- Feb 29, 2000
Douglas Adams' masterpiece presented in a lovely 2-disc DVD Set
ADMINS: While this review is based on a region 2 disc set, Region 1 will be getting this set in April, so I thought that perhaps Software was a better choice than the Regional area. Thanks.
I've been waiting for this set for at least three years. I've owned the VHS set for at least twice as long as that, and I was afraid that this BBC show would never make it to DVD.
Well not only did it make it...it is a wonderfully packed 2-disc DVD Special Edition!
I'm going to skip the preliminaries because I'm fairly sure that most everyone knows what this show was all about -- being based on Douglas Adams' bestselling novels, -- which were in turn based on Douglas Adams' award winning radio series.
Firstly is the packaging...it is sort of a slimmed down version of the "Fight Club", "Magnolia" type of case. However, the hubs aren't nearly as secure as they are on the others, so if this same casing is used in Region 1, I can imagine that there'll be some complaining about it.
The menus are brand new and are of course in a "hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy" motif, with alien hands holding the book while you make selections on the upper part.
Disc one of the 2-disc set contains all 6 episodes of the original BBC Television series that aired in 1981. The video quality looks remarkably good for the age of the source. It seemed a little soft to me, but not distracting at all. Colors were clear and well defined and though I could see some MPEG artifacting, it didn't detract from the presentation.
The sound is provided in either the original mono soundtrack or a new "remixed stereo" version. I listened to both, and the remixed stereo wil either be loved or despised. Peter Jones -- who provides the voice of the narrator -- comes either soley from the right or left speaker. His voice is not centered and it can be somewhat distracting. The actors voices and the sound effects are presented normally however. The mono track sounds clear and well defined with no real problems.
Disc 1 also offers a running "production notes", which is exactly like the "text commentaries" that we've seen on other DVD's like "The Abyss" or "Star Trek - The Original Motion Picture". It is very informative and a great addition to the disc.
Incidentally, Episodes 2,4,and 6 contain additional footage and are longer than originally broadcast.
Disc 2 is packed with special features including:
The Original Making of Hitchhiker's guide
Dont Panic! - additional making of footage
Communicate! A behind the scenes of the original radio series
Deleted Scenes and Outtakes
A TV Trailer
An anamatronics feature on Zaphod Beeblebrox
and some more...
This is an absolutely fantastic 2-disc set and everything that a Hithhiker's fan could have hoped for. It's going to be great watching these episodes again in great quality!
Region 2 disc set is available now, Region 1 is coming in April.
Grab your towel you hoopy frood and Don't Panic! The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is here.
Review performed on a Malata N996 Region Free Player and a Toshiba 55" RPTV