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Posted by Moochie on August 20, 1999 at 11:02:01:

Most of Disney's Laserdiscs have been pretty good--especially their early releases "Alice in Wonderland," "Snow White," "Pinocchio," and "Cinderella." I'm a big fan of Disney animation and have to say that some of their more recent LD releases have been less than OK. Primarily "Bambi" and "Lady and the Tramp." "Peter Pan" and "101 Dalmations" have their share of problems (primarily, they're too "bright" overall), but are generally OK. Now that Disney is about to release their animated features on DVD, I have a few suggestions. "Bambi" The BIG problem with the"Bambi" LD has to do with the image. The sound is great throughout--but the image has been decimated. To start with, when the camera is not moving, the backgrounds have been digitally "frozen" so that when a character moves across it, there is film grain ONLY on the moving elements--and not the background. The juxtaposition of the no-grain background and the (nicely) grained characters just doesn't cut it. When the camera DOES move, there is film grain EVERYwhere--and it's starting to look OK. Except the color timing throughout the film is terrible and way off the mark. The film is "impressionistic" in tone and design. Like film noir, it's not so much what you see, but what you feel. The things you DON'T see can be just as important as those you do. Overall the film is too bright, so that the darker elements of the film that have been made too light make the overall image fall flat--rather than impress upon the viewer any depth. Also, there were very subtle overall color shifts designed into the film which have been evened out. so that most no longer have little or no impact to the emotional content of the story at ALL. Very sad. There were also a couple of "corrections" made to the film--corrections that weren't needed and are quite bad (mostly involving some video technician trying to be more creative than he should be! ) such as actually ANIMATING characters onto and off the screen. Originally the characters popped on and off at the head and tail of a few scenes. These were minor mistakes made in 1940, and while I'm sure the artists wish they could've corrected them--it's a shame that if corrections were going to be made now that they were done so poorly. I'm not speaking from total ignorance here. I've seen a great deal of the original artwork for "Bambi" and have talked with many knowledgable friends in the business and the concensus is that what was done to the image of "Bambi" is shameful. "Lady and the Tramp" The widescreen and the non-widescreen film versions available on LD are seperate prints. Disney made the film twice (two negatives), once in 2:35 and once in 1:33. The non-letterbox version is NOT pan and scan!. Much of the artwork was completely re-formatted and reshot!! Lady actually has a slightly different design in few shots of the 1:33 version.The image on both prints is impeccable. I was worried about this film after "Bambi" and was relieved to see them do such a great job. BUT THE SOUND IS TERRIBLE. So much for THX. The music track is so loud you can hardly hear the opening chorus, and dialogue in several parts of the film. There are a few lines of dialogue that have been entirely eliminated. These elements DO exist--this film has been released on LD before. Please take another look at these films and if you agree (or if you even care)--I'd love to know what you think. I've written letters to Disney Home Video, and THX (THX is not only about sound, but picture!!) about these issues regarding the LD's when they were first issued, but have recieved little response. I also know that the film prints approved at the Disney studio were great--and that most of this happened in the "post" process. These films are gems--classics in every sense of the word. They deserve better treatment, and the public deserves better quality. On DVD these screw-ups will probably only be more noticable. AND THESE PROBLEMS ARE NOT DIFFICULT TO RESOLVE!!!! Please sound the alarm!!! A Couple of other things. The following films aren't yet on DVD. PUT the CIGARETTE BACK into "Pecos Bill ("Melody Time")" It's a great scene and fun to watch. Mind you, in the next sequence, "Blame It On The Samba," Jose Carioca smokes a Cigar througout, and he and Donald Duck go swimming in a MARTINI!!!! What's wrong with THAT? Nothing. Release the '40's Disney animated features "Education for Death" and "Victory Thru Air Power" onto DVD. I also hope they release DELUXE DVD's. Check out the Box Sets of "Alice in Wonderland" "Cinderella" and "Toy Story" if you want to see what GREAT work Disney Home Video CAN do!!

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