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New Matilda SE DVD in Full Screen Only! (Sign the Petition)

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104 replies to this topic

#1 of 105 OFFLINE   Joshua Clinard

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Posted November 02 2003 - 06:43 AM

According to DVD Answers, the new Matilda SE DVD is set for a FULL SCREEN ONLY release. Come on Columbia Tristar! You have REALLY dropped the ball on this one. There is already a DVD of this movie for people who want their freakin screens filled. I have been refusing to buy this movie for 3 years, and I won't buy this new one if you don't release it in Widescreen! In fact, I won't be purchasing ANY of your titles, as this is my MOST wanted Columbia DVD. Please, sign the petition below, so that the home theater community can buy this movie!

I would like to thank Adam Lenhardt for starting the petition.


You can also call the studio, and write them, here:

Columbia TriStar Home Video
10202 W. Washington Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232-3195
E-mail: E-mail is not accepting mail.

#2 of 105 OFFLINE   Adam Lenhardt

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Posted November 02 2003 - 08:27 AM

As the creator of the petition from which you have linked, I'm utterly appauled that Columbia would go through the trouble of preparing another release and screw it up again. I'm going to add your link to my signature as well, and thank you for bringing this issue to everyone's attention!Posted Image

#3 of 105 OFFLINE   Julian Lalor

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Posted November 02 2003 - 08:42 AM

This is particularly bizarre, given that this film has been available on DVD in widescreen in R2/4 for years. If you look at the special features, they are obviously catering for a children's audience, which clearly implies that they assume children don't care what aspect ratio the film is in. Annie also appears to suffer the same fate in its new SE specs as well.

#4 of 105 OFFLINE   WillG



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Posted November 02 2003 - 09:03 AM

Sorry Joshua, seems like you've been having a tough week. So ridiculous! And it's always the studios that make these screw ups that don't have the stones to talk to this forum, so we'll never get an explanation
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#5 of 105 OFFLINE   Ray H

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Posted November 02 2003 - 09:21 AM

On the DVDAnswers link the menu screenshot is in widescreen. Pretty strange for a fullscreen-only release.
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#6 of 105 OFFLINE   LukeB



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Posted November 02 2003 - 10:22 AM

Columbia/TriStar has gotten to be sooo bad. How "special" is a Special Edition that lops off 45% of the picture?! Who is going to buy this - people who don't mind that the picture is lopped off as long as they can learn about the making of the film? Posted Image

#7 of 105 OFFLINE   Chris_Morris



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Posted November 02 2003 - 10:33 AM

Double post

#8 of 105 OFFLINE   Chris_Morris



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Posted November 02 2003 - 10:34 AM

Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image

Get with the program Columbia, you're starting to make Universal look like a top notch company.


#9 of 105 OFFLINE   BruceKimmel


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Posted November 02 2003 - 10:43 AM

Um, because ONE website has it listed this way, that makes it a FACT? And everyone treats it as so? It's not Columbia that needs to get with the program, I fear. Why don't you just wait and see or, and here's a novel idea, get an "official" statement from someone who actually knows something.

#10 of 105 OFFLINE   Jon Robertson

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Posted November 02 2003 - 12:25 PM

Whoa, Bruce, anyone would you think you'd hand-crafted the DVD yourself. And Columbia most certainly DO need to get with the programme - they've released some shockingly bad product recently when studios like Warner, Fox and Paramount are hitting all-time highs at all-time low prices. While it's not a film I'm exactly dying to add to my collection, I agree that Matilda deserves a good quality widescreen presentation. However, just as outrageous as the yet-again fullscreen presentation is the fact this is about the most piss-poor special edition re-release I think I've ever seen. Let's go through the features one at a time: A "Making Matilda" featurette - I'm guessing an EPK, but it could be OK. A read-along - When subtitles for the movie just aren't enough? Six interactive games - I have yet to see anything approaching a decent game on a DVD; six of them just rubs salt in the wound. "Go to the Library!" activity - What, on a DVD!? Unless it's simply a text-screen with that instruction, of course. A character gallery - What the hell's wrong with the film? Trailers - An encyclopaedic smorgasbord of cross-promotional junk, no doubt. This is an unimaginably pathetic offering from Columbia Tristar. Where's a commentary, or deleted scenes, or something of even vague value to anyone over 7? I'd complain about this in equal measure to aspect ratio gripes.

#11 of 105 OFFLINE   BruceKimmel


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Posted November 02 2003 - 12:42 PM

Whoa yourself there, Jon. No, I have not "hand-crafted" the DVD myself, but I am smart enough not to take the word of ONE internet website as gospel. I AM smart enough to wait for official word or, heaven forbid, to look at the DVD itself. Please name me some "piss-poor" Columbia releases of late. I have enjoyed The Swimmer, The Marrying Kind, Jolson Story, The Solid Gold Cadillac and quite a few others in the last few weeks. I'm about to watch Capra's Platinum Blonde. All nice transfers, with the ones that need to be anamorphic, done correctly. Not a "piss-poor" batch in the bunch. And I've read misinformation about Warner releases and Universal releases as well - people bitching in advance because someone on some ridiculous website got the specs wrong. The disc comes out, is what it should be, and funny, the offending website doesn't say "Oops, we were wrong" nor do the bitchers and moaners. That was and is and always will be my point.

#12 of 105 OFFLINE   GlennH



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Posted November 02 2003 - 12:44 PM

I really don't understand why Sony, the parent company of Columbia Tri-Star, doesn't insist on top-notch OAR transfers for every DVD, the better to show off all those 16:9 TVs they're trying to sell. Full-screen-only releases in the year 2004 makes absolutely no sense.

#13 of 105 OFFLINE   Joshua Clinard

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Posted November 02 2003 - 01:08 PM

I haven't taken anything as Gospel. I never said I was absolutely sure that it is going to released only in Pan & Scan, but given the fact that Columbia Tristar has botched some titles before, I wouldn't doubt it. I hope I am wrong though. The above expalains why I would rather start the petition now, rather than wait until confirmation, when it could be too late to have any effect.

#14 of 105 OFFLINE   Travis_W


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Posted November 02 2003 - 01:14 PM

I've been wanting to get this since I got a DVD player and I was definitely excited to hear about the Special Edition. No chance now. This film's even 2.35:1! Fullscreen isn't just a joke, it's butchering it!
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#15 of 105 OFFLINE   Jon Robertson

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Posted November 02 2003 - 02:36 PM

[quote] Please name me some "piss-poor" Columbia releases of late. [quote] The Apu Trilogy, The Awful Truth, You Can't Take It With You - all $30 barebones discs with bargain-bin transfers on each. Their full-frame only releases have been so innumerable, an entire thread was created for the sole purpose of listing them all.

I'll give them props for the good transfers afforded to The Swimmer, In Cold Blood and a couple of others I've picked up recently, but, on the whole, Columbia have some dire issues that need sorting out fast.

#16 of 105 OFFLINE   Jesse Skeen

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Posted November 02 2003 - 02:42 PM

Not to mention Last Action Hero, Excess Baggage and Johnny Mnemonic, which originally included both widescreen and pan and scan, but have been REISSUED with ONLY pan-and-scan this time! Something is definitely going on with this company.
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#17 of 105 OFFLINE   CherylWI


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Posted November 02 2003 - 03:19 PM

What is wrong with these studios? Are they trying to antagonize their paying customers?

#18 of 105 OFFLINE   BruceKimmel


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Posted November 02 2003 - 04:04 PM

Very illuminating list of twenty-four titles (you're missing Anatomy of a Murder). Yes, it is regrettable that those twenty-four titles were not done correctly, but what about the hundreds of other titles that were done correctly? They far outnumber the ones that weren't. Just about every studio has been guilty of doing some incorrect transfers, and one can hope that they will fix the ones that weren't done correctly. But these days it seems to be the exception rather than the rule, yes? Yes? Yes.

#19 of 105 OFFLINE   Nick Graham

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Posted November 02 2003 - 04:13 PM

DVD File just confirmed Matilda, and then they revealed this gem..... "Just in from Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment is their January 13th lineup of new and catalog releases. Getting the special edition treatment at last following a disappointing movie-only edition released two years ago is the 1982 musical flop Annie. This new reissue inculdes only a 4:3 full screen transfer (yes, really), Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 surround tracks....." They're doing this to Annie too!!! There is no excuse for this, these are not obscure titles with limited audiences. Ron has some contacts at Columbia...any chance we could get some kind of reason for this? I remember people from HTF who visited Columbia last year saying they seemed truly dedicated to ensuring the quality of their releases.....guess those folks are either unemployed or good liars. Bruce, I see where you are coming from, but if we give them an inch on fairly major releases like this, then the floodgates will open, and any family-skewed title will suffer. These are two titles I would have purchased as soon as they hit the shelves, too.

#20 of 105 OFFLINE   Bill Burns

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Posted November 02 2003 - 04:14 PM

Are you checking the blurbs on the backs of the boxes, Jesse? I haven't recently looked at the titles on a store shelf, as I already own the only one of interest to me in that bunch (Last Action Hero, fullscreen on one side and OAR 16x9 formatted on the other), but I hopped over to DVDEmpire to see what was available. They list the current disc of LAH as 1.33:1 on their info page, but if you get out a magnifying glass for their rather small back cover scan ...


... you'll find (unless my eyes are playing tricks on me) that it offers both full screen and widescreen options.

Excess Baggage is listed as widescreen only on the info page, but the back cover scan ...


... reveals that it, too, offers both fullscreen and widescreen options. I'll assume Johnny Mneumonic remains available in widescreen, as well. In the unlikely event the "standard" release is not, you can always pick up the Superbit, which should be not only widescreen, but spread out to a comfortable two layers.

If you're seeing fullscreen only on store shelves, double check, and then order on-line. These don't appear to be in short supply, and the website doesn't offer a fullscreen only version of either of the two linked above (again, I didn't check Johnny).

Matilda was shot in Super35 -- while its theatrical and proper ratio is 2.39:1, this means a fullscreen presentation may still be, for the most part, an open matte transfer with minimal frame trims, depending on the method in which it was shot (whether or not production junk was kept out of the frame as a protection for home video, etc.). A 16x9 formatted 2.39:1 transfer should be the de facto one for home video, of course. OAR is always a foremost concern, but while these are children's films and may, as we've seen with children's fare from many studios, arive in fullscreen only, I believe Bruce is right: this isn't a given based on press announcements, which are often mistaken. Because of the way C/T often lists widescreen ("fullscreen and anamorphic widescreen") it would be very easy for the "widescreen" option to wind up cut off in a hastily assembled press release.

We'll know more as the release date approaches, and certainly once back cover scans are available. As to a few rocky classic film transfers ... the key word is a "few," and Barrie Maxwell explained the You Can't Take It With You trouble in a column at The Digital Bits (it was apparently an older high def transfer of the unrestored film, and a restoration of the film for a new edition may be on its way in the coming years, if I recall). Given that all of C/Ts feature films are well compressed and sourced from film (so far as I can tell), however poor the film elements may be (and restoration costs money, folks), I don't think it appropriate to call anything the studio has put out "bargain bin," or at least anything they've put out OAR. Madacy is bargain bin. Alpha. UAV. Not the product of any Hollywood studio. And calling them names only serves to ensure they'll never visit this board, something I hope none of us want. Praise when it's due, criticism when it's fair -- that's the key to useful feedback in any customer-oriented business. Name calling doesn't get us anywhere (I'm referring to an earlier thread in particular, rather than posts here).

A list of outstanding (and, to my mind, must-own) classic transfers from Columbia on disc:

1. Only Angels Have Wings
2. His Girl Friday
3. Lost Horizon (Capra)
4. Pennies From Heaven (Crosby)
5. Pal Joey (Sinatra, 16x9)
6. On the Waterfront
7. From Here to Eternity (I'm happy with the SE, but there's also a Superbit available)
8. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
9. Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (restored, so this is the best it's going to look for quite some time, but it isn't up to the quality of the others on this list, as I recall from a viewing a few years ago)
10. It Happened One Night
11. Sahara
12. The Matinee Idol (Capra, silent -- beautifully restored, last on this list but perhaps first in my heart)

In point of fact, I still, six+ years into the format, consider #'s 1 and 2 above to be the high water mark for classic transfers on disc. There are many others I haven't yet seen, but reviews suggest that most are anywhere from good to great, including recent releases such as Cover Girl and You'll Never Get Rich, and older discs such as The Last Hurrah and Suddenly, Last Summer. Aside from the timing errors corrected in the Superbit edition (where some small increase in fine detail has also been accomplished), their original release of Lawrence of Arabia (two disc SE) was a very watchable, enjoyable presentation of the film (before anyone jumps down my throat, Robert Harris has said as much himself -- it just wasn't telecined properly, and there was some talk of sharpening, but screen captures of the Superbit seem to reveal the same EE present on the original release). Their rate of release appears to be increasing, with the recent announcement of Ship of Fools, It Should Happen to You, and the release tomorrow (Tuesday) of Platinum Blonde. Posted Image And despite all of the negative comments posted here and elsewhere on the board, I hope someone from Columbia does pay this some mind, as I want them to know just how much I appreciate their good work on these discs, and their countless very fine transfers of modern films (yes, I know, I should write them directly in that case ... Posted Image).

My only strong criticism of C/T concerns their continued application of EE to 'Scope and large format presentations, including (and most objectionably of all) to those "upgraded" for the Superbit line. Super EE is not a selling point. Posted Image While some transfers to Superbit seem to reduce EE a smidgeon, others either leave it the same or "enjoy" an apparent increase, likely due to a small increase in overall clarity. While I've heard (but haven't yet checked to confirm) that their 1.37:1 and matted ~1.85:1 transfers are generally free of objectionable EE, it most certainly does plague their 'Scope and large format material, as I can confirm. This is an antiquated analogue practice from the VHS/laserdisc days and should no longer exist in a digital medium, where it only mars otherwise commendable digital presentations. I hope they (and other studios, or rather the home video departments of other studios, who make similar use of edge "enhancement") rectify this problem soon.

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