DVD Review Rescuers DVD Review (amature HTF member) Highly Recommended!

Discussion in 'DVD' started by DaViD Boulet, Jun 3, 2003.

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  1. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    Since Ron isn't reviewing right now and I don't see any other review linked I figured I start a thread with my own review of this title. Hope it's ok. Also, please feel free to post your own reviews of this title in this thread too...I have no problems with that at all. In fact, I'd love to see some other people's review-impressions.

    My equipment:

    Audio: B&K AVR 202 reciever, Rocket 750s (speakers)
    Video: ProScan 34" 16x9 direct-view, Panny RP91

    Previous Versions to compare: CAV 2-disc Laserdisc edition

    Story:

    Not going to bother typing since most of you have all seen the movie. If you haven't, rest assured it's a touching story that is well up there with many of the modern disney classics and should elicit a tear or two at some point during the film. Definitely dated to the 1970's in style, but timeless in its enjoyement.

    Audio:

    Appears to offer 5.1 according the box and my reciever. The former CAV LD was stereo surround. I was very impressed with the audio on this disc. In a rare event this is a case where the DVD audio far exceeds the sound-quality of the PCM stereo laserdisc. The Laserdisc sounded a bit muddy, but the DVD is much more intelligble, clear, and balanaced in presentation. The limitations of the source mix (both technical and mixing-style decisions) are the greatest weakness, but the sound is pleasing nevertheless. I noticed no real surround activity but I wasn't looking for it either. Also, this isn't one of those "fake" sounding 5.1 mixes like you hear in Snow White or some film that only had mono-source elements. It sounds like a real 5.1 mix created from stereo or multi-channel stems. Very natural and pleasing balance. Given the limits of the source material you'll be impressed with what Disney has done.

    The musical sequences (this is not a musical, but there are several touching songs that feature in the film during some sequences such as the albatross flight and in the swamp with Penny) are delivered well and again much better than they were on laserdisc.

    For those of you who've got copies of some of the songs on the Disney CD compilations, those CD versions sound much better than they do in the movie-mix. I sincerely hope Disney releases the soundtrack to this film on CD so we can get *all* of the songs presented properly in an audio-only fashion (particularly, I want "Come Along" in a good stereo mix). However, this is not uncommon with films from this vintage...same thing with Pete's Dragon...the CD-soundtrack mix delivers the music with much better fidelity than they have in the actual film.

    Objective Quality grade (demo-material grade):
    3 out of 5
    Quality grade given faithfulness to the source material:
    5 out of 5


    Video:

    Ahhh.

    I'll say it again.

    Ahhhhh.

    16x9 WS OAR and GEORGEOUS. I'm assuming this film had an OAR somewhere around 1.66:1 - 1.85:1. Disney has provided the entire 1.66:1 frame and properly 16x9 encoded it for maximum resolution. Traditional 4x3 users will notice no side-boxing due to overscan but well-calibrated displays or front-projection systems (or a computer screen) may show slight pillar-boxing.

    Colors are rendered perfectly. Vivid, rich, and sumptuous. Never any chroma-noise from oversaturation...just rich, vivid colors as they should be. Detail for this animation is exceptional, though the animation-style at times may deliver an overall-soft looking image. The textures from the pastel-chalk drawings during the opening credits are wonderful and it really looks like a "painting" on the screen. I'm sure those with large-screen HD rear/front projection systems will be equally impressed.

    No visible edge enhancement or ringing whatsover that I could detect (and I moved up close to look for it). Also no obvious MPEG artifacting or other film-digital noise that I could find. In terms of digitization of an analog image...this DVD is done right and looks like film (if only Beauty and the Beast looked like that!).

    Caveat: There is much inherent film-grain in this transfer. Bravo to Disney for not DNRing it away! It's part of the beauty of the art of this animation and provides you with an authentic facsimilie of how the movie really looks especially for those with projection. The grain never distracted me in any negative way, and despite its presence it never seemed to over-tax compression. A few various animation cell/photography film-related artifacts are visible form time to time but these are in the source material and are minimal and sporatic. Not a problem for HT enthusiasts who are trying to replicate film in their home-theaters and don't need every DVD to look like Toy Story or Monstors Inc to be happy.

    Well done Disney!!!

    Objective Quality grade (demo-material grade):
    4 out of 5
    Quality grade given faithfulness to the source material:
    5 out of 5


    Extras:

    No booklet insert is provided (a new Disney-trend to save money). If they give me 16x9 OAR I don't give 2 s**** whether there's a booklet with printed chapter stops or not. There is a fun documentary about "water birds" (1.33:1 OAR) which relates to the albatross theme and some other goodies to enjoy. Source material clearly is the limiting factor with the quality of this documentary and it appears to be taken from a composite-video master (I actually saw dot-crawl and things I'm only used to seeing via laserdisc/TV). But a fun short and thanks to Disney for including it here for us fans. All in all the extras don't represent the world's most elaborate SE material but something fun, worth having, and definitely provides a resonable proportion to enjoy for a title of this status. If others care to elaborate more on the extras please do so (I'm not an extras nut so I don't pay too much attention generally).

    Conclusion:
    If you're a Disney-DVD collection completist or you love this film...by all means acquire it ASAP. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!

    -dave [​IMG]

    p.s. As a note of interest, many of the animators from this film went on to form their own company later and ultimately animated the Secret of NIHM (which MGM refuses to release OAR 16x9 WS). If you're familiar with the animation of S of NIHM, you'll notice some clear similarities in the drawings between the mice in these two films...particularly the movements and gestures that the animators create.
     
  2. James Reader

    James Reader Screenwriter

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    Does the R1 version have any print damage? The R2 release has lots of dirt and scratchs on the transfer. (Grain doesn't bother me, but worn prints do)
     
  3. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    To my eyes, there was a bit of minimal print-damage from time to time but it never lept out at me in any distracting way. I think what some folks may also first assume is print damage in this film may be more an issue of the optical-effects used during some of the animation sequences...you can see objects occasionally "jump" or remain stationary or jerky during a slow pan or zoom in, and you can also see occasional dirt or smears that persist for several frames...not a fault of compression nor print damage...but probably something that was photographed into the final film elements during the composite-animation process.

    I'd love for someone to do a detailed R2/R1 comparison for the rest of us. Any volunteers?

    dave [​IMG]
     
  4. Randy B A

    Randy B A Supporting Actor

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    Thanks for the review Dave. I am still waiting for mine to ship. I ordered through the Disney Video club along with 20,000 leagues and the lov bug.
     
  5. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Producer

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    I would be more familiar with the art of The Secret of NIMH if some dunderheaded studio hadn't released it in P&S only. Thus, I do not, and will not, own it.
     
  6. Tim Glover

    Tim Glover Lead Actor

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    Nice review Dave. Looking forward to owning this. [​IMG]
     
  7. BBbrowd

    BBbrowd Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for your review of "The Rescuers", David. Well done. I really love this film, and will have to get the DVD very soon.

    Just thinking about the film brings a tear to my eye. I first saw it when it was released in theaters. I was 10 years old. I enjoyed it, but it was a little depressing as well. Even though it's one of my favorites, it still makes me feel quite sad through much of it. Perhaps it has to do with the empathy I feel for the little girl. Some of those scenes just break my heart. And there is the wonderful music. It has such a beautiful bittersweet quality to the songs and score. So haunting. Then there is the dark, rainy look to the film. Very effective.

    What a cast, too. Geraldine Page is brilliant as always. Funny and definitely unnerving at the same time. Bob Newhart and Eva Gabor are so great.

    I guess I did not even realize how much I really love this movie until I got to thinking about it again. I did not care for "Rescuers Down Under", but then, it was a different kind of film.

    I too, like many of you, have not found the Rescuers DVD in stores. It's a shame that the DVD is not being distributed and promoted well. It certainly deserves it.
     
  8. Rob T

    Rob T Screenwriter

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    Thanks for the review!
    Now I just got to find it and The Love Bug. I'll try again next week. [​IMG]
     
  9. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
    Reviewer

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    Stylistically, the Rescuers is one of the least "clean" looking Disney animated films. The underlying pencil work is pretty obvious and variable density due to different layers of cels is pretty obvious as well. Given that this is what the film looks like, the DVD is a good representation, but will look a lot different than what one might expect if you are more familiar with much older or much newer Disney animated films. As David indicated, it definitely does have the "Don Bluth look" to it.

    Regards,
     
  10. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    Good points Ken. Exactly.
     

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