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Zhang Yimou's "The Story of Qui Ju"... now on DVD!

Old 09-16-02, 09:25 AM
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Zhang Yimou's "The Story of Qui Ju"... now on DVD!

The Review of the DVD is here:

CLICK HERE

and the Film Review with screen captures is directly above.

The Mei Ah Laser Disc corporation have come out with some pretty poor ports to DVD from their old Laser Disc days, but this is an exception. The image quality may be on of the best I have seen from a Hong Kong Region 0 DVD. As a typical Zhang Yimou trait, it is rich in color, fully contrasted, but not saturated. The blacks are deep and true. The sound quality, often meant by the director to be scattered, is totally acceptable. My only drawback with the DVD are the removable English subtitles that occasionally zoom by the screen much too fast for normal reading purposes.

At $14 I would say this is a no-brainer to purchase. Unless The Criterion company, or more likely, Columbia Tri-Star, come out with a version with more extras soon, then there is no viable reason why any foreign film fan/DVD collector shouldn't own this. A commentary would be a great asset, but it might also detract from the innocence of the production.

Regards,
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Old 09-16-02, 10:52 AM
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Haven't seen this one yet, so I'll definately have to check it out.

Now, if only someone would release Raise the Red Lantern...
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Old 09-16-02, 11:09 AM
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Now, if only someone would release Raise the Red Lantern...
I also have this on HK DVD... I will double check the quality and get back to you...
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Old 09-18-02, 09:22 AM
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Originally posted by Gary Tooze
I also have this on HK DVD... I will double check the quality and get back to you...
The one I have seen is faded and dirty... not a decent transfer at all. The VHS transfer was better...
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Old 09-18-02, 12:07 PM
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Raise the red lantern should be 4:3 with no eng subs as well as poor transfer.
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Old 09-18-02, 12:09 PM
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I know mine has English subs... I'll look at it tonight... but I also think it may be widescreen...
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Old 09-18-02, 02:53 PM
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I also have a HK-dvd of this that has eng subs and is widescreen. The eng subs are burnt in, and there are both burnt in and selectable chinese subs. It's letterboxed at about 1:1.85, and was released by ERA Home Video in HK. There is no menu. There is a '98 First Quarter Releases list, with titles from Warner and Columbia Tristar, alonhg with local titles from ERA and Carnival Home Entertainment. I believe I got it from HiViZone sometime in '98, and it is probably a direct port from a laserdisc transfer. The picture is watchable.
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Old 09-18-02, 06:31 PM
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I received The Story of Qiu Ju last week but I haven't watched it yet. I'll have a quick look tonight. It'll probably look fine to me though cause I'm not that anal about transfer quality and sound.

Now we need a better version of Ju Dou as well. The R1 release, even from my non-anal perspective is suck.
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Old 09-19-02, 08:10 AM
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Okay, I reviewed the "Raise the Red Lantern" DVD by ERA. I have included 7 or 8 screen captures....

http://207.136.67.23/film/DVDReview/rtrl.htm#r

I was going to get the R1 ju Dou, Is it really that bad?... I would be interested in what you think of Qui Ju as a comparison...

Cheers,
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Old 09-19-02, 08:46 AM
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Other than Ju Dou being fullscreen I don't think there was really anything wrong with it. I don't remember having anything negative to say about it after watching it last time. I'll double check mine when I get home later today.
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Old 09-19-02, 02:40 PM
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Just a note to say that the cover on my copy of the ERA disc is different; the front cover uses the top picture from the other versions back cover, and there are different pictures on the back.
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Old 09-19-02, 03:01 PM
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Originally posted by ScreachingWeasel
Other than Ju Dou being fullscreen I don't think there was really anything wrong with it. I don't remember having anything negative to say about it after watching it last time. I'll double check mine when I get home later today.
I believe this film deserves better than a "competent transfer". This is from digitallyobsessed:

Image Transfer Review: Pioneer presents Ju-Dou in a disappointing 1.33:1 pan-and-scan transfer cropped down from the theatrical release. Many of the film's visually arresting images are seriously compromised, with framing shapes just barely visible at the screen edges, characters who appear to "arrive late," and damaged compositions throughout. The film's "burned-in" subtitles exhibit heavy artifacting, with unstable edges resembling nothing so much as analog video noise. The source print has moderate flecking and several single-frame scratches, with "gate wobble" and light-level variation in some scenes. In other respects, this is a competent transfer, with solid shadow detail and good handling of set and fabric textures, but this sumptuous film deserves an original aspect ratio presentation at the very least. Here's hoping for a remastered reissue someday.

Image Transfer Grade: D
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Old 09-19-02, 09:23 PM
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Just watched this tonight. Here's my thoughts:

DVD info:
Publisher: Mei Ah
All Region
NTSC
DVD-5
1.85:1 Anamorphic widescreen
runtime: 100 mins
Language: DD 2.0 Mandarin
subtitles: optional Chinese (Simplified and Traditional) and English

DVD Review:
The source print is in very good condition. There are scratches and speckles thoughout the movie, but they are not very noticeable or distracting, apart from the larger blotches. Image is sharp, but it looks like Edge Enhancement (EE) was applied, as you can see some ringing and jaggies along object edges. Turn down the sharpness on your TV to lessen it's effects.

Colours are very strong and vivid, only marred by blooming from white objects. Whenever any white coloured objects appear, it casts a bright contrast around it's area.
Blooming also appears on other colours, but are not as noticeable. Comparing this to the Star Video Laserdisc, this DVD is superior. The LD has a brown tint on the image, but it has none of the blooming problems.

Audio is on the quiet side, so turning up the volume will be required. The quality is decent, but nothing that attacks the senses.

Subtitles are well translated, with only the ocassional spelling mistakes. Font size is also good, but some text skip by too fast. There are no missing segments of subtitles for dialogue on this disc.

9 chapter stops are available.
Databank includes the synopsis and cast & crew info.
Unfortunately, the trailer is not included.

I commend Mei Ah for re-releasing this movie in a much improved and English subtitled DVD, although they should have used DVD-9 format for higher bitrates to give this movie a better transfer quality.

NOTE: Chinastar did release a DVD of this movie awhile back, but like the LD, it did not have English subtitles.


rating:
movie: 8/10
DVD: 7/10 (good image quality, but too much EE and white blooming)
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