forward and we meet the young character of the film, Cole Sear played by Haley Joel Osment. Crowe takes this new patient on as he reminds him a lot of the boy he could not save, Vincent. From here on out we get Crowe’s attempts to help this boy deal with his problems… and as we all know I’m sure, Cole “sees dead people.”

The rest of the cast is pretty underwhelming status wise, yet all put in very solid performances as their respected characters; most notably Toni Collette as Cole’s mother Lynn and Olivia Williams as Malcom’s wife Anna.

To go off on a tangent... it might just be my imagination, as I know many films have twists for endings that the audience might not have seen coming. Yet, it seems that after the success of The Sixth Sense, a movie that succeeded on such large levels due to what I believe was strong word of mouth on the ending, that it spawned more and more movies with twist endings… most not achieving the quality of The Sixth Sense’s climax. On the other hand, I might just be imagining things. Tangent over.

DVD wise, this is again one of those famous DVD re-releases that we have all come to know and love… or loath depending on how much you like spending your own money (personally, I’m part of the latter group). Originally released in late March of 2000, the first Sixth Sense DVD was no slouch. There was a very nice deal of extras, including a number of interviews and deleted scenes; yet, the presentation was definitely not up to par considering how much money this film grossed in the box office. Compression problems were overly noticeable throughout, and overall, you just knew they could do better. With this new Vista Series release, they have done just that.

Presented in a quasi-new 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer, the major difference between this release and the prior release is that Buena Vista kindly placed extras on the supplement disc, allowing for less video compression for the film, therefore clearing up the aforementioned annoying compression problems found in the first release. For the most part, this transfer is not leaps and bounds above the first, displaying about the same amount of grain and color quality as the original, yet the allocation of more video bandwidth gives for a more detailed, film-like, natural presentation.

For audio, Buena Vista has added in a new 5.1 DTS track to accompany the existing 5.1 Dolby Digital track. There is little difference between these tracks, mostly because The Sixth Sense is a fairly subdued film having very few loud scenes to really amplify differences between either 5.1 tracks. Yet, the nod does go to the newer DTS track for supplying a more detailed sound; with slightly better ambient effects then its Dolby Digital counterpart. English subtitles and captions are also available.

As for extras, there are again not overly huge differences between this release and its ancestor. Starting it off we have a number of deleted scenes that I found quite intriguing to watch. Some of these provide a story we never knew even existed; a side story that was obviously cut for time due to its relative unimportance to the flow of the film.

Next, we have three featurettes on different aspects of the film (Reaching the Audience, Music & Sound Design, and Rules & Clues). These are basically interviews with the people behind these given aspects and are worth a watch.

Reflections From The Set gives a somewhat lengthy making of, running a little over forty-minutes in its entirety. This is another interesting watch, unlike some other making-of’s that can be overly promotional and somewhat useless in their existence. A little more promotional in nature, yet still very amusing, is Between Two Worlds, which gives us a look at a number of directors including Shyamalan and their take on films of this genre.

Rounding it out we get a storyboard featurette, cast and crew bios, TV spots, and the theatrical trailer.

Overall, The Sixth Sense is a very solid movie. It provided a movie that kept you in suspense, even if it did not need to throw things in your face; it also provided a storyline that kept you guessing until the end, only to conclude with you baffled, and requiring another viewing. For this alone, if you do not already have the original Sixth Sense release, this new Vista Series set is a must purchase; if you do have the original, then it’s a tough call. If the video transfer problems were not a problem for you, and you were happy with the Dolby Digital track, then there is very little need to pick this one up again. Of course, if you were unhappy with the last disc (presentation wise), you will be quite pleased with this one. Definitely recommended.


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