Saturday, August 4, 2007
The DVD that almost never was- Popeye DVD review from what I watched
Spolier Warning: It contains parts revealing the quality of the DVD.
Well, thanks to angels who helped a KFS executive, after more than 1 year, this miracle happened.
I finally got my Popeye DVD. I didn't watch it all, but I watched enough to review how "restored" the cartoons were.
First off, Jerry Beck's and my obsession: Original Paramount Titles. Were they restored? To answer this question, the best available prints out of all the cartoons I watched, both full and partly, was LITTLE SWEE'PEA and POPEYE MEETS ALI BABA. Also, some of the cartoons' titles were "recreations", so you could see no grain like it had been DVNR'd. Jerry had told this earlier that "some of the material has been altered by AAP". So they inserted "fake" Paramount logos, the same process used in Cartoon Network's THE POPEYE SHOW, in many VCI relases, and in public domain prints of color Paramount cartoons (seen in many YouTube prints of Little Audrey in GOOFY GOOFY GANDER, and the Fleischer Color Classic THE COBWEB HOTEL). Some of the prints were very typical in quality, like I'M IN THE ARMY NOW, although the sound was good.
The Paramount opening to the Popeye pilot is not properly restored. This means the special transition from the Paramount logo to the main title card in Betty Boop cartoons are lost.
One print I happened to encounter, the Paramount sing-along advertising short used in movie theaters' Popeye clubs, LET'S SING WITH POPEYE, felt like it was either taken from a public domain DVD or was downloaded from the Internet. If it was downloaded from the Internet, this is the beginning of not using negatives in official releases to let them deteriorate. What a HORRIBLE thing to pioneer, Warner Home Video/Turner!
Now kids, if you start to pop in a Warner Home Video collector's disc, you'll find out why Warner Bros. says their DVD's are for the "Adult Collector". After the FBI warning in discs 1-3, there's a disclaimer saying (abridged and translated in my own words): These are cartoons with racial and ethnic stereotypes, the cartoons were released in a particular time of racism. These do not reflect Warner Home Video's view of socitey today. It would be wrong to edit the films as it telling that the predjuices never existed.
This is a review from a person who's never watched everything. I only know of two racist parts, one in Popeye's pilot, and another that I heard was very racist. I didn't see it yet, but it be very brain-rotting to do so, and I forgot where the very racist part was.
When I heard buzz about John K's commentary, I didn't want to listen to it, but I would listen to anybody but him, I just would like to listen to anyone who's name is spelled J-E-R-R-Y B-E-C-K or a recorded commentary of late animators spelled D-A-V-E T-E-N-D-L-A-R.
When I first watched it, it was like listening to the Disney Silly Symphony THE THREE LITTLE PIGS only better.
Here's a lesson to never forget, along with not using DVNR:
I liked the fact that Popeye was on DVD, but next time, and I mean if Viacom/Lionsgate is relasing "The Complete Noveltoons" set and Jerry Beck is involved, please, oh, please search all over the country for prints. One source for all materials does not mean you'll strike a perfect collection. Sure we're not perfect, but just learn from this mistake. It was a mistake made in the past and it's still being made now in the present. No more recreations. If you see an opening logo and it dissloves naturally like an old film should, you've found the orignal titles.