Saga Of A Smuggling Wanker VII: I HAVE YOU NOW
This is the long awaited (at least by me) final chapter in the Malaysian Espionage story. My return from Pennsylvania this Sunday was met with the vaguely labeled international package from my friend "Tran". This customs-evading parcel was the one that managed to deliver my DVD order of The Matrix: Reloaded and X2: X-Men United safely into my allegedly law-abiding clutches. I've already watched both movies, so let's break down what you get, using a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being best or legitimate DVD quality):
    Picture Quality: 7. What it's all about. Can be accurately compared to watching a bad science-fiction movie from the 70's - colors muted, somewhat darker than it should be, filtered, a few jumps here and there, but overall clear. Like watching an old rental copy of The Black Hole.

    Sound: 7. Second most important feature. I was surprised to see the THX sound intro before the film. A slight bit of white noise in the background, but not enough to be distracting. And hey, it's surround sound so I can't complain.

    Packaging: 9. Professional grade, movie poster front, description, major crew, etc. Not essential, but definitely gives the appearance of legitimacy.

    Features: 1. Your basic "scene index" and "subtitles" (with Malaysian, of course). Difficult to get the directors to participate in commentary, although I think it would have been funny to have someone conglomerate a stilted fake from interviews. Oh well.

So, overall, I give it a 24. Is it clearly (or will be) inferior to a regular DVD? Of course. The real point of this exercise was to see if I could get a watchable version of a movie I won't be able to see or rent for 5 months, and that was successful. However, I'm afraid I'll have to wait to get the Star Wars original trilogy on DVD; while it would be nice to have, the picture quality wouldn't be as good as my old tapes, and thus I'll just wait on Lucas for those.

So, the moral of the story (for those of you who need one) is to do what you have to to get Reloaded because it rocks. Any customs officer will agree.

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