Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy DVD - A REVIEW

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by RicP, Feb 1, 2002.

  1. RicP

    RicP Screenwriter

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    [​IMG]
    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. [​IMG]
    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.
    [​IMG]
    Review performed on a Malata N996 Region Free Player and a Toshiba 55" RPTV
     
  2. MaxY

    MaxY Guest

    Just some comments on the soundtrack...

    I have the LD which had a stereo mix on it and it does not have the narration problems you mentioned. In fact one of the few times you really notice the stereo part of it is when the doors talk while opening and closing.

    I am considering picking up the R1 release when it comes up simply because I love HGTTG and want all the extras.

    Glad to hear they did well with the set and I hope they refine the stereo soundtrack before our release.

    Max
     
  3. Hakan Powers

    Hakan Powers Stunt Coordinator

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    Does anyone know on what format this was filmed? I am interested in knowing if the R2 PAL release is affected by the 4% speedup.
     
  4. Dan Brecher

    Dan Brecher Producer

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    Hakan, as with most British TV, it was shot on videotape. They may have used 16mm for location stuff as they did on some things back then, been a while since I've watched Hitchhiker.

    Dan (UK)
     
  5. Brian Kidd

    Brian Kidd Screenwriter
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    As far as I can recall, the only 16mm footage comes in the first episode, as most of it was shot on location, the landing on Magrathea and the very end of the series. Other than that, it was shot on video. Since I assume that the new transfer was done from the original edited video masters, it seems safe to say that the 16mm sections will be slightly sped up from the video sections. However, since this would have been the case back in the 80's, it's the way we've always seen it in the US. [​IMG]
     
  6. Dan Brecher

    Dan Brecher Producer

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    Well there is actually also the chance that, whatever 16mm there is was shot at 25fps to begin with.

    Dan (UK)
     
  7. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

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    Never too late to revive a thread! [​IMG]
    I wonder, now that we've lived with this disc for awhile, does anyone prefer the stereo remix track?
    (I definitely wouldn't say I fall in the "despise it" camp, but IMO the mono's far better.)
     
  8. MaxY

    MaxY Guest

    What the heck is going on here?

    Post one is missing. I did not start this thread? This is the second time I have seen this happen with an older thread this week, is something buggered up with the V-B software?

    Max
     
  9. Peter Apruzzese

    Peter Apruzzese Producer

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    I listened to one episode with the remix and one with the original mono and prefer the mono. Having the narrator come out of the right channel (with a little bleed into the center in ProLogic mode) was most distracting, IMO.

     

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