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"Hunchback of Notre Dame" review

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51 replies to this topic

#1 of 52 Bjoern Roy

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Posted March 13 2002 - 08:00 AM

I just got my copy of Hunchback. Since i haven't seen any reviews on the net yet, i will take a quick look at it and post my thoughts.

It does have a DTS track, if that was ever doubted. And it seems to be properly framed at 1.85:1 (anamorphic of course).
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#2 of 52 Sean Laughter

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Posted March 13 2002 - 09:44 AM

Is this ahead of street date or should it be found anywhere by now? I don't remember the release date on this disc at all.

#3 of 52 Chad Gregory

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Posted March 13 2002 - 10:11 AM

The release date is March 19th.

So next week Sean...


#4 of 52 Jose Q

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Posted March 13 2002 - 10:17 AM

Next week Tuesday March 19th I think.

#5 of 52 Brian Lawrence

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Posted March 13 2002 - 10:20 AM

A momentary sigh of relief from me. Posted Image

As soon as I saw that it was Bjoern posting this I thought it was going to be a heads up warning that the transfer has edge enhancement out the ass.

#6 of 52 Skoobooz


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Posted March 13 2002 - 10:29 AM

Minimal edge enhancement on this, good sound/picture. Somewhat useless making-of (typical Disney), but very entertaining and informative commentary. Nice disc, and cheap too (picked mine up for $19.99).

#7 of 52 Chad Gregory

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Posted March 13 2002 - 10:44 AM

Happy to hear that it is anamorphic.

The back cover only states 1.85 widescreen, no mention of 16x9 enhancement.

A little sigh of relief.


#8 of 52 Bjoern Roy

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Posted March 13 2002 - 02:54 PM

First thing i have to say: I still love this movie. Didn't loose any of its charm. The songs are just beautiful and the story is pure magic.

I think most people will be happy with the PQ on this disc. Yet, i have a few complains.

Non videophiles stop reading here.

The main problem, which induces every other, is grain. There is simply too much for an animation type movie. Its not intentional here, like in AI or Pi, its simply due to the age or quality of the print used.

Put into perspective:

Pocahontas (1995): a grain desaster, the transfer is terrible
Hunchback (1996): much less grain than Poca, a fair bit more than Hercules, though
Hercules (1997): quite ok actually
Mulan (1998): about the same as Hercules
Tarzan (1999): non-issue
New Groove (2000): non-issue

So the grain seems to get less, the newer the release. Thats to be expected, but neither of these are 'old' movies. I mean 1996?

Although i prefer the clean look of Tarzan and New Groove, I found the grain in Mulan and Hercules acceptable. The amount of grain in Hercules is borderline.

The grain is not so bothersome in itself. Its enough to lead to bitrate starvation, though. Meaning: grain is random noise, it sucks up birate without encoding any actual information. A 7.0mbs transfer from a grainy source is going to have more compression artefacts than a 4mbs transfer from a clean one. See Fast and the Furious, low bitrate, no grain -> no compression artefact.

I didn't measure the bitrate but its very obvious that its simply not nearly appropriate. There is basically no actual edge enhancement in the transfer, great. Yet, the edges are far from being clean. They are soft and often undefined. The bitrate starvation leads to lots of compression artefacts in many scenes.

Many edges (and traditional animation has lots and lots of edges) have so much mosquito noise that it looks like EE ripples to the untrained eye, yet they are not in this case.

Many of the solid colored areas (and traditional animation has lots and lots of solid colored areas), like faces in semi-shadow show rather severe blocking artefacts in form of posterization and banding.

From 1.4 times screen width away, i found this very difficult to watch at times. So i went into the second row of seats (~2 times width), and many of the issues got much more acceptable. At 2.5 times width this might actually look like a good transfer, so i think most here will find this transfer fine.

Every other aspect of this transfer is almost perfect. I found the colors to be dead on, the shadow delineation is great, so is the contrast.

Overall, i slightly prefer both Mulan and Hercules to this transfer, although they are non-anamorphic. As i said, Hunchback could be a tad more detailed, Mulan and Hercules are not far behind in actual detail. Yet they have a fair bit less grain and AND probably more bitrate to fight that grain, since they have less data to compress (non-anamorphic), and less extras on the disc.

Neither of these are even close to Tarzan, let alone Groove, of course.

So my rating would actually be in the order of their age. Again, i find this rather puzzling, because i don't consider 5-6 years to be a long time for a film print. Maybe there where considerable improvements over the last years in the animation to film techniques that lead to less grain even on the negatives. Thats my best guess anyway.

What makes me angry is the fact that the video bitrate is so obviously insufficient, yet they include a DD5.1 track, a DTS5.1 track, 2 DD2.0 tracks (if i remember correctly) and a commentary track. And then they even cram all the extras in.

It would have been better to have a DD5.1 track and the commentary only, with problematic material like this. And the extras on a second disc, even if its not enough to actually fill it. Thats what i like about some of the Vista Series titles. They use a second disc for extras, even though they aren't that plentyful. Bitrate considerations on the first disc being a primary concern.

Even better, they should have used a better film print, if available anywhere at any cost, or even the negative.

Anyway, apart from the compression issues and with a proper seating distance, or less revealing system, this will satisfy most.
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#9 of 52 Bjoern Roy

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Posted March 13 2002 - 03:08 PM

One more thing. The other title that is debated right now because of its grain is AI. Clarification:

In AI the grain is an artistic part of the cinematography. AND its very well handled by the compression. The grain looks very natural and the bitrate seems high enough (or the encoder efficient enough) to not induce distracting amounts of mosquito noise of posterization.

In Hunch, the grain is too much for an animation title AND, which is much worse, leads to considerable artefacts on the compression side.

Grainy animation simply can't be made to look good on DVD. A much higher bitrate would be needed for it to actually look film-like in the end. Pocahontas is difficult to watch on a huge screen. Luckily its my least favorite Disney movie.
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#10 of 52 Mike Frezon

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Posted March 13 2002 - 03:24 PM

A momentary sigh of relief from me. As soon as I saw that it was Bjoern posting this I thought it was going to be a heads up warning that the transfer has edge enhancement out the ass.

Methinks you spoke too soon, Brian! Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image

Actually, Bjoern, you have provided VERY interesting information. Thanks!

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#11 of 52 Andrew_Ballew


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Posted March 13 2002 - 04:49 PM

Thanks for info Bjoern- I certainly do not consider myself a videophile, more of a video enthusiast- so learning about all the little details is very enlightening.

Being an audiophile/ professionally trained classical musician makes a listening experience sometimes excruciating as I hear so many little details. Perhaps I should consider it a blessing that I can enjoy an otherwise great video transfer even with a good bit of edge enhancement (which unfortunately I am starting to recognize.) Ah- ignorance is (was) bliss.

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#12 of 52 Philip Hamm

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Posted March 14 2002 - 12:28 AM

I wonder how the audio tracks compare to the DTS LaserDisc, which is perhaps the single best sounding piece of HT audio I've ever heard in my house.
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#13 of 52 Jimmy M

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Posted March 14 2002 - 02:14 AM

Sorry if I missed this anywhere, but can anyone say how the extras compare to the LD Box Set? I have that and wouldn't want to lose anything from it if I get the DVD.

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#14 of 52 todd s

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Posted March 14 2002 - 03:32 AM

BJ's Wholesale club will have each for $17.99. I was able to get the Special Edition Laserdisc for only $20. I still will get the dvd because it is easier to put it on and leave it for my daughters. While the CAV LD is a multiple disc and will have to be flipped.

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#15 of 52 Malcolm R

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Posted March 14 2002 - 04:15 AM

BJ's Wholesale club will have both for $17.99.

Both for $17.99 each, correct? 'Cuz if you're getting both movies for a total of $17.99, that's a steal.
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#16 of 52 Brajesh Upadhyay

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Posted March 14 2002 - 04:45 AM

$17.99 each (for I & II) @ Best Buy too.
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#17 of 52 GlennH



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Posted March 14 2002 - 05:35 AM

Supposedly, if you buy both Hunchback and Hunchback II at BestBuy ($17.99 each) they'll give you a $5 gift card.

#18 of 52 MarkBurton


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Posted March 14 2002 - 06:28 AM

What stinks is that this release gets the deleted song "someday" in region 2 and 4, but it was elimated from the region 1 release.

boo i say... boooo...

other than that, i am really looking forward to this. this is one of my favorite disney movies. i'm glad to hear this Disney is keeping with their DVD tradition of releasing their films in their original OAR.

however, i am worried a bit because Disney just released Sleeping Beauty in region 2 (UK) in a pan & scan attrocity. Fortunately, Germany received a nice double disk collector's set with anamorphic widescreen.

i sure hope we get a copy of the germany release when it hits the u.s. maybe 'someday' we'll get a collector's edtion of hunchback with the deleted song and the other extras from the laserdisc. i guess we'll see.

#19 of 52 James Reader

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Posted March 15 2002 - 06:08 AM

I have been informed by a member of the UK based DVD Forums that Sleeping Beauty will recieve the full widescreen, 2 disc collectors release in the UK sometime in the Fall.
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#20 of 52 Enrique B Chamorro

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Posted March 15 2002 - 06:25 AM

What I see here is a missed opportunity.
Disney could have done the same thing as in Fantasia.
Hunchback 1 & 2 sold seperate or 1 & 2 with a bonus disc
with the extras from the laser disc box set.
I sold my bxx set and I am now sorry.
The deleated song sections was a very nice item.
Does the R2 & R4 have just 1 deleated song?
I think the box set had more than 1?
Or was it demos of the songs done by the composer?

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