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What is it about Disney and reviews that brings the slavering fanboys out of the woodwork? First I was attacked by “Jens” for my less than favourable review of the direct to video nightmare Mulan II, and again for a throwaway comment in my review of Bambi pertaining to the preview for its own shoddy-looking cheapquel. Now it’s happening again, this time because I’ve had the audacity to suggest that the transfer for the new Platinum Edition of The Little Mermaid is not as good as it could have been.

According to the poster by the name of “Dingbats”,

If you want to see reasoned comments from people who actually care about this movie you ought to go to www.ultimatedisney.com and ignore this biased reviewer who clearly hasn’t got a clue what he is talking about, and seems only able to make sounds from his rectum.

Well, it’s good to know that my reviews are so appreciated. You know, when it comes to video-related matters, if people could just say “Well, I don’t see the problems you’re referring to,” it wouldn’t be half as bad, but the fact that some people actually feel the need to tell me I’m wrong and don’t know what I’m talking about really irks me. Do they think my eyesight is defective and adding artefacts that aren’t actually there? No, many of them are just too blindly loyal to Disney to believe that the studio could possibly be in the wrong. What’s even more annoying is the assertion that, because I criticised the transfer, I don’t “care about this movie”. If anything, the opposite is true: I’m voicing my concerns precisely because I think the film deserves better. Read the whole review, moron.

Luckily, people in the know like Home Theater Forum reviewer David Boulet and film restoration expert Robert A. Harris concur with my opinions, which is not particularly surprising to me, but is certainly nice, as it means I’m not the lone voice of dissent. By all means go and read the Ultimate Disney review if you want a sycophantic love letter to Disney written by someone who praised the likes of the grubby, non-anamorphic The Black Cauldron and Hercules releases. But, without getting too full of myself, I like to think that I’m offering a somewhat more objective service.

 
Posted: Friday, October 06, 2006 at 6:12 PM | Comments: 12
Categories: Animation | Cinema | DVD | Reviews | Technology

 
Comments

1.

Well, having yet to see most if not all of the so-called Renaissance Disney period, I could call myself a Classicist (I like Fantasia in particular).

Michael, considering the whole of animated Disney on DVD, what is the best so far in your opinion? What DVD one should begin its collection from? (10 million pounds question) Thanks :)

Posted by: MCP, October 6, 2006 9:12 PM

2.

I hadn't read the DVD Times review until now, because I'm not really a Disney enthusiast, but I'm not surprised by all the blinkered comments. It's like those endless arguments we used to have about standards conversions (which paid off in the end, because all the reviewers now take the trouble to point them out!).

If I remember correctly, Dingbats was one of the stars of the 140-comment Star Wars Episode III cinema review. He was one of the buffoons who got all upset when people dared to question the Godlike genius of G Lucas Esq. At times it seemed like he actually believes Yoda exists.

Posted by: Philly Q, October 6, 2006 10:39 PM

3.

MCP:

Of all the Disney DVDs released so far (not counting Pixar’s films), I’d stay that the best all round is Aladdin, which is a great, fun film, with plenty of bonus features and no real discernible problems with the sound or video. The 2-disc special edition of Lilo & Stitch is also excellent, although if you live in the UK, you should probably avoid it as it’s cut (the Australian release is uncut). The same goes for Mulan: very good 2-disc SE, but get the Australian version rather than the UK release, to avoid cuts.

After that it gets a little trickier. Many of the 2-disc SEs are perfectly reasonable (Pocahontas has no major problems, although I wouldn’t recommend it as I think it’s one of Disney’s weakest films), but a number of them have flaws. The Lion King is probably the biggest offender, since, while it has a very good transfer, several pieces of animation, in addition to the credits and Disney logo, have been modified for the DVD, and the extras, while numerous, are fairly superfluous. Atlantis: The Lost Empire, meanwhile, is not a brilliant film, but the 2-disc Collector’s Edition features probably the most comprehensive set of extras ever assembled for an animated feature.

The older films nowadays tend to be subjected to too much digital clean-up, which many people don’t have a problem with but I personally find distracting. The worst is Bambi, where you can actually see elements of the backgrounds freezing and literally swimming about because whoever did the noise reduction didn’t check carefully enough to notice the damage he/she was doing.

There are also a number of single-disc editions which feature perfectly good transfers but are lacking in terms of extras. By far the best-looking of these that I’ve seen is The Great Mouse Detective, although The Rescuers Down Under (not the greatest film, but reasonably fun in a throwaway sense) also has a very nice, untreated transfer.

Posted by: Whiggles, October 6, 2006 10:54 PM

4.

Phil:

One of the features sorely missing from DVD Times (and one that has been talked about behind the scenes but never implemented) is the ability to search for all posts from a particular user. Everytime someone like Dingbats starts spouting personal attacks, I always feel motivated to see if they’re a serial offender or just a one-off.

Posted by: Whiggles, October 6, 2006 10:56 PM

5.

Thanks Michael, very detailed answer! :)

Actually it's Italy my place, and here most of Platinums and other 2-disc editions are reduced to single-disc editions by BVI, causing horror and astonishment in loyal fans. Even Little Mermaid will get this treatment, sadly, so buying abroad is usually the road to go (not always, luckily: The Incredibles 2 disc set was, well, incredible, even if lacking some minor extra compared to USA NTSC).

Posted by: MCP, October 6, 2006 11:04 PM

6.

Aie, I've encountered these morons before. I've never under where the loyalty comes from; I mean I'm an Argento fan, but I can still tell when he's made grade A crap.

As you know, I don't always agree with your reviews (case in point being A Very Long Engagement). However I'm both sensible and courteous enough to realise that your viewpoint is valid, albeit one that I don't share.

In sum, ignore it. The intelligent will side with you, and the votes of the stupid aren't worth obtaining.

Posted by: Baron Scarpia, October 6, 2006 11:09 PM

7.

animation restoration always has its caveats.

IMHO, these reviewers are 'retarded'. They just aren't video-philes and I wouldn't be surprised if these 'reviewers' have very very troubling video calibration.

I also doubt many of them have seen the films in their theatrical presentation and can't tell a filtered image from a grainy but detailed one

Posted by: aw, October 7, 2006 6:39 AM

8.

MCP:

I’d forgotten you were in Italy - I know you told me before. As it happens, Italy was actually the first country to get the 2-disc Lilo & Stitch, and that’s the version I own. It doesn’t have an English DTS track, but everything else from the Australian release is present, and the whole thing is both English- and Italian-friendly.

Posted by: Whiggles, October 7, 2006 10:31 AM

9.

All right, Lilo is now written in my buying agenda - thanks again.

Posted by: MCP, October 7, 2006 3:10 PM

10.

(months later) I finally managed to get and watch L&S Italian 2-disc edition: quite a nice experience, really. Visually I found it nearly flawless, at least on my PC monitor. So tkanks again.

Posted by: MCP, June 23, 2007 10:07 PM

11.

Glad you enjoyed it. Have you had a chance to look at the extras yet? Along with Atlantis: The Lost Empire, it’s probably the most comprehensive set of bonus features put together for a Disney release.

Posted by: Whiggles, June 23, 2007 10:35 PM

12.

Yes, there's really plenty of it. Impressive how many of the deleted scenes were much more adult in content.

Posted by: MCP, June 24, 2007 12:04 PM

Comments on this entry and all entries up to and including June 30th 2009 have been closed. The discussion continues on the new Land of Whimsy blog:

https://www.landofwhimsy.com

 

 
 
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