Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy DVD - A REVIEW

RicP

Screenwriter
Joined
Feb 29, 2000
Messages
1,126

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
 
M

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
 

Hakan Powers

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Mar 13, 1999
Messages
244
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.
 

Dan Brecher

Cinematographer
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jan 8, 1999
Messages
3,450
Real Name
Daniel
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)
 

Brian Kidd

Effects Supervisor
Premium
Joined
Nov 14, 2000
Messages
2,552
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.
 

Dan Brecher

Cinematographer
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jan 8, 1999
Messages
3,450
Real Name
Daniel
Well there is actually also the chance that, whatever 16mm there is was shot at 25fps to begin with.

Dan (UK)
 

Rich Malloy

Cinematographer
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Apr 9, 2000
Messages
3,998
Never too late to revive a thread!

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.)
 
M

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
 

Peter Apruzzese

Cinematographer
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Dec 20, 1999
Messages
4,188
Real Name
Peter Apruzzese
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.

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?
Perhaps because the originator - RicP - is persona non grata now at the HTF? Maybe his posts have disappeared as well...
 

TJPC

Cinematographer
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2016
Messages
3,831
Location
Hamilton Ontario
Real Name
Terry Carroll
Wow! What an ancient thread, but it was the only one I could find. I just upgraded this set with the Blu ray 3 disc set, and wanted to make a comment.

There is really no need to upgrade your DVDs, if you are only interested in the 6 programs, since the original source used was video tape and the Blu rays do not really look any better. What sells it however are the extras, which are two full discs, with just about everything they could possibly find. Also, it is hard to go wrong for only $19.99, which I payed at Walmart in the states!
 

Jonathan Perregaux

Screenwriter
Joined
Oct 10, 1999
Messages
1,848
Real Name
Jonathan Perregaux
I got this Blu-Ray set. I loved the books. Reading Mr. Adams’ fanciful eloquence made me laugh out loud more often than not, a rare achievement. Other “funny” books would have me “laughing in my head.” Not these books.

This series is pretty much word-for-word much of the time, which I liked because certain passages were springing to mind anyway. The usual cheap BBC production values, but charming nevertheless. I look forward to the extras.
 

Forum Sponsors

Forum statistics

Threads
344,363
Messages
4,708,249
Members
141,248
Latest member
Nathan Bush