WarGames: The Dead Code appears in both an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 and in a fullscreen version on this double-sided, single-layered DVD; the widescreen image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Only the letterboxed picture was reviewed for this article. Despite the limited bits available for the film, the transfer usually looked good.
Compression did create a few concerns, though. Some artifacts occasionally appeared, and I thought wide shots could become a bit soft. Those instances occurred infrequently, however, as the majority of the movie displayed good clarity and delineation. No problems with jagged edges or shimmering cropped up, and only light edge enhancement marred the presentation. In addition, no source flaws caused distractions in this clean transfer.
Colors varied dependent on the desired palette. The movie went with pretty natural tones early in the story, but these became more desaturated as the tale progressed and became more serious; it tended toward a chilly blue tint for those segments. The hues seemed well-rendered within the stylistic choices and showed nice reproduction. Blacks were dark and dense, while shadows looked smooth and clear. The light artifacts and softness dropped this to a ďBĒ transfer, but it usually satisfied.
I also found a lot to like from the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Dead Code. The thriller/high-tech sides of things allowed the mix to shine in a number of ways. Various action scenes used the spectrum in a lively way, and some computer bits also brought out vivid material from the rears to put us ďinsideĒ RIPLEY. Music showed good stereo imaging, and the whole thing blended together in an involving manner.
Audio quality also pleased. Speech came across as concise and natural, without edginess or other problems. Music was lively and full, while effects appeared accurate and dynamic. Bass response consistently came across as deep and rich. Not much about the soundtrack dazzled, but it was plenty good enough for a ďB+Ē.
A few extras round out the set. We find an audio commentary from director Stuart Gillard and actor Matt Lanter, both of whom sit together for a running, screen-specific chat. They discuss cast and performances, sets and locations, stunts and effects, story issues and challenges connected to making a sequel.
Occasionally we learn decent nuggets about Dead Code, but donít expect much. Instead, we find a rather dull, banal conversation. A lot of dead air appears, and the remarks veer in the direction of bland praise much of the time. I couldnít find much of value in this largely uninformative piece.
The Making of Wargames: The Dead Code runs 14 minutes, 46 seconds as it mixes movie clips, shots from the set, and interviews. We hear from Gillard, Lanter, executive producer Hudson Hickman, screenwriter Randall Badat, director of photography Bruce Chun, visual effects supervisor Mario Rachiele, visual effects artist Alain Omer Duranceau, and actors Amanda Walsh and Colm Feore. The program looks at the story/script and creating a sequel to the 1983 film, cast, characters and performances, cinematography, and visual effects.
Donít expect much depth here. Like the commentary, the featurette maintains a fluffy tone and fails to deliver much concrete info. The notes about effects are pretty good, but most of the remaining footage sticks with promotional happy talk.
Next we get a Production Stills Gallery. It presents 25 shots from the set and from publicity sessions. None of them seem particularly interesting.
Some ads open the disc. We get promos for Stargate: The Ark of Truth, Stargate: Continuum and Behind Enemy Lines: Colombia. The DVD also provides a Trailers domain with ads for The Onion Movie and In the Name of the King.
It took 25 years for us to get a sequel to WarGames and I expect itíll be another quarter of a century before we find another one. Thatís because itíll take a long time to erase the taint of this stinker. The movie proves idiotic, illogical and without a shred of entertainment value. The DVD offers pretty good picture and audio as well as a few minor supplements. Although I have no significant complaints about the DVD, the movie itself is far too poor for me to recommend it.