UMD Review - The Dark Crystal

Discussion in 'Gaming' started by Dave Scarpa, Aug 2, 2005.

  1. Dave Scarpa

    Dave Scarpa Producer

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    The Dark Crystal (1982) 99 Min PG
    1:78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen Cropped from 2:35:1
    Sony Pictures

    The Movie:

    In 1982 Jim Henson and Frank Oz directed this Fantasy film Depicting a Quest for a mystical Crystal Shard that would return balance to the divided world of the evil Skeksis and the peaceful Mystics. If the shard is not united before the three suns rise the world will be forever divided and fall into chaos. Henson's Creature workshop leaps beyond Muppets and creates a very dark and fanciful world. In 1982 when I first saw this film I was nineteen years old a bit old to be scared but I could certainly see where younger viewers would be this Ain't Shrek. There are no cute talking Sidekicks and of course no Pop culture references or fart jokes to entertain. So I'm not sure kids today will sit for this deliberately paced yet wonderfully crafted fable. If they do they will be rewarded by a pretty good movie going experience.

    The UMD:

    Sony once again delivers a cropped 1:78:1 transfer of a 2:35:1 film. The movie opens and we get a pretty nice widescreen transfer but once the credits are over we zoom in on the action. Which does hamper some compositions but does not ruin the film overall. Still Sony has to take a lesson from Universal and leave their films OAR. I thought overall the black levels were decent and the colors fairly vibrant. There are some dust and specks that run through the film but overall it's a pretty decent transfer of an older film. The Sound does not knock your socks off but it's not a slam bang action film either it serves it's purpose.

    Extra Features:

    Well besides a trailer for a film called Mirrormask, zip, nada ,nothing. Par for the course on a Sony release.

    In Conclusion:

    What you get with this UMD is a nice presentation of one of the better fantasy classic from the 80's. The presentation as is the norm for Sony releases could be better and takes the overall disk down a few notches, but in the end it's the movie that counts and this is a good one. The Dark Crystal retails for $19.95 and can be had for between $13 and $15. For that price it's worth a spin.
     
  2. PerryD

    PerryD Supporting Actor

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    Thanks Dave for the review. I'm disappointed with the Pan & Scan product coming out from some of the UMD studios, if it becomes too much trouble to research whether the movie is pan & scan, open matte, or OAR, it's not a fun hobby anymore and I stop buying. I lose anticipation over titles like Ghostbusters since a pan & scan job would ruin the movie. Unfortunately, this is a problem also on HBO and Starz high definition channels cropping 2.35 movies.
     
  3. Dave Scarpa

    Dave Scarpa Producer

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    It's heresy, and although I prefer OAR, on a screen the size of the PSP, I can live with the Cropping. 2:40:1 on a 4inch wide screen is pretty tiny.
     
  4. PerryD

    PerryD Supporting Actor

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    I'm tolerating the pan and scan HD transfers on HBO and Starz, the panning/cropping is less noticable now than the early butcher jobs than HBO used to have, they used what looked literally like they zoomed into the middle of the original 2.35 frame, the image was washed out with reduced resolution and stuff always cut out of the sides of the cropped frame.

    But what makes me mad though is that the added letterbox bands of an OAR film would increase the video bandwidth of the remaining widescreen image, creating a sharper picture with much less artifacts, and/or increase the amount disc space for additional features like trailers or commentary. I'm hoping this makes sense anyway, letterbox bands take no space on the disc, but a full screen cropped image does, so you are talking about 25% less space when OAR isn't used on 2.35 movies.
     
  5. David Galindo

    David Galindo Screenwriter

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    Sony doesnt like to keep movies in their proper ratio, I guess. [​IMG]

    Great review!
     

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