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Monday, June 23, 2008

PRIDE 34 and SHOCKWAVE 2006 DVD Reviews

Pride 34 and Shockwave 2006 Review

We take a look at some of the latest PRIDE FC releases by BCI. These are notable for the fact these are the first released by Zuffa, owners of the UFC, since the transfer of PRIDE from Dream Stage Entertainment to Zuffa. Fans have been worried that the DVD releases would be stopped or otherwise damaged because of a lack of interest by Zuffa. This early test indicates that the answer will be no.

Video: Both events are presented in 1:78:1 anamorphic widescreen. This is interesting because of the fact that PRIDE never released any of these events in Widescreen. However, as some will know often certain fights appeared in Widescreen on the Japanese Region 2 release of PRIDE DVDs. It seems Zuffa is simply using a widescreen master that Dream Stage had, but only used for certain fights. To the best of my knowledge none of the fights look cropped at all and in a more telling way, US announcer footage (produced by PRIDE USA) are in regular full screen (and presented the way ESPN does with certain non-widescreen ads or programs on its HD channel). The picture quality is great and it’s nice to see PRIDE events in Widescreen (and not cropped to achieve it).

Audio: The audio uses a standard stereo mix and sounds fine. It is important to note, as is somewhat obvious by the appearance of Kill The Messenger’s Music Supervisor credit, certain music has been replaced. The most notable example of this is the insane J-Pop song that played during the intro for Shockwave 2006 and replaced with a generic angry nu-metal sound. It’s a shame, but DSE routinely cut intros for rights reasons, and the costs to license the song and others may not have been in Zuffa budget for the DVD release (Zuffa does this with their own UFC releases). Still the fights sound great, so fans should still enjoy the contests themselves.

Extras: Each disc contains certain extra fights. PRIDE 34 has the only in the Japan match up of Butterbean vs Zulu’s son. It’s a shame the Japanese TV version couldn’t appear on the disc as the promotion of the Super Heavy-Weight Grand Prix is pretty funny. Essentially all fights that occurred at each event should be on the discs. There is a lot of editing on the PRIDE 34 DVD as the main feature is less than 90 minutes. The fights are uncut, but a lot of the closing events and waiting for the fight setup has been cut (PRIDE 34 was a long event live).

Overall: If you are looking for low-priced ways to view some of the last events PRIDE put on these DVDs are a great way besides importing the expensive Japanese DVDs. While some of the production end decision Zuffa made, but all the fights are present and they picture and audio quality are good. So I would recommend picking these DVDs up if you’re a fan of PRIDE events.


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