Sunday night, the wife and I stayed up late to watch all 143 minutes of The Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl DVD (we’d planned to only sit through half of the movie). Distracting technical difficulties barred me from having a good time watching this Jerry Bruckheimer production based on a Disney theme park ride.
The Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl DVD is cursed by edge enhancement. A crunchy halo surrounds Jack Sparrow set against the Caribbean’s blue skies. Every jib, mast and rope on the Black Pearl lost their fine detail under the confusion of edge artifacts.
Edge enhancement or ringing is so distracting that I am tempted to pause the movie and double check all my sharpness settings on my Panasonic S97 DVD player and Sanyo PLV-Z3 projector. The projector must have its internal sharpening turned all the down to avoid any ringing. The DVD player introduces its own edge enhancement or ghosting at its upsampled 720p and 1080i resolutions, so I watch it at 480p.
Wife_o_Geek doesn’t notice the artifacts. She’s lucky. She can still get lost in the story onscreen.
I couldn’t enjoy the movie because in each shot I had to analyze the image, searching for exaggerated edges. (I rented the movie to enjoy it for the first time, though I saw it in theaters. The theater experience was ruined by a faulty soundtrack that would randomly lose or severely muffle its bass track. The DTS surround sound audio at home was impressive.)
All medium to long shots in the movie looked like they were encased in shrink wrap (actually Photoshop’s Plastic Wrap filter: edge artifacts plus posterized contrast). Pirates of the Caribbean contains many medium to long shots, all wrapped up in plastic. Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom resemble action figures in these shots.
I need to renew my online subscription to Widescreen Review. Using their extensive DVD review database I could check whether this disc was mastered with the ringing or my equipment introduced it (DVD File confirms the former). I’m always suspicious that my home theater is betraying me. In this case I’m blaming the video engineers.