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Pete's Dragon: 35th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray Review



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#41 of 55 NY2LA

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Posted October 17 2012 - 10:50 PM

I did some comparisons between the new Pete's Dragon Blu-ray and my old LD. The LD (played with Dolby Surround mode) has a genuine stereo front soundstage with music, effects, and even some directional dialogue. ("He went that-a-way."). This is almost completely crushed on the Blu-ray. Even with radical rebalancing, the stereo is now largely gone... Ironically, there is also a French soundtrack on the disk, which has a bit more stereo effect.

Isn't it frustrating (but typical) when a studio will do an awful job making something new, (and waste precious money from a tight budget) when there is already a superior version existing they apparently never bothered to check out?

#42 of 55 MatthewA

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Posted October 18 2012 - 03:25 AM

Originally Posted by rsmithjr 

I did some comparisons between the new Pete's Dragon Blu-ray and my old LD.
The LD (played with Dolby Surround mode) has a genuine stereo front soundstage with music, effects, and even some directional dialogue. ("He went that-a-way."). This is almost completely crushed on the Blu-ray. Even with radical rebalancing, the stereo is now largely gone.
This is unfortunate because the picture is very good, excellent color, sharpness, and no noticeable digital effects. You can easily tell the difference between the opticals and the rest of the film,which is one of my criteria for the quality of an OCN scan.
Ironically, there is also a French soundtrack on the disk, which has a bit more stereo effect.


Was that the 1990s laserdisc whose box art showed Elliott pushing Nora on the swing? I had that, and I recall it sounded pretty good.


This seems to be a pretty under-the-radar release, and they even planned to release it the same day as Cinderella. The last DVD even got TV ads (I saw one on a Golden Girls rerun once).


Quote:

Originally Posted by NY2LA 


Isn't it frustrating (but typical) when a studio will do an awful job making something new, (and waste precious money from a tight budget) when there is already a superior version existing they apparently never bothered to check out?


Disney has also scaled back some special editions before. The restored laserdisc of Bedknobs was supposed to be an "Exclusive Archive Collection" release, which is why the box looked like it was. But that was different; whatever was supposed to be on that disc was probably similar to what ended up on the DVD. In this case, they're dropping stuff they already saw fit to release in the first place. If they couldn't fit on the disc, that would be one thing, but according to another site, the disc only uses about 36 GB of space.


Enough is enough, Disney. No more evasions or excuses. We DEMAND the release Song of the South on Blu-ray along with the uncut version of Bedknobs and Broomsticks on Blu-ray. I will not support anything your company produces until then.


#43 of 55 rsmithjr

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Posted October 18 2012 - 04:24 AM

Isn't it frustrating (but typical) when a studio will do an awful job making something new, (and waste precious money from a tight budget) when there is already a superior version existing they apparently never bothered to check out?

Given that the picture is good, it seems to me that budget was not the issue. I would assume that it was a design decision to crush the soundtrack into mono oblivion rather than just a lack of funds. Oddly, Sony's Annie arrived on the same day, from a few years later than Pete's Dragon. The picture was fine and the sound was very good indeed, some decent stereo effects and terrific mucical recordings. Annie definitely had 70mm prints however so perhaps better materials existed in the first place, often the 70mm mix was actually different in those days.

#44 of 55 NY2LA

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Posted October 18 2012 - 04:48 AM

Given that the picture is good, it seems to me that budget was not the issue. I would assume that it was a design decision to crush the soundtrack into mono oblivion rather than just a lack of funds.

Well what I meant was there are always limits in the budget, and had they not wasted money doing an inferior new soundtrack encode when the previous one was much better, that money could have gone toward something else that maybe didn't make it into the budget.

#45 of 55 rsmithjr

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Posted October 18 2012 - 04:52 AM

Well what I meant was there are always limits in the budget, and had they not wasted money doing an inferior new soundtrack encode when the previous one was much better, that money could have gone toward something else that maybe didn't make it into the budget.

Good point. I am always amazed how small companies like Criterion and Flickr Alley do a great job with next to nothing budgets. How can Criterion afford to do an actual restoration on Heaven's Gate for example?

#46 of 55 bryan4999

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Posted October 18 2012 - 05:00 AM

Speaking of Mary Poppins and the stereo question, has anyone noticed that the stereo spread in the movie itself and the old stereo LP is wider than on the soundtrack CD? I don't understand these disparities.

#47 of 55 MatthewA

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Posted October 18 2012 - 06:42 AM

Originally Posted by NY2LA 


Well what I meant was there are always limits in the budget, and had they not wasted money doing an inferior new soundtrack encode when the previous one was much better, that money could have gone toward something else that maybe didn't make it into the budget.


It would have taken very little effort just to convert the original Dolby A mix as it exists today to a 5.1 track without doing anything else. But Disney is incapable of leaving things alone. They fix things that don't need fixing, and they don't fix things that need to be fixed.


Enough is enough, Disney. No more evasions or excuses. We DEMAND the release Song of the South on Blu-ray along with the uncut version of Bedknobs and Broomsticks on Blu-ray. I will not support anything your company produces until then.


#48 of 55 NY2LA

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Posted October 18 2012 - 09:27 AM

It would have taken very little effort just to convert the original Dolby A mix as it exists today to a 5.1 track without doing anything else. But Disney is incapable of leaving things alone. They fix things that don't need fixing, and they don't fix things that need to be fixed.

Hear! Hear! Exactly.

#49 of 55 MatthewA

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Posted October 18 2012 - 12:06 PM

Here's a little "interview" with Elliott, from the film's original release:


http://news.google.c...dragonese&hl=en


Enough is enough, Disney. No more evasions or excuses. We DEMAND the release Song of the South on Blu-ray along with the uncut version of Bedknobs and Broomsticks on Blu-ray. I will not support anything your company produces until then.


#50 of 55 classicmovieguy

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Posted October 23 2012 - 02:49 PM

I picked up the Blu-ray yesterday and watched the entire thing last night - the sound to me was very flat and muddy, and I do prefer the old 'High Flying' DVD edition's soundtrack. Also, am I alone in seeing a bit of green tinge to most of the darker, nighttime scenes?

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#51 of 55 Dick

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Posted October 23 2012 - 04:09 PM

"I always thought Elliot bore a remarkable resemblance to Dame Margaret Rutherford..." Good one, Mark, and I agree! Nice catch. There are things about this film I like well enough to have purchased the Blu, and the image looks fine. "Candle On the Water" is the best sequence in the film for me, and some of the choreography is good. But the characters are either way-y over the top, like the villains, or rather bland, like the kid and the heroes. And the titular dragon. The worst element of the film in my opinion is Elliot. First, the particular shade of green he was painted in has always bugged me... a sort of dull olive that I find irritating. Second, he was designed to look and behave like a doofus. Yes, I realize the film had to be family-friendly and the dragon could not be frightening the way that Vermithrax Pejorative was in the Disney co-production of DRAGONSLAYER (which, by the way, Paramount, is where...?), but couldn't he have appeared at least a bit more, well...imposing? It was hard to take Dame Margaret Rutherford seriously (and we weren't meant to), and it's hard to take Ellot seriously. Since I couldn't, I found it hard to believe the characters got all in a tizzy about him. As a side note, I am getting an error message of late when I try to quote a prior post. "There was a problem submitting this to the server. Please try again." Is anyone else experience this?

#52 of 55 MatthewA

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Posted October 24 2012 - 04:27 AM

Does anyone else remember the Pushing Daisies episode that was a tribute to this film?



Quote:
Originally Posted by classicmovieguy 

I picked up the Blu-ray yesterday and watched the entire thing last night - the sound to me was very flat and muddy, and I do prefer the old 'High Flying' DVD edition's soundtrack. Also, am I alone in seeing a bit of green tinge to most of the darker, nighttime scenes?


I finally watched it a couple days ago, and I agree with you about the sound, although the high ends have always been kind of lacking. The songs sound a lot better on the soundtrack album. How does it compare to the French track?


On the other hand, the picture is (mostly) stellar, good enough to reveal the generation loss from the process shots. There are some mistakes with the sodium vapor shots that Disney could theoretically go back and redo (especially in the scene with Paul in his boat), but chose not to. Some of the coloring did seem a little odd to my eyes, and the first scene, which I have always assumed was supposed to take place in the early evening, was just way too bright compared to any video version I've seen. But the sharpness blows all past versions out of the water, and you can actually read the writing on the Gogans' bill of sale.


Originally Posted by Dick 

"I always thought Elliot bore a remarkable resemblance to Dame Margaret Rutherford..."
Good one, Mark, and I agree! Nice catch.
There are things about this film I like well enough to have purchased the Blu, and the image looks fine. "Candle On the Water" is the best sequence in the film for me, and some of the choreography is good. But the characters are either way-y over the top, like the villains, or rather bland, like the kid and the heroes. And the titular dragon.
The worst element of the film in my opinion is Elliot. First, the particular shade of green he was painted in has always bugged me... a sort of dull olive that I find irritating. Second, he was designed to look and behave like a doofus. Yes, I realize the film had to be family-friendly and the dragon could not be frightening the way that Vermithrax Pejorative was in the Disney co-production of DRAGONSLAYER (which, by the way, Paramount, is where...?), but couldn't he have appeared at least a bit more, well...imposing? It was hard to take Dame Margaret Rutherford seriously (and we weren't meant to), and it's hard to take Ellot seriously. Since I couldn't, I found it hard to believe the characters got all in a tizzy about him.
As a side note, I am getting an error message of late when I try to quote a prior post. "There was a problem submitting this to the server. Please try again." Is anyone else experience this?


The one major reservation I have about the film is the editing: some of the cuts were made very haphazardly (the cut after Lampie says "good boy, good lad" is especially sloppy), and some of the shots seem to go on about a second too long. I felt this way when I was a child, too. Watch the "Brazzle Dazzle Effects" supplement and listen to its soundtrack. It uses the film's underscore extensively (an expanded soundtrack would be nice; perhaps Intrada will get around to it someday), and it has several bars of the dance sequence from "There's Room For Everyone" that are nowhere to be heard in the film. Things like that (not to mention the fact that this happened to at least two of the studio's prior musicals) what lends credence to the as-yet-unconfirmed idea that the studio cut the film (that and the soundtrack album's extra lyrics to "I Saw a Dragon" and "Passamashloddy").


As for Elliott not being frightening, I always thought that was the point. The whole film's plot depends on him not being frightening and the people of Passamaquoddy being irrational enough to be frightened by him. Even at the end of the film, they continue to believe that causation equals correlation regarding the temporary fish shortage ("he filled the ocean full of fish, he packed it to the brim"), and they fall for Doctor Terminus' patent medicines twice. If Elliott, who also seems to be somewhat deficient in basic social skills, posed a threat to anyone not deliberately harming a child, the people of Passamaquoddy (which, when you think about it, is a pretty sordid town underneath the surface of those fine John Mansbridge/Jack Martin Smith sets) would be justified in being afraid of him.


All in all, I'm glad it came out, but the disc feels like a compromise considering how many extras were left off past versions. And between this, Pocahontas and, most likely, Muppet Christmas Carol, we're gonna need to hold onto our old Disney DVDs and laserdiscs if we want all the extras.


Here's a little article about the film's production with some interesting tidbits:


Don Bluth The Disney Years: Pete's Dragon


Enough is enough, Disney. No more evasions or excuses. We DEMAND the release Song of the South on Blu-ray along with the uncut version of Bedknobs and Broomsticks on Blu-ray. I will not support anything your company produces until then.


#53 of 55 Ejanss

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Posted October 24 2012 - 06:36 AM

Yes, I realize the film had to be family-friendly and the dragon could not be frightening the way that Vermithrax Pejorative was in the Disney co-production of DRAGONSLAYER (which, by the way, Paramount, is where...?),

As of this week, at Warner, I'm hazarding a guess, unless Paramount kept their Big-80's catalog.

#54 of 55 darkrock17

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Posted October 24 2012 - 08:43 AM

As of this week, at Warner, I'm hazarding a guess, unless Paramount kept their Big-80's catalog.

WB is getting the 80's hits http://thedigitalbit...nts/102312_0600

#55 of 55 NY2LA

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Posted October 24 2012 - 10:22 AM

WB is getting the 80's hits http://thedigitalbit...nts/102312_0600

if you follow the link in digital bits, they sort of mis-quoted Variety, who reported that Par would HOLD ONTO a hundred of their vintage hits, which are NOT part of the deal, though DB said they are. They have gone back and corrected it since...





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