DVD Review HTF REVIEW: Yellowbeard

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Cameron Yee, Jun 27, 2006.

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  1. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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    XenForo Template Yellowbeard Release Date: June 27, 2006 Studio: MGM Studios Year: 1983 Rating: PG Running Time: 1h36m Video: 1.85:1 anamorphic Audio: English DD2.0 Subtitles: English, Japanese, Spanish, Portuguese TV-Generated Closed Captions: English Menus: Non-animated, generic menu with only "Play" and subtitle options Packaging/Materials: Single disc keepcase MSRP: $14.94
    The Feature: 2/5 Look over the cast for Mel Damski's "Yellowbeard" and you'd be right to be excited. With comedy greats like Madeline Khan, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Marty Feldman, Peter Boyle, Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong how could this pirate spoof NOT be funny? As it turns out, it's only occasionally so, with most of the jokes being groaners, not gut-busters. What went wrong? Perhaps it's the wearying "see what sticks" approach to the humor or the film's sometimes awkward pacing. Or maybe it was simply a bad idea to mix so many comic actors, each with their own styles, into one film, creating an unpalatable stew. You'll find some good bits if you pick around - Madeline Khan being one - but overall it's unsatisfying and disappointing given the ingredients. One thing that stayed with me though: Never turn down a request to exchange money for feces. In which case you should probably go buy "Yellowbeard" right now. Video Quality: 2.5/5 Dust and dirt specks are visible early but lessen as the film progresses. Mosquito/compression noise is also visible. Colors have the muted quality typical of film stock used at the time, with fleshtones sometimes on the warm side. The most glaring issue is the lack of shadow detail, apparent in the dim tavern scenes and any time a character is in black clothing. No edge enhancement is visible, and while generally sharp and clear, there are some moments when the picture goes a bit soft. Audio Quality: 3/5 The DD2.0 audio track is generally clear and clean, with dialogue consistently intelligible. There may be a few moments of audio levels getting clipped, but this is only momentary in relation to louder sounds like explosions and screaming. Sound effects are nothing to write home about, but understandable given the production period and budget. Overall the audio track serves its purpose. Special Features: None Not only are there no special features, but no effort was even put into the DVD menu. The menu background is a generic template with a film reel graphic with "Play Movie" and subtitle choices as the selections. The puzzling part is the disc itself is silkscreened with film-specific graphics, ruling out my being sent a non-retail release. Whether a mistake or intentional, it reflects poorly on the studio. Recap and Final Thoughts The Feature: 2/5 Video Quality: 2.5/5 Audio Quality: 3/5 Special Features: None Overall Score (not an average): 2/5 The film will likely appeal to some, given varying tastes in comedy, but most will find it unsatisfying. Despite my low opinion of the feature, a DVD release should still have a film-specific menu, if only for the sake of looking professional.
    Equipment: Toshiba 42" CRT RPTV fed a 1080i signal from an Oppo DV-971 DVD player. Audio evaluation is based on an Onkyo TX-SR575x 5.1 AVR running JBL S26 mains and surrounds, JBL S-Center, and SVS 20-39 PCi subwoofer.
     
  2. Russell G

    Russell G Fake Shemp

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    Huh? It sounds like a bootleg. I was going to pick this up the minute it hit the $9 bins, but now I'm not so sure,
     
  3. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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  4. Keith Paynter

    Keith Paynter Screenwriter

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    As far as laughs, I always found Yellowbeard good for about the first 2 thirds. Once everyone was actually on Nebuloso's island, the film falls flat, and shots of the double for Marty Feldman (who has the thankless task of dying to finish off the late comic's contribution to the film) are hastily done out of nothing more than sheer necessity.

    That being said, I'm thankful that the film is finally legitimately available on DVD. It really is unfortunate that this disc is likely an indication of Sony's lack of dedication to their MGM catalogue acquistion. It shows they're only interesting in a cheap, quick turnaround, and convinces me that they're more interested in pushing their own product and hoping to make Blu-Ray the dominant HD format. Thank goodness their tenure with the MGM library is short-lived, just too late to help this disc. Maybe if (IIR) Fox does it again in the near future, they'll source out and include the behind-the-scenes film "Group Madness" that was being made available with the bootlegs that continue to surface on Ebay.

    Something I did earlier today got me thinking hard about why we "collect" movies - I was watching the documentary for the BV release of "Death Race 2000", and producer Roger Corman said something I thought was very profound, along the lines of "It's the B-pictures we tend to remember the most, and become cult classics". I couldn't agree more. Flawed as it is, I just can't help but love this film.

    And anyone who disagrees will go on to meet God very quickly!
     
  5. Jeff Swindoll

    Jeff Swindoll Supporting Actor

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    I wondered if that was just for the screener copy, but it sounds like this crappy menu is on the entire run. It didnt even have chapter section, just play and subtitles options.
     
  6. Paul Arnette

    Paul Arnette Cinematographer

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    That Yellowbeard menu has got to be the laziest and ugliest looking POS I have ever seen on a DVD, we're talking worse than some of the 97-98 DVD menus!

    Between under-delivering and cancelling every other release, Sony has made it very easy for me to continue to give my money to studios that do it right, like Warner Bros. and Fox.
     
  7. Bill Parisho

    Bill Parisho Stunt Coordinator

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    I agree that this movie isn't very good despite the wonderful cast. I do think it's funny that you complain about the lack of extras on this mediocre movie. It's kind of like the exchange from "Annie Hall": "Boy the food sure was terrible." "Yea, and such small portions."
    Your review, however, was right on the money.
    Bill Parisho
     
  8. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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    My only complaint about special features was the use of a generic menu background (which really isn't a special feature element now that I think about it) and no score was given for the category since there was nothing to evaluate.

    Thanks for quoting one of my favorite comedies and one of the best lines from it [​IMG].
     

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