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Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ronald Epstein, Feb 18, 2003.
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I finally got FOTR: Extended Edition about a week ago. It DOES deserve the awards it won. I disagree with Pearl Harbor winning for audio. It's easy to make an agressive track, but it's more difficult to make one with non-stop enviromental sound.
One thing I especially liked was that the one scene that was crawling with ringing in the 2-disc version was totally free of edge enhancement in the extended edition. I was afraid of the extras being boring and tedious, but they were fun to look at. The featurettes on the size effects and color grading were superb.
I was disappointed that Singin' In The Rain: Special Edition wasn't on any of the top 10 lists by the editors. It doesn't have an overload of extras, but it at least deserved nominations for film-to-video transfer. The fact that it used a new 3-strip digital recompositing process (Ultra-Resolution) deserves mention. I'm glad it at least got the award for Best Music(al) DVD.
Disney didn't deserve best studio by a longshot. Sure, the Disney Treasures, Vault Disney, and other special editions are great...but nearly all of their non-SE titles got crummy treatment on DVD. At least most other studios have some sort of balance between the two. I think New Line would have been better.
It was downright wrong to put in the Back To The Future boxed set for worst video and worst boxed set. Now, no one is going to even want the fixed versions of the set. There isn't even a mention that the transfers are in the process of being fixed. With this logic, why didn't they give Moulin Rouge the worst audio award last year? I guess technical errors can be fixed, but are set in stone by DVD reviewers.
AHDN: SE isn't nearly a bad audio track. What is so bad about it? It's not quite The Fifth Element, but it's well done. The dialogue on the new track actually has some bass and life to it...the songs are full sounding. The mixing is actually CORRECT in the sense that they are finally heard in full. The previous editions poorly dubbed the CD mixes, thus taking away sound effects and screams in the movie mix.
A little more mention of discs like Amadeus: DC, One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest: SE, Kino's box set of D.W. Griffith films, and The Producers would have been nice. Enough of me ranting.... overall, a great award show. Now, I just have to look forward to the Razzies.
I agree that Lord Of The Rings deserved
best DVD of the year.
While I can understand the reasons why Back To
The Future was voted the worst DVD, it really
isn't the worst. Have our friends at Digital Bits
not seen Artisan's THE QUIET MAN? That film
should never have been released as a new Special
Edition under the condition of its transfer.
At least Universal is making good on their bad
batch of BTTF discs. Artisan, on the other
hand, had the balls to push out another piece of
sh*t transfer of The Quiet Man simply because
their rights on the title were running out.
As for Disney being studio of the year? Up until
last November I would have agreed. But to be honest,
now that the studio is releasing more mainstream FULL
FRAME ONLY titles than anybody else and even
colorizing their B&W films (didn't Bill Hunt have
a big rant on his site about this?) Disney is quickly
becoming the least favorite studio around here.
I disagree with some of your choices.
Best boxed set should have gone to BTTF, without a doubt.
What were you thinking when you gave out best studio to Buena Vista??? You can't give best studio to a studio that releases full screen only DVDs, like Snow Dogs on a regular basis. Not only that, they are colorizing black and white films!
BTTF as worst boxed set? What in the world makes you think that it gets that? The framing? At least Universal is fixing it. You seemed to focus only on the framing problem, and not the set its self. The extras are great!
Worst video goes to BTTF? I can't believe that you guys would say such a thing. Obviously the fact that you can't stand the misframing is clouding your judgment. BTTF has good video quality, despite the framing issues. That award should go to The Quiet Man.
Ok, here's my take on the various awards.
BEST DVD OVERALL: LOTR all the way, but 2nd place? THE ROYAL CRAPPENBAUMS? You don't think second place could be bestowed on a more qualified candidate? There were plenty of loaded DVD releases last year that actually had good movies to go with the great DVD (IMHO, no offense Digital Bits).
BEST DVD - AUDIO: LOTR didn't score at all in the top 3? Whoa.
BEST DVD - PACKAGING: WHERE's MEMENTO????????
BEST DVD STUDIO: WHERE'S NEW LINE!!!!???? AHHHHHHHHH!!!!!
BEST DVD AUDIO COMMENTARY: I haven't listened to too many commentaries, but I do find it hard to believe that THE LAST WALTZ has the best commentary of the last year. Anyone with more commentary experience care to uh... comment?
WORST DVD OVERALL: HARRY POTTER. I don't know if it should be worst, but certainly it was close to MOST DISAPPOINTING.
WORST DVD SPECIAL EDITION: Besides the commentary fiasco, what else was terrible about South Park? Somebody, c'mon, there's a WORST-er DVD SPECIAL EDITION somewhere.
WORST DVD BOX SET AND WORST DVD VIDEO: Cheap shot at Universal. A mistake and really should have been THE BEST DVD BOX SET. Word.
MOST DISAPPOINTING: Spider-Man was pretty non-significant considering that Sam Raimi had a whole crew shooting doc stuff during shooting. Weird.
WORST TREND IN DVD: RE-RELEASES. RE-RELEASES. RE-RELEASES. ABSOLUTELY.
Just my opinions. Bill and the rest of the guys at the Bits, great job. You guys are getting me all excited for the Oscars. I LOVE AWARDS!!!!
As for Disney being the best studio, you have to keep something in mind. While a lot of you here at HTF (and us at The Bits) were aware 3rd Qtr 2002 of the "dumbing down" decisions being made with regards to DVD by top execs at the studio, titles on store shelves didn't start to be affected until late 4th Qtr 2002 and 1st Qtr 2003 (think Lilo & Stitch, Absent Minded Professor and Signs). Up until that time, Disney had a pretty incredible year. Think about Monsters, Inc., Beauty and the Beast, Schoolhouse Rock, Pearl Harbor, Tombstone, The Sixth Sense, Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown, Amélie, Strictly Ballroom, The Others... That list goes on. Sure, most of their older catalog titles were bare-bones, but what studio can afford to do more with every title? Would you knock MGM for doing the same thing? Isn't it better that the films at least see DVD release? What studio had a higher output of A and B titles in 2002 and did more with them? We stand by this award 100%. Of course, Buena Vista is fast angling for Most Disappointing Studio for 2003...
As for the others, everyone has their own opinion. But we feel pretty strongly about BTTF, given that Universal knew about the problem and released anyway figuring that only HTF-level consumers would care. That's unforgivable. Yes, Quiet Man was bad. But hell... Final Countdown could have gotten Worst Video. You have to put some perspective on it and make decisions. And there are a lot of other titles that we would have loved to mention in the Bitsys, believe me, but there just isn't room for them all. We wring our hands over it.
These awards are our opinions and you're absolutely entitled to disagree. But these awards are aimed more at the industry than consumers anyway, and we're privy to a much bigger picture with regards to DVD than just what arrives on store shelves. We talk to the studios almost daily, and we know an awful lot about what's going on behind the scenes politically and in terms of production effort (or lack thereof). We're already getting some pretty interesting feedback from the studios. The Bitsys are respected by the studio DVD staffers, and we use them to provide feedback... and sometimes to send a message. I've already heard from one studio exec today that one of our more dubious awards is causing some people at the studio to rethink their approach to future titles. That's what it's all about. Acknowledge the good and point out areas of improvement that will hopefully be taken seriously by the powers that be. We can't always acknowledge ALL the good and ALL the bad, but we do what we can. And we always give it a great deal of thought.
Hope you enjoy The Bitsys in any case. Cheers and best to all of you (whether you agree with us or not)!
Cool Bitsys this year, with FOTR: EE predictably (and deservedly) picking up several top prizes. Most of the choices seem pretty reasonable, but the one I'm going to contest is the treatment of the BTTF set. Sure, Universal screwed up big time with it, but these are the movies we've been waiting five years for, and they're finally out! BTTF is a very good set, and I think it should be graded based on its final incarnation which includes the fixed video transfers. Put the blame on Universal in the "worst studio" area, not on this stellar BTTF box set.
I disagree. I think that The Digital Bits folks were correct in rating the set as it's currently being sold.
I agree with most of the awards dead on. It was a great year for DVD in 2002.
I pretty much agree with all the awards, and feel the Bits deserve kuods for taking aim at some appropriate targets. The SPIDER-MAN not-very-Special Edition, the dumped SOUTH PARK commentaries... they deserve all the razzing they get.
The FOTR:SE was a worthy winner in the various main categories that it won. I agree that Blue Underground will be a company to watch, and also concur with the high praise given to Anchor Bay. Finally, the suggestion that THE ADVENTURES OF BARON MUNCHAUSEN be re-granted to Criterion for an upgraded DVD of their earlier LD S.E was worthy of applause.
Definitely agree with Blue Underground being the one to watch - I already have eight of their discs and plan on five more based on the upcoming specs. The upper-class elite of entertaining B and C-flicks done right (which means including the original mono along with DTS, DD and stereo remixes on Contamination!)
I don't know why Back to the Future got so slated. To be honest, I think Jackie Brown is mis-framed as well. The opening Miramax logo has been shifted up slightly and the top of the frame keeps cutting into people's eyes. But does it really ruin anything? Hell, no!
Other than that, some pretty fine choices, some lame ones, but since it's all totally subjective, I've no real bones to pick.
The list needed more AOTC if ya ask me. And while Pearl Harbor had a really great track, I would have chosen AOTC or LOTR.
Rich... did you read my post in this thread above on the Disney issue?
I did, Bill. But my issues with the DVDs produced by the various arms of the Disney conglomerate, as well as the even greater concerns of the anime/HK-cinema fans, all predate the 4th quarter glut of full-frame Disney DVDs. So I'm not particularly assuaged by the explanation that the worst of the studio's damage was done too late in the voting process to be acknowledged, but I agree that the 4th quarter was when they finally frittered away their last shred of good-will among those with more mainstream tastes (non-foreign, non-anime).
Please understand that I love your site. I love your DVD reviews. And I love that you folks are now doing hi-res music reviews. I certainly remain an avid reader of the Bits!
But for the Bits to bestow upon Disney the honor of "studio of the year" as they commit every imagineable home theater sin while at the same time lambasting other studios and releases for relatively minor infractions... it seems as though someone's not looking at the big picture here.
Its good to see DVD Awards given by people who do nothing but watch them all day.
Being an avid DVD watcher myself and running my own site (not nearly as big as the Bits) I agree with most of Bitsy Awards, but of course I do have a few complaints. I don't agree 100% w/ the BTTF trilogy being worst video - a little harsh seeing as there were only a few framing issues. I watched a few last year that video actually shook it was so bad.
OK, so it was only one complaint, but hey it's all good. There's no real point to gripping about it. It's not like Bill and the boys are going to change them
I think that everyone here is right about Disney no being the best studio. Yeah they had some very good releases over the last year, but I can think of other studios that had even better releases:
New Line- Not only did they give us LOTR: extended, but they went into their vault and brought out some good older movies and gave them 16x9 widescreen transfers (on all of them). Also almost every dvd they release looks great.
Warner Bros.- They had a good release year with not only the big releases, but they went back and start releasing special editions of older movies.
MGM- They have been doing a lot and sometimes people don't notice.
So there are a couple of studios that did a lot more for the dvd community then disney. I think that any of these studios should have gotten the award.
But, I think that the bitseys were on the money for all the other categories.