Journey to the Center of the Earth

Discussion in 'DVD' started by DeeF, Feb 19, 2003.

  1. DeeF

    DeeF Screenwriter

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    I saw no review thread for this, so I'll start one.

    I got it and watched it yesterday. It looks quite amazing, better than it has ever looked (since it premiered in 1959). The picture is vibrant color, slightly soft, but beautifully detailed. I noted a little bit of edge enhancement in the early scenes, but nothing extraordinary. The optical fades are distracting, as I find them to be on all Cinemascope movies -- the color shifts and then pops back after the fade, but as I said, this is endemic to these movies. And the sound is absolutely gorgeous -- perhaps Herrmann's best DVD for sound quality (and that includes Vertigo!)

    The layer change was startling, in that it came early in the movie (in a scene in Mason's house).

    One mistake I found: I was watching the widescreen version of the movie, anamorphic 2.35:1, but it clearly says on the box "formatted to fit your screen," so I guess they forgot to remove this type from the widescreen version.

    Enjoy!
     
  2. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    Thanks for the heads-up. Can't wait to get my copy!

    dave
     
  3. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    Really? This out already?

    Never got a screener from Fox which is highly
    unusual.

    Guess I'll go online and order it now.
     
  4. DeeF

    DeeF Screenwriter

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    Sorry to steal your thunder, Ron, but I am looking forward to your comments with some eagerness.

    The only extras on the disk are a trailer narrated by Mason (which basically shows the entire movie) and a restoration comparison, like other Fox DVDs, that is almost impossible to gauge, because the two compared sides of a picture are in different aspect ratios.

    I still thought the movie on this DVD looked great, though.
     
  5. oscar_merkx

    oscar_merkx Lead Actor

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    thanks for the early review, looking forward to get this

    [​IMG]
     
  6. Mark_TS

    Mark_TS Screenwriter

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    another must-have favorite, though why they didnt include the alternate UK scenes-as on both WS editions of the LD (3, I believe-the surpise greeting for Mason at the College, Boone singing to his bride-to be at Masons home, and the closing crowd scene) is a puzzler. I kind of hazily remember talk of an SE Laser of this back in '97, with an isolated Herrmann score, which never happened...instead it was simply restored and re-released barebones(incl. the UK scenes) in Summer '98....very nice transfer.
     
  7. Mark Barnhill

    Mark Barnhill Stunt Coordinator

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    Gotta have it.. It's one of my all time favorites, along with 20,000 leagues under the sea.
     
  8. RobertR

    RobertR Lead Actor

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    Dee, can you confirm that the sound is in stereo?
     
  9. DeeF

    DeeF Screenwriter

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    Mark_TS,

    What is different about those scenes, in the UK release? Certainly all of those scenes exist on the current DVD, and I've never seen them any other way.
     
  10. DeeF

    DeeF Screenwriter

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    The sound is Dolby stereo (5.1, I think), although there are mono Spanish tracks. There is no separate music-only feature, which might have been nice. The music sounds splendid, particularly the organ.

    The soundtrack defaults to my Boston receiver showing DSS 5.1, although I don't believe there are any real surround effects. But the subwoofer was booming during the credits, it's thrilling!
     
  11. RobertR

    RobertR Lead Actor

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    Thanks Dee. [​IMG] Sounds like a winner!
     
  12. Mark_TS

    Mark_TS Screenwriter

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    Dee: 2 of the scenes have UK relevant -what?-Alma mater/school songs- heard at Lindenbrooks Birthday party and and the crowd finale outside the College. Since ive always fast forwarded thru Pat Boones warbling, Ive never noted why that might be different. Perhaps because of copyright issues back then, a new song was inserted.
    (the scenes themselves were pretty much if not exactly the same, and were included as supplements at the end of the LD)
     
  13. DeeF

    DeeF Screenwriter

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    I think this movie is possibly the greatest adventure movie of its kind, even surpassing 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea (which is pretty damn good itself). Not only is the story plausible, but the infighting between the various parties seems very contemporary, even politically correct. The woman (Arlene Dahl) is certainly protofeminist. And the special effects are subtle. Some of the film was made in Carlsbad Caverns, and some scenes shot in a studio, but they match perfectly.

    Although the use of lizards as "dinosaurs" is a little distracting, I think it was the best choice, rather than stop-motion, Harryhausen type effects. The monsters' movements are quite real. And when they begin cannibalizing one of their own, you can't help but wonder how the cameras caught that.

    The weaknesses in the film, for me, were the girl (Diane Baker) and the villain, who has little to do but show up and die.

    The various set-pieces, including the "diamonds," the "mushrooms," the underworld "sea," and the "Lost City of Atlantis," are all quite breathtaking, and I don't even mind Pat Boone's singing (this is probably his best movie).
     
  14. oscar_merkx

    oscar_merkx Lead Actor

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    just learned that my E-tailer has shipped this as well

    [​IMG]
     
  15. DeeF

    DeeF Screenwriter

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    I wanted to mention one more thing about this movie and others scored by Bernard Herrmann.

    There's something about his music that adds dimension and profundity to these fantasy stories. I can't be any more clear than that -- without the music, this movie would have been a lot shallower (and not as scary or exciting).

    In the cases of some other composers, I think the music actually serves to make the movie shallower (unfortunately, I have to include some of Steiner's scores in this classification, like Mildred Pierce, and some others). Many movies might be better without any music at all. But can you imagine Vertigo or Psycho or Citizen Kane or Journey/Earth without any music?

    It's such a pleasure hearing the music in clear stereo, as well. Bernard Herrmann is absolutely the greatest movie scorer that we have known.
     
  16. soop.spoon

    soop.spoon Supporting Actor

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  17. DeeF

    DeeF Screenwriter

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    One other thing I forgot to say:

    Several times in this movie, there are things that remind me a lot of Indiana Jones, movies that came 20 years later.

    The sun is used (on a specific day) to pinpoint a location.

    A giant boulder rolls down a path and almost destroys the heros.

    Think George Lucas and Steven Spielberg saw this movie when they were young and impressionable?

    (YES)
     
  18. RobertR

    RobertR Lead Actor

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  19. Eric Paddon

    Eric Paddon Screenwriter

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    The different UK scenes that were on the last LD release have to do with (1) a different song when Mason enters the class and at the end of the film. In the standard version they regale him with a song called "Here's to the prof of geology! Master of all natural history!" In the UK version they sing a different song in Latin. I don't think this had anything to do with copyright matters but was done because having the students sing Latin would have not gone over the heads of the European audience the way it might have in America. (2) The second alternate changes the scene between Boone and Diane Baker so that Boone no longer sings Robert Burns poem "My love is like a red rose" but the scene is straight dialogue all the way through.

    I am frankly annoyed to hear that Fox did not include these because that would force me to retain the LD copy even as I get the DVD.
     
  20. DeeF

    DeeF Screenwriter

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    I'm lucky in that I never invested in LDs. I just wasn't interested then.

    But DVDs changed me (I'm sure I'm a sucker, like everyone else). DVDs are convenient, with great picture and sound, and their price is affordable to buy (this one cost me $14.95).

    I'm a little bit disappointed that this is a bare bones DVD. Surely there are some people alive who could comment on the production (like Pat Boone!) and I would like to see how some of the effects were done.

    I finally realized where I knew Thayer David, the villain, from: he's in Rocky, as a boxing promoter.
     

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