No one lied to Goldman. In fact, MGM told him the truth.
Gary Goldman posted this on Don Bluth's site in response to a question about the HD transfer:
I haven't seen the final NIMH, nor Anastasia's Blu-ray transfer on DVD. However, there is a digital master of Anastasia (it was shot digitally, in the computer and transferred to film for its release in 1997), and I'm sure they used the digital master and not a film element.
The inter-positive film print for The Secret of NIMH, or intermediate protective master (made from the original film negative) was physically cleaned before we started the transfer. However, every film has imbedded dirt and dust in the images of every frame, not just dust residing on the surface of the film. And, The Secret of NIMH was shot on 35MM film, way before digital filmmaking.
I personally supervised the initial color-correction transfer from film to the digital high definition Blu-ray format, but whatever debris was in the film image was transferred to the digital master. The next process was to digitally clean the new digital master of residual negative film dirt, dust and possible scratches, which I was unable to remain in LA to supervise, nor was I offered the opportunity.
What many people do not understand is that when you upgrade to a much higher resolution, the film dust, dirt and scratches become extraordinarily visible to the naked eye. I know that what Disney does for their classics is go back to the original negative and transfer it digitally at a full 4000 pixels (film resolution - FYI Television resolution is around 525 pixels about 25% of film resolution, so video and the older DVD imagery is very soft compared to HD or film imagery). This high res transfer allows the computer operator to easily find all of the flaws imbedded in each individual frame of the film. It's not just running the digital print thru some sort of electronic dust/dirt/scratch filter. Though, that is part of the process, but that process only removes the most prevalent and obvious specs. Someone has to remove the tiny, faint "dirt" specs from each and every frame.
When I asked about their process, they told me that the process would probably not be as extensive as I had asked for, that they would probably spend no more than three days to a week. I'm sure that when I get my Blu-ray copy of The Secret of NIMH, I will especially be looking at the digital cleaning job that they did. By the way, again we were hoping for the theatrical poster to be used for the packaging art. Instead the new Blu-ray still uses that same art as on the the past few releases - very discouraging.
Also, the audio format is incorrect. It decodes as stereo when it should be matrixed surround which is the correct theatrical release format.
No, activating Pro-Logic does nothing. The audio is stereo unless you switch your BR player to PCM in which case you can use Pro-Logic to decode the audio as it was intended to be heard.
The DVD got it right. The audio decodes properly even without activating Pro-Logic. Not sure why they couldn't get it right for the DVD.