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Image's new DVD of SUPER INFRAMAN

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Jeffrey Nelson, Oct 8, 2006.

  1. Jeffrey Nelson

    Jeffrey Nelson Well-Known Member

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    I just picked up the long-awaited R1 DVD of one of the greatest cult films of all time. It's better than nothing, but it could have (and should have) been much better. What we're getting is a recycled slightly-faulty PAL-to-NTSC IVL/Celestial transfer, stretched out to NTSC speed, making it slightly-more-faulty, with slightly-more-artifacting, although the untrained eye of Joe Six Pack probably won't notice it. It's most noticeable during camera pans, so instead of a smooth pan, it's a bit herky-jerky. And watch closely during the closeups of revolving police lights and flaming miniature buildings...all in all, though, not nearly as bad as some botched PAL-to-NTSC transfers I've seen.

    The part that gets me is that the producers of this disc didn't let me know they needed to borrow my old Prism VHS, because it sure sounds a gazillion times better than the muffled, dropout-riddled disaster of an English soundtrack they slapped onto this DVD. It's listenable, but barely. Why, oh WHY don't these silly DVD producers put out an APB to the fans that they need better source materials? We would have been more than willing to help. I would have GIVEN them my Prism VHS, even paid for express overnight shipping, to get a better-sounding English dub on there. And here I thought they might actually have access to original materials for the Brenner version, and were actually going to put it on the DVD, complete with the classic opening credits we all know and love, with the words appearing and changing in time with the audio effects (NOT the rejiggered Power Rangers-ish video-freeze-frame credits of the Goodtimes Video abomination), instead of just slapping on what sounds like the audio from a defective copy of the above parenthetically mentioned Extended Play Goodtimes Video abomination, and looping Infra-Man's flipping-through-the-air foley effects during the extended transformation bits that were cut from the Brenner version...silly me. They didn't even have access to original materials for the Hong Kong edit, and had to use IVL's already-compromised master. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr...

    Some may say that, so what if the English dub sounds lousy -- it should be used for reference only, and that what really matters is that the original Mandarin is present and correct. To them I would say, nuts to you, the English dub is an absolutely indispensable part of this film's charm. Those English-only-speakers who fell in love with it, fell in love with this version. The Mandarin version, while nice to have, just isn't the same.

    A minor quibble would be that instead of the original theatrical trailer, only the redone Celestial trailer, which ironically looks markedly better on this DVD than the actual film. And it's stuck in the middle of a bunch of other Shaw trailers, instead of being able to access it directly.

    The liner notes booklet is nice, both informative and entertaining, though I'm a bit puzzled that the craptacular Goodtimes VHS release is the only one noted therein, with no mention of the less craptacular Prism release, which was the only way to see it for years. I'm even more puzzled that no mention is made of the crackerjack team behind the priceless English dub, Peter Fernandez' Titra Studios, the same team who dubbed Ultraman, Speed Racer, Marine Boy, and countless other fan favorites.

    More puzzling still is the conspicuous absence of any interviews with any of the Titra team...three DVD "Special Editions" of three of their finest hours, SPEED RACER, ULTRAMAN, and INFRA-MAN, and still no subject-specific newly-done interviews with them (the horrendously-shot bit included with the ULTRAMAN set doesn't qualify). Yet another opportunity lost.

    I was hoping I could unload my import DVD as well as my Prism VHS, but not this time around, it seems. The definitive home video release of SUPER INFRAMAN/INFRA-MAN: THE MAN BEYOND BIONICS, unfortunately, still eludes us.
     
  2. Mark Cappelletty

    Mark Cappelletty Well-Known Member

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    Thank for the heads-up Jeffrey. The review at DVD Drive-In was much more complimentary. This is disappointing, particularly for Image.
     
  3. George Reis

    George Reis Well-Known Member

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    I did mention the slight jerkiness in some pans and the subpar English track. I still think the disc is highly enjoyable despite them. Maybe rent it and judge for yourself.
     
  4. Jeffrey Nelson

    Jeffrey Nelson Well-Known Member

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    The thing is, George, that this disc could have been absolutely stupendous. It isn't. A waste of potential, and extremely disappointing. I agree to a point, it is still enjoyable, but it's not half as enjoyable as it could have been. At least it looks better (and the dub sounds marginally better) than the disastrous ULTRAMAN release.
     
  5. Matthew Brown

    Matthew Brown Well-Known Member

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    Image's Black Magic was mastered incorrectly and they will be issuing replacement dvd's so it's possible this one was also problematic.

    Matt
     
  6. Jay Gregory

    Jay Gregory Well-Known Member

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    Really? I have not read that elsewhere.
     
  7. Jeffrey Nelson

    Jeffrey Nelson Well-Known Member

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    This DVD looks even worse on an HDTV. Motion-blurring and artifacting galore, and zero fine detail. This poor film SERIOUSLY needs a proper release with a listenable version of the English dub. I'm still willing to give my Prism VHS tape to any DVD/Blu-ray producers who take this on. Standing offer.
     
  8. Vic Pardo

    Vic Pardo Well-Known Member

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    At least now I know not to get rid of my Prism VHS copy. :D

    (And, yes, I do have the Celestial R3 DVD also.)
     
  9. Mark Edward Heuck

    Mark Edward Heuck Well-Known Member

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    I know of enough prints in private hands that if a sensible DVD company wanted to do this right, they could get the optical tracks directly rather than sourcing from tape.
     
  10. Jeffrey Nelson

    Jeffrey Nelson Well-Known Member

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    That would be fantastic! Actually, what really needs to happen is a release (ideally Blu-ray) which also includes the complete American version of the film. Perhaps one or more of those prints is in good enough shape to source the whole thing.
     
  11. Mike*HTF

    Mike*HTF Well-Known Member

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    There is a blu-ray release in Japan.
     
  12. Jeffrey Nelson

    Jeffrey Nelson Well-Known Member

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    Yes, but it's not English-friendly. No dub or subs.
     
  13. Radioman970

    Radioman970 Well-Known Member

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    I have tape and DVD. I quite liked the DVD... I don't remember thinking it looked worse than expected. But I'd sure upgrade yet again if presented with a shiny blu to buy. Bring it on!
     

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