Thursday, April 9, 2009

Gulliver's Travels on Blu-ray

If you haven't heard yet, the middling but still historically interesting film Max Fleischer's Gulliver's Travels has been released on regular and Blu-ray DVD. This should make animation fans happy little skunks right? It should but unfortunately the transfers are so botched that DVDtalk.com is calling it "the single worst title to find its way onto the format to date". Why so bad?
Well, for one instead of getting a print from an original (or a copy) negative, they pulled from what appears to be a bad video tape. On top of that they DVDRed the living shit out of the image to try and make it DVD quality, making the resulting image almost unwatchably blurry. Let me rephrase that: they made a blu-ray disc that looks worse than the VHS tapes that have been around forever and the dollar DVDs you can pick up at Wal-mart. And they want you to pay 12 bucks for it.
But oh my brothers, thats not all. The film is presented in fake widescreen to accommodate widescreen TVS. The problem with this is that that the movie wasn't originally in that format so they smashed the image flat on the top and bottom, making everything abnormally wide. The DVDtalk reviewer quoted above also mentioned that the animation seems to lack the usual Fleischer smoothness meaning that pieces were probably cut out to cut "restoration" costs. To put it bluntly, they fucking butchered this movie.
The thing is, its really not that great of a film, but it is a Fleischer cartoon and to me that means that it deserves some respect. I mean, for crying out loud, they were more popular than Disney for a good long time and their early cartoons are goofy and surreal beyond anything Walt would have imagined in his worst nightmares. Their Popeye cartoons get released in fantastic box sets with some of the most stunning DVD restoration ever done and then we get this, its really like a kick in the nuts.
To close my rant, go here and watch this cartoon for free: http://www.archive.org/details/gullivers_travels1939
Do not do not do not pay money for this awful money grubbing travesty. Please inform any other animation fanatics about this so they don't waste their money as well. Thank you for listening.

Addendum:
The funniest part of this whole thing is the reviews on Amazon.com. Apparently, the company who put out this piece of junk paid people to give it glowing reviews and when people with actual souls called them out on it, several very funny arguments ensued. Most of these have been deleted but you can still see the remnants of the epic flame wars between animation fans and corporate ass-puppets.

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