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Discussion Starter #1
I've just spent a delightfull two evenings with the newly released DVD version of the 1981 BBC mini-series The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (I rented it). I have of course seen it many times before - but the DVD version is a two-disk set, and while I sampled the Special Features on Disk 2, I have seen some of those before as well on the PBS broadcasts, and I shortly desisted as I found they were slightly spoiling the magic. The original episodes are all on Disk 1.


Unfortunately, the material appears to have originated as analog PAL video, and after being scaled twice (once by the BBC from PAL to NTSC, once in my HTPC from NTSC to XGA projector resolution) there is an unfortunate softness to the appearance of everything in the 4:3 Fullscreen image. The Commodore Amiga graphics display the same fuzziness - but are quite as quaintly quirky as ever. I don't think there's any help for the image problem, and I got out one of my much-viewed S-VHS copies of the PBS over-the-air broadcasts, and found the quality much the same via DScaler. Therefore I reluctantly conclude that the true limitation is the analog video master, and there is little reason to buy the DVD set unless you are fond of special features, which Disk 2 has in plenty.


IMHO the marginal image improvement from the VHS version released in 1990 is not enough to upgrade to the DVD. If you bought the boxed VHS set that included the third tape The Making of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy you have also seen most of Disk 2 already, and certainly the best of the Special Features. If you don't own another version yet, the DVD is the one to get.


I will mention that there is a new stereo audio track on the DVD, in addition to the original mono sound of the broadcast. The remix displays total seperation - all sounds appear in either the RF or LF channels, with no crossfeed. Unfortunately I was viewing the DVD late at night after the NHL playoffs (I had tickets to last night's Sharks game, but there is no joy in SJ this morn), so I was wearing headphones, and found the excessive stereo seperation bothersome and resorted to the mono soundtrack. If you could play it through speakers, you might prefer the new stereo track.


IMHO the best version of this material remains the audio tapes of the original BBC radio broadcasts. The pictures this creates in my mind's eye are somehow far grander than the video, and even superior to the original printed version. Of course as with most BBC productions from the 80's, the budget for this video mini-series was rather low, and the production values fall short of modern standards. Still, the works of the late Douglas Adams retain their uniqueness.

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show) Spoiler  
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show) The ultimate answer is still 42.



Strongly reccomended.


Gary
 

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Gary,


Thanks for the great write up. Now you have me wondering if the R2 PAL DVD will be a bit better in the picture quality department.


Anyone have the PAL version of this?


--Jerome
 

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I just rented this DVD and saw it for the first time. I read the books & heard the radio series about 15 years ago, so I've been anxious to see the 'movie'. I was rather amazed at how everything was pretty much exactly the way I pictured it, though in a low budget fashion. I suppose this speaks well of Adams' ability to convey details.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Marvin has always been a dissapointment to me - I had pictured the robot very differently. However I do love the material.


Gary
 

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Gary, no doubt this DVD would have looked a lot better to you if you had sipped a Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster while viewing it.:)
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Gary McCoy
Marvin has always been a dissapointment to me - I had pictured the robot very differently. However I do love the material.


Gary
Marvin, a dissapointment?

Heresy, I say!!



Now I think I'll just rust over in the corner...
 
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