|Year Released||1999||Commentary Tracks||None|
|Running Time||58:45 minutes||Other Extras||Discography|
Warner Vision Australia
|Starring||Marvin Lee Aday
Karla De Vito
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||MPEG||None|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None||Dolby Digital||2.0|
|16x9 Enhancement||No||Soundtrack Languages||English (Dolby Digital 2.0, 448 Kb/s)|
|Theatrical Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||
|Subtitles||None||Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
And like so many great albums, it had a very troubled gestation and had serious problems even getting released. Even after release, it took a while to attract attention, and one of the first countries to recognize the album was Australia. However, once it got noticed, it just kept on selling and selling and selling. No one for sure can really say how many copies of the album have been sold to date, but the general consensus is somewhere around 35 million copies. And that is the legal copies - I would hate to contemplate how many bootlegs exist (of which I too have had a few). If my memory serves me correctly the album was in the British album charts for nigh on six years, and even today, twenty three years on, it makes the occasional foray into the lower echelons of Top 200s around the world. Only special albums achieve that sort of longevity and there is no doubt that this is indeed a special album, made even the more special for the fact that it was released at a time when disco ruled and punk rock was just about to explode.
This DVD release from the Classic Albums series two brings together recently recorded interviews with Meat Loaf, producer Todd Rundgren, writer Jim Steinman and band members including backing vocalists Ellen Foley (who launched a solo career on the strength of this album, and released a couple of fine but sadly neglected albums) and Karla De Vito (who did not sing on the album, but was the "visual" backing vocalist on tour and on video). These interviews are interspersed with extracts from the music videos of various of the well known songs off the album, performances on the Old Grey Whistle Stop and a live performance of Heaven Can Wait recorded in Rotterdam in 1994. And just in case you think Meat Loaf did nothing else, he did in fact release quite a number of fine albums, the most recent of which, Welcome To The Neighbourhood, is one of the most sadly neglected pure rock and roll albums of the last decade.
The transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1.
The more recent, interview portions of the transfer come up extremely well indeed, very sharp and very detailed. Indeed this looks better than some of the feature films through my player recently. Naturally however, the archival video footage is not as good, lacking somewhat in definition and contrast. But what would one expect from video clips made for a specific purpose about twenty three years ago? Thankfully, the transfer appears much clearer than the first series releases and has no problems with low level noise.
The colours come up very well indeed, beautifully vibrant and nicely saturated. This is a very nice looking transfer indeed from the colour point of view and I have no real complaints whatsoever with it. Naturally, the archival video footage suffers somewhat with sort of a washed out look to it, but again this reflects the age of the source material. There was no problem with oversaturation at all.
There did not appear to be any MPEG artefacts in the transfer, nor were film-to-video artefacts a problem: it should be noted however that the archival video footage did have some minor inherent problems, which cannot be blamed upon the DVD transfer. There did not appear to be any film artefacts present in the transfer, and this is in general a very clean transfer reflecting the recent vintage of the programme.
One of the lessons learnt from the first series is that the disc has chaptering, making it much easier to navigate to your favourite song. There is however a minor problem with the timing of the disc: the actual programme runs for about 58:45, but your player will tell you it is 63:04 long. The difference is that after the credits end, there is about four and a half minutes of nothing at all until the disc simply stops. This is rather poor and this is one aspect of the package that really needs to be improved. The wasted time should be deleted and the disc should end by returning to the menu.
There is only the one audio track on this DVD, an English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. So therefore I naturally listened to this soundtrack. Another minor lesson learnt has been to flag the language to the player as English rather than as a number.
The music and vocals came up very clear and understandable in the soundtrack.
Audio sync did not appear to be a problem with the soundtrack, although there were some inherent lip sync problems within some of the video footage where Karla De Vito is lip-synching to Ellen Foley's vocals.
The soundtrack does not make any use of the surround or bass channels. Whilst this would ordinarily be a concern, and I would have much preferred a 5.1 soundtrack, the resultant sound suits the style of production quite well. The overall soundscape is quite natural and realistic enough, and apart from needing to turn up the soundtrack a little (well okay, a lot) to get it thumping away, there is little to complain about here.
The menu actually has use here as the disc starts up with the usual licence spiel (accompanied by music I might add), then goes to the menu. Actually quite a nice looking effort that apes the famed album cover not especially well; it is just a pity that this too was not audio enhanced.
Now this is better stuff. Whilst it is by no means comprehensive, as I doubt too many would be able to provide a really comprehensive list, it is a fairly detailed listing of all the main releases by Meat Loaf including the format and the date of release. I applaud the effort to upgrade the package in this manner.
A few pages of advertisements for DVDs that mostly are not available in Region 4, but at least it is something else to look at.
A very good video transfer.
A pretty good audio transfer.
And some improvement in the extras too.
My only real complaint is why it is not three hours long!
© Ian Morris
4th February 2000
|DVD||Pioneer DV-515; S-video output|
|Display||Sony Trinitron Wega 84cm. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in|
|Amplification||Yamaha RXV-795. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Energy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL|